Creating and Utilizing Sales Prospecting Databases
By TOI Team May 30, 2022 Update on : December 8, 2022
As we all know, profit comes from sales and sales come from leads. Thus, having a firm base of prospective buyers is the foundation on which the profit is built. Generally speaking, we could say that there are two types of prospecting markets: the cold one and the hot one. The former is based on the people you select randomly, while the latter – is on referrals and other forms of previous communication. In both cases, prospecting databases are the key to efficient management of your leads.
The basics of sales prospecting
Sales prospecting refers to the practice of looking for prospective customers through all the channels available to the sales team. This is a multilayered process, compiled of different measures and objectives. The endgame of the process is, of course, making deals with the best-fitting prospects. But before that one needs to fill the prospecting databases with high-quality potential buyers and leads that can be nurtured further.
It starts with exploring the prospecting markets and separating the promising leads from the surrounding noise. There are various ways how leads are acquired from the good old cold calling to utilizing social media marketing and other contemporary online solutions. Then, there are always third-party data providers, that are able to supply a company with a list of leads.
These providers are also important in the further stages of lead nurturing and lead scoring. Here a stronger contact with the leads is being established and leads are measured against each other and given scores that represent their potential value to the company. The main objective here is to find the best fit between the buyer and the product, or service offered by the company, recognizing the persons or firms that benefit from it the most.
Naturally, in this case, a lot of data is necessary to get to know the prospects and their buying intention better. Thus, the data points on the leads which the prospecting team already has should be supplemented by additional information that paints a richer picture of the potential customer. In the case of B2B firms, such crucial B2B data points as the decision-makers within a company, their positions, work experience, and interests should not be overlooked.
All this data is standardly held in prospecting databases, where it is managed to always have the key information at hand. Prospects can become buyers and thus leave the database, or new leads can enter it to continue their journey through the sales pipeline.
A prospecting database very basically is a directory for all the information you have about your prospect, from general contact data to more specific and unique data points. This makes it an extremely important tool for sales prospecting.
Advantages of utilizing a prospecting database
If sales prospecting is the key to getting customers, then the prospecting database is the key to successful sales prospecting. There are many various advantages of creating prospecting databases, that sales teams in all markets have utilized beneficially. Here are some key examples of these benefits.
- You have all the information you need in one place and easy to access. This makes data management very simple and reduces the chance of an error or loss of information. Additionally, as the prospect becomes a client it is very simple to transfer the data from the prospecting database to the customer database. And new information about other prospects can always be added.
- Prospecting databases highly increase the efficiency of the sales department. In an increasingly data-dependent business environment, many tasks of the sales team are related to checking the data on the prospects. The faster they are able to get to the relevant data, the easier it is for them to decide on how to proceed with a particular prospect. And then the communication with the prospective customer goes smoothly.
- Along with better communication comes increased personalization when connecting to the potential buyer. Prospecting databases allow to quickly create a personal assessment of the prospect and contact them in ways that are most suitable for them. Personal attention is what decision-makers today expect and appreciate.
- A very important advantage of prospecting databases that has to be mentioned is the boosted cooperation in the sales team. Everybody has the access to up-to-date information and can work on it together. This also makes the cooperation with other departments, such as marketing much more straightforward.
Building the database
Having a sales prospecting database is clearly very important. So how does one get around building it? There are a few key steps that lead to a high-quality prospecting system.
One crucial thing was already mentioned – a steady data flow has to be established to make sure that you have what to fill your database with. Various methods of data gathering from cold e-mailing to purchasing lists and web scraping should be considered.
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Additionally, one has to implement the hardware and software infrastructure. APIs and other tools to access the data easily should be thought of in advance. It is worth considering moving the database to the cloud and letting the service provider worry about infrastructure.
Finally, establishing a consistent process of how the data is structured, shared, and accessed is sure to get the results you would expect from prospecting databases. Consistency ensures that you get what you need, and everybody knows what they are supposed to be doing. Of course, there is always room for innovation, but that should come after you get to know the ins and outs of your prospecting system.