What is Sales Prospecting

Any Sales Lifecycle comprises of various stages which starts with Prospecting. But very often newbie salespersons or enthusiasts asks "What exactly is Sales Prospecting?".

In this post, I would like to address those newbie and ambitious sales persons to understand what exactly is Sales Prospecting.


If you are in Sales, you would most certainly have following ways to get business:

  1. Leads from Networks.
  2. Leads from Inbound Marketing.
  3. Leads from Outbound Prospecting.


Aaron Ross, the author of Predictable Revenue mentions Outbound Prospecting to be one of the powerful weapon in your sales arsenal to achieve 10x revenue growth.

The reason for this is simple. First, Leads that you can get from your Network is limited and hence for 10x revenue growth you cannot always rely on networks for your whole business. Second, Getting Leads from Inbound Marketing takes time. You need to get your SEO right, you need to carve out a lot of contents to be absorbed by visitors before you get your first lead subscribing to your mailing list. Both of the above techniques are little unpredictable though they do have significance in the long future. This is the reason companies should never ignore Outbound Prospecting.

Ideally Outbound Prospecting is done by Sales Development Representatives wherein they try to find out new leads for the business. Prospecting is an act of finding or hunting for new leads. This is done by trying to contact the leads via cold calls, cold emails, etc. Sometimes this may also include calling or trying to contact the leads who went cold after some time in the past (technically, this comes under Lead Nurturing).

Contrary to the age old belief that Prospecting is a kind of tele-calling job, it has actually changed a lot in the recent years of modern Sales and Marketing. The quality of work done during Prospecting stage can truly break or make a company. This is an important determinant for the Business Development Representatives to be able to convert the deals given to them by Sales Development Representatives. If Prospecting is not done on the right customer persona and lead qualification is not done correct by the Prospecting team, it can ultimately waste months of lead nurturing time given by the Business Development Rep.

Hence Prospecting should be done very carefully.

While doing Prospecting, a Sales Development representative should clearly prepare the persona of a prospective client by preparing a checklist by acquiring data of the customer profiles acquired in the past. This can include the typical industry where the clients come from, the typical revenue which clients have, the typical budget they have for the product which you are selling, job role of the person who took the decision to buy your product, job roles of the key influencers in those deals, etc.

Once the customer profile persona is ready, the prospector should start Prospecting by trying to contact the leads in appropriately applicable ways and try to analyse if they fit in the persona. If the lead fits in, it should be advanced to the next stage of the sales process to the Business Development representative so that he can take it to closure.

Prospecting is like Going to Gym for Exercise. It should be done regularly and with adequate frequency. If you do not exercise regularly, sometimes you will feel tired, some times energized but you will never get to your ultimate objective of attaining fitness. Similarly, if you do not do Prospecting regularly, your Sales Pipeline would have inconsistent and unpredictable flow of revenue. A few months you would have a surge of leads for your Business Development reps to work on, which would become unmanageable and they would end of losing many of them. While a few months would have very less leads for your Business Development team to work on rendering them underutilized or less productive. This will also hit back in the form of inconsistent revenue flow.

Hence to keep your revenues in control, Prospecting should be done by dedicated sales development representatives and should be done regularly.

Hope you found this post useful. Do comment below and let me know your thoughts.

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