How To Do Effective Targeted Sales Prospecting

Targeted sales prospecting, or the technique of reaching potential customers who belong to specific customer demographics from specific channels, is re-emerging as a solution to sales and marketing teams who are struggling with lead generation. One recent report says that 61% of marketers cited getting new leads as the biggest hurdle they have to overcome. With limited face-to-face interactions caused by shelter-in-place scenarios across entire cities, it was not surprising that a LinkedIn survey in 2020 indicated that 55% of sales professionals expected a decrease in their sales pipelines.

Identifying and connecting sales prospects, or potential customers who would be inclined to show interest in the products and services we offer, can increase the chances of sales. The traditional approach of casting a wide net and hoping to get as many responses as possible, from a huge range of demographics might just be ineffective and a time-waster.

Instead, accurate targeted sales prospecting can bring in warm leads who have a good chance of converting into loyal customers later on.  These are three cornerstones on how to do it.

Creating customer profiles for targeted sales prospects

To hit your target market, you have to first identify who they are. This is where the ideal prospect profile comes in, which describes the personality, demographics, interests, spending power, and shopping history of the customer you want to draw in.

However, many marketers make two incorrect assumptions about the customer profile. First, that their ideal targeted sales prospect is in their database, which has names probably numbering into the thousands. Second, that the customer profile is homogeneous, and is open to all kinds of sales pitches. The result is sending weekly newsletters or e-mail pitches of months-long promotional campaigns into the entire list of customers in the database. The outcome:  only a few of these customers actually find the campaigns relevant to them and respond.

We should also remember that the database holds your current active customers, who should be set apart from the new leads you want to connect with.

Your targeted sales prospect will also be based on the particular sales campaign you are launching for a specific period of time. For example, if you are promoting new training and fitness plans in your gym, do all of them apply to the general public?  Or are some exercises and programs more suitable for specific markets, such as soccer moms, stress-busting office workers, or teenagers who just want to  try them out?

You can match your product and service to your potential leads with more granularity by checking other data such as job or student status ,income and other sources of revenue location, motivations and aspirations, and challenges and problems they are currently dealing with.

Once you have a clearer picture of your customer profile, you can also have a general idea of how warm and cold they will respond as leads to your sales pitches.

Sales prospects inside your own database

With your customer profile in hand, you can now sift into your database to see which of your current customers, regardless of their state of engagement with you, can be genuinely interested in your offers.

Technology can help you match your data in the database with the right campaign to hit the most promising sales prospects. It narrows down those hundreds or thousands of names on your list according to the criteria you have set.

Analyses by the sales and marketing team can also separate customers from inquiries. The first have made at least one purchase, while the second just sent feelers or asked a few questions and then “disappeared” without buying a product. Which of the names in both lists fit your customer profile and thus should be approached in your new campaign?

Data segmentation and advanced targeting can also help you analyze which of your campaigns works best with your customer profiles.

This means your buyer intent data needs to be done real time to understand what your sales customers are looking for, what their concerns are, and if your offer is indeed up to the task of solving their problems. With all these insights, you will be able to create campaigns that not only answer their questions, but also draw them to your company, making it easier for your representatives to close deals.

Sales prospects outside your database

Finally, digital marketing and its various platforms can help you spot and communicate with sales prospects who are not yet within your sphere of influence or shopping radar.

Social media, with their millions of global members, is one of the most popular examples.  About 43% of brands on Facebook said that their presence on the platform did generate leads for them. Features like Facebook Marketplace and Facebook Ads can generate enough interest in your product for at least interested users  to click on your initial online sales pitch—and after viewing your message, hopefully contact you.

Within social media, you can also participate in online communities where most of your sales prospects congregate. LinkedIn and Facebook have hundreds of them that are dedicated to particular groups that can even be broken down into very specific demographics. For example, the stress-busting professionals being targeted for your fitness program, you can look them up in social media groups populated by gym buffs, weekend warriors, health and work-balance advocates, and workplace rising stars.

Be a little more creative in your quest. Dive deep into the news feeds, hobby groups, and knowledge-sharing networks where they regularly post questions and make their concerns known. This bit of market research will make you get to know them even more—and once you start making your campaigns, personalize your messages to draw out responses from them.

Another precise and efficient way to target sales prospects that fit your customer profile accurately is through platforms like DemandScience. It builds audiences based on your set criteria and creates lists to streamline future outreach. Then it uploads validated, verified, and accurate email addresses that correspond to your profile and your campaign into your pre-set database.

Targeting sales prospects is tough and time-consuming, but rewards those who do it correctly and with full knowledge of the techniques, platforms, and tools at their disposal. Inactive names can be re-engaged, inquiries can turn the curious into potential customers, and the chance of closing a sale can be higher.