Monday, 17 July 2023 12:07

How to Find the Best Leads and Prospects for Your Sales Campaign

By  Martin Eckler

Whether you’re a fresh-faced entrepreneur or a veteran in the industry, finding new leads and prospects for your sales campaigns can be tricky. Once the initial flood of eager early adopters has been processed, you might find yourself at a loss for new clients. Has the market been saturated already?

Not quite. Though the early adopters might have already been snatched up, there are still plenty more leads and prospects hiding just below the surface of the market. So how do you find these new potential customers?

To answer that question, we’ve curated the top lead generation and sales prospecting methods to help any business fill its sales funnel with qualified potential customers.

Use Email Campaigns

Our first tip is to use email campaigns for marketing and prospecting. Now, I know what you’re thinking: aren’t people tired of receiving spam emails and clearing out their inboxes by now?

Contrary to popular belief, email still remains one of the best methods to reach and appeal to buyers, whether B2B or B2C. According to LinkedIn, the top three methods buyers reported that they wanted to be contacted by sellers were through email (66%), live in-person events (35%), and social networking sites (34%). And, when asked for the most effective digital marketing channels, 36% of small- and medium-sized businesses across the globe answered that email marketing was the most effective in driving sales, almost doubled in effectiveness from the runner-up social media at 18%.

That means that to find leads and appeal to prospects, your business should work on amassing a hearty email subscription list and designing a well-crafted email campaign to slowly appeal to potential customers. Rather than the medium being the issue, consumers are likely taking issue with impersonal, non-stop, spammy emails. By instead sending out personalized, tasteful, infrequent emails, your business can attract hundreds of leads and prospects all at once.

Leverage Social Media

Next is to leverage the most convoluted and fast-changing advertising channel: social media. 

While posting to social media and getting no engagement might feel like yelling into the void, simply seeing those posts maintains your relevance and top-of-mind awareness to your customers. Plus, having an active presence and looking for other people to follow can help you discover new prospects through connections.  

According to sales professionals who practice social selling, the most effective social platforms for finding new prospects are Facebook (67%), LinkedIn (63%), and Instagram (62%). 

While those are excellent places to start, it’s also important to consider your target audience when choosing which social media platform to direct your efforts towards: a B2B company would be better off prospecting on more professional platforms such as LinkedIn, while a B2C company would be better off generating leads through more casual platforms such as Instagram.

With the recent tumult around Twitter, many media companies are hoping to launch the next big social media platform to fill the power vacuum, as seen by Meta’s new site Threads. While your business might be anxious to join each new platform and go to where the consumers are, we’d advise you to hold your ground until the dust settles to prevent expending unnecessary effort on a middling platform. 

Instead of spreading yourself too thin chasing after a few customers on every platform, it’s best to focus on a few platforms that have a high concentration of consumers who match your ideal customer profile.

Focus on Your Existing Customers

If your company has been in operation for a while, there might be a gold mine of qualified prospects right under your nose: your current and previous customers. 

According to Semrush, though the probability of selling to a new customer is only between 5-20%, the probability of selling to an existing customer is between 60-70%. That means that your sales representatives are more likely to make sales if they focus inwards rather than outwards.

Not only are you more likely to make a sale to existing customers, the profit margin on those customers is likely higher: selling costs will be lower because you’re selling to a qualified prospect rather than a baseline lead, and your customers will trust your judgment and product quality more, leading to higher revenue as they purchase higher-ticket items in greater volume.

Note that we’ve explicitly referred to the customers in this section as prospects rather than leads, as your company should already have a fair idea of their budget, needs, purchasing authority, and need timeframe, If you’re not quite sure about the difference between a prospect and a lead, just keep in mind that prospects are closer to a sale than a general lead is, so selling to prospects such as your existing customers is more likely to result in a done deal.

Start a Referral Campaign

Even if your existing customer base isn’t interested in purchasing, you can still leverage past customers to find new ones through a referral campaign, where a customer recommends your business to their friends, family, and network.

When considering a purchase, 82% of Americans say they seek recommendations from friends and family, Ambassador reports. This is based on the social proof principle, which states that when people are unsure of a decision, they’ll follow the recommendation of other people. For your business, this means that one referral or review from a friend could do more for your sale than a thousand advertisements.

To get the most referrals for your business, you could offer discounts or freebies to customers who get a friend to sign up, and make product descriptions and customer reviews available on social media sites so consumers can easily share them with friends.

Network in Your Industry

Finally, for B2B companies that operate in more niche markets, networking might be the best way to reach elusive buyers in your industry.

Networking is similar to referral marketing (and is similarly as effective in generating leads), but instead asks the company’s own employees to build and leverage their own professional networks to find customers. 

To network effectively, business people could try connecting with fellow business people on social media, going to in-person events, and joining networking groups. The goal is to integrate yourself in a community of people who match your ideal customer profile, or to let it be known to others the type of ideal customer you’re looking for.

Conclusion

As your business grows and you exhaust your stock of readily-available customers in the market, you might find yourself strapped for new leads and prospects to fill your sales funnel. 

Rather than jumping ship to a new market, you can dive deeper into a customer base and capture more consumers by using methods such as leveraging email campaigns, posting on social media, selling to your existing customers, starting referral campaigns, and networking in your industry. With some careful attention to your ideal customer profile and target audience, you can find and appeal to hidden customers and make more sales than ever before.

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