By: Mary Flaherty and Mike Schultz
If there's a black box in the world of sales, it's prospecting. What to do, how to do it, and what it means to be good at it. And with all the conflicting advice out there, it's especially difficult to figure out where to start and how to get better.
- Always use the phone or never cold call?
- Make dials and make hay or seduce buyers over time with a multi-touch campaign?
- Use prospecting automation technologies for phone, email, and social media or don't bother?
- Customize for each prospect or mass message?
- Introduce ideas and educate buyers or give product demos and company overviews?
- In-person meetings, phone or web with PowerPoint, or video?
- Voicemails or not?
- Social media, premium subscriptions, list building tools, outsourcing…?
It's enough to make anyone's head spin.
Thus, we at the RAIN Group Center for Sales Research are embarking on a major research effort to find out what's working and what's not. To sort out the good advice from the bad. To test assumptions. To find out what's really happening right now with both successful and not so successful prospecting.
In this RAIN Group Center for Sales Research survey we set out to answer these questions and more—but we need your help.
The survey will take about 20 minutes to complete. And as a thank you for participating, you'll receive a free research summary.
Please be assured that your identity and your answers will remain confidential; data will be aggregated for analysis.
Our plan is to look at prospecting from a number of different lenses, including:
- What do buyers think of the prospectors that sell to them? What do buyers like and dislike? What makes them take a meeting with some and not others?
- What do prospectors themselves, sellers who prospect and who don't, and management think? What do they do? What do they observe?
- What works for reaching buyers at different levels, from the perspectives of both buyers and sellers?
- Is there a difference prospecting from well-known vs. "best kept secret" companies? From small companies vs. big companies? To small companies or to big companies? Selling smaller ticket vs. big ticket items? In North America, vs. Europe vs. Asia and the rest of the world?
- What's working and what's not with the phone, email, LinkedIn, texting, and other outreach methods?
- What's working to penetrate and sell more to existing accounts vs. break into new accounts?
- How much do the seller skill and mindset matter when it comes to prospecting success and failure?
We are also going to take a close look at the use of insights and buyer education, including whether and how these concepts fit into prospecting.
Our only goal is to find out what's working and what's not these days. We don't have a pre-conceived notion of what the right answer should be. We only want to know the answer so, from there, we can provide proper guidance to our clients and further the discussion in the sales community.
In addition to taking the survey, please let us know what you would like to find out about prospecting by commenting below.