Prospecting Like a Pro: The Top Tools to Spark Sales Magic
In 2023, intense competition, complex sales processes, and heightened economic uncertainty have hit sales hard. But there’s also hope on the horizon thanks to the new wave of artificial intelligence sales automation tools. Early adopters who embrace and master these innovative tools are likely to gain a major competitive edge.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide for marketers who are looking to build a healthy sales pipeline. We highlight the best sales prospecting tools and their benefits so that you can choose the right software for your needs.
But since companies may have different meanings of prospecting, here’s a quick refresher.
What is prospecting?
Prospecting is typically the first step of the sales process. Its goal is to build a list of potential prospects with whom you can establish meaningful connections and hopefully convert into paying customers.
But here’s where things start to get a bit messy. To begin with, sales prospecting isn’t a single step. Rather, it’s a set of processes that cover every aspect of converting a lead into a buyer.
Secondly, there’s an important difference between prospects and leads. A lead is a company or person at the top of your funnel that you haven’t qualified yet while a prospect is a qualified lead. In other words, a prospect is someone you’ve identified as fitting your buyer persona.
Both leads and prospects enter at the top of the sales funnel. The only difference is that leads come earlier.
This is easier to see if you look at each step of the prospecting process individually:
- Finding lead contacts
- Pre-screening and researching leads to determine prospects
- Prioritizing prospects
- Researching more to prepare and send personalized outreach emails
- Evaluating processes for further learning and improvements
Sometimes you can skip the first two steps if you already have enough information about the customer to qualify them. In rare cases, you’ll even know enough about someone to be able to reach out to them as your perfect customer. But more often than not, you’ll need prospecting tools to help you through the prospecting process. Furthermore, the right sales prospecting software can improve and automate your processes.
What can sales prospecting tools help with?
A prospecting tool is sales automation software that streamlines, enhances, and automates one or more stages of the prospecting process.
Here are the main areas where sales prospecting software can make a difference.
Speeding up searches for leads and prospects
A sales prospecting tool can speed up the search for potential customers by automating and supporting routine tasks. For example, a tool can supply pre-made, customizable email templates that save your sales team from writing each message from scratch. It can also help prioritize and list prospects.
As a result, sales representatives can find prospects faster and focus more on building genuine connections.
Simplifying lead qualification
Sales prospecting software helps reps find, research, qualify, and prioritize customers faster by providing accurate and comprehensive data, advanced search filters, and real-time alerts for new lead information.
For example, the sales platform ZoomInfo has an extensive database that uses AI algorithms to generate a list of prospects. Applied at this stage, AI for sales can free up to 17% of sales team time, meaning reps can focus more on high-potential prospects.
Meeting sales quota
A massive 72% of sales professionals don’t expect to meet their annual quota in 2023. Automating part or all of your prospecting process can move the needle by speeding up discovery, qualification, and outreach. In fact, McKinsey research suggests that automation and AI in sales can free up to 20% of a team’s capacity and around 30-40% of non-customer-facing time.
Improving customer service
B2B prospecting tools can help improve customer service in two ways.
First, automating routine tasks frees up sales teams to focus more on improving their conversations and service. Second, by integrating prospecting tools with other software like CRM platforms and sales email automation tools, you can guarantee that no customer slips through any cracks.
Automation software also streamlines prospect onboarding through welcome emails, follow-ups, and AI-based responses to questions, while readily available customer data helps employees easily tackle customer concerns.
Booking meetings more easily
Even though 77% of B2B prospects prefer to be contacted by email, some prospects can request a call after your first pitch. Some sales prospecting tools can integrate with your sales team’s calendar so that meetings can be booked within a few clicks. They’ll also automatically send a detailed follow-up and meeting reminder.
Now that you have a better idea of what you can gain from prospecting tools, you’re ready to choose the right tool for you.
Best sales prospecting tools
Some tools focus on one specific part of prospecting, while others offer an all-in-one solution.
Lead and prospect discovery tools
There are situations when just automating lead finding and qualification is enough to move forward. Here are some tools that can get you started on the right foot.
ZoomInfo offers subscription-based access to a database of business contacts and company profiles. It helps you find qualified prospects by analyzing public records, business websites, and annual reports according to selected filters with AI algorithms.
Pricing: Prices of sales, marketing, and recruiting packages available on request. Free trial available.
The granddaddy of B2B peer review platforms has information on a huge range of B2B software and services. G2’s Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) filter lets you easily find prospects interested in buying your product. G2 also integrates with CRM, marketing, and sales software for full-cycle automation.
Pricing: Demo and pricing for each plan are available on request.
LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator is a tool for prospecting through the popular professional networking platform. Sales Navigator offers advanced search functions to find prospects based on criteria such as job title, organization size, and company. You can also build and manage prospect lists and receive alerts when prospects update their pages.
Pricing: Prices for the three product tiers are available on request. Free demo available.
Sales as a small business or with a small team can be tough. Partnertap offers a solution: co-selling and lead-sharing with partners in your industry. Once you’ve registered and uploaded customer data from your CRM, you invite your partners to join. You can spot overlapping customers, prospects, and opportunities within your ecosystem when they join.
Pricing: A free edition with limited features is available after registration. Pricing for two other packages is available on request.
UpLead’s sales prospecting platform gives you access to a database of 100 million contacts, filterable by 50+ criteria. It integrates with all major CRMs so that you can upload new prospects directly into your automated sales system. Email verification and automated data enrichment with over 50 data points guarantee you have enough information for lead qualification and drafting the perfect email.
Pricing: From $74 to $299/mo. Free trial available.
Sales automation tools and sales CRM
Prospecting doesn’t end with lead qualification. Here are some tools to consider for full-cycle support.
AiSDR is an AI-enhanced full-stack sales automation system for every step of prospecting and sales. Integrating with ZoomInfo and HubSpot allows you to find, qualify, and prioritize outbound and inbound leads using insights from any previous AiSDR campaigns. This AI sales tool also helps you create personalized, persona-based prospecting emails using AI while automating the scheduling of sales calls.
Pricing: $750/mo for 1,000 emails or 10 booked meetings. Free trial available.
Crunchbase is an all-in-one prospecting solution with features such as advanced search filters, notifications on new prospects and updates, and the ability to contact decision-makers directly. It also offers templates for drafting outreach emails.
Pricing: From $29/mo per user to custom pricing. Free trial available.
Salesforce and other sales CRM systems
Salesforce, Pipedrive, and HubSpot are all comprehensive sales automation platforms. They have the same basic features, but each one has its own additional functions that affect their complexity and price tag.
As an example, Salesforce integrates with Crunchbase, ZoomInfo, MailChimp, and other services that allow you to find, prioritize, list, and reach your prospects directly through Salesforce CRM. Moreover, its add-on AI-based sales assistant Einstein (basically a ChatGPT for sales) lets you easily analyze and optimize prospecting and sales campaigns. HubSpot, in contrast, offers fewer features but comes with an easier learning curve at a lower price.
- Salesforce: From $25 to $300/mo per user (free trial available)
- Pipedrive: From $14 to $82/mo per user (free trial available)
- HubSpot: From $12 to $1,200/mo for two users (demo and free trial available)
The tools in this category ensure you won’t miss any inbound and outbound leads.
Website visitor tracking tools
One of the easiest ways to find and qualify inbound leads is by using tools like Clearbit, Albacross, Clarity, Hotjar, or Leadfeeder to track your website visitors. These tools help you identify companies that visit your site while giving you their contact information and insights into how they browse your content.
- Clearbit: Pricing available on request (free account and free trial available)
- Albacross: From $87 per month + free demo
- Clarity: Free forever
- Hotjar: From free to $189 + free demo
- Leadfeeder: From free to $152 + free trial and demo
Tools for finding contact information
Anymail Finder is a simple tool for scraping company and decision-maker email addresses from a website. You can also search in bulk and create lists from search results.
Pricing: $49 to $149 per month. Free trial available.
Meeting scheduling and conferencing tools
For an effective sales process, the best thing is to automate scheduling, meeting recording, and summarizing. Both Calendly and Doodle can schedule meetings and send reminders without the need for back-and-forth emailing. Afterward, Chorus and Gong will help you record, automatically transcribe speech, and summarize meetings, allowing you to streamline your prospecting further.
Sales prospecting tools are no longer new tech or something that’s nice to have. They’re your key to booking more meetings and creating a healthy sales pipeline while keeping costs under control. But with so many tools available, it’s easy to miss the mark or end up with a fragmented and costly toolkit.
That’s why we developed AiSDR as an intelligent, comprehensive platform for automating all the stages of your inbound and outbound processes.
Book a demo now to get your first AI SDR that sells, optimizes costs, and speeds up critical work.
What is a prospecting tool in sales?
A sales prospecting tool is software that helps salespeople find potential customers by using filters and data sources to identify leads that match specific criteria.
What is the best AI tool for sales prospecting?
The best tool will depend on your specific business needs and preferences. Check the reviews of top-rated tools and take advantage of free trials and demos to see what’s right for you.
What are the 5 Ps of prospecting?
The 5 Ps of prospecting are purpose, preparation, personalization, persistence, and practice.
What are the best tools for automated sales prospecting?
The best tool for automated sales prospecting depends on your business needs and preferences, but for a competitive edge, you should look for AI-enhanced tools like AiSDR, HubSpot, Salesforce, etc.
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