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June 6, 2024
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Client prospecting 101: tips and best practices in B2B for 2024

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The way a sale is qualified has changed a lot thanks to technology and a change in consumer behavior. Customer prospecting in 2024 has become more data-driven than ever, with an emphasis on nurturing business relationships and use of social selling strategies to create a more organic sales prospecting process. Client prospecting, also known as sales prospecting, is changing thanks to a shift in consumer behavior in B2B forcing sales representatives to look to digital marketing channels as part of their sales strategy. And moving them away from the traditional sales strategy in order to embrace social sales. In this blog post, we unpack what a client prospecting looks like in 2024, how a change in consumer behavior has influenced this and tips and tricks to keep your sales strategy and tech stack up to date.

What is client prospecting?

Client prospecting, also known as sales prospecting, is the process of identifying and engaging with potential customers.

The traditional sales prospecting strategy was more focused on:

  • Networking events
  • Word of mouth (referrals)
  • Cold calling and emailing
  • Articles in publications
  • Advertising in print media
  • Sales letters
  • Door-to-door sales

Whereas a more modern day sales prospecting strategy involves:

  • Social selling
  • Personal branding
  • Content markeitng
  • Social and search engine optimization advertising  
  • Email marketing

We've rounded up some important social selling statistics here you need to know if you're getting into it for the first time.

What's changed in 2024?

While the traditional method often created a sense of division between sales and marketing, a modern, successful client prospecting strategy now requires close collaboration between sales and marketing teams to be able to capture inbound prospecting and outbound sales prospecting.

1. Consumer behavior

Sales prospecting has changed because of the change in consumer behavior. More information is readily available through the internet, making it less desirable to talk to sales reps as part of the transaction. There are also:

  • More stakeholders and decision makers
  • Less buget
  • More reviews

77% of B2B buyers reported that their latest purchase was very complex or difficult. There's also a need for access to more information to help them simplify the purchase process. Customers are 3x more likely to buy a bigger deal with less regret when suppliers provide information perceived as helpful in advancing the purchase process. In other words – buyer enablement.

2. Social sales strategies

The change in consumer behavior has led a lot of B2B sales teams to move away from the traditional sales method, to a more modern approach involving social sales strategies. Making 2024 the year of embracing the change in consumer behaviour. Particularly through personal branding and personalization. Founders are embracing an authentic tone of voice in their social selling campaigns sharing insights into behind the scenes through campaigns such as building in public, and a lot of B2B marketers and B2B sales teams are experimenting with video content to adapt to the modern sales process. Sales professionals including sales representatives and account executive are also more likely to have a personal brand to increase lead generation in order to reach more of their target market, and build authority and trust by sharing valuable content that addresses their pain point.

Sales prospecting methods

The best sales prospecting methods involves a few stages. All designed to help a sales professionals identify and qualify leads.

  1. Creating buyer personas (ideal customer profile): With a lot of potential buyers and not a lot of time to qualify them, understanding what your ideal customers look like is key to prioritizing the right sales prospects. To create buyer personas, understand where your ideal demographic, size of the company, and typical key decision makers involved in their buying process. Use LinkedIn or LinkedIn sales navigator to do some research.
  2. Choose an outreach method: This involves choosing what channel you want to connect with them through. This might be cold email, cold calls, or social media such as LinkedIn. To determine what the right channel for you is, you'll have to consider your industry, ideal customer and product.
  3. Generate a list of leads based on your target audience and reach out to them.
  4. Qualify your leads as prospects.

Best practices for customer prospecting in 2024

Below are some of the best practices for client acquisition in 2024. A common theme you'll find amongst these are the need for marketing and sales team to collaborate closely, an emphasis on nurturing business relationships and personalization.

1. Use a CRM

It's time to move away from manually inputting data into spreadsheets if you haven't already. A CRM that can support both sales and marketing teams is an efficient solution that can help you nurture your customer relationships, map out your sales cycle and create contact lists of potential clients. Look out for features such as contact management and pipeline management, these are sales prospecting tools that can help you segment your contacts so you can differentiate between new clients and a potential customer so you don't mix them up.

folk happens to be a CRM that has all those features and more

2. Experiment with your social sales approach

LinkedIn remains a popular platform for B2B prospecting and has proved to be an effective client prospecting tool, but it still lacks a customer relationship management platform. If you're building a personal brand through a social sales method and getting a lot of engagement through your posts, you can use folk's new Chrome extension. It's a LInkedIn comments exporter that captures the contact information of everyone who engaged with your post, alongside their reaction type and comment so you can create a contact list.

Gary Vaynerchuk's content has increased his brand awareness and helped generate leads

3. Embrace account based marketing (ABM)

These high ticket sales trends prove that ABM is an effective strategy in B2B sales. It requires you to focus resources on a set of target accounts that have high conversion potential. Personalize your approach for each high ticket account based on specific needs and pain points to increase engagement. And make sure your messaging is consistent across every touch point to create consistency.

4. Create a collaborative relationship between sales and marketing

To generate qualified leads sales and marketing teams need to work closely together in order to ensure that everyone knows how to spot the ideal customer profile, who to prioritize in the sales pipeline and stay up to date with market research. This is also helpful for marketing to produce relevant sales enablement content that can help sales reps navigate their conversations.

5. Personalize every touch point

Personalization plays a huge role in email marketing strategies and sales communications in 2024 and will enhance your outreach strategy. But personalization doesn't end with {First Name}. Prospective clients are far more likely to respond to cold emailing that revolves around context based business development. With 69% of emails likely to go into the spam folder based on subject line alone – there's a huge shift in the need to be feel personable. Use tools that allow for personalization of outreach on a large scale. This might include personalized emails, customized content, and targeted messaging that resonates with specific audiences.

6. Focus on building relationships

Prospecting is not just about closing a single sale but about nurturing a long-term relationship. Especially for high ticket items. Focus on understanding the needs and business cycles of your prospects to provide timely solutions. Develop a follow-up strategy to stay in touch with leads at different stages of the sales funnel and use a CRM to understand who to prioritize for more effective prospecting. Regular check-ins, whether through emails, newsletters, or calls, keep your brand top of mind.

7. Leverage data-driven insights

Data-driven decision-making continues to dominate B2B sales, where the ability to gather, analyze, and act on data can set a company apart from its competition. You can use segmentation to categorize prospects based on various criteria such as industry, company size, and purchase history. This enables more tailored and relevant communications. You can also use behavioral analytics such as SparkToro to understand your prospects better.

Conclusion

Sales prospecting in 2024 is set to be more integrated and personalized than ever before. By leveraging technology, aligning sales and marketing efforts, and focusing on relationship-building, you'll be on your way to successful client prospecting in no time. One thing is clear: the need to leverage technology that can allow your teams to collaborate. folk happens to be able to support sales, marketing, recruitment, fundraising and more. Try folk today, free.

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