Prospecting is the first step to a successful sales funnel. But reaching out to the right lead, with the right messaging, at exactly the right time can feel like wandering through a labyrinth. There are dozens of strategies to consider and endless hours of testing and optimization to get it right.
At Sapper, we’re experts at filling our client’s pipelines with qualified leads. In fact, we’ve had success in over 90 different industries. While we’ve taken years to fine-tune our approach, if you’re just getting started with your own lead gen engine or you’re having trouble finding the gaps in your campaign, below are ten common pitfalls that may be impacting your results.
1. Your content is irrelevant.
Relevance requires a thorough understanding of your audience’s experience. Your buyer personas and ideal customer profiles act as the north star for your content to effectively resonate.
Writing a simple “I think you’d benefit from my service” isn’t how you provide relevance. If your content fails to establish urgency, address the struggles of your buyer, or highlight the value of your offering, your emails and advertisements will not be effective. In every prospecting communication, establish why you’re reaching out and specifically how you can benefit your buyers.
2. You aren’t consistent.
You know that weekly newsletter that goes out every other month? It’s probably not making much of an impact.
Across the board, your efforts need to be consistent. Without consistent strategies, you’ll not only fail to establish brand recognition, you also won’t be able to properly test and iterate your prospecting campaigns. Create an initial strategy that outlines the frequency and schedule of prospecting sequences, social media posting, and content creation. This will help your team to gather data on what’s working while also building trust and rapport with your audience.
3. You don’t follow up with leads.
Research by Gartner shows that it takes an average of 18 sales calls to actually connect with a prospect in a meaningful way. In fact, in our opinion, following up with cold prospects and warm leads is the key to conversion. One email is simply not enough to move the needle. While each business will require different approaches to accommodate their buyers, we recommend multi-channel prospecting sequences to build trust, consistency, and conversions.
4. Your prospecting emails are too long and aren’t read.
Your audience is bombarded with emails every day. Their inbox is crowded with dozens of vendors pitching their services on top of critical emails from their bosses and colleagues. Even getting an Open can come as a challenge in this environment.
If your email is one of the lucky few o be read, you’ll quickly be rejected with too much copy. In short: novels = trash folder. While it can be tempting to share the emotional story of why you started your business or every single feature your product now offers, focus on the three C’s: clear, concise, and compelling.
5. You haven’t established a clear brand voice.
Content is the mouthpiece for your company. And that mouthpiece requires a specific voice to properly resonate with your audience. The right tone can help you to bridge the gap between corporation and buyer, and let your audience know more of your personality and values. Whether you are compassionate, relatable, formal, or candid, tone can humanize your marketing efforts while feeling more authentic to your ideal buyers.
6. You’re utilizing the wrong channels.
Your product is suitable for a specific audience. That audience participates and engages in specific channels. Not having this information, or leveraging the wrong information, will poke holes in your prospecting strategy. For instance, if you’re targeting small business owners exclusively on TikTok, your reach will be limited; whereas Facebook and LinkedIn might be more popular channels for your demographic.
As mentioned above, we recommend a multi-channel approach to make the most of your prospecting initiatives. However, if you’re sending the right message on the wrong channel, your efforts will be wasted. Take time to learn and understand your buyer while constantly iterating your approach.
7. You’re landing in spam.
Even with compelling emails, spotless prospecting lists, and a well-timed sequence, your prospecting efforts will be thwarted if your emails land in spam. This can be a tricky problem; while you may be triggering spam filters with the language in your emails, you may also have a faulty domain standing between you and your prospects.
Email is not the only platform where you can run into spam blockers. Many phones automatically screen unknown numbers as potential solicitors. Using a local dialer may help you to overcome this obstacle.
8. You’re not prepared for your cold calls.
Bad cold calls come from a lack of preparation. By taking the time to establish why you’re making the call in the first place, how your company can help your prospect, and knowing who exactly is your decision-maker can help you to tighten up your script and smooth potentially awkward conversations. If you can’t offer value on a cold call, don’t expect the prospect to agree to a meeting.
9. You’re targeting the wrong person.
It’s easy to think that you need to speak to the highest-ranking employee at an organization to make a difference. But if you’re selling green lighting solutions to large corporations, chances are the CEO won’t be the one making the final decision. To determine your actual target prospect, you need to consider both who in an organization could benefit most from your offering and who has the buying power. While there may be one title that seems to be the most obvious fit for your solution, you may be able to gain traction through several departments. Notice the feedback you receive from your prospects; are you continuously getting passed to other titles? Is buying consistently a team decision? Use this qualitative data to refine your approach to targeting.
10. Your prospect data is outdated.
Prospect data is constantly in flux. From name changes to shifts in roles and companies, keeping a strong pulse on your data is key to implement segmentation and personalization. Outdated data not only threatens the integrity of your domain health but can also weaken your relevance and rapport. (Imagine sending an email to Fred, with the intro ‘Hi Angie’.) Follow best practices to keep your prospecting engine running like a well-oiled machine.
Prospecting is not a one-size-fits-all approach. It is a nuanced strategy that changes with every company, audience, product, and season. Testing and iteration are required for success. Put simply, ‘set it and forget it’ won’t work. But don’t let that discourage you – effective prospecting is more than possible.
If implementing your own strategy feels out of your wheelhouse, we can help. Sapper helps B2B companies just like yours meet with their dream clients. Whether your goal is to test multiple markets, fill your sales pipeline, or sign on new clients, we have the experts and resources to help you get there. Click here to learn more.