Despite the difficulties of prospecting, it's essential if you want your startup to grow into a successful company. Studies have found that four out of ten sales representatives consider prospecting the hardest part of their jobs.
Doorknocking is an old-fashioned way to get clients. Some people consider it very effective, as it is a very personal way of approaching new clients. You are truly a prospector if you follow this strategy (if you can call it that). Basically, the prospector we see in Westerns: old clothes, grey hair (probably a backache), kneeling in the mud while trying to find the tiniest piece of gold with a gold pan.
Door-knocking might bring in a few clients, but man...it's a lot of work! If you want success, you'll find an approach that's a little more efficient.
As a sales process, prospecting is usually the first step. Prospecting involves identifying potential clients or buyers (prospects) and converting them into leads. Eventually, you'll be approaching lots of prospects, which you'll turn into leads when you've nailed the prospecting thing.
The advantages of prospecting (it's not just about getting clients) and several time-tested prospecting strategies are discussed in an earlier blog post about Sales Prospecting. To help you prepare a sales prospecting plan, we've provided you with a (free) template.
In our earlier article, we explained what tools you can use to assist your sales prospecting activities. But what good is knowing the "how" if you don't know the "where"?
Prospectors can benefit greatly from communities. A community is simply a group of people who come together to share a common interest. For you, as a prospector or sales representative, identifying the right communities is the challenge. If you find the right community, you could strike gold.
A list of prospecting communities without LinkedIn is...unimaginable if you are even remote worth your salt as a sales professional.
Identify startups and growing companies on LinkedIn. Look for companies that are hiring. A growing company might be your next perfect client!
A free account offers plenty of tools that can help you reach out and broaden your client base on LinkedIn, including LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
The Indiehackers community is a great place to be if your product makes the lives of developers and other IT professionals easier. The community has 30,125 members as of the writing of this article. Indiehackers might not be the biggest community, but it has a very specific audience. Do you want to find out about upcoming startups and digital entrepreneurs? Then this is the place for you.
In proper English, the name says it all. The SaaS community is a community that supports, inspires, and helps companies using Software-as-a-Service.
Those two communities might not be the best fit for your company if it provides solutions to companies that are somewhat established. You need companies that have recently received funding, are young, but have money. Crunchbase lets you find innovative companies, but more importantly, it lets you get to know the people behind the scenes. Crunchbase lets you know exactly who to talk to!
SaaS Boss should be on your list of Facebook communities if you want to connect with SaaS founders, executives, and consultants. 2.7K members have joined the group at the time of writing to discuss remote team building, marketing challenges and priorities, founder development, and much more.
If you have a question or an idea that will be valuable to other members, do not hesitate to start your own discussion. Moreover, the admins publish group activity posts, so you may be featured as a conversation starter or active contributor.
It is said that the early bird catches the worm. Product hunt is a community that is dedicated to finding the next great products. According to Business Insider, this community has become a "must-read for techies and startups". In addition, it's a great place to find out about startups that are just getting started, or that are at a very early stage. You might find that these companies will be happy to accept your offer if you offer them a tool that could enhance their efficiency or effectiveness!