Don’t you feel like you’re exhausting yourself in a time-consuming and inefficient search for customers? (on average a company loses 20% of its customers each year, a real nightmare). There is a solution: read this article and find the answers so that your BtoB prospecting is effective without wasting your time or your money.
How to prospect professionals?
The challenge is to interest professionals in your products and services, then convert them into customers. With digitalization, prospecting methods have diversified, and thus require broader skills.
Prospecting professional customers is done both with traditional means and on the internet. And this also has its advantages since a prepared and skilful prospection saves you time while boosting your turnover and improving your commercial relations.
What is the B2B lead?
Business prospecting is the process of finding new customers. This involves knowing how to identify the right people and making them aware of their needs, creating trust by developing your company’s brand image, and when your prospect is hot, presenting your products or services to them and explain the benefits.
Business To Business differs from Business To Customer (BtoC) since in BtoB you are addressing professional customers. In concrete terms, you are therefore generally targeting a decision-maker or a group of people who can influence the purchasing decision: the director, his management team and any staff in charge of the orders.
To succeed in B2B, it is important to know the different prospecting levers:
- Paid advertising: billboards and advertising inserts, TV and radio spots, banners, Google Adwords, social ads…
- Free advertising: blogs of friends, press, influencers…
- The discussion with professionals: social media and word of mouth…
- The presentation of the offer by yourself: your website, quality content on your blog, direct approach to your sales representatives…
The goal is to detect and qualify your leads, then turn your prospects into customers. You retain your existing customers by offering them additional sales.
The 6 effective prospecting methods in BTOB
The phone is intrusive, but you’re 9x more likely to convert a lead if you contact them within 5 minutes of their request ( InsideSales ). The phone’s secret is responsiveness: it’s up to you to use it at the right time.
Communication is prepared upstream thanks to the commercial prospecting file, by gathering key information about your potential customer. You can thus sharpen your arguments and convince the secretary to let you contact the right person.
In any case, speaking directly with a person increases the chances of establishing a relationship of trust, and of identifying the expectations of your contact. It is also a way to succeed in a survey prior to your actual prospecting.
2. Physical encounter
The physical encounter can be used to cultivate close relationships, or establish a climate of trust. You can therefore go directly to the company’s headquarters, or go to shows, fairs, conferences, competitions or afterworks. However, this method requires time and should above all be used to develop your networks , collect data and communicate about your business.
3. Cold Emailing
An e-mail is also a good means for commercial prospecting. It is not considered intrusive because one can open it at the appropriate time. Still, companies can be bombarded with commercial emails that end up in SPAM. Thus, only 24% of e-mails are read for commercial prospecting.
On each email, you must also:
- respect the GDPR rules and open a right of opposition, or termination of subscription;
- adopt advanced techniques: personalize your emails by targeting your prospects;
- follow the rule of 80% information and 20% advertising;
- take care of your object in order to arouse interest,
- and consider your signature as the best space to communicate about your company and increase your brand prestige.
By respecting your recipient, we call it e-mail collaborator and that changes everything!
4. Automation Marketing
Your bane in commercial prospecting on the internet are repetitive and time-consuming tasks. There is a solution: automation marketing .
The behavior of the visitor automatically generates the sending of e-mails and the enrichment of your database by qualifying and noting the value of your lead (lead scoring). Automation thus makes it possible to “incubate” your prospects who are not yet ripe for the act of purchase.
Concretely, you can therefore trigger a welcome email, or relaunch an abandoned cart. Lead scoring is also done with each action of the user of your sales funnel .
Among the solutions for digitalized commercial prospecting, there are social networks and social selling . By being active on Facebook™, Twitter™ or LinkedIn™, you interact regularly with your prospects to provide them with content, inform them, provide them with concrete answers or contact them.
You should not aim for the immediate result but show your expertise and your know-how in order to develop the brand image of your company. To do this, you should take care of your profile, publish content with high added value, and join discussion groups.
Social selling is the act of integrating the use of social networks throughout the purchase journey.
Find out further that LinkedIn™ is the best BtoB digital prospecting tool.
Your website is very visited, but you are still struggling with the conversion rate. With Retargeting, you can display an advertising banner corresponding to the areas of interest that your leads have expressed indirectly by seeking information about your products or services.
The 6 steps of the prospecting process
Step 1: segment and target
Before starting to prospect, it is indeed essential to determine which companies are likely to be interested in your commercial offer. Because if you don’t, you risk not finding the most interesting customers and your turnover may suffer.
So how do you reach your ideal customers ? First, start by segmenting the market on well-defined criteria: company activity, size, location, sector of activity, needs, financial situation, etc.
You have to identify your core target, ie all the interlocutors involved in the purchasing process. For large companies, this group varies between 2 and 5 people on average.
Step 2: create your btob commercial prospecting file
Once the targeting is done, you can then build your prospecting file . The contacts you have thought of must be in this database. Their professional information is easy to find: website, salon, LinkedIn™ profile and page, press…
All this allows the customization of actions and strategies to be put forward, taking into account the profile and concerns of each target segment.
The best is to use a CRM, an information storage tool that we see later.
Step 3: choose your angle of attack
Now that you know your targets better, you can determine which marketing lever is best suited to their personality and their purchasing behavior.
For example, in the digital professions, human contact remains useful in commercial prospecting (afterworks). In other sectors, business leaders will prefer the telephone or face-to-face meetings, especially if they don’t need a website to function.
Sometimes it’s e-mail that will allow you to establish a first contact, or LinkedIn™. But very often, the multi-channel approach is recommended by choosing a different prospecting method depending on the stage where you are.
Step 4: Develop a communication plan
Now prepare for your first approach. We will have to give convincing arguments. You have to present your offer and arouse the interest of your btob prospect.
First, ask yourself what interest your potential client has in trusting you. Then try to show how your offer is better than the competition. And finally, you have to present the main axes of your future collaboration.
To succeed in your com plan, read our article on the AIDA method
Step 5: prepare a btob commercial prospecting funnel
The prospecting tunnel is made up of the different stages that go from the first meeting to the purchase itself, even up to the post-conversion follow-up (essential for building loyalty).
Don’t forget that it takes time (8 interactions on average to land a first date) and several attempts are necessary before you succeed. And if one channel fails, there’s nothing stopping you from trying another.
A schedule allows you to prospect better: the time slots for contacting prospects in the event of telephone prospecting , the regularity of content production, reminders.
Step 6: Implementation
Now it’s time to take action!
Aim for regularity rather than quantity: it is better to prospect a small number but do it well and often. Nurturing comes to your rescue by reviving your prospects with new content.
Determine your objectives and measure your results: acceptance rate on LinkedIn™, response rate, e-mail opening and response rate, click-through rate…
The methodology of btob commercial prospecting
As you have understood, btob commercial prospecting is a matter of marketing strategy and therefore requires following a method. Having a quality offer is not enough to find new customers.
The first thing to do is to plan your prospecting (how many new customers to find, how many old ones to follow up). Then, target: segment the prospects so as not to get the wrong target, keep an up-to-date file to qualify your prospects, detect the “hottest” ones using lead scoring, find out about them before contacting them.
Use modern prospecting techniques and educate yourself regularly on the subject. Also create quality content to increase your visibility on the net, “nurture” prospects that are still “cold” with lead nurturing and automation marketing. Be an actor on social networks to make yourself known and appreciated.
Know how to convince without harassing to get an appointment: master the answers to the most common questions and objections, know how to listen and learn from your failures. Use feedback to improve your offer.
Btob commercial prospecting tools
CRM has become essential for btob commercial prospecting.
Basically, CRM is customer relationship management, but in the long run it merges with its tool: software. This facilitates the creation and updating of a database for your sales force. It also allows targeting, segmentation and marketing planning. It is used for customer service, as well as for sales analysis.
To generate leads , internet advertising remains effective. For example, there is Google Adwords which allows you to obtain sponsored links on this search engine. Facebook™ and Twitter™ have also developed their Ads tool which allows targeting on numerous criteria. But in B2B, LinkedIn™ is ideal.
Everyone talks about influencers, it’s because their audience can help you get the word out about your products. For example, they are essential to penetrate the Chinese market.
Digital press relations tools are also available: PressKing, 24Presse, RPDirect. You can also connect with journalists on Twitter™ and LinkedIn™.
Outbound marketing tools exist, especially for your email campaigns: Anyleads, Datananas, SaleTrade…
A tool to place your calls-to-action on shared links: snip.ly .
To prospect in B to B, websites are very useful: societe.com for the financial analysis of the prospect for example, the PagesJaunes of course, and GoogleMaps to both attract new customers and identify them in a given geographical area.
LinkedIn™: the essential BtoB network
Why use LinkedIn™?
Because it’s both a free tool and the most complete professional database in the world . This social network has more than 800 million users, and the database of professionals is updated by the members themselves. Moreover, the information you can collect on them is numerous and useful for BtoB targeting.
If you are in the French market, LinkedIn™ in France represents 23 million professionals and 54% of the active population.
So, in BtoB prospecting, LinkedIn™ is essential since half of the French companies, your target, can be found there for free.
LinkedIn™ Sales Navigator
This is LinkedIn™’s built-in CRM. Intended for salespeople, it increases your productivity in researching and following up with prospects. To learn all about LinkedIn™ Sales Navigator, read our article!
BtoB lead generation with LinkedIn™
LinkedIn™ is a major network for your BtoB lead generation. It allows you to win targeted contacts that you will turn into customers.
Commercial prospecting with LinkedIn™ is based on several levers:
- Develop your professional network with people who represent your core target;
- Make yourself visible to your target;
- Show your expertise and develop your credibility;
- Bring your future customers to you;
- Connect in a human way with your prospects.
To help you implement an effective prospecting strategy with LinkedIn™, Proinfluent has developed an approved and proven method, the Proinfluent® Method:
- Attract customers every month without spending 1 cent on advertising;
- Generate appointments with your future customers without spending your days prospecting;
- Be visible and noticed every week by your customers;
- Save 3 hours a day by intelligently automating the actions that can be.
More than 90 testimonials written in black and white attest to the effectiveness of the Proinfluent Method. Here is what they say:
Jérôme Soldini: “I managed to make 12 BtoB meetings in 6 weeks” following this prospecting training.
Éric De Pommereau “In 15 days, I obtained more than 30 targeted appointments! »
If, like our clients, you want to use the controlled power of LinkedIn™ to find your future clients, click here to discover the Proinfluent Method, LinkedIn™ prospecting training .
Btob commercial prospecting: to conclude
- Prospecting in B to B requires setting up a precise and controlled strategy (especially if you want to boost your turnover).
- The 6 effective methods are telephone, physical meeting, cold emailing, automation marketing, social selling and retargeting.
- The 6 steps of the prospecting process are targeting, the prospecting file, the choice of the right lever, the communication plan, the prospecting tunnel, and the implementation.
- Prospecting tools are CRMs, advertising, influencers, press, outbound marketing, content curation, websites, and LinkedIn™.
B to B prospecting, to summarize in 4 questions
What is B to B commercial prospecting?
- The development of your business and its survival depend on commercial prospecting to increase your sales and thus improve your turnover.
- Commercial prospecting is first and foremost the search for new customers. Enriching your customer file is the pillar of success.
- Business to Business is the search for professional customers (prospects) and not individuals (B to Customers). The challenge is therefore to get an appointment to turn them into customers.
- In B2B, the purchasing cycle can be long and there are many decision-makers, so you have to know how to cultivate your relationships with your prospects and create a relationship of trust.
How to effectively prospect in B to B?
- Targeting, determining your ideal client, your buyer persona, based on criteria specific to the business world.
- Create and update a prospecting file to qualify your prospects in order to find the right angle of attack.
- Adapt its communication and its prospecting levers according to the customer profile.
- Learn about him thoroughly before contacting him. Except for SMEs, two to five people are generally involved in the purchasing process. This group of decision makers needs to be identified.
- Train and get up to date on prospecting methods.
- Aim for the long term, be regular, take care, cultivate relationships, produce quality content.
How do you prospect in B to C?
- In BtoC customers are consumers.
- As in BtoB, you have to target by identifying your ideal client, but on sociological, demographic and psychological criteria.
- It is also necessary to create a prospecting file and choose the right levers.
What are the different types of prospecting?
- Outbound marketing consists of going to the customer, for example by paying for classic or digital advertising campaigns is expensive but nevertheless useful.
- Direct prospecting concerns canvassing actions: on site, telephone and cold emailing. It makes it possible to approach decision-makers and better understand the expectations of prospects.
- Social selling consists of using social networks in the purchase journey. For this, you can be active by creating interesting content and building friendly relationships with members.
- Inbound marketing is based on a content creation strategy: having a website visible on Google™, owning a blog, using social networks, in order to attract customers.