It’s easy to fall into a rut when it comes to sales prospecting.
Admit it: You probably have a strategy or two that work well for you – and you stick with those strategies because they get you results.
But if you’re relying on just a few of the myriad tactics out there instead of branching out, it’s virtually guaranteed that you’re missing prospects. That’s because buyer journeys have become more complex than ever before.
Prospects don’t just call up salespeople and buy. They take an omnichannel approach to finding products and getting the information they need to make decisions. In fact, Accenture’s On the Verge report found that:
“61% of all B2B transactions start online, and 51% of customers turn to social media to do initial research.”
If they aren’t seeing you in all the different places they’re looking for information, you’re missing out. The best salespeople aren’t one-trick ponies. They embrace omnichannel prospecting because it gets results.
What is Omnichannel Prospecting?
According to Mark Hunter, also known as The Sales Hunter, using omnichannel prospecting means using “every strategy, every tool out there (to connect with prospects) because people respond to different messages.”
In that context, possible prospecting tactic channels that could fall under this umbrella (among many, many others) include:
- Cold sales calls,
- Social selling on social media networks,
- Networking or attending other in-person events,
- Paid lead acquisition,
- Marketing automation sequences that capture and nurture prospects,
- Asking existing clients for referrals,
- Running webinars on topics that’ll appeal to your prospects.
There’s a good reason to embrace different channels: they’re all effective in their own way.
- 41.2% of salespeople said their phone is the most effective sales tool at their disposal. (Marc Wayshak)
- Eight in 10 prospects prefer talking to reps over email, which matches up with the percentage of reps (78%) who use it. (Hubspot)
- 78% of salespeople using social media outsell their peers. (Brevet Group)
- Sales reps who actively seek out referrals typically earn 4 to 5 times as much as those who don’t. (Propeller CRM)
- One company reported a 30% lift in connect rates by including a LinkedIn touch in their campaign. (Topo)
That some of these statistics almost seem contradictory only underscores how important an omnichannel prospecting approach is. Prospects engage in many different ways. The more channels you can connect with them on, the better your odds of success will be.
How to Move to an Omnichannel Prospecting Approach.
Being ready to move to an omnichannel prospecting approach is one thing. Actually knowing how to do it is another.
Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
Evaluate Your Current Prospecting Activities.
First, look at where you focus most of your prospecting energy and ask yourself why you’ve allocated your efforts that way. Is it because they’re truly the most effective strategies for your audience, your company or your industry? Or have you chosen them out of personal preference (for example, because you hate picking up the phone and making cold calls)?
If you’re making your quotas, it can be tempting to think that your single-channel approach is working. And it might continue to work – for a while. But the data doesn’t lie. Consumers are engaging using more channels than ever before, and that trend is only going to continue in the future. Get ready for the coming omnichannel future by identifying your weaknesses now.
Add New Channels to Your Campaigns.
You don’t have to go out and add every single channel you can think of to your prospecting campaigns. Start small. Unless you’re really struggling to hit your numbers, add 1-2 new channels at a time. Only add more once you feel confident you’ve fully implemented your latest additions.
That said, be smart about the channels you add. Try to predict which will be most successful, based on the prospecting channels:
- that are standard across your industry. For example, webinars may not be as fully embraced in some industries as in others.
- that get you closest to your target audience. If your target customer spends more time on LinkedIn than Twitter, up your LinkedIn game. Don’t add Twitter unless you really feel there’s value there (versus feeling like you have to master every channel).
- that you can add with the smallest possible investment. Posting to a social media channel is free. Picking up the phone is free. Flying out-of-state for the networking opportunities at a trade show isn’t cheap (though it may still be worth it, depending on the attendees).
Other salespeople at your organization might also be helpful sources of information in terms of the prospecting channels that are working best for their customers (assuming, of course, that your department is open to sharing performance data in this way). Regardless, it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Measure Your Results.
Finally, don’t go omnichannel just because some article told you to – even this one. Instead, build your prospecting stack based on the performance of each channel.
As you add new strategies, look at everything from simple engagement metrics to big-picture goals, such as the revenue generated or percent of deals closed-won. Get as granular as you can so that you can refine your prospecting approach in the future.
Even if your prospects may be using multiple sources of information in the buying process, you don’t necessarily have to be present at all of them if you can figure out which ones have the highest impact on their decision-making process.
You might notice, for example, that a higher rate of prospects who enter your funnel through a cold email go on to convert than those you initially connect with on a webinar. That doesn’t mean you should stop doing webinars. But it might mean you want to take a closer look at whether to change the way you’re using the channel or deprioritize it so that you can put more resources into cold email prospecting.
Succeeding with Omnichannel Prospecting.
Omnichannel prospecting – like all of sales – is about being at the right place at the right time in order to connect with the right people. It’s only when you prioritize being in as many of these places as possible that you’re able to figure out what “the right place” truly is.
If you’re in a prospecting rut, there’s never been a better time to break out and experiment with new strategies. They may not all work; in fact, it’s virtually guaranteed that they won’t be universally successful. But by testing different channels and measuring your results, you’ll be able to come up with the omnichannel prospecting approach that’s right for you and the customers you’re reaching out to.
Would you describe your prospecting approach as omnichannel? Are you concerned about adding channels to your approach? Share your thoughts by leaving us a comment below: