There are hundreds of different sales tactics that you can use to find prospects, qualify leads, and make a sale.
But how do you decide which ones make the most sense for your business?
To point you in the right direction, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best and most popular B2B sales tactics from general practices to specific sales techniques you can use to close more of your deals.
What is prospecting?
Prospecting is the process of finding and reaching out to potential customers for your business. It’s typically an outbound marketing method that salespeople or sales development reps (SDRs) are tasked with.
Routine prospecting activities include cold calling, cold emailing, or following up with a lead that has gone cold. The end goal is to identify leads that can be moved to the next step of your sales funnel, and eventually, result in a sale.
Finding Qualified Leads
The first step of prospecting is to research and find a group of qualified people to reach out to. There are many ways to find potential buyers. You can:
- Buy lead lists from a company like Lime Leads or InfoUSA
- Browse LinkedIn for qualified leads or use LinkedIn Sales Navigator
- Ask your current customers for referrals
- Scour Yelp for potential prospects
- Attend networking events
The list goes on and on. Finding the right method that works for you will require a bit of trial and error. To get you started, here are a few helpful resources that cover researching and finding potential leads:
- “6 Sales Prospecting Strategies You Should Be Using” by PhoneBurner
- “12 Sales Prospecting Methods to Use as Alternatives to Cold Calling” by LeadFuze
- “How to Get 200 Targeted Leads Daily on LinkedIn” by Neil Patel
- “How to Get Leads and Customers at Events” by Social Media Examiner
A cold call is an unsolicited call to a potential buyer to introduce them to your business and eventually move them towards a sale. This type of sales tactic usually has a low success rate and it’s difficult for even the best salesperson to master.
At glance, here why’s cold calling can be so difficult:
- Only 1% of cold calls ultimately lead to appointments (Source).
- Around 90% of top-level B2B decision makers do not respond to cold outreach (Source).
However, with the statistics as bleak as they are, B2B companies still frequently rely on cold calling to generate sales opportunities. If you want to step up your cold calling game, check out the following resources:
- “The Ultimate Guide to Cold Calling” by Nutshell
- “Cold calling 2.0: Why your cold calling strategy needs to evolve” by Nutshell
- “5 things you should do before every sales call” by Nutshell
A cold email is an email sent to a potential buyer who has no prior relationship with you or your company. The contact has never met you, nor have you been mentioned as a referral. You simply found their contact information and sent them an email out-of-the-blue hoping for a reply.
Just like cold calling, it’s tough to get a response or book an appointment via cold emailing. However, with the right email scripts, strategy, and follow up methods, you can improve your reply rates.
“We have to send a lot of cold emails as part of link building for SEO, or when we try to market our courses to people,” says Balazs Hajde, Content Manager at Authority Hacker. “We found that losing the salesy language and being casual goes a long way, both with marketing professionals and the average customer.
“So, for example, a common subject line we use is ‘Could you take a quick look at this?’ It’s friendly, something you’d get from a friend or a co-worker, so you instinctively open the message.
“We also like to be self-aware, so we write things like, ‘I know, I know, this is like, the 7,543th email I’m sending you…’ Marketers appreciate the transparency, and everyone likes the friendly tone.”
The articles below will give you some more great tips for crafting the perfect cold email:
- “16 B2B cold email templates that sales experts swear by” by Nutshell
- “How to write a killer follow-up email sequence that draws replies” by Nutshell
- “The one cold email that actually gets everything right (and three that come close)” by Nutshell
- “The five (or so) worst cold emails we’ve ever seen” by Nutshell
- “26 Cold Email Examples Broken Down To Help You Write Your Own” by Criminally Prolific
The best sales email is the one that gets read.
Download the Complete Guide to Writing MUCH Better Sales Emails for over 50+ pro tips on how to make your emails stand out in a crowded inbox.
A “warm” call is a sales call that follows up an initial form of contact or introduction. You may not have had a proper conversation with the potential buyer, yet they are familiar with you because of this initial introduction. (See also: warm email prospecting.)
Examples include sending them a white paper prior to the call, being mentioned as a referral from another client, commenting on some of their social media posts, or shaking their hand at a networking event.
The idea is that since the person is already aware of you, they will be more receptive and likely to speak with you about your business.
If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of warm calling and how to use the tactic effectively, we recommend checking out the following articles:
- “Warm Calling vs Cold Calling: Which is Best for You?” by LeadFuze
- “Why Warm Calling is 99% Better Than Cold Calling” by BoomTown
- “8 Tips to Turn Cold Calling into Warm Calling” by Inside Sales Box
Mailing information and offers to potential buyers is still a great way to make an initial contact with a new business. If you aren’t convinced, here are a few interesting statistics to consider:
- 70% of Americans say that mail is more personal than the internet (Source).
- 79% of consumers will act on direct mail immediately, compared to only 45% who say they deal with email immediately (Source).
- Targeted B2B direct mail has a response rate of 4.4%—nearly 37 times that of email (.12%) (Source).
If you haven’t tried using direct mail for your business yet, the following resources will help you build a successful direct mail campaign:
- “The 5 Types of Direct Mail Campaigns in B2B Marketing” by Bizible
- “3 Dos and Don’ts If You’re Considering Direct Mail Marketing” by Fivestars
- “Direct Mail Marketing: Is It Worth the Cost?” by Business.com
Referrals are an incredibly effective way to find qualified buyers. In fact, according to Nielsen, 92% of consumers trust referrals from people they know and are four times more likely to buy when referred by a friend.
While some referrals will come naturally, there are a few ways you can entice your current customers to refer your business more readily. The following resources will get you started:
- “6 Things You Can Do Right Now to Get More Referrals” by KickoffLabs
- “The Best Way to Get Tons of Referrals” by Inc
- “How to Generate More Referrals For Your Business” by Nick Reese
For an even deeper look at prospecting strategies, check out this sales prospecting guide from G2Crowd.
What is lead generation?
You will find many different definitions when it comes to lead generation. However, lead gen essentially boils down to two activities:
- Attracting qualified buyers to your business and;
- Collecting their contact information (so that your sales team can follow up)
Lead generation is typically an inbound marketing strategy. In other words, you get qualified buyers to come to you, versus prospecting, where you have to spend time finding and reaching out to prospects.
Building a successful lead generation process can take time, but once set up, leads should filter in consistently and reduce or eliminate the need for prospecting.
To build a successful lead generation process, you need a way to attract your target audience and a way to collect their contact information. We’ve outlined strategies for both:
Content marketing is an insanely popular marketing and sales strategy. In fact, according to Hubspot, 53% of marketers say blog content creation is their top inbound marketing priority.
Simply put, content marketing is the practice of offering something of value to potential website visitors, with the goal of introducing them to your brand or collecting their email address. Content marketing is so popular because it works to attract people to your business or more accurately, your website. Getting traffic is the first steps to collecting leads.
There are a many different types of content you can create, including:
- Blog posts
- YouTube videos
- Email newsletters
- White papers
- Pinterest graphics
The list goes on and on. The important thing is to find a type of content that works for you and attracts consistent, qualified traffic. From there, you can employ lead capture tactics.
“One sales tactic that works very well for me is what I call the Free Giveaway Technique,” says Rishit Shah, Owner of TallySchool. “I sell a course on my website which is paid. In order to sell the course, for the first seven days I give my subscribers three free lessons each day via email. In total, I give them 21 free lessons over a period of seven days. After seven days, I ask them to sign up for the paid course.
“Because of this technique, trust is built between me and the subscriber as I am offering free lessons every day and they can also see the quality of the lessons that I am providing. Even if they don’t buy the course, I earn their trust and they send their friends to my website which means new leads are generated for free.”
To discover the best types of content to create and come up with your own ideas, we recommend checking out the following articles:
- “The Ultimate Guide to Remarkable Content” by Ramit Sethi
- “How To Come Up With 50 Content Ideas in 30 Minutes or Less” by Kim Garst
- “How to Create a Content Strategy for the Web (2018 Beginner’s Guide)” by Jawfish Digital
- “101 Ways to Source Content Ideas” by Neil Patel
Create Lead Magnets
A lead magnet is an incentive that you offer to your website’s visitors in exchange for their email and any other contact information you’d like to collect. Typical lead magnet ideas include:
- An ebook or whitepaper download
- A coupon/discount
- A checklist
- A cheat sheet
- A template
A lead magnet might also be referred to as a “signup incentive,” “signup offer,” “freemium,” or a “content upgrade” (this is typically a lead magnet that is specific to one blog post).
For more lead magnet ideas, these resources have you covered:
- “101 Lead Magnet Ideas to Skyrocket Your Email List” by Entice
- “69 Highly Effective Lead Magnet Ideas to Grow Your Email List” by OptinMonster
- “What Is a Lead Magnet, How to Create and Market It” by Infusionsoft
- “50 Lead Magnet Ideas and Examples to Convert Visitors Into Leads” by HelloBar
Utilize Lead Captures
A lead capture can be a popup form or landing page used to collect emails and other contact information from visitors on your website.
Using a lead capture is typically the third step of the lead generation process when using a combination of content and lead magnets:
- Attract your target audience using content
- Create a lead magnet to entice people to provide their contact info
- Present the offer using a lead capture form or landing page
Once you have the visitor’s info, you can add them to a lead nurturing process and move them through your sales funnel. Or, your sales team can follow up with them directly. This will depend on your sales process and how you choose to connect with qualified leads.
The video below provides a deeper understanding of lead captures: