Prospecting is a staple of B2B. The numbers vary by industry, but B2B companies lose between 5% and 15% of their customers each year. Prospecting is therefore an activity that cannot be done without B2B (or B2C for that matter).
Prospecting in B2B
It is a sort of permanent filling of a pierced bucket.
We can then act either on the tap (recruiting new customers) or on the hole (reducing its attrition rate/churn).
We will see in this definition how to act on the tap.
The Limitations of Theoretical Approaches
Before any prospecting, it is necessary to ask yourself a certain number of preliminary questions:
- What means do you have to carry out this prospection (human and financial means)?
- What are your goals and tracking indicators?
- are your targets clearly identified?
- which direct and indirect methods will you apply?
- what are the technologies, and what is the software that will accompany your approach?
If all these questions are not clear to you, it is better to take the time to answer them calmly, and not rush your actions, at the risk of deteriorating your brand image because of unpreparedness.
Trends and Innovations in B2B Prospecting
The social selling, coined by Koka Sexton, involves using social networks not as a purely commercial platform but as a value-added platform.
The objective of social selling is to build long-term relationships with potential customers by interacting with them.
There are several methods of social selling:
- The first is to use social networks in the traditional way by contacting target companies via a traditional connection request. This method has a very high risk of rejection because the prospects do not know you.
- The second method is to use social networks as a sounding board for your own expertise. This amounts to making sure that you are identified as a key person on a given topic.
- Finally, the third method is to reason a “solution” to meet the real needs expressed by companies in his network. The “solution” approach is very effective because it responds to a real “pain point” (difficulty) encountered by the company with which the salesperson is exchanging (organize a B2B event, set up a CRM, write blog articles…).
Tools and Methods in B2B Prospecting
One of the prerequisites for successful prospecting is to create a database of customers and prospects, to keep it up to date and to use it.
To do this, it is advisable to integrate all of the company’s contacts into a centralized database: contacts from the website, trade shows, social networks, blogs (comments, etc.), but also all of the various files that may exist on each person’s hard drive (provided, of course, that these are contacts that are part of the target).
This database must then be enriched by indicating any goods or equipment owned (industry sector) or services already consumed by competitors.
Then you have to evaluate the probability of purchase in the short, medium or long term. It is obvious that marketing automation tools can be of great help in this phase. They allow, depending on the actions performed by the prospects on the company’s website, to qualify them as cold or hot prospects… (read our definition of marketing automation).
The use of personas within this database can also be an advantage. Be aware that your current customers will also be present in the centralized database you will build. However, they must be clearly separated from the prospects, or else disasters will occur.
This database must be regularly updated. To do so, you can proceed by phoning (monthly rotating calls on a part of the database), via a contest. For example, indicate the name of a key person in the company, via a newsletter including a questionnaire on a precise theme, or a satisfaction questionnaire.
Before any appointment or phone call, a preparation phase, more or less long, is necessary. It allows you to have in mind any quotations already sent but not signed. To read the written reports following previous visits or calls, to know the turnover achieved (if the canvassed company is already a customer), etc.