The Comprehensive Prospecting Guide for B2B

Prospecting for B2B involves defining, identifying, reaching out to, and converting potential customers into clients of the company. Contact is established through a number of different sales and marketing activities, including marketing via email, content marketing and PPC.

Sales Prospecting

What is Prospecting?

Sales prospecting is about identifying prospects and potential buyers, targeting them and leading them into the sales funnel. The sales funnel symbolically represents the individual steps that a potential customer passes through in the sales process.

A prospect is a potential customer who belongs to the target group and is interested in the company's solution.

A contact must meet the following criteria in advance, to be considered a prospect:

  • Has a need that can be satisfied by the company's solution

  • Has shown interest in the company's solution or related topics

  • Fits the target group, incl. associated company criteria

Prospecting starts with the prospect's need and actively guides them through the sales funnel. If the contact qualifies as a prospect or also as a Sales Qualified Lead, he/she is suitable for further processing by Sales.

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Why is prospecting important?

Especially in the B2B sector, potential customers are often manageable. It is therefore even more important to concentrate marketing and sales efforts on those contacts with the highest probability of closing a deal.

Prospecting thus brings the following advantages:

During attention generation, targeted marketing activities can be used to measure what the potential customer is interested in and whether he is therefore a possible lead to be worked on further.

Furthermore, the marketing measures show whether the campaigns and content used reach the target group and meet their needs throughout the customer jouney.

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With the help of sales prospecting, only those contacts that are promising are proceeded in the sales funnel. With each step of the sales funnel, unqualified contacts are dropped.

This selection of qualified leads at each stage of the funnel also speeds up the sales process. Available resources can be directed to a few, selected leads instead of getting lost in the shuffle with wasted leads.

Interested and engaged contacts become loyal and long-term customers. Prospecting thus helps identify customers who are also convinced by the company and the solutions in the long term.

All things considered, prospecting helps not only find more but more importantly the right customers.

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Criteria for an optimal Sales Qualified Lead for B2B companies compactly summarized in a Whitepaper.

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What is the importance of prospecting?

The goal of prospecting is to identify and contact potential customers. This is primarily done on the basis of a certain similarity or correspondence with existing customers. A high profile similarity therefore increases the probability that a contract will be concluded.

The overriding purpose of prospecting is therefore the initial contact and the introduction of new and sales-relevant potential customers. Depending on the information density and profile, the status of a prospect and the associated marketing effort can vary.

The following prospect groups can be observed accordingly:

Group 1: Hot Prospects (Sales Qualified Leads)

Prospects with an immediate need and background knowledge of the company's own solution. Here, the company can start directly with consulting by a sales representative, since there is an acute need.

Group 2: Warm Prospects (Marketing Qualified Leads)

Prospects with a future need. Here there is an opportunity to provide today's prospects with further information until they become tomorrow's hot prospects.

Group 3: Cold Prospects (Leads)

Prospects with an as yet unclear need. This group is still a long way from being contacted by sales and is just now coming to terms with their own need. A lot of clarification work is still needed here.

These three groups already show the different efforts that are necessary to sell a product or service to the contacts without much analysis.

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Marketing by effort

The more unknown the company and its product(s) are, the more the effort to market the products increases. This is due to the fact that the clientele must first be convinced before a purchase is made.

This persuasion work must be carried out as economically and cheaply as possible in the interests of the company. Because, if there is a great deal of uncertainty as to whether a customer will actually buy something, it is uneconomical to invest a lot of time and money. Therefore, it is necessary by means of targeted marketing to address the correct customer group.

This for example means that:

  • A user who already is familiar with a product does not need to be told the complete story behind the product. Here it is about convincing the user why this solution suits him better than others.

  • A user who only knows his own need but not yet the solution of the product, must be told even more about the theory and the details of the solution to attract his attention at all.

Do you want to make your prospecting more efficient?

Then contact us now for a no-obligation analysis of your prospecting process and a discussion of the resulting opportunities.

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Contemporary Digital Marketing

In today's modern age, it is especially easy and relatively inexpensive to reach many people. Because almost everyone uses electronic devices and social media on the internet.

Therefore, it is possible to track what individuals are searching for and which websites they are on with simple means. This easily enables serving personalized advertising and thus encourages contacts to make a purchase.

The above can be done on different levels:

  • Advertising, based on the words entered in the search engine

  • Definition of target groups according to age, profession, gender, but also according to user behavior

  • Regional campaigns with focus on a specific geographic area

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Who is responsible for prospecting?

In sales, prospecting customers is the most difficult task. Nearly half of all salespeople (42%) say that prospecting is the most difficult phase of the sales process.

That's why you should have a group of experts in your company who do not care about anything but prospecting. In this regard, this group represents a central key role in the form of specially trained professionals.

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Why it is becoming more and more difficult to be a salesman

With the help of the Internet and various forums, more and more potential customers are informing themselves independently. This is mainly possible since forums exist on specific areas and topics and some experts also participate in them, thus making specialist knowledge and insider information available to customers (free of charge).

Forums are not the only way to obtain information. According to a survey, 52% of B2B buyers turn to social media to make a final buying decision.

Here they not only meet subject matter experts, but also customers who have already gained experience with the products and services.

In this context, a study shows that 60% of B2B customers only want to contact a sales representative in the consideration phase and after they have already informed themselves.

Therefore, it is important for any company to acknowledge this outreach and listen to the prospects or potential customers, advise them and also successfully assist them with solutions.

In order for this to take place, it is necessary that this work is carried out consistently, with the highest quality and with precise content. This is either done by having a specific (specialist) group take on these tasks, or by the sales staff only having time for this on a daily or weekly basis, for example.

Prospecting and the Sales Funnel

The symbolic meaning of the sales funnel has already been explained. But what exactly does the sales funnel state in the field of prospecting and how is it successfully applied so that higher sales can be generated?

In general, the sales funnel can be divided into three sections:

Top of Funnel: Leads

In this top stage, specific channels are used to inform potential customers about topics related to the products and services. The first stage is reached when potential customers look at the information provided about the product or service.

Middle of Funnel: Prospects

In the second step, the leads become qualified prospects. They are interested in the product because it meets a specific need and the lead fits into the company's target audience.

Bottom of Funnel: Customers

In the last step, the prospects become customers by agreeing to a contract and developing into loyal customers over a longer period of time.

Users are lost at every stage of the sales funnel, leaving only those people who show active interest and belong to the target group.
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Methods for Prospecting

Around 50% of working time is lost in sales prospecting for new customers. It is therefore important that this phase is carried out as efficiently as possible. To ensure that the first and second steps in the sales funnel are also carried out as efficiently as possible and with the greatest possible proximity to the customer, two possible methods are outlined below.

These two methods can be used variably depending on the size of the company and the products or services offered and can also be combined with each other.

Active Prospecting

This is where you as a company actively approach leads. That is, the people who are in the first stage of the sales funnel and approach them. You do this by calling them or actively writing to them.

Active prospecting is therefore about directly building personal relationships the correct prospect from A to Z.

Passive Prospecting

The passive approach is that you take action on the internet, for example. Here you can create a company blog and show presence in the social media and offer (partly) free information.

Another way to take passive action is to use paid advertising strategy pay-per-click (PPC). This involves setting a budget and possibly a target audience consisting of some criteria. The aim is to bring out the website of the advertising company and thus increase contact with the company or even sales.

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The role of data in prospecting

Data is literally the be-all and end-all of successful prospecting. Advertising, analytics and usage data are valuable sources of information for targeting potential customers.

For prospecting to work successfully, very little data is required.

In the first step, it is often sufficient to know who visits which pages and what content is searched for on the web. But geodata to place local offers can also be important.

In addition to this automated data, at least the name and email address are required. Because this allows personalized content to be created and sent, it also increases the likelihood of a purchase.

Automated Prospecting

In order for B2B prospecting to be as successful and efficient as possible, certain parts of prospecting can be automated. Particularly time-consuming and cost-intensive work can be automated this way.

Keep directing the attention of prospects, leads, and customers to your headquarters: your website. Optimize your website by creating content that is SEO-friendly and thus easier to be found by search engines. With appropriate tools you can evaluate your visitors. With cookies, you can collect further data and also place targeted advertising.

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