Prospecting can be tedious and time-consuming, but it’s something salespeople can’t avoid. It has to be done on a daily basis to keep pipelines healthy.
However, while sales reps can’t avoid prospecting, they can certainly make it easier for themselves.
By having a go-to list of places to find prospects, and a procedure for each platform, we no longer have to wonder where or how to find prospects.
Here are eight ways salespeople can find prospects fast and keep filling up their pipelines month after month.
1) Job Boards
Job listings are windows into understanding prospects' needs. For instance, if you notice that a company is hiring an HR benefits analyst and you provide compensation services, this is a good organization to reach out to. They are likely struggling with benefits and would be interested in hearing from someone who can help (read: you).
In addition, new jobs are often trigger events for buying new products or services. If you notice that a company is hiring an executive or senior employee in the function you sell into, keep an eye on when the listing goes down. Then search for the newly-hired decision maker, and send your pitch.
Job boards to look at include:
- Zip Recruiter
- Simply Hired
The key to making the most out of Twitter is to have a list of the top three or four keywords your target prospects care about. Then run Twitter searches on variations of those keywords to find people who are talking about those topics.
Some people might be asking questions. Others might be complaining about how difficult something may be. In any case, you can jump in and add value to the conversation -- and potentially pick up some prospects along the way.
Once you have a few leads in mind, use private Twitter lists to keep an eye on them, as well as other relevant people.
Here are some Twitter lists you might want to create:
- Prospects within your territory that you want to keep tabs on
- Bloggers and media that report on companies in your territory so you can find out about new companies
- VCs in the territory to find out what they’re investing in and what funding round companies are in
3) Business Journals
Local business journals cover news on big events happening at companies in the area, whether that be a lawsuit, a new location, or additional funding. By keeping an eye on these events, you can find out about businesses you might not have heard of and discover relevant trigger events on which to base your outreach.
These trigger events can be used as a point of reference when you send your first email or make the first call to your new prospect.
4) Industry Blogs and Forums
I’m a marketer in the software industry so I’m subscribed to forum newsletters like GrowthHacker.com and Inbound.org and related forums like Product Hunt. I also subscribe to newsletters of entrepreneurs in the software industry.
These newsletters keep me up to date about new companies and often contain case studies of businesses that are doing well.
There are three benefits to subscribing to these newsletters:
- Find out about new companies
- Learn about successful companies
- Stay up to date on industry trends and strategies
If you don't find a new prospect directly through blogs and forums, the knowledge you gain will help point you in the direction of leads. For instance, you might discover that everyone in your target industry is struggling to deal with a certain new compliance law. You can then search for the name of this law on Google or LinkedIn, and surface active conversations prospects are having. Join the debate, and pick up some valuable leads.
If used correctly, LinkedIn can be a gold mine of prospects.
In addition to the job listings, LinkedIn groups are full of people looking for help. For example, as of this writing, a search for “content marketing” resulted in 1,240 groups.
I found this discussion in the top 10 results:
Salespeople can join these groups, add to the conversation, and help the community. While it wouldn’t be a good idea to go in and sell right off the bat, we can keep these individuals and companies on our list of prospects to keep an eye on.
The power tool of LinkedIn is advanced search:
If you know your ideal buyer persona, you can easily find people who match that criteria with the help of advanced search. Whether you search by location, the company they work at, their industry, or language they speak, it's easy to find specific communities of people. And if you've already found a company you want to get in touch with, you can search for people at that business to contact.
Once you find companies that you'd like to pursue, follow the organization's profile for updates and trigger events that will help you customize and personalize your messaging.
Crunchbase provides information on funding, company exits, and tech events. Note: This only applies to public companies, so if you sell to private organizations, this site won't be of much help to you (outside of gathering competitive intel).
When a company gets money, that money needs to be spent. See where I’m going with this?
Find out which companies recently got funding and then research whether or not any of these organizations would be a good fit for your product or services.
We can also use the advanced search feature to narrow search results down to companies within our territory or category.
7) Local Chamber of Commerce Website
While it might not be the most enjoyable website to peruse and the listings may not be totally comprehensive, your local Chamber of Commerce website offers a directory of local businesses.
The Boston Chamber of Commerce business directory organizes businesses by industry. This is perfect if you know your ideal customer persona.
8) HubSpot CRM
Wouldn't it be great if you could source new prospects directly from your CRM? HubSpot's free CRM tool offers just this capability. By clicking the "Companies" tab, salespeople can search a database of companies and filter results by location, industry, and employee count.
Are there more places to find prospects that you don’t see listed? Share them with us in the comments.