In B2B and medtech businesses, few things are more essential to new sales and revenue than effective sales prospecting. Yet even experienced sales reps can stumble when it comes to cold calling and lead generation.
With more than 30 years’ inside sales experience, the Volkart May team understands what works (and what doesn’t) in medtech and B2B sales prospecting. Our professional conversationalists make thousands of calls each day to deliver measurable results for our clients.
During those campaigns, we’ve identified numerous sales prospecting best practices that we deploy. In addition, we tap in to the latest tools and technology to support and automate our efforts.
Nine best practices for cold calling and sales prospecting
If you’re light on qualified sales leads, ready to expand awareness in a new market segment or looking to improve results from your inside sales team, make sure these sales prospecting best practices are in place in your organization.
1. Know your market
Market knowledge is the first sales prospecting best practice to apply. The more you can fuel sales prospecting with market research and insights, the stronger your outbound calling will be. Finding decision-makers shouldn’t be like finding a needle in a haystack!
Instead, provide your callers with a clear profile of your target audience.
- Who is your ideal buyer? What job titles or roles do they hold?
- What are the characteristics of their company?
- What problems will your solution fix?
These are just few of the helpful items that will inject efficiency and accuracy into your sales prospecting efforts.
2. Keep your list clean and current
The second cardinal rule of sales prospecting for medtech and B2B companies is to use a quality prospect list. Because business data changes rapidly as staff take new jobs, companies merge and departmental reorganizations take place, list maintenance needs to be a priority.
If you’re purchasing a new list, work with reputable list broker who stands behind their product. If you’re using the internal CRM system or sales database, make sure there’s a process in place to regularly confirm and update the information. Sales prospecting calls can drill into these details and optimize your sales database as part of the lead generation process.
3. Use multiple channels
There are many ways to conduct sales prospecting. What’s important from a “best practice” standpoint is to combine multiple methods so you can reach as many potential buyers as possible. We recommend integrating inbound and outbound methods into your sales prospecting efforts, such as mixing outbound calling and email.
Using multiple channels is especially effective with complex sales cycles like those often found in B2B and medtech. Each touchpoint strengthens awareness and supports your lead generation goals.
4. Make sales prospecting calls regularly
Too often, busy sales professionals put off cold calling and sales prospecting until they’re in dire need of new business leads. Unfortunately, waiting until your sales pipeline dries up if often too late to impact company sales and revenue goals.
Instead, outbound calling should occur with regular frequency. Every company will set its own schedule, based on the specifics of your product and market. Most will conduct sales prospecting activities at least quarterly, and many will ensure calls and emails happen on a weekly basis.
5. Hire the right sales reps
It’s a common misconception that every salesperson is equally adept at sales prospecting. In reality, cold calling and conducting early sales funnel conversations take specific skills. At Volkart May, we find that strong business development representatives excel at finding information, building rapport and establishing relationships. They’re curious, outgoing and relentlessly positive.
Tapping into the right sales prospecting skills is one of the reasons why savvy organizations often break their sales teams into different disciplines. Inside sales reps focus on sales prospecting activities like cold calling, lead generation, appointment-setting and lead nurturing while a different outside sales team handles more complicated negotiations, customer visits and of course, closing deals.
6. Provide training and resources
Regardless of how you staff your sales prospecting function, providing ongoing training and resources makes up another best practice. Training can take many forms, from role play for less experienced callers, to sitting down with your product specialists to better understand your solution’s value proposition.
Business development call guides are another way to reinforce key messages and train your team without sounding scripted or rigid during sales prospecting interactions.
7. Set goals and measure progress
Before you launch a sales prospecting effort, it’s helpful to review your sales funnel and define your criteria for success. If you’re using outbound calling to generate leads, qualify inquiries or book sales-ready appointment, we recommend tracking these metrics.
Measuring daily, weekly and monthly results helps individual inside sales reps and key stakeholders evaluate sales prospecting activities objectively. A number of applications can help you track important data points without burdening your sales team with more paperwork.
8. Recognize and reward your team
Incentives and recognition programs go hand-in-hand with goal-setting and measurement. The more your business development specialists realize they are part of a larger effort, the stronger their performance. Look for ways to recognize and reward your top callers that are both informal and formal. It’s also smart to mix monetary awards like commissions and bonuses with fun incentives, such as logo’d apparel or team lunches.
The need to show appreciation and value is especially critical during tight hiring cycles like the current “Great Resignation.” Employers who do more for their sales prospecting teams will better engage and retain their key players.
9. Outsource to inside sales specialists
A final best practice is outsourcing some or all of your sales prospecting activities to professional lead generation firms like Volkart May.
Using an external contact center has many advantages.
- You can tap into a trained and ready sales prospecting team without the time or hassle of hiring, onboarding and training.
- It’s fast and simple to scale up with high-velocity calling to support a new market expansion, product launch or other important activity.
- It’s a great solution when resources are thin, because outsourced sales prospecting keeps your internal team focused on high value activities, while ensuring your sales funnel remains full of qualified leads.