New Year, New Clients

Using Technology for Sales Prospecting

December 2015

Sales prospecting is hardly a new discipline, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t modern tools you can use. As technology has evolved, presenting new ways to find and connect with potential customers, it has also expanded the options available to small business owners looking to promote their offerings.

While some of the technology might be new, the fundamentals are the same as they have always been: building your list of prospects means gathering information on groups and individuals most likely to express interest in your offerings.
 

Take your social media prospecting to the next level.

Use Twitter’s or LinkedIn’s search function to find out which people or discussion groups are chatting about topics relevant to your business. For example, if you specialize in Southern California real estate, look at who is discussing properties in that region. To maximize those searches, services like HubSpot’s Social Inbox can allow you to build these contacts into a larger database and track your responses and engagement over time.

While LinkedIn is the biggest network in terms of members, don’t overlook the many other networking communities targeting particular sectors that can be found online, such as PartnerUp or Small Business Bonfire (aimed at small businesses); or SMARTY for women professionals. For all of these networks, you will want to follow the community’s etiquette rules and build connections with members first before approaching anyone with a sales pitch.
 

Leverage your website to do more than act as a digital brochure.

To make the most impact, you must be sure that your company website is optimized to attract and capture visitor information. That means including a simple newsletter sign-up form on your homepage or as a pop-up when visitors land on your site.

Services such as Constant Contact or MailChimp work well for building an email marketing list and creating templates that will keep these visitors engaged and convert them to actual buyers.

While many of these strategies involve you pursuing the prospect, don’t neglect to create content that is likely to bring the prospect to you. Create a roundup of tips related to issues your products or services are aimed at solving, or an article outlining longer-term strategies that address common customer pain points. These can be posted to your blog and social media accounts, or through an industry website or publication.

You might also consider asking visitors where they heard about your site, to help you better target prospects in the future.
 

If at first you don’t convert, try, try again.

When a visitor leaves your site, you can continue to engage with them as they click through other sites. Retargeting works by keeping track of people who visit your site and displaying your retargeting ads to them as they visit other sites online. ComScore has found that these retargeting ads are twice as effective as other tactics aimed at getting users to search for specific brand names.

Retargeting services such as AdRoll or ConversionXL display ads from your company to those who have already visited your website. Services such as ReTargeter offer dynamic retargeting services that will display ads featuring products abandoned in e-commerce shopping carts as those prospects visit other websites.
 

Lead management and CRM software take your efforts further.

A program like SalesforceIQ uses algorithms that allow you to automatically capture data from emails and invites, and then use it to follow up in your prospecting. Pipedrive helps you to “visualize one’s sales pipeline” to ensure you are staying on top of contacts and keeping in touch with leads, and there is no shortage of other options available. While these tools can be valuable aids to prospecting, they can be pricey (SalesforceIQ will cost about $50 per month per user, while Pipedrive will cost you $12 per month per user).

Finding new customers requires a new approach. By experimenting with new technology or leveraging your existing resources in new ways, you can tap prospects you’ve never been able to reach before.

 

 

 

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