What is Prospecting? The Definitive Guide for 2023

Apr 24, 2023

There’s one sure thing – gone are the days when prospecting was based only on cold calling. There’re many efficient ways of prospecting and contacting a potential customer in 2023.

what is prospecting

After typing “prospecting meaning,” in your favorite search engine, you’ll get plenty of results. The most accurate would be something like this: prospecting means identifying and contacting future customers.

OK, but how do you actually do this?

That’s the question of the day. Are you ready to get to know how to do it effectively?

Let’s go, then.

What is prospecting? Prospecting meaning explained

Prospecting is actively searching for new prospects who would like to buy your product or service. Simply put, the goal of prospecting is digging up leads, making connections and offering a sales pitch, and nurturing relationships until they’re likely to become consumers.

We’ve provided many prospecting methods here, so you won’t be left in the dark. We’ll also mention some sales prospecting tools to help win more prospective buyers for your products or services.

But for now, let’s take a look at the list of prospecting benefits.

Why is prospecting important?

The list of why this marketing and sales approach is so crucial is endless.

However, here you have some of the most significant benefits of the prospecting game for the sales process.

01 It lets identify qualified leads

One of the most valuable advantages of an effective sales prospecting process is lead generation. It allows sales reps to identify and qualify potential customers who are most likely to convert into paying customers.

💡 Let’s maximize the efficiency of the sales team’s efforts! Prioritize the most promising opportunities with their time and resources.

02 It keeps the sales funnel flowing

Prospecting is one of the steps in keeping your sales funnel flowing smoothly. It is because sales reps find prospects that are a good fit for your business.

It’s the secret ingredient that keeps your sales pipeline packed full of new opportunities, so you can keep closing deals and hitting your targets.

03 It makes sales reps build relationships

If you’ve been in business for some time, you know that building relationships with prospects is as crucial as closing deals with them.

Using personalized email communication, for example, you are able to get to grab users’ attention and deliver them your message.

And then slowly build a valuable relationship. Give it some time and care, it takes a bit longer than you may expect. It won’t overnight. But it will pay off!

💡 And don’t forget about customer relationship management.

Besides, nobody likes a pushy salesperson. This kind of sales rep, who jumps on the phone and starts pitching right away, is not going to get very far.

That’s where prospecting comes in – it’s all about building relationships with potential customers.

Different types of sales prospecting

Prospecting is quite a wide topic – it may take different forms depending on what sales activities you usually do.

Take a look at a couple of types of prospecting, and choose the one that works the best for your sales team. Included are also some sales prospecting tips for reaching out to target customers on each platform.

Phone prospecting

It is the classic method of attracting future customers. Probably we’ve all experienced phone prospecting, so you can imagine how hard it may be to acquire a new customer using this method. It basically entails going through prospect lists and dialing phone numbers one by one.

The best approach here is to be brief and to the point. Otherwise, potential buyers will hang up.

Make a quick introduction, mention what you do, and ask if they’re interested in hearing more. Also smiling when you’re on the phone helps a lot.

💡 Making cold calls is a sales pitch or tactic, whereas prospecting is a sales strategy.

The average cold-calling success rate is 2%, but it can be increased to 10.01% with the right sales call script. A cold prospect can easily lead to new sales opportunities if you reach out to the right person at the right time.

Email prospecting

An excellent option for reaching out to sales prospects who might not have time for a phone call. With email prospecting, sales professionals can take a little more time to write a thoughtful message that highlights the benefits of your product or service to your target customers.

To succeed with this method, make the communication as personal as possible. Don’t just send out generic emails to every potential lead on your list. Take the time to research your prospect and discover their pain points.

Your list of prospects needs to be clean and up to date to get the most out of this channel. If your target audience consists of emails that are 50% outdated, say goodbye to meeting your sales goals.

📰 See how to grow your email list.

Social media prospecting

Identifying potential customers on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram is called social media prospecting.

To successfully capture qualified leads, pay extra attention to being authentic and try to appear genuinely interested in what prospective customers do on social media.

Don’t just send out a bunch of random social media messages to people you’ve never met before. This approach to social selling rarely leads to a sales meeting, even if you have a personalized pitch in your initial message.

Take the time to build a relationship with your prospects by commenting on their posts, sharing their content, and engaging with them in a meaningful way.

Prospecting and sales techniques

Whatever method you pick, there are different approaches to finding qualified leads and crushing your sales goals.

Cold prospecting

It is basically the process of reaching out to people who don’t know you and trying to get them interested in your business. Your sales development reps dial the phone or send out emails to a relevant list of people who make buying decisions in their businesses, but have never encountered your product before.

Of course, not everyone is going to be interested in what you have to offer. Some people will say no right off the bat, and it happens. But don’t let that initial contact discourage you, because with automated follow ups and the right type of sales collateral, you can close deals from cold prospecting too.

Warm prospecting

You connect with a person who has already expressed some type of interest in your offering. This method of prospecting is like reconnecting with an old friend. You already know each other and have some common ground, so you’re not starting from scratch.

If you have a personal connection with someone, you can use this as a conversation starter and send a warm email offering your product or service.

Referral prospecting

The strategy that involves contacting potential buyers or users who have been referred to you by someone they know and trust is called referral prospecting.

✨ Mind these words: word-of-mouth marketing is responsible for 20 to 50% of purchasing decisions.

However, to get people to refer you, you must build good relationships with your existing clients and give them impeccable service.

🗞️ Looking for effective email templates that may appeal to your potential clients? Check out 20+ best Mailchimp templates for effective email campaigns.

9 Sales prospecting techniques to try in 2023

If you’ve never done sales prospecting before, here are some excellent starting points.

#1 Define your ICP (Ideal Customer Profile)

It is the key step that you don’t want to miss.

➡️ This is how you need to start – look at your current customer base.

➡️ And then answer the following questions:

  • which customers are the most profitable?
  • which customers are easy to work with?
  • which customers are always satisfied with your product or service?
  • what industries do they work in?
  • what size are their companies?
  • what common issues do they share?

You see? The right questions ✨

Take a deep dive into their demographics, psychographics, and even their values and beliefs to really understand what makes them tick.

You can also talk to your sales team and customer service reps to get insights on what types of customers they enjoy working with the most.

➡️ Create a detailed buyer persona that represents your ideal customer, complete with their business goals, challenges, objections, and preferred communication channels.

💡 Remember, the more specific and detailed your ICP is, the easier it will be to find and attract your dream customers.

#2 Research the prospects before reaching out

OK, if you identified your ICP, it’s time for some more research. Get to know your potential customers inside and out. You may check out their social media profiles or join their favorite LinkedIn groups to see what they’ve been up to lately.

Your marketing pitches will be more effective when you learn about your prospects as much as possible.

If you know your target preferences and likings, establishing the tone of voice or deciding on the language you use in your emails will be more straightforward.

#3 Set clear prospecting targets and KPIs

Targets and goals are the critical part of any endeavor ever taken. Having no goal is like shooting in the dark. You might hit something, but you don’t know in which direction you’re aiming. It may work, but it’s not effective at all.

Setting targets and KPIs is essential. They are your key decision markers.

It might be hitting a certain number of calls or emails per day or snagging a certain number of demos each week. Whatever your targets are, ensure they’re specific, measurable, and, above all, achievable.

And if you do happen to hit your goals early, give yourself a pat on the back. Small achievements are worth celebrating as well. 🥳

Now, let’s move on to KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).

These are metrics that measure the success of your prospering efforts. They’re like a trusty compass that will guide you through the wilderness of sales.

Some common KPIs for prospecting include:

  • the number of calls made,
  • emails sent,
  • meetings booked,
  • demos scheduled,

or simply how the lead generation is going.

But also some minor things like:

  • tracking your open and response rates,
  • conversion rates,
  • sales cycle length.

The key is to choose KPIs that are relevant to your business and goals and track them consistently over time.

And if you feel overwhelmed by all the data, don’t worry – there are plenty of sales tools out there for marketing automation and the process in general.

🔵 Why not make your life easier? Use Bouncer and automate verification of email addresses hosted by different email service providers.


what is prospecting in emails

#4 Collaborate across departments

Teamwork makes the dream work! And that is also true about prospecting. Collaboration across departments is a fantastic way to bring prospecting efforts to a new level.

When working with others, you can connect with new customers more quickly than a sale rep would do it solo.

Then, representatives have access to different perspectives and expertise necessary to create more targeted and effective messages.

For instance, your marketing team might have insights into what messaging channel a target buyer uses. Likewise, the product department can help you figure out what features and benefits prospects care about.

Collaboration opens up endless possibilities. 💪🏻

#5 Make outreach personalized

Take the time to personalize your outreach, and show your prospects that you care about them as individuals, not just as potential sales targets.

The last thing anyone wants is to feel like just another number in someone’s sales funnel.

As you personalize your outreach, you set yourself apart from the competition and build genuine connections with your prospects.

And with the support from other departments and a bit of your energy, personalizing the outreach is a piece of cake, even if you don’t have any mutual connections. 🍰

Honestly, it’s like making a cake! You can have all the ingredients and a recipe, but if you don’t combine them correctly and add a little bit of love to the mix, you won’t get the desired result.

Personalizing your outreach is the same – it takes effort, dedication, and the support of other departments to get it just right.

Did you know that by the end of 2023, the global revenue of customer experience personalization and optimization software will exceed nine billion U.S. dollars? That’s another reason to keep an eye on personalization, now.

#6 Develop relations with potential customers

Focusing on maintaining and building relationship is key in business. While it is tempting to focus solely on closing deals, developing relationships with potential consumers pay off in the long run.

You can do it many ways, such as creating amazing email campaigns, offering customer discounts on their birthday, and connecting with them using social media – answer their comments, like answers, and react, then tag you.

These are seemingly simple and small things, but they make a huge difference. Sure, it takes a little more effort up front, but in the end, you’ll be glad you did.

#7 Measure prospecting success

It’s always better to know if the efforts that you make are successful or not, isn’t it?

And this is what measuring prospecting success offers – the ability to understand what strategies work and which ones need to be tweaked or dropped completely.

And then, salespeople can devote their time and energy on activities that are likely to bring the greatest results.

The motivating aspect is worth mentioning as well. As you see the progress you’ve made and the conversations, it’s a great confidence booster. It helps stay on track and makes prospecting a bit more fun.

#8 Orient yourself primarily on the prospects’ needs rather than the product

You’ve got to focus on your prospects. If you want to be successful in any industry, do your best to orient your activities to them. In other words, cater to their needs, challenges, and in general, how your product or service benefits them in the best way possible.

Here’s the thing – if a potential customer doesn’t see the value in what you offer, they’re not going to buy it, no matter how great you think it is.

So, take the time to get to know your prospects, ask questions, and really listen to their answers

#9 Check if the email is delivered to the right addresses

While it may seem old-school, email is still a highly effective way to prospect for sales. Create a compelling subject line, personalize your message, and provide value to your potential audience to increase your chances of success.

You wouldn’t want to miss out on contacting your prospects only because you haven’t checked on the address, right?

Then, Bouncer verifies the addresses for you. There’s no way to know if these are real people, and you might end up with a lot of hard bounces and a poor reputation as a sender.

Start prospecting today!

Can you tell the difference between selling the ice to the Eskimo and offering a drink to someone who is already thirsty?

Well, this is exactly what you do when getting an understanding of a successful prospecting strategy – you sell drinks to the thirsty ones, and they are so happy about it that they come for more!

Prospecting is a powerful force that will help you with lead generation, but you need to do some digging into the topic and put some effort into your prospecting plan.

Don’t worry, Bouncer will take the burden off your shoulders with email verification. Sign up for free, and start prospecting like a pro! None of your email campaigns will bounce back.


What is prospecting marketing?

Prospecting marketing is the process of identifying a potential customer and lead generation using various prospecting and sales techniques. Sales reps prospect by cold calling, email marketing, and networking.

What is an example of prospecting?

Here are some sales prospecting techniques:

  • Cold calls
  • Social media outreach
  • Email marketing
  • Networking
  • Content marketing
  • Advertisements
  • Hosting events

Is it good to be prospecting?

The only good answer is yes! It is the first step in the sales funnel, and it allows sales reps to identify prospective customers and generate leads for their business. Without prospecting, a sales rep would have a limited number of opportunities to convert potential consumers into paying customers and grow a business.

What are prospecting skills?

These are the superpowers of salespeople! As a prospector, you ought to have a combination of Jedi-like persuasion skills, the ability to make people love you, and the creativity of a mad scientist.

In other words: creating engaging content or messages, building relationships with people, and being authentic about the products and services.

What’s the difference between inbound and outbound prospecting?

Inbound prospecting is more passive and relies on creating content that attracts new customers, while outbound prospecting is more active and involves reaching out to target consumers directly. Both of the prospecting techniques are effective when identifying potential customers (if used correctly).

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