Being able to find new potential customers is not only important, it’s essential to keep your sales pipeline running and growing. Finding prospects is the base of your sales cycle and, as the foundation of the process, it must have your full dedication – without prospects, there’s no one to nurture into leads and, without any leads entering your sales pipeline, there’s no way sales will come out of it.
Prospecting new customers effectively is often referred to as a talent, but it’s actually more of a set os skills, and skills can be learned. The first thing you need to learn is: what effectively is a prospect?
What is a Prospect
A prospect is anyone – that being a person, a company or a department within a company – that has potential interest in what you’re selling. Therefore, you can define prospect as someone that has a problem, need or desire you can help solving/fulfilling.
Prospecting new customers 101:
The concept of prospecting new customers is as broad as your potential customer base is. Considering your prospects as people, you can say they can be found pretty much everywhere – online (social media, for example), offline (attending specific events) or they may even contact you first (visiting your website and filling in a contact form, calling your sales department, etc.).
Following, we’ll talk about a few proven successful ways of prospecting new customers for your sales pipeline:
1. Influencers and Social Media:
Nowadays, you’re less and less likely to find people that don’t use any type of social media, either personal or professionally. Being online and connected, therefore, is one of the greatest ways to network and prospect for new customers.
Besides giving you the ability of connecting with your existing customers, social networking platforms are a great place to grow your “prospective customers” list. It’s a great way to create and nurture relationships through the sharing of relevant content, engaging in conversations and generally interacting.
It’s also very important to use your social media to connect and communicate with influencers – they’re the ones whose opinion your targeted customers will look for when deciding to buy – or not to buy – your product/service: they’re real people, real customers, therefore, their opinion is easier to relate to than the one in an advertising.
Interact with them by sharing their content and they’ll share yours in return – by doing that, they’ll be supporting and recommending your brand to their entire follower/fan base. Having the approval from an influencer in your business will give your potential customers a lot more confidence in the decision process.
2. Relevant Content:
To have influencers and potential customers reading and sharing your content, you need to actually produce relevant pieces of information for them to pass along. Producing relevant content is one of the easiest – and most effective – ways of prospecting new customers.
Content production works as a cycle: by giving people the information they’re looking for (instead of using your corporate blog to read endless pieces of content about your product/service), they’ll subscribe to get your updates, share your content and end up helping you build your audience.
The audience you build through the production and sharing of content will consist of prospective future clients that can eventually be nurtured into loyal clients.
Looking into the loyalty ladder, the “supporter” and “advocate” levels are the ones you’re aiming for: they’ll be the ones sharing your content, giving their expert “seal of approval” to all your potential customers out there looking for information before purchasing.
3. Give your Website the attention it deserves:
Looking at the possible alternative points for the first contact between a prospect and your business, the chances of it being your website are pretty high. This is a strong enough reason for you to dedicate yourself when developing your entire website (not just the home page) can live up to the task of being “the face” of your business.
Focus on making it user friendly, with information easily displayed and optimised navigation. Along with producing and posting relevant content, drop in a few success stories and case studies of your own, make the positive feedback work for you – as well as learning from any negative comments, after all, it’s all constructive criticism.
Your case studies – just as the influencers – give people confidence and attract them to check your social media, visit your website and maybe sign up for a trial (if you offer it), becoming leads to your sales pipeline.
Make yourself easy to find by using SEO: keywords and search engine indexing are essentials if you want people to find you. Also, don’t forget to leave a sign-up form always at hand so that customers can decide anytime in their navigation to sign up or subscribe to receive your updates.
4. E-mail communication:
Just as I said about social media, nowadays everyone communicates digitally – and by that I mean mostly e-mails when it comes to business relationships. Don’t let yourself get behind on that, use e-mails to communicate and follow up on leads – search the help of automated comms to keep in touch with your prospects and turn them into leads (Pipefy offers you a way to do so by using e-mail templates, check out how here).
Use e-mails to expand your audience and get your message through – produce targeted content and distribute it via e-mail to help navigate your leads through your sales funnel.
There’s life offline after all, so get yourself out there and mingle! As said before, everyone seems to be online today, but the good old networking still plays its part when prospecting new customers.
Engaging to people face-to-face, giving them relevant (but not overly detailed, people get bored when you do so) about your business and ask them to do the same about them – knowing your customer is very, very important. Exchange contacts, add them to your prospect database and keep in touch (using e-mail communication to nurture them into leads).
6. Focus on long-term and create brand ambassadors:
As we commented before about influencers and the loyalty ladder, having your customers actively enforce and recommend your product is as high as you’ll get. It’s common knowledge than the cost of retaining an existing customer is a lot lower than acquiring new ones – loyal customers also tend to buy and, consequently, spend more than new ones.
Treat your existing clients well and respectfully, give them something good to talk about and they’ll recommend you in return – hearing good things about your business from actual clients is, without any doubt, one of the most powerful tools you’ll be able to employ when prospecting new customers.
Now you already know where to look for prospects, don’t lose any more time. Get down to business and find yourself some new potential customers: they’re out there, all you need to do is look for them in the right places!
Looking for a tool to manage your Sales Pipeline? Try Pipefy!
Pipefy’s Sales Pipeline Template is an easy to work with, step-by-step workflow developed to enhance your team’s focus and productivity.
This template will guide your team through all the steps of the sale, from prospecting, to properly qualifying leads to close the deal, helping them keep track of the opportunities and always staying on top of their game.