on Feb 23, 2022 / by Corey Cantrell

How Smart Sales Prospecting Can Identify the Perfect Lead

If you’ve ever wondered if your sales prospecting efforts were a waste of time, you’re not alone. There’s nothing worse than strategically breaking down an account and crafting a full prospecting plan only to receive a response of “not interested” or “unsubscribe.”  

The truth is, you’re going to experience this situation more than a few times in your sales career. That’s because not all sales leads are created equal. Yes, they might have opted in to receive more information, or filled out a contact us page – but what does that really mean in the long run? To answer that question, you need to understand the anatomy of a sales lead and learn how to identify prime opportunities.  

The Anatomy of a Sales Lead

What does it really mean when a lead converts from an MQL to an SQL? That answer may vary depending on who you ask, as different companies have different lead scoring processes. In most lead conversion strategies, however, one idea remains the same – gauging interest.  

Buyer intent is a key part in understanding the psychology behind a sales qualified lead. Throughout this research, you’ll find there are three important pieces to the prospect’s buying process: behavioral intent, decisional intent, and influential intent.  

Behavioral Intent

Most commonly defined as the measurement and segmentation of actions taken by a specific person or party of interest, behavioral intent looks to find consistencies in your buyer’s behaviors across multiple channels. This might sound overwhelming at first. However, a practical way to approach this process is to simply look at the various types of content the lead has consumed from the different marketing campaigns they’ve been a part of. This can help you understand specific challenges or interests the buyer might have and how they relate to your products.  

Decisional Intent

While it might sound similar to behavioral intent, decisional intent tries to break down the buyer’s behaviors into decision-making patterns. This process sometimes starts at the account level, and drills down to the individual. Some examples of decisional intent are revenue funding rounds, hiring or expanding targeting job titles, and consuming product information from your company or competitors.   

Influential Intent

Something that might be overlooked in your sales lead generation process is your buyers are more than likely influenced by others in their department – sometimes called a “buying group.” It can be helpful to look at how other prospects in the same company have responded to marketing and sales outreach campaigns. Chances are, if other potential buyers or influencers have engaged with your company, your sales lead might be looking to make a purchase.  

Prospecting for Prime Opportunities

Once you understand how to identify different parts of the sales lead and why they may or may not be ready to make a purchase, what does it look like to leverage that data? Building a targeted prospecting plan is so much easier when you have actionable data points to use in your outreach. When 60% of your buyers want to connect with sales during the consideration stage and have built a list of options to choose from – you have to make the most of every interaction.  

Entry Point Emails

Think of prospecting as a method of starting a conversation. How many times have you ever responded to someone saying, “I saw you were interested in…?” Probably not very often. Instead of referencing the way the prospect became a lead or the type of research they’ve done, talk about the needs behind the research. You already know why they’re interested in talking to you, why not start with a value prop that aligns with the different content or information they’ve consumed?  

Leveraging Social Media

Between Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, you have more than enough information about your leads to create the perfect narrative for them to follow. You can easily refer back to posts they’ve made or engaged with that are relevant to your products, or even expand on conversations they’ve started. Think of social media as a mining tool to help gather personal insights on your leads.  

Competitive Intel

It’s safe to say that your sales leads have already engaged with your competitor’s content at some point in their decision-making process. A good way to get their attention is to call out an advantage you have over your top competitors. Referencing how you address the competition and overcome some of the challenges their solutions pose can help steer the conversation toward the prospect’s needs.

Sales Prospecting Done Right

There’s no concrete way to generate sales opportunities from 100% of your leads. You’re always going to miss out on some; however, these key tactics can help you understand the proverbial “why” behind the lead conversion. At the same time, you can even filter out leads that may not be a good fit just by looking at their historical data in your CRM. Just because a prospect shows interest in your company doesn’t always mean they deserve the same amount of time as a lead with actual intent.  

Want to learn more about lead generation and how filter out bad data? Check out our whitepaper on how content syndication enriches the database and creates higher quality leads for both the sales and marketing teams.  

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