With the development of new technologies, the number of channels for commercial prospecting has multiplied in recent years. Thus, any company can choose to integrate one or more channels into its marketing strategy, depending on its customer target and the sales objectives to be achieved. Not all commercial prospecting methods (teleprospecting, e-mailing, inbound marketing, social selling, etc.) have the same rate of conversion of prospects into customers. The expected results depend on several parameters that should be studied before implementing a commercial prospecting plan. In order to clarify this point, here are the 6 most effective channels for prospecting as well as several tips on how to choose the most suitable channel for your clientele.
The choice of channel will determine the success of commercial prospecting. In order to make the right choice, it is important to take stock of several key elements.
Defining the framework of the prospecting plan
The first questions to ask yourself are:
- What is my target: sector of activity, position in the company, geographical area?
- What are the commercial objectives to be achieved: number of sales meetings per month, minimum turnover to be achieved, etc.?
- What is my offer and how does it differ from other players in the market?
- What budget and how much time will I devote to commercial prospecting?
The answers to these questions will enable you toestablish a precise and effective commercial prospecting strategy. The aim here is to avoid spreading ourselves too thinly through commercial prospecting channels that are not adapted to the sales objectives or the profiles of my prospects.
Find out about the target clientele
The target, the typical prospect (called "persona" in marketing) is one of the key elements for making the most relevant choice of prospecting channel. In the case of private individuals acting as consumers (BtoC), the main information to be collected concerns:
- the age group
- the gender
- the socio-professional category
- the average basket size
In the case of a target consisting exclusively ofcompanies (BtoB), the sales teams must focus more on the composition of the company and the position held by the person they are talking to. The information to be obtained therefore focuses on:
- the size of the company
- the turnover it generates
- its APE code
- its date of creation
- its registered office
- its activity
- the names and contact details of the prospect's senior decision-maker
This data will have to be the subject of appropriate data processing. This data processing must guarantee, on the one hand, the protection of personal data and, on the other hand, make it possible to obtain the desired information quickly.
List the appropriate marketing channels for our target
Once a company has precisely defined its business objectives and target customers, it can draw up a list of all the appropriate channels for each customer profile. This list of channels will mainly depend on the profile of the ideal customer and his working habits: is he on LinkedIn, does he regularly connect to his e-mails, is he more adept at using the telephone, etc. Thus, a commercial prospecting campaign based on social networks will be aimed more at active people who use digital tools for their business, for example. Telephone prospecting will target customers who have a greater need for information, with direct contact.
Choose the channels with the best return on investment
For one and the same customer target, several communication channels can be selected. In this case, an estimate of the return on investment (ROI) enables any company to prioritise one channel more effectively than another. It should be noted that certain channels work in perfect complementarity, make it possible to reach a wider target, and generate a higher and more effective conversion rate.
Multi-channel prospecting can generate more sales meetings than a simple prospecting on LinkedIn. The results are more qualitative and the commercial meetings are more easily transformed into sales.
At ReCom, we have chosen to offer several commercial prospecting techniques, so that each company can benefit from a solution adapted to its objectives as well as its customer target.
The telephone is both the oldest and the most widely used tool. The vast majority of commercial exchanges still take place by telephone, which remains an indispensable channel for any good salesperson.
Picking up the phone to make a call is often one of the first actions taken when launching a prospecting campaign.
However, a BtoB teleprospecting campaign is only effective if it is properly prepared, if the target is relatively reachable, if the sales pitch is forceful and flexible, if you have a tool for monitoring tasks and follow-ups, and if you dedicate specific and regular time slots.
In BtoB, teleprospecting thus allows fordirect contact, based on human contact. This is why at ReCom we have chosen to integrate this prospecting technique into our services: for example, a personalised speech for the prospect contacted allows us to create a relationship of trust that cannot be achieved by sending an e-mail.
Individual e-mail is an excellent way to establish the first contact with a prospect, but is often insufficient. E-mailing is a low-cost solution but sometimes gives the illusion of being able to reach a very large number of prospects in record time and at a lower price. A "mix" of the two is much more interesting and makes it possible to generate qualified leads: personalised and individualised micro-emailing, or precise sales automation scenarios (automated sending of a series of individual emails to a target according to personalisation criteria), always followed by telephone follow-ups.
In order to remain consistent in the same sales prospecting strategy, ReCom also offers the management of e-mailing campaigns. For example, ReCom's teams can use the same sales pitch for telephone prospecting and e-mailing in order to respect a company's brand identity.
Organising a web conference can be a smart way to make contact with prospects. The idea is to give a live presentation via the web to prospects who are connected via their computer or mobile phone. If the theme chosen is directly related to the offer proposed, if it is of interest to prospects, and if the invitations to the webinar are sent out in an effective and relevant manner (e-mailing, social networks, etc.), the web conference can become a real collective sales meeting with unrivalled effectiveness: a large number of prospects reached in record time and without travel costs!
This is why we advise companies toperiodically organise webinars when possible and relevant to their sector of activity. To increase the impact of these events, our ReCom teams can, for example, schedule the publication of content informing leads of the date and how to access the webinar.
Getting prospects to come to you is every salesperson's dream... Inbound marketing brings together all the digital techniques that enable you to lead desired prospects to your website: natural and/or paid referencing, production and distribution of interesting content, presence on publications or events, and optimisation of your site for the visitor experience: all these elements contribute to generating qualified leads... in order to convert them into customers.
At ReCom, we advise our clients, where relevant to their business, to implement a natural referencing strategy: regular publication of SEO optimised content . There are agencies that write and organise the publication of content articles on the blogs and websites of companies wishing to work on their natural referencing. Similarly, these agencies develop and implement content distribution strategies on LinkedIn and then analyse data on the profile and number of readers of these publications. This is called inbound marketing.
Approaching targeted prospects via social networks is particularly effective when done well. It is necessary to choose the social network that is best suited to your target (LinkedIn remains the BtoB social network par excellence), to prepare your profile in order to be attractive, and to organise regular interactions: posts, comments, detailed contacts, meeting proposals, invitations to events, etc. The right behaviour to adopt: behave on social networks as you would in a "classic" network meeting: politeness, interest in the other person, appropriate intervention, personalisation, taking contact details, rapid follow-up.
According to the 2020 Social Selling barometer, 61% (1) of B2B decision-makers have already made a purchase following a publication or interaction on a social network. This is why at ReCom our teams are trained in social selling, so that companies can benefit from the full potential of social networks, mainly LinkedIn. To do this, our teams advise your sales team to optimise their LinkedIn profiles, write a teaser message that will be sent to the requested contacts, organise contacts with profiles that correspond to the target of your sales team, and then interact with them in order to multiply the BtoB sales contacts and generate sales appointments.
Telemarketing is a historical sales prospecting channel, which continues to achieve excellent results when well organised and implemented. To do this, it is necessary to target the prospects to be called, to identify those prospects who seem interested in our products/services, and to have an effective telephone hook (neither intrusive nor too evasive). In order to gain in efficiency, most companies outsource their commercial telephone prospecting to a company specialising in telemarketing.
On-site prospecting is a relevant channel in the context of a BtoB relationship.
It can take the form of:
- a meeting with a prospect at a trade show
- a visit directly to the business premises of the potential customer
- an event organised by the company itself, such as a conference, seminar, etc.
The advantage of having sales representatives in the field is that they can quickly establish a relationship of trust through human contact. The prospect will also be fully aware of the sales pitch, which will have the effect of making the decision whether or not to make a purchase more quickly.
There is no denying that social networks have a major impact on a purchasing decision. Companies can build their reputation by accumulating subscribers and promoting their products or services. Sales representatives can approach their prospects directly online, via social networks and especially LinkedIn. In BtoB, social selling is a highly effective strategy through LinkedIn. The market leader in professional social networks has many advantages, from its 808 million users to its many advertising features.
E-mailing has been able to adapt to the new expectations of customers, gradually moving away from the purely commercial and impersonal e-mail. To optimise a commercial prospecting strategy by email, it is essential to imagine email sequence scenarios which, thanks to marketing automation software (an indispensable prospecting tool for programming the automatic sending of emails and the analysis of click rates), allow convincing results to be obtained.
Inbound marketing is gaining more and more market share among the various business development channels. And for good reason, its benefits are unlimited. The publication of high value-added content that is properly referenced allows a company tobe more visible than its competitors on the main search engines on the internet (e.g. Google). Most internet users today do an internet search to compare the different offers for a product or service. Few click on the last links on the results page (the SERP). As a result, a company whose website is among the top Google results will see a significant increase in sales.
With an ever-increasing range of products and services on offer, more and more potential customers are looking at customer reviews of a company before finalising their order. While a number of negative reviews can contribute to a drop in orders, customer recommendations will increase the number of orders. To encourage satisfied customers to share their customer experience, a company can set up:
- a sponsorship system
- an automatic recommendation request after each successful order
Between 2 essentially identical offers, a potential customer will mainly choose a company that accumulates customer recommendations.What you should remember from this presentation is that one sales prospecting channel is not necessarily better than another. It all depends on the objectives and the target customers of a company. In any case, multiplying the channels is a strategy that allows you tooptimise your commercial prospecting, by reaching a wider range of your target customers.