Man concentrating hard writing in a notebook

What is sales prospecting, exactly?

The simple fact is that for any business to grow, you need new customers. 

There are many ways to go about finding new customers, but one of them is called sales prospecting. Sales prospecting is the process of identifying and finding leads and qualifying them so they become prospects. 

That’s it. Sounds simple, right?

In theory, yes, but doing it well is more difficult in practice. Prospecting is both an art and a science, requiring you to identify the characteristics that define your ideal customer and then nurturing them until they convert. 

Why you should use sales prospecting

Cartoon woman looking at charts and graphs

For a healthy sales cycle, you need an influx of new leads and prospects and sales prospecting is one of the most effective ways to ensure this. 

But direct business growth is not the only benefit to having sales prospecting campaigns in place. It also benefits you in other ways. 

It refines your understanding of your target

As a rule of thumb, we don’t want to target people who aren’t part of our audience. It’s a waste of time and resources for us and an irritation for them. But that’s easier said than done. With sales prospecting, you are better able to identify who really does fall into your target market and better refine the rest of your processes. 

It saves money on paid ads

Paid advertising is only effective when used well. The fact is that ads can quickly become expensive and ensuring that you bring in more business than you spend in ads is a tricky balancing act. The only way to do it properly is by placing the ads where you know people who are interested will see them. With a better understanding of your target audience through prospecting, you can maximize the potential of your paid ads. 

It improves your customer experience

Customer experience is the driving force of value differentiation in today’s market context. The more prospecting you carry out, the better you understand your target and what they look for in a service. 

Then, once they’re customers, you can transfer this knowledge to the customer service context and provide an all-round better experience. 

It keeps your pipeline healthy

Above all, sales prospecting works. It helps you to hit your targets and keep your sales cycle healthy. This is especially true when your inbound marketing hasn’t been fully developed and you can’t rely on it for predictable lead generation. 

Types of sales prospecting

Sales prospecting is a catch-all term, but there are many ways you can carry it out. Here are some of the most common approaches. 

Cold emails

Man texting on a giant phone

What makes an email cold? It’s got nothing to do with how friendly your email is, but everything to do with the amount of previous contact you’ve had with the lead. When we talk about “cold,” all we mean is that they’ve never heard about you before or communicated with you—as far as you’re aware. 

That makes cold emails tricky to pull off. The success of a cold email hinges entirely on the strength of your content. Any given lead receives so many that standing out is very difficult. 

And yet, when done well, they are extremely effective. 

Top tips for cold emails

  1. The more targeted they are, the better. Know exactly who you’re talking to and why they would be interested in.
  2. Personalize. Whether their name, company, sector, or any other information you have, personalization is key to grabbing the reader’s attention.
  3. Spend a lot of time on your subject line. It’s the first thing they’ll see and most people decide whether to open it or not based on it.
  4. Don’t beat around the bush. Your lead is busy, so don’t waste their time with niceties. 

Cold calls 

The more vocal cousin of the cold email is the cold call. Most of us will be familiar with these, and a lot of our impressions are negative. 

But there’s no reason they should be. When done well, cold calls are simply honest ways of cutting to the chase and talking to people you think will appreciate your product. Nowadays, the trend of quantity is giving way to quality. 

And it’s working. An incredible 69% of buyers say that they accepted one or more cold calls in 2019. What’s more, many buyers actually prefer phones over emails, with 51% of company owners preferring it to email, drop-in visits, and other media.

Top tips for cold calls

  1. Research your target, then research them again! Cold calls are more intrusive than any other form of cold outreach and so you need to maximize chances of making it worth their while.
  2. Have a sales script. Being able to make your pitch as quickly and smoothly as possible goes a long way in communicating your message. 
  3. Know the action you want them to take. A sales call needs to lead somewhere, otherwise it’s pointless. Know what the ideal next steps are.

Social media 

Cartoon woman beside a huge phone

Social media isn’t just about sharing pretty pictures or blog posts. It’s also a fantastic source of lead generation. Of course, social media is an umbrella term and the platforms you focus on will have different strengths and weaknesses.

Inbound prospecting

So far, we’ve only spoken about outbound methods for prospecting, where you reach out to them. But social media can also be used for inbound prospecting. It’s true that this falls more under the umbrella of marketing prospecting than sales prospecting, but it’s still worth mentioning.

On Facebook, for example, you can promote lead ads, which are essentially form sign ups  that you pay for. If it’s enticing enough, the person who sees the ad will be willing to hand over their information for whatever you’re offering. 

You can also take the more straightforward method of sharing a link to something on your social media account, whether Twitter, Instagram, or whatever, to encourage people to take a desired action. This should be just part of a larger organic social media strategy, however. 

Outbound prospecting 

That said, social media is also great for outbound prospecting, particularly LinkedIn. Unlike other social media platforms, LinkedIn is geared towards the business world and so is the perfect channel for B2B outreach. 

What’s more, LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator is a platform supplied by LinkedIn that allows you to better search for prospects on the social media platform. 

Tips for outbound social media prospecting

  1. Make use of an automated platform to streamline and maximize your prospecting efforts. 

At the end of the day, sales prospecting is something that every business, no matter their size, should be pursuing. It’s one of the most effective ways to keep your pipeline healthy and boost your bottom line. 

At, we provide an end-to-end CRM solution with top automation capabilities. If you’d like to find out more about how we can help you with your prospecting goals, reach out to us today


Scroll to Top