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How do you prospect?

Hey fellow sales savages.


I have a quick question for you, and it might seem kinda silly, but honestly it is a serious question. How do you prospect?


I mean, it is clearly getting harder and harder to get someone to pick up the phone I think.


Email is not great, 20% open rate most of which is meaningless because it is the spam filter opening your email half the time, and even if it is a person they might open it in the view window but that doesn't mean they actually paid attention to it. Click rates are what 1-2%.


LinkedIn used to be good, but it seems like it is becoming less and less useful.


So I'm just curious, what prospecting methods have you found to work?

🔎 Prospecting
27
paddy
WR Officer
+10
Account Executive
The good old fashion "pick up the phone and start dialing" is still relevant as ever imo.
nomdeguerre
Valued Contributor
+5
VP of Channel Partner Sales
Interesting, do you find that you are able to get relevant decision makers on the phone?

I'm asking because my experience is that most people don't pick up the phone if they don't know the person calling.
CreateNSell
Contributor
+1
Business Developer
Conversion rate is very low when you cold call someone. I see that as a "growth strategy" where you make small experiments, small actions to get a result.
Be consistent, call a specific number of people everyday or week and you'll get a meeting.

Show 1 more replies
JuicyKlay
Politicker
+9
AM
I'm a big fan of Sam Nelson's Agoge method. cadencebuilder.com is another great resource to develop an outbound prospecting cadence from scratch.
GrindingSales
Opinionated
+5
Account Executive
This was great! Can’t wait to start implementing this!
Salespreuner
Big Shot
+11
Regional Sales Director
Perfect Strategy
nomdeguerre
Valued Contributor
+5
VP of Channel Partner Sales
Cool, thanks. I will check that out.
JuicyKlay
Politicker
+9
AM
Happy hunting!
Show 6 more replies
Chep
WR Officer
+10
Business Development Team Lead
Sometimes attending webinars about what your solution solves is a great way to find prospects who have an interest in the product you're selling. Once you've agreed to attend the webinar you get access to all the other LinkedIn profiles that are attending
CuriousFox
WR Officer
+11
Needer of Life Alert
Did not know this 🤔
nomdeguerre
Valued Contributor
+5
VP of Channel Partner Sales
That is great idea if it works. Do you find that the organizers of these webinars will share the list of the attendees?

I often find that most companies will not share the list of participant and will often hide the participants in the webinar tool - unless the organizer is your own company of course or if you have sponsored the webinar.
Chep
WR Officer
+10
Business Development Team Lead
Everyone I've attended I was able to see the list of attendees, but maybe I got lucky because I didn't know the organizer could hide the list. Worth trying, but if they choose to hide the list you might be S.O.L for that particular webinar.
Show 1 more replies
cw95
Politicker
+6
Pricing Executive
After Two years of sporadic email / call activity I have finally figured out a structure with my CEO to try and answers these exact questions as well as what day of the week and time of day works best. 

Everyday I find 20 new, fresh contacts. I send a cold email on day one, wait two days and send a cold follow up, even if they have opened and clicked the first one. Then if they don't reply after the follow up email, I then call. 

My success rate of replies of interest and people answering after trying this for just two weeks has been higher than the two years of sporadic activity at my company. 

I also include when to add people on Linkedin, from what I see, they are more likely to accept your linkedin if they recognise your name from an email - if they accept, then you could take that as some interest but that's just my opinion. 
au
authello
Old School Bravo
Head of Partnerships
cw95, this sounds effective. How is your cold follow up email different / similar to your initial cold email?
cw95
Politicker
+6
Pricing Executive
Hello, sorry, I've just seen this. 

My Cold email roughly goes as follows - 

' Hey X 

I was just wondering what you thought of my previous email? If you can't recall and it's somewhere lost in your inbox you can see what we do here (add hyperlink). 

Do please let me know your thoughts either way! 

Cheers.
Show 1 more replies
nomdeguerre
Valued Contributor
+5
VP of Channel Partner Sales
That's great, happy you found something that works for you.

Do you have additional steps in your sequence following the initial call, email and follow up email?
cw95
Politicker
+6
Pricing Executive
So my way round is Cold email, two days, cold follow up, then call. If I can't find email addresses for a certain company then I do the way you said - Call, Email, follow up, call. 

If you have time, try and do an A/B test on two different types of emails to see which approach is getting the replies, opens and clicks and the one that is, keep, then change the one that isn't to see if the original is still going strong. 

If they accept my linkedin request I tend to also 'like' every other post they do generally early in the morning or late after work so my name appears without lots of others! 

Other than that, I also tend to use a websites 'live chat' to get directed to the right people...the person on the other end don't expect a question like that and generally you'll get some details! 

It may just be me but Live chat or phone, I always find making the question vague leads to more details as they get put out of their comfort zone and tend to pass you onto someone else who is usually the right person haha! 
Show 5 more replies
TheDragon
Good Citizen
+1
CVO
The google…. Handy tip, use google maps and pinpoint a target area vs just “googling”. Your search’s will be much more precise and you won’t get as many keyword specific misinformation 
nomdeguerre
Valued Contributor
+5
VP of Channel Partner Sales
But I don't even use The Googles... ;-)

Seriously, you are right its amazing how much information you can find out there.
StonedColdClozr
Opinionated
+4
Business Development
When I think prospecting, I think about ways to cast large nets to rake in as many prospects as possible to then reach out to. While LinkedIn is becoming the Biden Administration of Social Media, there is still a TON of valuable data that can be gathered from there. I join and post in tons of groups created for my ICP. 

From there, its all about data enrichment... finding as many numbers & emails to reach each prospect at. I have used quite a few tools, but the new Zoom/DiscoveryOrg tool is far and away the best for Direct Dials, HQ #s, & Mobiles. (Also a fantastic tool for gathering prospects.)

Once those steps are taken it is time to pick up the phone separate the men from the boys.
nomdeguerre
Valued Contributor
+5
VP of Channel Partner Sales
Makes a lot of sense, thanks
SalesPharaoh
Politicker
+8
AM BDR
Things are going towards social selling unfortunately it's not my strong suit but it's something im working on right now. However, LinkedIn inmail can be useful unless your experience tells you otherwise. I sometimes go into Facebook groups of the target audience where I think I can my prospects and comment, or slide in their dms it worked with me, but i don't know about your culture. 
nomdeguerre
Valued Contributor
+5
VP of Channel Partner Sales
That very helpful, thanks.

How do you go about structuring the messaging in your outreach on LI?

I receive a lot of messages on LI myself, and most of them are basically structured the same way, where they will connect with me and the very first message I receive after that are very often a pitch. The pitch usually goes into how great they are and how they have helped a bunch of other people similar to me often followed by three point of example of benefits others have experienced. Then they ask for a 15 minute call. All of which is not very compelling.

I would much rather get into a dialog with the prospect about them and their needs and priorities, but often it is hard to get into that kind of conversation, so I'm just wondering what you have found work well for that.
JuicyKlay
Politicker
+9
AM
Blank connection requests then a 50 second personalized intro video through the LI mobile app within 24 hours of them connecting.
Show 4 more replies
Tres
Politicker
+6
Account Executive
Cold email hardly works, same with cold calling. I try to get warm connections from LinkedIn and then use video messages to make it more of a warm email/call and that helps. 
nomdeguerre
Valued Contributor
+5
VP of Channel Partner Sales
I agree with you, cold email and calls rarely work these days.

I like the idea of trying to get warm introductions, so I'm curious, what approach to you use for that? Do you try to get intros from your existing customers or do you seek out people that might already work with the prospect or someone who might have sold complementary products?

Thanks
Tres
Politicker
+6
Account Executive
Yes to any and everything. Intros from customers, or stalking their 2nd degree connections on LinkedIn, or tapping into partners and complimentary players in our industry to use their contacts. 
Show 1 more replies
countingmyinterest
Politicker
+4
Account Executive
Email, linkedin, and phone baby. 

On occasion, I'll text prospects and it's resulted in a meeting or two. 
nomdeguerre
Valued Contributor
+5
VP of Channel Partner Sales
Cool, thanks.
ma
marginmagnate
Good Citizen
+1
Account Executive
Depends on what you're selling, when I was brand new in Sales, I started in my phone's contact list, we all have a million acquantinces in there we haven't talked to in awhile - "where does this person work, where does this person work" etc. Start with a drink invite and info gathering session on their company if you think it fits your business --> leading to warm introductions. Slower but effective and I had alot of success this way!
nomdeguerre
Valued Contributor
+5
VP of Channel Partner Sales
Great idea. Always good if you have an existing connection.
TheFemaleWolf
Opinionated
+3
Director of Sales
Old School meets New School.

Say what you will about face to face prospecting but... that method is hands down the most impactful. When used along with phones / technology to reach people directly / and access to information it's a deadly combo. 

I'm pretty progressive when it comes to prospecting methods BUT there is nothing to replace your 5 senses when it comes to prospecting opportunities and making human connection in person. 

Dislcaimer: Yes, we are COVID aware and wear masks now / practice normal social distancing in the field. Almost 95% of our business is back to in person meetings though and it's pretty amazing to see. 
nomdeguerre
Valued Contributor
+5
VP of Channel Partner Sales
Definitely great to be able to make a direct in person connection. Do you simple go to your target company's office and ask for the person you are trying to meet with?
TheFemaleWolf
Opinionated
+3
Director of Sales
100% - Say you are here to speak with the Owner and/or Director of (insert department you need). 


The best way is to approach this is to make it clear that your intention is to get time on their schedule, not to run a meeting right there and then. That's usually the main reason people push off sales calls. They don't want to sit down and be "sold" on the spot. 
Show 1 more replies
Kr
Krevele
Enterprise Account Executive
How many touches? On average it takes about 8 touchpoints to reach a prospect. When are you doing your outreach? HubSpot and a few other software providers released research the best time to prospect is Wednesday and Thursdays. The last thing I would add is what's your communication look like? Is it relevant to each prospect or is it generic? 
nomdeguerre
Valued Contributor
+5
VP of Channel Partner Sales
The Agoge sequence that I have been looking at has 16 touches (combined email, LinkedIn and phone over 24 days) which definitely seems like a lot to me.

I have seen that a lot of people are recommending Wednesday and Thursdays as the best days, but it seems like everybody has been following that for a while, so it might be better to try different days. In fact I saw someone who had really good results on Fridays now... of course I'm sure it depends on your message. I'm thinking you should probably keep it casual in your Friday message.

I agree with you the content clearly is super important. What I liked about the Agoge sequence is that only a couple of the messages needs to be personalized and the rest piggyback off of that personalization, so you can balance personalization with automation.

What type of messaging have you found to be successful?
swizard
Celebrated Contributor
+9
Sales Evangelist
research. research. research via LI & Industry platforms
nomdeguerre
Valued Contributor
+5
VP of Channel Partner Sales
That makes sense and for high value target clearly you can afford to spend a lot of time, but at the same time I'm also trying to balance research/personalization with volume/automation.
DonDraper
Politicker
+4
National Sales Manager
LinkedIN Sales Nav - Set up searches for your industry, look for people moving roles etc. Decision makers will be there too
nomdeguerre
Valued Contributor
+5
VP of Channel Partner Sales
Great idea, thanks
goose
Politicker
+11
Sales Executive
The only way to prospect is to hit up "friends of friends".  Otherwise you are basically throwing darts.  It's tough to build a camp of connected people that can refer you but it's necessary for a long, successful career in sales.  
nomdeguerre
Valued Contributor
+5
VP of Channel Partner Sales
Ok thanks, appreciate the perspective. So are you basically saying that the traditional BD/SDR activities are wasted efforts?
goose
Politicker
+11
Sales Executive
Wasted?  No.

Ineffective?  Maybe.

Inefficient?  Definitely.
Show 1 more replies
thegrinch
Politicker
+7
SDR
'Prospects prospect me' - Chuck Norris
nomdeguerre
Valued Contributor
+5
VP of Channel Partner Sales
LOL
ninjaturtle
Business Development
Josh Braun on LinkedIn has some great tips. 

To improve your open rate, sometimes it’s great to be a bit more direct or personal in the subject line. “ Company X Intro Meeting” 

Phone is always great as well.
nomdeguerre
Valued Contributor
+5
VP of Channel Partner Sales
Thanks, will check out Josh Braun
Wolfe
Politicker
+4
BDR
LinkedIn, Email, Phone and occasionally text (mostly if the voicemail says so)


nomdeguerre
Valued Contributor
+5
VP of Channel Partner Sales
Cool, thanks
Wolfe
Politicker
+4
BDR
Omni-Channel is the way to be imo, you can have a strong hold on one channel but you should work all channels. 
nomdeguerre
Valued Contributor
+5
VP of Channel Partner Sales
Makes nothing but sense.
breezyboiii
Politicker
+5
Sales Boiii
i'm sure many won't think this is a great way.
but
cold calls
Jpnelson09
Senior Account Executive
Email conversions are terrible. Social sell via link, if possible to like/comment on the prospects activity today build that social relationship. It’s a long-term play but pays dividends and puts a face to name when you do call/email. 

Sales is a numbers game, more you put in. The more you get out! 

if you haven’t heard of John Barrows - he’s focused on top of the funnel. Like the methodology 
nomdeguerre
Valued Contributor
+5
VP of Channel Partner Sales
Thanks, appreciate the input. I'll check out John Barrows
Camm
AE
Video prospecting- but not the generic kind. 1min personalised vid on how you can help them. With a call out in the email “I know you get these emails all the time, with a supposed value prop- so I want to show you just a few ways I believe we can assist” 
nomdeguerre
Valued Contributor
+5
VP of Channel Partner Sales
Cool, I appreciate the input. Have you seen good result with this method.
Camm
AE
Yup, really high response rate and meeting acceptance rate. Works much better than any other method I’ve tried. 
Beefany28
Politicker
+6
Business Development Representative
Google, and a few business sites! 
nomdeguerre
Valued Contributor
+5
VP of Channel Partner Sales
Not sure I understand
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