Prospecting is an important part of the sales process for companies of all sizes. Of course, small businesses aren’t working at the same scale as a large company, which is why they often only need a “partial resource” (only a day or two of work each week) to prospect. As a result, a small business often does one of three things; adds the responsibility to in-house staff, outsources to a prospecting partner or does nothing.
Successful Prospecting In-House
When a small business decides to do prospecting in-house, it generally means the responsibility is added to someone who was hired to do something else initially. This person may be capable of this type of pre-sales work, but it often gets moved to the bottom of their list because other things become more pressing and after-all, prospecting isn’t their primary responsibility. Sometimes it’s not that something else is more pressing, but the person who’s now responsible for prospecting doesn’t really know how to do it. Or maybe they know how to do it, but prospecting is not something they really enjoy and are motivated by and for that reason, it doesn’t get done.
Unsuccessful Prospecting In-House
Sometimes the opposite happens though with small businesses that decide to prospect in-house. The person that’s now responsible for identifying leads may love it, but is that person productive? Have you made the investment in a dialer that allows them to be much more productive than if they were to manually dial everyone? Do you have a system that allows them to log their calling activity, set callbacks and efficiently nurture leads? What about visibility to progress through funnel reports? How do you know if the effort is successful and generating a return? Are you able to measure the actual cost of doing this in-house? Many companies struggle with this.
Prospect Using an Outsourcing Partner
If a company doesn’t decide to prospect with internal resources, they sometimes choose a partner to outsource the initiative with. While there is a financial investment in going this route, there is often a much greater return because the outsourcing partner’s core business is prospecting and therefore the client benefits from the process, technology and people that can generate leads on their behalf. They also benefit from the experience of the outsourcing partner who can offer them input on their overall strategy and approach to the market.
Sometimes a small business needing just a “partial resource” decides to neither assign the responsibilities in-house nor engage with an outsourcing partner to fill their funnel. While there are challenges with managing this function internally and there is an investment in outsourcing it, doing nothing puts your business at a disadvantage. It’s important to always be identifying qualified opportunities for your pipeline and calling prospects plays a key role in business development.