Follow a few simple steps to help you find and connect with your ideal prospects.
- In a meeting with my manager recently, we reviewed my last quarter's results. In looking through the accounts, deals, and actual clients, it was clear that a small list of people actually made my quarter, compared to the thousands of prospects that I could've been attempting to talk to and influence. This was a good reminder that it's quality not quantity when trying to find your ideal prospects. Hopefully by now you have a good sense of what your ideal prospect looks like. Now it's time to find them.
Finding them will take leveraging all of the information you have and narrowing it down to as short of a list as possible. If this process is new to you, it might not initially go as fast as you'd like, but don't worry. As you get better, you'll be able to narrow your list of potential prospects quickly and easily. There are three steps to finding your ideal prospects. The first is to narrow down your list. There are basically two pillars of searching for prospects on LinkedIn and other social networks, filters and keywords.
Filters are essentially pre-built categories, like a search by geography, title, or company size. Think about the attributes of your ideal customer and look at LinkedIn to see if there are filters to match. There are basic filters like geography or industry that are part of the standard LinkedIn experience. But you will quickly realize that the best filters for prospecting are in Sales Navigator, which is a LinkedIn product built specifically for sales people. Whether or not you have Sales Navigator, try to match as many attributes of your ideal customer to filters and watch your list shrink with each additional filter.
Now that you've exhausted all your filter options, it's time to see if there are keywords that you can include in the search to narrow down the search even further. For example, if you're trying to sell to content marketers, make sure to include content marketing in the keywords section of search. At this point, it's a bit of art and science, adjusting filters and keywords to narrow down your target customer list as much as possible. Don't be afraid to experiment, play around with different filter combinations, and look through the results to make sure that you're getting a quality list that will make your life much easier.
As you zero in on a specific prospect at a company, the next step is to map out the buying committee. The latest research from the Corporate Executive Board shows that the average buying decision involves 6.8 people. That is a ton. It's time to take out a piece of paper and start to map out an org chart of what the buying committee could look like. In looking at your key prospect, try to figure out who's their boss? Who reports to them? Which of their peers might be influential in key departments that are typically involved in purchasing your product? Use this makeshift org chart as a guide for when you talk to your prospect.
A few pointed questions will help confirm your org chart or fill in a few gaps. Another great method is to look for the watering holes of your ideal prospects. Where are the places that a significant portion of your ideal prospects congregate online? An online watering hole could be a hashtag like bigdata or marketing, or it could be a LinkedIn industry group, like B2B Technology Marketers. This can be another way to find potential prospects. And even more importantly, to learn what is important to them.
What are they talking about? What articles are they sharing? How do they like to be engaged? Groups can be a great place to start a conversation with your ideal prospects, but we'll cover that in a later section. Okay, now that you've learned how to find your ideal prospects, let's put these new skills to the test. Pick a prospect that you already have on your target list and map out the buying committee. Chances are you've already identified a few key people, but take some time and try to map out at least seven people that could be involved in the buying committee in a mock org chart on a piece of paper.
- Crafting a customer-centric profile
- Creating a professional brand that expands your reach
- Identifying your ideal prospects
- Understanding what your buyer values
- Knowing when a prospect is ready to buy
- Engaging with personalized outreach
- Asking for an introduction
- Measuring social selling success