Do you feel that you could have closed more deals last year if you had just a few more leads in your pipeline? If yes, then you aren't alone. It has been tough selling software since 2020 with many in-market companies cutting down their software spending.
The problem though was that despite fewer closures than usual, reps had to spend a disproportionate time on prospecting.
According to IDC, prospecting activities are estimated to account for 50 percent of sales reps' time while only accounting for 20 percent of the revenue. If prospecting is not efficient, it can drastically affect your quota attainment since almost half of your activity is prospecting.
Beyond prospecting, sales reps are also expected to compose their emails and personalize their outreach. Both these activities need significant effort from reps and can consume a further 15-20% of a rep's productive time.
In short, 60-70% of a rep's time goes into prospecting and related activities. Now, if we look at the average response rate from cold emails the time spent by reps is too high for the return on investment.
On average, cold emails return a 1% response rate and 0.5% qualified rate. If you are sending 500 emails a week, you can expect only 3 SQLs. That is quite low for a rep spending 25-30 hours per week on prospecting.
To solve this problem, you need to use AI prospecting tools that can cut down the time spent on activities that can be automated. In this article, we share five such prospecting techniques that use the power of AI to help you prospect faster and smarter.
Turn on auto-prospecting for leads that best fit your ICP
The prospecting phase is the most time-consuming part of sales prospecting, but it can also be automated to a large extent. The prospecting phase involves finding targeted accounts using your ICP and searching the web to come up with a list of opportunities that are not in your database.
Most reps find such accounts and the corresponding leads using a combination of tools like LinkedIn Salesnavigator, Zoominfo, and Apollo. They might also add an email verifier like Voila Norbert to their stack. This strategy is ineffective because a rep still needs to manually search for prospects.
In contrast, AI prospecting tools use machine intelligence to find business prospects who are not aware of your product or service offering.
Sales reps can leverage these prospecting platforms to get more coverage on top of what they already have without hiring additional SDRs or AEs. Since the platform works as an extension of their prospecting style, it streamlines prospecting efforts and makes prospecting faster.
Some prospecting platforms are already using AI to mine information from the web for you so you don't have to do it yourself manually. Automated prospect search with intelligent filters is used by AI prospecting tools to find prospects that fit your ICP definition.
Such tools use semantic patterns present in publicly available content (that is usually in the form of text) on the web to find prospects who are actively searching for products like yours.
For instance, if you are prospecting for a B2B SaaS company, this prospector would find companies who have looked up words like 'CRM' or 'lead generation software, etc, and combine it with your ICP definition. You can then use this list to reach out to prospects via email or even phone.
AI prospecting tools have one significant advantage over traditional lead generation software: they are always on. Since an AI tool is always searching the web for signals from accounts and leads it can prospect 24/7 and surface opportunities that a rep working with manual software wouldn't be able to find.
So, the first thing you need to do is find a prospecting tool that uses AI to find leads for you.
Warm-up leads before your outreach
Once sales reps find prospects, they can run pre-outreach campaigns to warm up these leads. Such a campaign is like a trial run with the prospect company to see if you get any response from them.
This strategy works well when sales teams are short on time and need qualified sales opportunities quickly. By using an AI-powered platform that uses predictive intelligence to assess the sales readiness of a lead, sales teams can prioritize their outreach and shorten sales cycles with better sales insights.
The best part about such platforms is that many of them come with ready-to-use templates which make it easy for sales reps to compose emails and launch awareness campaigns.
With these tools, sales teams can create email templates based on key qualification criteria and run campaigns to send out a set number of emails per day.
Awareness campaigns can be run on social media platforms and advertisement networks to run targeted ad campaigns and educate potential prospects before sales reps turn on their outreach efforts. Such a strategy can complement the ABM efforts of the company and yield better results for sales reps doing cold outreach.
Compose an email copy that converts
The sales correspondence is the first touchpoint sales reps have with their prospects. Sales reps need to use compelling and personalized emails with short subject lines so prospects can quickly identify whether or not an email is relevant to them.
AI-powered prospecting tools help sales teams create automated personalized emails using templates so you don't have to be a copywriter to compose these email templates.
Some sales platforms power personalized sales emails by consolidating information from publicly available sources.
AI prospecting tools can help sales teams make the best use of their time since sales leads come in automatically after a sales rep has set up criteria for lead generation. Sales reps can then focus on making the right connections with prospects and converting them to future customers quickly.
Using AI prospecting tools enables salespeople to free up time typically spent writing emails so they can instead craft more personalized messages that better convert into sales opportunities.
With relevant email copy, you can expect a higher conversion rate from your prospect list which in turn increases your quota attainment.
Personalize your emails 10x faster
Sales reps need to personalize the email copy they send their prospects to ensure conversions. However, personalization can be time-consuming and sales reps often resort to sending generic versions of emails because it takes too much time and effort to personalize them. AI prospecting tools help sales reps personalize their cold emails for the prospects by:
Creating templates, which personalizes the email copy and also speeds up the activity.
Automating research by pulling in data from company and lead profiles stored on the platform to personalize the email copy.
Storing templates that are used frequently, which reduces personalization time since sales reps only have to make minor changes.
When personalization is done right, you can expect a higher response rate from the cold emails you send out. Prospects are more likely to respond if they see personalization in your email copy and also pay attention when your subject line is personalized for them.
With personalization done right, your email open rates will increase and you can get a higher number of sales opportunities from each lead list.
You can also expand your reach with automated prospecting campaigns which help you identify untapped leads and grow your sales prospect list.
Leverage warm intros
A warm intro is a referral from someone with whom you already share a close relationship, such as family and friends.
AI tools can help sales reps find warm intros by:
Identify warm intros by creating lead lists based on commonalities shared between the sales rep and the target prospect.
Using social networking sites to identify warm intros where one or more of your connections already appears as their contacts as well. Chances are, these people may refer you to their acquaintances if they like what you do and believe their network will benefit from working with you.
Finding warm intros enables sales reps to make better use of their time since finding warm intros takes up little effort when AI prospecting tools analyze lead and their professional network.
When sales reps use AI tools to find warm intros, they can contact warm prospects which are likely to convert into future sales opportunities. Warm prospects are on the path of becoming new customers because someone they know has recommended you or your company.
Sixty-eight percent of business professionals said warm intros(referrals) were their preferred method of lead generation, according to research done by HubSpot.
The best part is that warm intro leads are ready buyers since they're already acquainted with your brand before reaching out to them.
With warm intro leads, sales reps can expect a higher conversion rate and generate more high-quality warm prospects.
Truebase - AI prospecting that converts
At Truebase we have built an AI prospecting tool that can help you automate prospecting for leads that best match your ICP. Truebase searches throughout the web for signals that indicate that an account might be fit for your outreach.
With personalization points, Truebase helps you to personalize emails at scale and get better conversion rates from your cold outreach.
Warm intro opportunities verified contacts, auto-prospecting are in-built in Truebase to provide you with a seamless prospecting process.
Want to use the prospecting strategies that we discussed? Start by signing up for a free trial of Truebase and feel the difference.