Lead generation is a dying business

11 prospecting tips that will take inbound sales to the next level

If you deal with inbound marketing and inbound sales on a regular basis, you have probably come across the flywheel before. The Flywheel idea initiated by HubSpot takes the inbound methodology to a new level. It replaces the conventional sales funnel and creates the conditions for faster and more sustainable business growth.

We can confirm this without reservation from our own experience. We have focused on organic growth based on the flywheel principle since our agency was founded - long before the flywheel term was introduced. The idea is very simple: happy customers create momentum that generates additional business with existing customers on the one hand. On the other hand, happy customers like to recommend your business to potential new customers. The WOML (Word of Mouth Lead) dream comes true! Your distribution runs almost by itself, the flywheel is in motion.

The sales flywheel replaces the sales funnel (source: Harvard Business Review)

By the way: If you are interested in a little flywheel refresher, the best thing to do is to watch the following video from HubSpot. It explains why the conventional sales funnel is an extinct species and why the flywheel approach creates the conditions for healthy and sustainable growth.

Refresher: Why growth companies need the flywheel (Source: HubSpot)

Prospecting gives the flywheel wings

We can prove how well the flywheel principle works with two figures from our agency.

  • We won 69.2% of our customers on the recommendation of one of our existing customers.
  • We generate 80.9% of our agency turnover at Svensson & Friends according to the flywheel principle.

So we've done very well with the inbound methodology and the flywheel approach so far. But at some point the flywheel reaches its limits. Or rather, it needs a little help to get started. It wants to be fed with new prospects. This becomes particularly relevant when your own growth ambitions increase. Then the purely organic growth through upselling with existing customers and unsolicited WOMLs from customers to customers may no longer be sufficient to achieve the set growth targets.

This is where active prospecting comes into play. We give the flywheel extra momentum by actively engaging and engaging with warm leads. Inseparably linked to modern, state-of-the-art prospecting strategies is the name of a person every inbound marketing and sales professional has come across: Dan Tire. As the number six employee at HubSpot, Dan Tire is a true inbound legend who has decisively shaped HubSpot's own, unique sales strategy from the start. Dan shares his knowledge and experience in exclusive pipeline generation bootcamps with inbound marketing agencies around the world.

So we too had the privilege of taking part in a Pipeline Generation Bootcamp led by Dan. In this blog post we share eleven insights with you that have decisively advanced our own sales and from which every inbound marketing and sales professional can benefit.

1. Whoever picks up the phone wins

Since when have vinyl records been extremely popular again? Right, since Spotify, Deezer & Co. have been around. It is very similar with phone calls in the age of e-mails and chatbots. Sales employees who pick up the phone make the difference and stand out in times when 99% of communication takes place via digital channels. The first step in a successful prospecting strategy is the Connect Call.

2. To be helpful is the new selling

As a sales employee, you should always be aware of one thing: You interrupt the daily routine of your prospect with a connect call. The last thing you want to do now is talk about yourself and your company. So prepare yourself well and come up with a strong positioning statement that immediately shows your counterpart that you understand their pain points. You can find out how to carry out an effective Connect Call here.

3. "You Never Get a Second Chance to Make a First Impression"

The first interaction with a new prospect sets the tone for the experience with your brand. In theory, every marketing and sales professional is aware of the importance of the customer experience. In fact, especially in the B2B environment, so far only a few companies have managed to deliver a really consistent customer experience from the first contact over the entire life cycle - and the first personal contact begins with the Connect Call.

4. Cold calling is dead, long live "warm calling"

Sales reps who only talk about themselves and their company in the Connect Call destroy their brand. In times when information about your prospect is available on LinkedIn, the company website, Google News and numerous other channels, it is mandatory to inform yourself about your prospect in advance. You want to contact a "warm lead" because "cold calling" is dead! So plan at least 20-30 minutes for research before your Connect Call. You can find out here why you create the best conditions for a successful Connect Call.

5. 90% of the speaking time belongs to your prospect

In a perfect Connect Call, your prospect takes over most of the speaking time. You can do this by asking open questions: “Why did you choose it?”, “How did it work for you?” Or “What do you think of it?”. Avoid asking questions to which your prospect can answer yes or no. Motivate your prospect to speak freely with friendly prompts such as Exciting! Tell me more about that ... ". The keyword is Active Listing and you can find some very good tips on this in this blog post.

6. Video prospecting is a conversion hit!

Every Connect Call should be followed by a personal email in which you summarize the most important points of discussion and above all the next step. Unfortunately, only 24% of all sales emails are ever opened. Video messages have proven to be a real killer application for significantly increasing open and click rates. With tools like Vidyard and Loom, personal video emails can be created in minutes. You can find out what experience HubSpot has gained with video prospecting here.

HubSpot enables video tracking using a Vidyard integration (source: HubSpot)

7. Marketing and sales are two sides of the same coin

Have you ever heard of smarketing? It is about linking marketing and sales. At the end of the day, marketing and sales are two aspects of the same process. The artificial separation in two worlds is a thing of the past, because from the perspective of your prospect it is one and the same experience. So make sure that you work with a common process in marketing and sales, use the same data and thus make the entire buyer’s journey consistent and smooth.

8. Follow your sales plan consistently

No plan without a goal, no success without a plan. What applies to your company as a whole also applies to inbound marketing and sales. Develop a sales plan in which, in addition to your quota, you define how many prospecting activities you undertake. Define a minimum number of connect calls per month and define how many exploratory calls should result from this in the next step. Measure your progress and always orient yourself to your KPIs. Only then can you determine how successful your prospecting strategy really is.

9. Establish routines and automate sales processes

Prospecting consists of a series of interactions such as calls, e-mails and to-dos - a standard process that is predestined for automation. If you use HubSpot Sales Hub, you should definitely work with sequences. This not only reduces the administrative effort enormously. It also creates a stronger commitment to your prospecting tasks because tools like HubSpot Sequences guide you through every step. We were surprised at how quickly prospecting becomes second nature thanks to automation.

HubSpot sequences automate the prospecting process (source: HubSpot)

10. Optimize your sales tactics based on data

We live in the 21st century and Excel-based sales sheets or a chaos of Outlook calendar entries are a thing of the past. Use a sophisticated sales CRM system like HubSpot Sales Hub and meticulously register all your prospecting activities. This gives you maximum transparency and creates data on the basis of which you can analyze your sales tactics and continuously improve them. At the same time, your colleagues see your progress and you see theirs - the best prerequisite for establishing a best practice and shared learning culture in the team.

11. Hunt like a lion, act like a human

We know from our own experience in our agency: Strategies, data and tools are indispensable enablers for successful prospecting. However, the recipe for success in sales also includes a pronounced “lion mentality”. When hunting, however, never forget the basics of the inbound methodology. Orientate yourself to the pain points of your prospect. Use buyer personas to better understand your prospect's human needs. Focus on the marketing and sales experience from your customer's perspective. Business takes place between people at the end of the day. With the help of the inbound methodology, business-to-business becomes human-to-human. Inbound is H2H Marketing and Sales.