Four common sales prospecting techniques to avoid in B2B

Prospecting is one of the most important steps of successful outreach campaigns. Salespeople can spend upwards of a third of their time gathering prospects. Unfortunately, there are common prospecting techniques in that process that should be avoided. So, I will analyse them and offer a solution for each in this post.

Before I start breaking down each topic, here is the list of them for reference:

Less than ideal methods to gather data on prospects

  • create an in-house team
  • purchase bulk data

Common techniques and how to avoid them

  • not automating prospecting
  • acquiring cheap bulk data
  • aggregating too few variables
  • not finding the right prospects

Bad methods to gather data on prospects

There are two main non-ideal ways to gather data as a B2B company:

  • purchase bulk data from a provider
  • create an in-house team to aggregate data

Purchasing bulk data is a big no-no because you will receive outdated lists with blacklist emails and bad quality prospects inside. Those will lower the effectiveness of your campaigns and damage the health of your domain.

When you create an in-house team, you may end up with quality data, but you will spend cash and time that could be allocated elsewhere. And, there is also a chance that the quality will not be as good as if it was from a reliable partner.

Now that I have explained the reasons why these prospecting methods should be avoided, let’s examine the top mistakes made when prospecting.

Note: the following techniques apply to most industries. But you have to evaluate your company’s situation and conclude which techniques you should avoid.


Not automating prospecting

There are companies that have their salespeople doing prospecting. That can take up to a third of their time which could be allocated to other parts of the funnel.

“66% of sales representative’s time is spent on repetitive tasks related to data acquisition and outreach” – Hubspot

Why it is a problem

Since affordable prospecting companies exist, SDRs should not spend most of their time gathering data. Instead, it should be spent on other human-related tasks.

Also, the data provided by specialised partners is usually of higher quality than that of in-house teams.

Solution

Partner with a reliable data provider that is GDPR adherent and whose focus is quality data curation.


Acquiring cheap bulk data

A few B2B companies go for cheap bulk data because they think it is more ROI positive. Especially companies with a tighter budget.

“54% of B2B sales leaders state the lack of quality data is their biggest barrier to success” – Ascend2

Why it is a problem

Usually, the bulk data provided is of bad quality and the consequences show up later. You will have a high bounce rate and more messages going to the spam folder (which lead to lower domain health). You will also have a lower return on campaigns due to incorrect emails and prospects.

Solution

Opting for higher quality data from a partner that is initially more costly provides better long term results and ROI.


Aggregating too few variables

Having few variables on prospects goes hand in hand with cheap data. That type of data tends to not have more than three variables on a prospect (e.g.: first name, email, company name).

Why it is a problem

Having only a few variables per contact will not allow you to create personalised dynamic templates. That will lead to lower reply rates. Your emails will also stand a higher chance of not passing the spam tests of the recipient’s email provider.

Solution

Partner with a vendor that provides 15+ variables on prospects to create dynamic templates.


Not finding the right prospects

You can have the wrong prospects in your target list if you do not segment your market. Or if the provider is of low quality.

“Recipients are 75% more likely to click on emails from segmented campaigns than non-segmented campaigns” – Mailchimp

Why it is a problem

If you did not segment your market, then you will have different target profiles in your prospects list. That will lead to writing messages that are not personalised enough for the prospect (e.g.: you focus on the wrong problems).

If you do not have the right prospects because of a low-quality provider, then revert to my recommendations in the ‘Acquiring cheap data’ section.

Either way, not finding the right prospects will waste your money and time invested. And it will lead to subpar results, which can make you lose confidence in an otherwise high return sales channel (cold outreach).

Solution

Segment your markets so that you have different lists with appropriate dynamic templates. Also, avoid buying bulk lists from cheap providers to prevent getting inadequate prospects.


Conclusion

In this post, I discussed why bad prospecting can lead to ineffective campaigns. And how to avoid the most common mistakes. Hopefully, you have learned from the tips and will improve your prospecting process. Here are the main takeaways of this post:

Less than ideal methods to gather data on prospects

  • create an in-house team – wasted time and resources
  • purchase bulk data – the effectiveness of campaigns will be lower

Common techniques and how to avoid them

  • not automating prospecting – partner up with a reliable data provider so that your SDRs can focus on human relates sales tasks
  • acquiring cheap bulk data – opt for higher quality data to keep your domain healthy and get a better ROI in the long run
  • aggregating too few variables – aim to collect 10+ variables on each prospect to deeply personalise your outreach messages
  • not finding the right prospects – segment your markets so that you have separate lists to increase message personalisation


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