Stop wasting time and effort on prospecting without a plan! If you haven’t established a clear strategy and performance indicators, you will quickly lose motivation in achieving your sales goals. Read on to discover the key steps to establish a successful B2B prospect management plan for your business.
What is B2B Prospect Management?
B2B prospect management is the process of identifying potential prospects, managing them, and converting them into customers. A prospect management plan comes into motion when a lead is captured and assigned to a sales rep and they start treating them. A well-defined prospect management plan helps you develop a framework in order to reach the sales objectives you’ve set.
Your plan should define concrete sales actions by identifying the best acquisition channels and techniques for your business (emailing campaigns, telephone prospecting, sponsorship program, etc.). This will enable you to prioritize tasks to accelerate your prospecting process, and achieve your sales goals.
How to effectively execute B2B prospect management
Your BtoB prospect management plan should contain the following key criteria in order to be effective:
- The sales objectives (volume or turnover) that you wish to achieve, for a given period.
- A precise definition of your target audience: who are the prospects you are targeting? What are their needs and challenges? What are their characteristics? Where do you expect to find them?
- The key tools and channels you want to use reach your prospects.
- The budget you have available to invest in tools, trade shows, PR communication etc.
If you take the time to create a foolproof B2B prospect management plan, this should allow you to not later waste time and energy in your prospecting efforts, and ensure there are no leakages. Above all, it should act as a guideline that allows you to remain 100% focused on your objectives on a daily basis.
Define the key objectives of your prospect management plan
The objectives of your B2B prospect management should be quantitative and/or qualitative. For the former, they are expressed in figures: turnover, number of calls to be made or e-mails to be sent, number of appointments to be scheduled, etc. On the other hand, if your objectives are qualitative, they refer to your company’s brand image, customer loyalty, and the general image that you want to convey.
Increase B2B Sales Turnover
To increase your company’s turnover you can consider two different solutions – Increase your Sales or Increase the Number of Customers.
If you decide to increase your sales to your existing customers (“upselling” or “cross-selling”), this means selling them other products, features, and/or services. The average order per existing customer will increase and you will generate more revenue. Your actions will therefore be mostly focused on your current customer base rather than on finding new customers. You will work around the needs of your users, strengthening your communication and overall relationship with them.
If you are looking for more customers, you will have to correctly identify your targets and find their contact details such as email or phone number. Your efforts towards prospecting will only see the light of the day once you search for new databases and activate tools and acquisition channels to feed your sales representatives with contacts.
Review your Existing Customer Base
Your customer database is very valuable! Winning new customers requires many more resources from a company compared to capitalizing on your existing customers.
You must therefore work this base in order to be able to continue to sell to people already convinced by your products/services and take care of them because your customers are also your best ambassadors.
Pamper them and communicate regularly to stay close to them. You could also ask their opinion and measure their satisfaction levels to make them feel important to your business.
To do so, there are several techniques to build customer loyalty over time:
● Develop a Long-Lasting Relationship by keeping in touch with your customers and letting them know about various offers. A long-lasting relationship with a customer could earn you a referral.
● Create Value for your Customers by giving them an upgrade. Giving active customers who engage with your product or service on a regular basis something they weren’t expecting is always a step in the right direction.
● Reconnect with Inactive Customers through commercial reactivation techniques such as: promoting new features, participation in events, webinars, special offers, etc.
Expand your customer portfolio by prospecting in new markets
Want to launch your business in a new region or a new country? If you’re looking to develop your business in a new market, add geographical area/location as part of your prospecting plan.
While searching for new customers, filter the search criteria specific to your business and industry in the new location/ area. To give you a few ideas, your prospect management plan could be based on industry, company size, turnover, identified needs, competitors of your customers, etc.
You will be able to use these criteria to find events to attend and meet new prospects, search for connections on your professional social networks but also to build and/or purchase databases. This research could also help you understand how feasible it will be to launch your business in the new market – are there enough prospects to make it worthwhile?
Do not lose hot leads / opportunities / deals
Once a prospect has shown interest in your company, you’ve already done most of the work! Now it’s time to ensure that you maximize your chances of signing and turning your prospect into a customer.
- Prepare your meetings: Identify your prospect’s key challenges(s) and propose solutions adapted to them. Identify if your contact is the decision maker or if you will need to have meetings with other stakeholders. Ask about company news and what your negotiating margins are beforehand.
- During the meeting: Listen carefully to your prospect and ask as many questions as possible. Adapt your pitch to their actual problem (rather than what you want to sell). Always schedule the next action at the end of the call: whether that’s a new meeting, sending the contract, etc.
- Train your sales representatives: Coach your sales team continuously on your products/services but also on sales techniques. You can participate in some of their meetings with leads to understand the areas for improvement and offer regular training to improve their skills.
- Offer a free trial of your tool or service: Allow prospects to consider your product or service with a free trial. This will help them get familiar with your product so they can make a clear purchasing decision.
- Use supporting customer case studies/testimonials: Convince your hot and warm prospects more quickly by sharing best practices that speak to them and are familiar.
Define the target audience of your prospect management plan
Clearly determining your target audience is an essential step in business prospecting. The more you research your target audience and understand their needs, the more efficient you will be in your prospect management.
Persona and Ideal Customer Profile
Your ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) and/or Personas should be detailed enough that you have a clear idea of the needs and the expectations of your target audience.
In theory, once your target has been established, it is important that you segment your database in order to prioritize prospects on whom you want to focus. Establishing your target audience is a key element of the prospect management plan, it will help you in choosing the right channel to communicate with them, and also help nurture prospects with customized personal messages.
To be 100% effective, it is important to remember that a target audience is accurate, is accessible, and profitable.
Define a budget for your prospect management efforts
The budget for your prospect management strategy must cover all your prospecting costs. It must take into account your investment in a lead management software as well as the costs related to your sales reps’ actions such as: email, telephone, travel, etc.
Invest in a lead management software
Excel files, notes, and other manually kept records have long been sufficient for small businesses, however, they are neither time-saving nor scalable solutions if your business grows.
CRM solutions such as Salesforce, and Microsoft Dynamics, may look attractive too because they’re reliable and globally recognized. However, these CRM solutions require not only a big financial investment and commitment on the part of your company, but also a human investment to train your teams to use these complex solutions.
Rather than spending a fortune on such solutions that will be of little or no use to your sales teams and sales reps, it is more relevant to invest in a simpler and equally effective SaaS solution at a lower cost.
The noCRM.io solution is a software specifically designed for salespeople to track and close sales without wasting time. You can start a 15 day free trial with no credit card or commitment.
The budget allocated to prospect management techniques/tools
A lot of tools and techniques go into making prospect management a success. Obviously, these tools and techniques cost businesses something. The techniques we detail here, sometimes require the purchase of online tools or a material investment. It is important that you budget for them in advance so that as a business you invest in tools that work best for your prospect management plan
When drawing up your budget to carry out prospect management, you must take into account the potential investments generated by the tools and techniques you invest in.
A plan to accelerate your B2B Sales
A prospect management plan is essential to increase and accelerate your sales. Without a clearly defined and documented framework, you are moving forward blindly and it is difficult to measure your performance.
The second virtue of a prospecting plan is that it will allow you to better manage the onboarding of new salespeople into your team. They will become operational more quickly and will more easily adapt to the tools and techniques used in your company.