Sales Prospecting Challenges [Infographic]
If your sales organization is like most, your team probably spends a lot of time sales prospecting. If they don’t, they should; without prospecting, you don’t have leads. Without leads, you don’t have customers. And without customers, you don’t have sales.
As important as sales prospecting is, it’s also the most challenging part of the sales process for many sellers. Research by Hubspot found that 40% of sales professionals consider prospecting the most difficult part of their job. When you consider a few prospecting stats, it’s easy to understand why.
COLD CALLING DOESN’T WORK IN SALES PROSPECTING
50% of sales time is wasted on unproductive prospecting (The B2B Lead). This becomes pretty clear if you’ve spent any time cold calling. The average sales development rep makes 52 calls daily (The Bridge Group), and on average it takes 18 calls to reach a buyer (TOPO). And after all that time spent calling prospects, assuming you finally get through to the person you’re calling, only 1% of cold calls ultimately convert into appointments and even less become sales.
COLD SALES PROSPECTING EMAILING IS ONLY A LITTLE BETTER
Email outreach is about twice as effective in terms of ROI as cold calling is (MarketingSherpa), but even that doesn’t guarantee you’ll book an appointment just by emailing a prospect. The average working professional now receives over 121 emails every day (Radicati). That’s a lot of text to sift through in your inbox, and most of those emails never get read. In fact, only 24% of sales emails are ever opened (TOPO). 35% of email recipients open emails based on the subject line and nothing else while 43% of email recipients mark emails as spam based only on the email address (Convince and Convert), meaning the content of your email has little to do with whether or not it will be read.
RELATIONSHIPS HELP SALES PROSPECTING
In today’s digital landscape with so many demands placed on decision-makers’ attention, referrals are the most effective way of initiating a conversation with a prospect. 84% of B2B decision makers start the buying process with a referral (IDC), while 73% of executives prefer to work with somebody they know (Sales Benchmark Index). This speaks to the main challenge of sales prospecting: how do you convey enough value and authenticity to someone you’ve never met so that they’ll take a meeting with you? In the case of both cold calling and emailing, there’s no relationship to base the initial outreach on, so it’s easy for the prospect to distrust or ignore you. With a referral, that trust and rapport they have with the referring party act as a sort of proxy, allowing you to build your own relationship with the buyer.
If a major part of your job is getting complete strangers to meet with you to discuss your product or service, these statistics don’t exactly inspire confidence. But prospecting isn’t going away either, as increasing demand for increasing revenue and driving sales pressures sales teams to consistently engage with buyers on multiple channels to create opportunities and close deals.
Posted on February 28, 2018