4 Pro Tips For Better Sales Prospecting, as seen on Drift

Ernest Owusu

Whether you’re just starting out at the beginning of a sales development career or you’re a veteran looking forward to another year, you understand the challenges associated with the industry. Every single person who carries a quota knows it can bring on a rollercoaster of emotions, but there are strategies you can put into practice that will make the stress and tasks associated with hitting your quota more manageable.

Here are four recommendations to improve your prospecting skills and handle the ebbs and flows of a sales development role:

  1. Build Confidence In Yourself & Your Process

One of the most challenging practices of great prospecting is sticking with your process. This is, of course, easier when things are going well. But even when you’re crushing your quota, deviating from the process that got you there will have detrimental impacts in a matter of weeks.

And the same goes for when it seems like you’re hitting a brick wall again and again. If you rely on the process that has provided you with success in the past, you’re more likely to see success again in the future.

Minor tweaks to strategy and talk tracks are almost always necessary. But, prospecting strategies should not be adopted then thrown away at the first sign of adversity. This is a prime opportunity to hold yourself to the 30-day rule. The work you’re putting in today (whether it’s dialing 50 people during a call block or writing ten handwritten messages for a mailer), will yield fruit 30, 60, and 90 days later.

Always remember, selling is an emotional exercise. If you allow the fear of missing your number or frustration with a process to negatively impact how you are executing, your prospects will feel it and your ability to sell will almost certainly go down.

  1. Block Your Calendar & Stick To The Schedule

What happens when you have a task that you don’t want to do? You push it off – it falls further and further down your to-do list until it’s on the verge of disappearing completely.

If you’re an SDR, organization and time blocks are critical. Create (and use!) these time blocks for research, calls, emails, and other selling tactics. In my experience, the reps that consistently block time for these necessary tasks not only have the ability to predict their levels of success, but they also surpass their goals.

If you’re an account executive, your day is made up of a lot more than prospecting. But that doesn’t mean that you should neglect prospecting all together. Always evaluate the current state of pipeline, know how much pipeline you realistically expect to close during the quarter, and then block off a few hours or even a day or two for prospecting so you can confidently walk into the next quarter with enough pipeline to hit your targets. If your pipeline is low, it’s not going to just magically grow – you must own this number and dedicate more time to prospecting.

Prioritization is key: If you have many deals ready to close, then of course, close those deals. But don’t forget that you will need more pipeline very soon, so spend a few hours now to reap the benefits later.

3.   Take The Time To Truly Get To Know Your Prospects 

Pause for a moment and think of the decision-maker at one of your target accounts. While you could undoubtedly spend hours talking about the million different reasons why this person should buy your product, most salespeople don’t ACTUALLY know what their prospects do day in and day out. If you only know your prospects’ day-to-day functions in terms of how it relates to your product, you don’t actually know your prospects. And if you don’t actually know your prospects, it’s that much more difficult to sell to them.

If you’re having an epiphany and starting to realize that you don’t know your prospects as well as you thought you did, it’s okay. Doing a simple Google job search for your target persona and reading through relevant job descriptions can help with this.

The more job descriptions you read on your target personas, the more you’ll realize not only how complex their jobs are – but also how many different ways that you can sell to them based on their job requirements.

4.   Eliminate Distractions & Put “Focus” Into Practice

Mindfulness has become a buzzword for many people, but regardless of your stance on the trend, there’s definitely some truth to being “in the moment” when faced with a challenge. Information overload is so common in today’s hyperactive world, but being mindful of the distractions around you will help you understand what you need to do to focus.

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As an SDR, I really struggled with efficiency (probably one of the most important traits of a great SDR). There were so many things to do in a day that even tasks like finding an email seemed monumental and were difficult to finish. But putting effort into daily organization and productivity is the first step to overcoming this. Some sales development team members may enjoy background music, or possibly even an informative podcast, but if you catch yourself losing focus, try to shake-up your surroundings.

Prospecting can sometimes feel like a redundant activity, but if that’s the case, you may not be honing in enough on key details that can help personalize your messaging.

Bonus Tip: Yes, You’re A Rockstar, But Please Ask For Help

The Sales and Sales Development career path is known for its overly enthusiastic and optimistic employees. When faced with rejection – whether explicit or someone simply not responding – you’ve got to grow some tough skin and unwavering confidence.

But don’t take this as an opportunity to disregard the resources available. No one knows how to do everything. Collaborate with your team members, talk with your director about challenges and strategies to overcome them, and get coffee with your marketing team to better align on initiatives.

Company leadership is full of people who know the personal areas for which they needed to improve. People don’t make it to the top on their own, so don’t look at asking for assistance as a point of failure.

Happy prospecting!

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