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B2B Prospecting

What is B2B prospecting?

Business to business (B2B) prospecting is a fundamental activity for B2B SaaS sales teams. It starts with the collection of B2B data, which is then used to initiate targeted sales outreach via cold calling, outbound email and social selling.

The goal of B2B prospecting is to nurture prospect relationships over an extended period of time, ultimately converting them into loyal customers.

Who are B2B prospects?

Anyone who fits your ideal customer profile can be a B2B prospect for your business. They can fall into two groups - those who haven't yet expressed an interest in your product or service, and those who have engaged with your brand but haven't yet converted into a sale.

These potential customers can be found via a number of sales and marketing activities. These activities include: outbound sales, email or direct marketing, customer referrals, internet searches and events your company holds. For B2B prospecting to be successful, it’s important to ensure your overall B2B sales and marketing strategy is exceptional.

Who conducts B2B prospecting?

When you're working on gaining leads for your business, the first step in your sales strategy is to identify your potential clients or prospects. The second step is to outreach to your prospects and bring them into your sales pipeline.

This process is coordinated between two teams - Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) and Business Development Managers (BDMs). 

SDRs manage your entire outbound sales process from cold calling and outbound email to social selling, while BDMs negotiate deals and secure the sale.

What are the five main types of B2B prospecting?

When searching for your ideal customers, there are several B2B prospecting methods you can try. These include:

  • B2B lead generation - B2B content marketing is used to attract and convert customers into leads. Leads are not to be confused with prospects, as leads are potential customers who have expressed interest in your product or service. Each piece of content is carefully crafted to engage with customers throughout the buying process. This can be achieved through social media, blogs, search engine advertising, videos and more.
  • Cold calling - The SDR will define a targeted contact list, research when the best time to cold call is, and pitch a product or service to prospective clients over the phone. The intention is to arrange a meeting with the prospect.
  • Outbound email - The SDR will send out compelling and personalised emails to prospects who may not know about your company. This B2B prospecting strategy is a nice way to introduce your business and gauge interest. 
  • Social selling - Here, the SDR will amplify brand awareness and identify new prospects by engaging with users on a social network. In B2B scenarios, the main one is LinkedIn.
  • Sales cadences - Email sequences, cold calling and social selling can all be combined to create a sales cadence. 

The goal of these five techniques is to persuade the prospect to agree to a demo or a meeting with the Business Development Manager (BDM) or Account Executive (AE). If the meeting or demo goes well, then the BDM will close the sale, converting your prospect into a customer.

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What are the five stages of the B2B prospecting process?

You've created your ideal customer profile and great content; now how do you ensure you receive the best leads? Easy, by following these five B2B sales funnel stages:

1 - Research your prospects

First and foremost, you need to determine the quality of your lead. By researching your prospect, you can gauge whether they are worth pursuing. Create a list of qualifying questions to check against your prospect, including things like - are they in an area you can offer business to and are they in an industry that you're comfortable catering to?

2 - Identify the decision-maker

Once you know a lead is worth pursuing, you'll want to identify who the main decision-maker is. For B2B prospecting to be managed correctly, it’s essential to know that you’re targeting the correct person or people. In B2B, there may be several decision-makers forming a company buying committee. 

3 - Outreach to your prospects

Time to make contact! Implement the B2B sales prospecting cadence you've been working on and start the conversation with the decision-maker. Be sure to follow up each day and be persistent - a good sale was never made by anyone who didn't put in the effort.

4 - Conduct a product demo

When your prospect expresses interest, give them a call and schedule a demo. This is a one-to-one meeting where you can show them exactly how your product or service will benefit and add value to their business. Once they see it in action, you’ll be one step closer to sealing that deal!

5 - Resolve objections and close the sale

After establishing a relationship with your prospect and demonstrating your product, you'll need to qualify the sale. The prospect might raise objections for you to resolve. Objections are a signal that the prospect is taking your product seriously and wants to learn more.

To close the sale you need to address and overcome your prospect's objections. Show up prepared by memorising great comebacks for a list of the most common objections and you're sure to close the sale.

Why is data beneficial to effective B2B prospecting?

For your sales team to target the correct client and gain quality leads that will work for your business, they'll need accurate, up-to-date data. If the data your SDRs are using is inaccurate or incomplete, it makes cold calling and outbound emailing much harder.

Low-quality data leads to low-quality prospecting. SDRs will be calling the wrong people at the wrong time. They will be connecting with decision-makers who have already left the company or changed jobs. Without good quality prospect data, sales teams will be wasting precious time and resources.

In fact, the number one problem many B2B companies face is data. SaaS sales teams spend approximately 60% of their time generating leads that result in conversion rates of less than 1%. What’s more, this incorrect or out-of-date information leads to businesses targeting prospects when they are not ready to buy.

Can technology assist with B2B prospecting?

Technology plays a huge factor in B2B sales prospecting, with many tools assisting in making the process easier and faster. Cognism, Mailtastic and LinkedIn Sales Navigator are all technology-based B2B prospecting tools that can help you with predictable prospecting.

From scheduled outbound prospecting to automated lead scoring, B2B sales technology like the above streamlines the process, saving time and focusing your team’s energy on other, more vital aspects of your business.

The world's best B2B prospecting solution

When it comes to a prospecting tool that has it all, there’s only one name to turn to and that’s Cognism! Globally compliant and trusted by 500+ B2B organisations worldwide, our sales solution helps businesses generate new revenue using innovative AI technology.

With Cognism, your B2B sales team can gain access to a global database of 400 million business profiles and 10 million companies - all of which is frequently updated for astounding accuracy. 

What’s more, you can create buyer personas of your target customers and deploy smart sales triggers to pinpoint the best times to connect. All of these tools assist in engaging with prospects when they’re most likely to buy.

Register for a demo with Cognism and never miss a revenue opportunity again!

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