01.28.20165 min read

7 Best Practices to Boost Your B2B Prospecting

It’s likely that some of all of what you think you know about your prospects has changed, and perhaps your marketing hasn’t responded.

We’d like to suggest these seven best practices that will keep you apace and provide the insights to make your marketing a powerfully competitive differentiator.

1. It’s not just business. It’s personal.

It’s people that make the decisions and we marginalize their individuality at our peril. If we are to introduce ourselves to new opportunities, if we are to influence the C-suite, our marketing and sales efforts must incorporate a host of qualitative information, such as:

  • How they learn
  • The sources they trust, the advice they rely on
  • The personal and professional goals that align or don’t
  • How they see your company and your competition
  • Their role in the decision making process

The executives we interviewed were clear that what they dislike most are unrequested, unfocused marketing messages.

2. Buyer personas focus efforts on opportunity.

As great a contribution as marketing automation has made to B2B prospecting, it also puts a screen between us and the individuality of our current and future customers. The person gets lost in the fog of lead generation.

Buyer personas illuminate the individuality by creating a broad human perspective:

  • Your prospect or customer, first as a person
  • Who they are within the context of the company
  • Their view of the challenges they face, both personally and professionally (which many times are at odds)
  • How they view alternatives, including your offer

To be effective, B2B prospecting must be based on new, external voice of customer research. Personas created from information on hand, which often includes misinterpretations and widely-held beliefs, tend to look a lot like what you had before but in new clothes. Or, perhaps the emperor is wearing no clothes.

3. Personas help align sales and marketing.

I was talking with a colleague and asked how a recent meeting with sales went. They basically said, "‘We understand our customers perfectly and you don’t have a clue.” That doesn’t leave a lot of common ground to work on.

New, external persona research, with both camps equally invested, results in a unified view. We can get together and write down all our questions, but the resulting persona is formed by the answers indisputably given by the customer.

Alignment can bring you to market more quickly, more effectively, and with fewer missteps along the way for more targeted B2B prospecting.

4. Personas make B2B prospecting more effective.

Prospects, by definition, are very different than customers. They may look and sound like customers, but they haven’t bought from you as yet. Their consideration process is unique. How unique? You should know before you deploy marketing resources.

The Prospect Persona is a specialized process, not only generating a human understanding of who the prospect is, how they learn, and how they make a decision but also concentrating on what it takes for them to hold hands with the rest of the team and make that initial leap into your arms.

5. Dig for the most powerful hidden truths. Dig deep.

Don’t view persona research as the simple pursuit of answers to the questions you start with. Rather, view it as an exploration into the life of a person for whom you must solve a problem that your product is designed to address.

In addition to confirming what you thought was true and correcting a few things you thought were true but are not, the real power of persona research in B2B prospecting comes in the discovery of things you didn’t even know you didn’t know.

This last point is the most exciting. It’s where we learn the answers to questions we didn’t know to ask when we began. But because we take an exploratory approach, we are able to identify new issues that we didn’t even know were important. In every project we’ve ever done, this has always turned out to be the most exciting source of new insights.

6. Be agile.

There is a cost to uncovering insights that grow sales. The cost is not just money. Perhaps more importantly, it’s time. This has four implications:

  • Step on it: Time, tide, and the marketplace wait for no one. Set an aggressive schedule and manage to it. You can’t ask every question in the world in the research.
  • React to insights: If an interview starts to reveal new insights, follow them.
  • Don’t wait: Pivot on insights. If interviews corroborate that there is an unaddressed problem or opportunity, take it now.
  • Prove through testing: This is a qualitative process, but the results are not academic. We’ve got to show that the persona research has made improvements to key metrics.

7. Start with the end in mind.

The best personas build content development right into the process. Personas are not designed just to describe who your prospects are, but to pre-scribe how best you can connect with them.

Lastly, some advice: Experience counts. A track record is like insurance. You get what you pay for. 

This article was written by Scott Hornstein from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

green paper airplane

Did you like this article? Get articles like this delivered weekly to your inbox, gratis.

close button

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter!

5 Reasons to Subscribe:

1. Weekly tips to dominate sales and marketing

At our core, we're focused on helping you become a sales and marketing machine. We tap into the genius of the best salesfolks and marketers out there to give you daily tips to grow your leads, make more sales, and keep more customers.

2. Expert small business resources that cost you zero dollars

Want to go deep? We have you covered with free guides, webinars, and tools on a range of topics from marketing automation, CRM, and digital marketing to building sales and marketing strategies from the ground up. All for free. All for you.

3. We're focused 100 percent on small business success

We exist for one reason: helping small businesses succeed. We give you the ideas and insights you need to blow the competition out of the water. We serve business owners who are hungry to put in the hard work to grow their business and own the market.

4. We do the work for you

Running a small business is a 110 percent endeavor. You don't have time to surf Internet for the best small business insights and ideas out there. We'll do that for you with the best original content from our team and from industry experts and small business owners.

5. But wait, there's more!

Small business success means more than just sales and marketing, so we also hit on a range of topics to help your small business thrive, including personal and business growth, customer service, and business management.

6. Righteous GIFs

OK, we said five reasons, but we like to overdeliver...and GIFs. We really like GIFs. You're bound to see some righteous ones.

GIF of Ferris Bueler principal's assistant

P.S. We'll never give out your information. We'll only use it to send you awesome content and resources, if you're cool with that.