B2B Sales Prospecting: Proven Techniques, Strategies, and Tools

B2B Sales Prospecting: Proven Techniques, Strategies, and Tools

Sales prospecting can seem intimidating at first. Where do you start? How do you maximize your results and make the most out of the time you spend prospecting?

In this guide, we’ll give you a step-by-step process for successful prospecting and share tools that will help save you time while you prospect for sales.

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What is sales prospecting?

Sales prospecting is the process of identifying and contacting potential customers for a business.

It’s most often done by sales representatives and business development representatives.

How to get started with sales prospecting

In this section, we’re going to go over the steps you need to take to get started with sales prospecting. We’ll show you how to define your Ideal Customer Profile, build a target list, research your prospects, craft an effective sales pitch, and reach out to prospects.

Define your ideal customer profile (ICP)

The first step to getting started with sales prospecting is to define your ideal customer profile (ICP).

An ICP is the perfect customer for the solution your business offers. They’re the type of customer that would benefit the most from your solution and would be the most likely to buy and keep using your product or service.

Take these factors into consideration when determining your ICP:

  • Industry – What industry is your ideal customer in? Are there any industries that should be avoided while prospecting?
  • Company size – How many employees, on average, does your ICP have? This can be a range, like 50-100 employees.
  • Annual revenue – What kind of revenue does your ideal customer generate annually? Is there an annual revenue number under which a company would be a bad fit for your solution?
  • Location – Where is your ideal customer located or headquartered? Are there any regions where you can’t sell your solution?
  • Pain points – What pain points and challenges does your ideal customer deal with?

Use the factors listed above to create a description of your ideal customer. Feel free to add other factors or criteria that might be relevant for your business, as well.

Build a target list

Once you’ve identified your ICP, the next step is to build a target list of prospects that fit your ideal customer profile.

Here are two ways you can find prospects for your target list:

Using LinkedIn

You can use LinkedIn’s Advanced Search feature to find potential buyers that fit your ICP.

Start by typing in a title you think your prospect would have at their company (e.g., Marketing Manager). On the results page, click on the All filters button.

LinkedIn search

Here, you’ll be able to filter potential prospects based on criteria such as location, industry, and language.

LinkedIn Advanced Search filter selection

If you sign up for LinkedIn Sales Navigator, you’ll gain access to even more advanced filters, such as company size, company type, group membership, and more.

Once you identify a suitable prospect using LinkedIn search, you can get their email address using Hunter’s Email Finder. Simply go to the Email Finder page, type in the person’s name and website, and you’ll get their email address in seconds.

Using TechLookup

If you know that your ideal customer uses a particular technology on their website, you can use TechLookup to get a list of all the websites that use that technology.

For example, if your ideal customer is an ecommerce business, you can use TechLookup to find all the websites that use Shopify, a popular ecommerce platform.

Here’s how to do it: go to the TechLookup page, find a technology that’s characteristic of your ideal customer’s website, and then click on Create my list.

On the next page, you can choose to have the list filtered by industry, language, and website popularity, as well as choose how big of a list you’d like to get.

TechLookup filters

Once you’ve made your selection, click on Validate the selection. In a few seconds, you’ll get a .CSV file containing your list.

You can then find the email addresses associated with the domains on your list using Domain Search.

Research prospects

To be able to craft an effective sales pitch, you need to learn as much as you can about your prospects.

Find out more about their unique pain points and challenges, learn what their day-to-day looks like, and try to figure out the best way to get their attention.

Here are a few places you can check:

  • Website – Start by checking the prospect’s company website. Learn what kind of customers they serve and which products or services they offer. If the prospect has a personal website, it’s a good idea to review it as well.
  • LinkedIn – Review both the prospect’s company page and personal profile on LinkedIn. Look through their posts to learn more about what’s been on their mind lately.
  • Crunchbase – You can also check out the company’s Crunchbase profile to learn more about its leadership, size, and current tech stack.

Craft a sales pitch

Once you’ve researched your prospects, you can move on to crafting your sales pitch.

Most good sales pitches share a few traits. A good sales pitch is:

  • Short – Try to keep your sales pitch short to avoid losing the prospect’s attention. You only need to include three parts in your sales pitch: the hook, the context, and the call-to-action. We’ll discuss these three in more detail below.
  • Data-driven – Most prospects will be more likely to entertain your pitch if you have data that backs up your claims. This can include case studies, results generated for past customers, and so on.
  • Urgent – Your pitch should make it clear why solving the prospect’s pain point using your solution is urgent (e.g., not fixing a usability issue on their website is causing them to leak revenue every day).

Your sales pitch should include the following elements:

  • The hook – Start with an opening line that grabs your prospect’s attention and makes them want to read your entire pitch.
  • Context – Explain who you are, what types of customers you work with, and how your solution can help the prospect. Make sure to use simple and clear language, and focus on the benefits of using your solution.
  • The call-to-action – End your pitch with a call to action: explain the next step they need to take to move things forward (e.g., book a call or a demo, sign up for an account through your website,  or do something else).

Reach out to prospects

With your sales pitch ready, you can move on to contacting prospects. Here are two ways you can get in touch with a prospect:

Email

For most people, the number one way to get in touch with a prospect when doing outbound prospecting will be via email. Everyone checks their email inbox multiple times a day, so you’ll get several chances of getting your email seen.

Reaching out through email has other benefits, as well. For example, you can use a tool like Hunter Campaigns to set up automated cold email sequences and reach out to dozens or hundreds of prospects every day.

LinkedIn

You can also contact prospects by messaging them on LinkedIn. This can be a great alternative to email outreach because most people get fewer messages on LinkedIn than they get in their email inbox.

Or you could take things a step further and use both email and LinkedIn outreach — first reaching out through email and then following up on LinkedIn if you don’t get a response after a few days.

Remember to follow up

Most deals aren’t made the first time you reach out to a prospect. So, you need to be prepared to follow up multiple times.

When following up, it’s important to recap your previous message because there’s always a chance that the prospect never read it.

You also need to make sure to add more value for the prospect with each email (e.g., by including more details about your offer or sending links to resources the prospect might appreciate). Avoid following up just for the sake of following up.

Finally, make sure to provide the prospect with another chance to take you up on your offer by including a call-to-action.

Sales prospecting tips and best practices

Before we wrap up, let’s look at a few final tips for effective sales prospecting.

Establish a daily sales prospecting routine

If you want to make sales consistently, you need to have a regular prospecting routine.

What kind of routine you’ll follow depends on your specific process and needs. The most important thing is that you set aside some time for prospecting every day.

For example, you might decide to prospect for 2 hours every day. Or, you might set a goal of contacting 100 prospects each day.

Once you do your daily prospecting routine for a month, you’ll be able to see how many opportunities and sales it can lead to.

Then, you can look into scaling your prospecting efforts by spending more time on prospecting, automating certain tasks to save time, or building a full-fledged sales team.

Don’t shy away from video

Using videos in your sales prospecting process can help you get your prospects’ attention more easily. According to Vidyard’s The State of Virtual Selling Report, video has proven to help sales teams:

  • Experience increased response rates
  • Close more deals
  • Shorten the sales cycle

Experiment with using videos in your sales process by creating short, personalized videos for your prospects explaining your offer or inviting them for a brief chat. You can use sales prospecting tools like Vidyard and BombBomb to create and share sales videos quickly and easily.

Save time and maximize results by automating sales prospecting

If you want to make your sales prospecting process as effective as possible, you should look for ways to reduce the amount of time you spend on repetitive tasks.

This can be done through sales prospecting automation. Here are a few things you can do to automate parts of your prospecting process:

Find prospects’ email addresses in bulk with Email Finder

You can use Hunter’s Email Finder to find email addresses for a list of prospects. Here’s how:

Go to the Bulk Email Finder page and click on New bulk. Enter a name for your list and then upload a list of prospects. Your list should contain a column with prospects’ first or last names, and another column with their company names or websites.

New Bulk Email Finder search

On the next page, match the columns with the appropriate fields.

Matching columns in Bulk Email Finder

Click on Validate.

The software will then process your list. In a few seconds, you’ll get a list of all the email addresses Email Finder found for your list.

From there, you can either download the list or import the leads into Hunter.

Verify and clean your email list with Email Verifier

Once you have a list of prospects’ email addresses, it’s crucial that you clean it first to avoid deliverability issues. You can use Hunter’s Bulk Email Verifier to do this quickly:

Go to the Bulk Email Verifier page and click on New bulk.

On the next page, add a name for your list, and then paste the email addresses you want to verify or upload the list as a .CSV or .TXT file.

Bulk Email Verifier

Finally, click on Upload and then on Launch the verification. In a few seconds, you’ll get the results, which you’ll be able to download in .CSV format.

Bulk Email Verifier results

Set up and run automated cold email campaigns with Hunter Campaigns

Hunter Campaigns allows you to automate quite a few aspects of cold outreach, including sending the initial emails and follow-ups, as well as personalizing every email you send.

Here’s how to set up your first campaign in Hunter Campaigns:

Log in to your Hunter account and go to the Campaigns section. Click the +New campaign button.

Creating a new campaign in Hunter Campaigns

Enter a subject line for your email, and then add the copy for the email body.

Adding a new email to a Campaigns sequence

If you’d like to personalize the email with custom attributes, click the {}Insert attribute button. You’ll be able to choose from a list of built-in attributes:

Personalizing emails with built-in attributes in Campaigns

You can set up additional custom attributes by going to Leads > Custom attributes.

If you’d like to add a follow-up email to your cold email sequence, you can do so by clicking the +Add a follow-up button. You can choose the delay after which the follow-up will be sent, as well as add a new subject line or keep the follow-up in the same thread as the original email.

Adding a follow-up email in Hunter Campaigns

Once you’ve added all the emails you’d like your cold email sequence to include, click the Next button.

Then, click on +Add recipients to add recipients for your campaign. You’ll be able to choose from leads you’ve already saved in Hunter, upload a list of leads in .CSV format, or paste a list of email addresses manually.

Adding recipients to a campaign in Hunter Campaigns

Once you’ve added recipients for your campaign, click the Next button.

Review your campaign one last time. If everything looks good, click the Launch button to start the campaign.

Crush your sales prospecting goals

Sales prospecting doesn’t have to be hard. All you need is a good routine and the right tools to help you. Use the tips and tools outlined in this post to save time while prospecting and ensure your sales pipeline stays full at all times.

While you’re here, you can also check out these guides:

Boris Mustapic
Boris Mustapic

Content Manager at Hunter. Passionate about books, marketing, and technology.