A full guide on the best sales prospecting tools and techniques
Última actualización en November 20, 2023
In this guide, you’ll learn about the value of sales prospecting and how it can help your sales teams maximize profits and boost productivity. In the following sections, we’ll touch on these key aspects of sales prospecting:
What is sales prospecting?
Sales prospecting is the process of identifying and contacting potential customers in order to generate new business. Much like 19th-century gold miners would sift through gravel and dirt to find the gleam of precious metal, your modern-day sales representative must gather, qualify, and contact leads to discover who amongst them will provide the next golden sales opportunity.
In essence, sales prospecting is the process of converting leads into prospects. This is done through several activities, including cold calling, cold emails, email list building, and customer engagement.
When leads first enter your sales funnel, you don’t know yet if they fit your ideal customer profile (ICP). Sales prospecting tells you whether or not leads meet your qualified buyer criteria. If a lead ends up ticking off all the boxes, they become a prospect and enter the sales pipeline.
What is B2B prospecting?
B2B prospecting is similar to B2C prospecting, but does have a few distinct differences. When your customers are companies, you need to reframe your process based on several key metrics. These metrics include revenue, budget, timeline, and industry. Luckily, a lot of this information can easily be found online. That’s why many B2B prospecting tools are built specifically to source and organize this data automatically.
What are sales prospecting tools?
A sales prospecting tool is a software platform that helps your sales team automate or simplify tasks associated with lead qualification. Your sales reps could prospect by manually finding and organizing emails and scheduling meetings, but such a process would be tedious and time-consuming. Lead prospecting tools let you increase the volume of leads you convert into prospects while saving your sales reps time and sanity.
Why is sales prospecting important?
Sales prospecting ensures that you’re making the most of your sales reps’ time. It’s your marketing team’s job to generate interest, but your sales reps are the ones who have to ultimately close the sale. By inserting the lead prospecting step into the sequence, they can identify the people who are more likely to buy. This makes the sales process easier for them down the road — saving time and helping them reach quota.
What are the best sales prospecting techniques?
Set time aside for prospecting
By itself, prospecting isn’t really a revenue-generating activity, which may dissuade some people from improving it. When you look at the big picture, however, prospecting sets you up to earn more down the line by identifying more promising leads. Have your sales reps devote a bit of time every day to prospecting and see how your leads improve.
A solid discovery call can make a great first impression for your company, provided you’ve done your homework. Cold calling allows for one-on-one conversations that can reveal a lot of valuable information. Additionally, if you use a sales CRM dialer, the whole process can be a lot less painful and time-consuming.
Consider your contacts
Don’t discount the contacts you already have and don’t pass up opportunities to make new ones. Going to trade shows and conferences, or even patronizing the new businesses in your neighborhood are all great ways of expanding your reach. Gauge people’s interest with a simple conversation while also spreading awareness of your brand.
Give them something to remember you by
Make yourself memorable and stand out from the competition, while also displaying your creativity. Organize online events like a webinar or digital lunch, or go old school and send a hand-written note. Not only will this help you stand out, it gives you a chance to educate potential customers about your product or service.
Group your customers by type
One way to streamline your prospecting is to segment your customers into groups. You can group them according to location, demographics, values, etc. This lets you create more personalized messaging to specific groups, and allows you to rank them according to their buying potential.
Go to where they are
Gen-Xers and baby boomers are still likely to answer their phones. Millennials and Gen Z-ers, however, prefer to engage over messaging and social media channels. Depending on your target market, make sure you’re reaching out on that demographic’s preferred method of communicating.
Keep your eye on trends
Big events tend to have a huge impact on business. The COVID-19 pandemic, for instance, inspired a surge in some industries while devastating others. Make sure you’re staying on top of current events and changing trends. You’ll spot opportunities to reach out with relevant messaging, and also know when it’s best to sit tight and wait.
Be persistent, but patient
Customers today are flooded with options. Sales is a numbers game, but that doesn’t mean you should treat them like fish in a barrel. It may take more tries than you want to make meaningful contact. Once you do, don’t let your excitement drive you to be pushy. Exercise patience with potential customers, and learn to listen and engage in conversation.
Sales prospecting tips
Prospecting tools may automate or simplify the prospecting process, but only when used correctly.
Here are six tips on ways to best use your sales prospecting tools.
Define your ICP
Your ideal customer profile describes your perfect customer, but you want to be careful when constructing it. Make it too vague, and you risk throwing the net too wide. Make it too specific, and you’ll exclude potential buyers. Consider your audience’s budget, company size, pain points, industry, location, and potential limitations.
Build a list/database
Once you know who your ICP is, you can create a list of contacts who fit that profile. Gather lead information across multiple channels, verify contact details, and tag contacts with stand out characteristics. You can then segment those leads for targeted strategies. We’ll elaborate on creating a specific prospect database later on.
Create an omnichannel approach
Find out where your contacts are most engaged and tailor your outreach to suit that channel. Create a social media presence and communicate with your marketing team about how to build engagement on those channels based on contact preferences.
Establish a relationship
Generic approaches don’t work well, so personalization is key. This is where in depth client research comes in handy. When you know more about your leads, you can speak more to their individual needs.
Review, refine, and repeat
No matter how strong your process is, not every lead will qualify and become a prospect. That’s okay. That doesn’t mean you don’t need to track your interactions with those leads. Tracking your own activities gives you insight into potential improvements that will let you prospect more successfully in the future.
It sounds like a lot of work, but the good news is many of these tasks can be automated with sales software. The better the software, the more time your sales reps will have to devote to making sales.
Create a strong a prospect database
Now that you have a few best practices under your belt, here are several ways to build up your prospect database:
Solicit contact information by offering engaging content, like videos, downloadable e-books, or demos. Search for potential customers on LinkedIn or other social networks.
Connect with potential customers at events like conferences and trade shows.
Set up Google alerts to capture important industry news.
Look at job listings to gather insight into how organizations in your target market are shifting.
Solicit referrals from your existing customers.
Remember, as long you’re qualifying all your leads, there’s no reason to limit your lead sources. Cast your initial net wide and use automated qualification to find the diamonds in the rough.
30 best prospecting tools
Overloop (formerly Prospect.io)
HubSpot Sales Hub
LinkedIn Sales Navigator
Not all prospecting tools are created equal. As we already discussed, there are different stages of prospecting. Some of the tools we’re about to go through only cover one stage, while others cover several. The best fit for you will depend on what your company needs.
When deciding on a prospecting tool, you also need to think about what comes next in the sales process. If your leads become prospects, then you’ll need to keep them in the pipeline with a robust CRM. The best sales prospecting software tools will integrate smoothly with your CRM, so you can keep track of the entire buyer journey without jumping between screens.
Zendesk Sell is a modern sales CRM that helps you accelerate revenue. Its quick set-up and intuitive interface make it a breeze to turn prospects into qualified leads, and leads into buyers. With access to more than 44 million businesses and 350 million prospect records, reps can use Sell’s sales engagement tools to generate new leads in just a few clicks.
With powerful sales engagement tools, reps can create targeted prospect lists and enrich existing leads and contacts with up-to-date information. Streamline the process with bulk enrichment, custom lead lists, and automatic email sequencing. Customizing your email sequences lets you reach hundreds of prospects while keeping that personal touch. Sales engagement tools are included with the purchase of any new Sell plan.
Starting price: $19.00/month
Lead prospecting and enrichment tools (Reach)
Automated outreach with email sequences
Leadfuze is a platform for finding professional contact information and building a contact list. It allows salespeople to perform hyper-targeted lead searches, and prevents users from duplicating contact entries. The AI assistant, FuzeBot, takes mundane work off salespeople’s hands by automatically adding leads that match the chosen criteria.
Users can select criteria and information to search for, including emails, phone numbers, work history, social profiles, and more. You can also target companies using specific technology or find businesses who have recently expanded their product lines.
Starting price: $132.30 per month
Designed specifically for B2B companies, Lusha helps users find and engage with new leads. Using the Lusha extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge, salespeople can access contact and company information across multiple channels, including Gmail and LinkedIn.
Lusha allows users to perform advanced searches and find ideal customers in seconds before connecting them through qualified meetings. Users can also score leads and automatically pinpoint decision makers for more accurate and up-to-date prospect lists.
Starting price: $39.00/month
Lead database integration
FindThatLead is a cloud-based B2B sales prospecting tool for finding leads and sending cold emails. Users can create personalized email drip campaigns and automatically monitor the status of their emails. They can also locate new leads in your area, and use their advanced algorithm to verify email addresses and bring down the bounce rate.
Users can also book demos, set up meetings, and reach out to prospects on social media. Additionally, with a Chrome extension, users can find emails on any website, including LinkedIn.
Starting price: $9.00/month
Bulk email verification
Catch-all server detection
Owler is a platform that lets you search for hard-to-find contacts, receive news alerts, and access exclusive company information. Using its advanced search feature, you can filter contacts by whatever criteria you want, including geography, industry, revenue, and more.
Track the companies you’re interested in and keep up to date with their latest movements. With regular alerts, you can stay current with business events, including who’s expanding and who’s making layoffs. You can also keep tabs on the competition and monitor what people are saying about your company.
Starting price: $99.00/year
Custom keyword alerts
Leadfeeder is a prospecting tool for B2B businesses with at least one sales person. It’s designed for tracking and monitoring website traffic. Leadfeeder includes features for seeing which companies are checking out your website, what brought them there, and what they’re most interested in.
With a unique database of static and dynamic IPs, Leadfeeder even lets you track and identify remote workers looking at your site. With this insight, you can see what visitors are viewing and build better sales pitches that speak directly to their needs.
Starting price: $63.00/month
B2B lead generation
Demodesk is a platform for hosting lead meetings. Users can automate scheduling workflows and create automated calendar invites and reminders. Other key features include interactive screen-sharing and collaborative meetings, where you can show slides, speaker notes, and web apps.
You can also personalize pitches and pull up relevant data directly into your meetings while keeping your sales narrative unified with Demodesk’s Team Playbooks feature. Additionally, you can build a uniquely branded virtual sales room.
Demodesk promises to reduce lag time, eliminate embarrassing notifications, and provide high-security and high quality audio and video conferences.
Starting price: $19.00/month
Mattermark lets you find and track global companies and investors. The platform allows search by industry, location, revenue, and employee growth, and identifies key personnel based on title and functions. Users can build better outreach methods by using machine learning, natural language processing, and web crawlers to extract data from articles and websites.
Mattermark keeps tabs on the businesses that are relevant to your market, and creates scoring algorithms and models based on your company’s ICP. It then pulls your Mattermark data into Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets for easy organization and retrieval.
Starting price: $49.00/month
Automatic data field updates
Zoominfo is a B2B database that lets you discover prospects in your target market and build better engagement. Its contact and company search feature allows users to extract current professional and company data. Then it filters that by details such as work experience, education, web mentions, and certifications.
Users can build a tailored list of companies to target with 300+ attributes to choose from. Then can then analyze customer calls and interactions to extract better insight to inform business decisions. Using intent data, Zoominfo can locate buyers at the beginning of their purchasing journey and track their consumption patterns.
Starting price: contact vendor for pricing
B2B lead generation
Lead database integration
Hunter is a cloud-based email finder tool that lets you locate and verify publicly available names and email addresses. You can search for contacts one by one, or enrich your database with bulk email searches. Hunter’s email verifier features then automatically does a full check of the addresses in your list so that you can be confident that your database is correct and up-to-date.
Hunter’s Chrome extension lets you pull emails from the websites you’re looking at and build lists on Google Sheets. It also has a cold email feature for creating and tracking campaigns and follow-ups.
Starting price: $49.00/month
Datanyze is a platform for helping salespeople find B2B prospects. It gathers contact information while browsing social media channels, and directly accesses data from company websites using the Datanyze Google Chrome extension feature.
It also uses social media feeds and location news publications to dig up relevant talking points to get the conversation started. Datanyze segments lists by adding tags to contacts on your self-made lists before exporting to CSV with a simple click.
Starting price: $55.00/month
Vainu is a sales intelligence platform with 100+ filters to search for best-fit prospects. Users can follow prospect lists and receive notifications with email, in-app, or Slack alerts on prospect activity. React instantly to new matches without getting bogged down in research on Google.
Vainu integrates with several popular CRM platforms. Their “Team” plan includes data updates and workflow triggers for up to 3,000 accounts.
Starting price: 6600€/year with a one-time onboarding fee of 750€
Data updates and workflow triggers
13. Overloop (formerly Prospect.io)
Designed for SMB businesses, Overloop is a tool for building email lists, creating impactful campaigns, and tracking results. It moves prospects between lists easily, and uses its powerful segmentation tool to send more personalized messaging to your contacts.
With Overloop, you can easily import and export your data for sharing, and automatically add prospects to your workflow by setting up triggers with predefined criteria. You can also create a set of filters to direct prospects down different paths and use manual reviews to approve those paths before they continue into the workflow.
Starting price: $39.00/month
MailTester is a cloud-based tool for stripping your email lists of spam, traps, and abandoned emails. Its algorithm verifies and categorizes every entry, then assigns emails into six different segments: deliverable, invalid, disposable, unknown, spamtraps, and accept all. Users can then download the segmented results into an XLSX or CSV file.
MailTester takes the guesswork out of email campaigns, increasing deliverability so that you know your campaigns are actually being seen. Plus, it has a customizable API that lets you prompt customers who may have mistakenly entered the wrong email, keeping your contact info as accurate as possible.
Starting price: $19/month
Bulk email verification
Single email verification
4 API libraries
Yesware is an email prospecting tool for Google and Outlook that lets users reach out to prospects, schedule meetings, and follow-up with leads right from their inbox. Users can see what’s working and where they need improvement with daily activity-tracking features. The platform also notifies you when leads open your emails, view your attachments, or click on links.
Using Yesware’s multi-channel campaign features, users can easily schedule automated emails and calls and create thoughtful follow-ups. You can also build a library of your highest performing email templates and share them with other people on your team.
Starting price: $15.00/month
Event triggered actions
BuiltWith is a platform for pinpointing which technologies a company is currently using. You can filter your searches by location, traffic, and vertical and then download extensive lists of businesses using a particular platform.
With a database of over 53,000 web technologies and 673 million websites, you can see who’s using shopping carts, hosting, advertising, CMS, and analytics. Then, you can use BuildWith’s sales intelligence feature to better understand your prospect’s platform before starting a conversation. Additionally, with global data coverage spanning over 270 countries, users can get the full scope of their active market.
Starting price: $295.00/month
Clearbit lets you identify anonymous website visitors and track their activity, so you can see aspects of your site generate the most interest. Firmographic data lets you personalize your visitor’s experience on your website in real-time and then alerts your sales team when one of their accounts shows intent.
With Clearbit, you can instantly view visitor info, such as company size and location. You can also generate highly targeted accounts and lead lists and automatically verify contact details. This keeps your lists up-to-date with the most current info. Additionally, you can create a preferred contact persona and search for new target accounts by setting your own parameters.
Sales Hub is a platform included in a larger suite of HubSpot’s business apps which also include Marketing, Service, and CMS. It offers popular features like email templates, email tracking, document management and tracking, and call tracking and recording.
HubSpot’s conversation intelligence lets users capture relevant information from every call. Then, AI-powered insights let sales teams and managers know where additional training might be needed. With Sales Hub, you can prioritize daily sales calls and reach out directly from your browser before automatically logging them into your company’s CRM software.
Starting price: $50 per user per month
Sendoso is a platform designed for sending and tracking the ROI of any materials your company uses to engage and attract prospects. You can source and send gifts, perishables, company swag, handwritten notes, gift cards, and more to build up relationships and increase engagement. You can also send personalized gifts and set up virtual events.
To make sure your gifts are working, track the return on your investments and share those metrics with your stakeholders. You can also create memorable events like virtual wine tastings, and send eGifts to inspire people to attend.
Event triggered actions
Vidyard is a video tool for building virtual connections. Using online video, users can create personalized and interactive video experiences, and gain valuable insight into customer behavior and preferences. Send or share product demos, customer stories, executive updates, and more.
With Vidyard, you can create videos from your webcam or by recording your screen, edit and customize your thumbnail, and send through email, social media, or other channels. Viewers can watch your creations without downloading and get valuable analytics about how your creations are performing.
Starting price: $300 monthly for teams
Mobile screen support
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a platform available through LinkedIn, the largest professional social network for individual reps or teams of sales professionals. It has powerful search capabilities, detailed prospect information, and personalized algorithms to help you immediately find company decision-makers.
Because LinkedIn has a built-in network, it’s easy to apply filters to find the best leads based on keywords, geographic location, and industry. Use TeamLink to find the best connections with prospects through your companies’ combined networks. You can also track who’s following your company by seeing who has viewed your profile in the last 90 days.
Starting price: $79.99/month
Lead and account recommendations
CRM and email integration
Followerwonk is a Twitter-specific tool designed to search bios for keywords and create a detailed list of prospects. With Followerwonk, you can find users’ locations, view social authority rankings, analyze follows and followers, track follower gains and losses, and better engage your community on Twitter. You can tweet at users directly or utilize other tools to find contact information and get in touch with prospects.
Starting price: Free. Paid plans at $29.00/month
Quora is a highly ranked question-and-answer community, making it a smart place to improve web traffic and credibility as a thought leader in your industry. By answering questions that show off your expertise, you can create inbound marketing opportunities for your business. You can also find prospects by combing through followers on specific questions or topics. With Quora’s internal messaging platform, you can reach out to users directly or find contact details in their bios or linked social accounts.
Starting price: Free
Internal messaging platform
Linked social media accounts
AngelList is a startup community that specializes in remote and local talent opportunities. Originally it was a platform for venture capitalists and angel investors to find investment opportunities by researching different companies. Nowadays, both recruiters and job seekers use it to connect through work opportunities.
For sales prospecting, you can use AngelList as a directory. You can easily filter your company searches by industry, job roles, and location.
Starting price: Free. Paid plans start at $250.00/month
Advanced search filters (paid plans)
Scheduling capabilities (paid plans)
25. Product Hunt
Product Hunt is a directory of new and forthcoming businesses and products. Despite a somewhat cluttered interface, Product Hunt lets you search using keywords and filters to narrow your inquiries. It also has an “Ask” platform that allows questions and answers from its user community, making it an opportune space for building business credibility.
Product hunt’s new “Collections” feature also allows you to group businesses by specific topics. As a free resource, Product Hunt is well worth your time as a tool to locate and sort B2B leads.
Starting price: Free
Community discussion space
Browse and search capabilities
Curated “collections” from the community
Close.io is a CRM platform that delivers particularly strong cold-calling tools. Predictive power dialing offers increased outbound call volume while call tracking and recording provide insights into your results. With search and smart view capabilities, you can proactively reach out to your leads and prospects using filtered, saved lists.
Starting price: $29.00/month
Clutch is an extensive directory of digital agencies, including marketing, advertising, development, IT, business, and design and production. With Clutch, you can create lists that are sortable by location, topic, size, and services. Start by browsing company directories to find the right contacts and create a custom list of leads using criteria that matter to your company.
Starting price: Free
Access to 98,000+ client reviews
28. Voila Norbert
Voila Norbert is a powerful search engine where you can enter an individual’s name and company to bring up that individual’s email address. Voila Norbert’s Gmail plugin lets you schedule sends, follow-ups, and reminders. With its eight-step email verification process, Voila Norbert ensures that you’re sending emails to real people. It also provides enrichment data and insights including job titles, companies, locations, and social profiles.
Starting price: $39.00/month
Skrapp is a tool for looking up emails specifically associated with LinkedIn and Sales Navigator accounts. You can save your leads directly into customized lists and enrich those lists with populated company data. Using the basic email finder feature, you can find anyone’s email address with their name alongside their company’s name or website. Skrapp saves you valuable hours of research by using public data to provide you with reliable email addresses and data from a variety of markets and audiences.
Starting price: $39.00/month
Chrome extension (also supports Mozilla)
Bulk email finder
Mention is a monitoring tool, allowing you to track keyword mentions. Although most companies will use this for marketing purposes, it also works for salespeople. You can keep track of your prospects’ social media presence and align your findings with marketing to better-qualify leads.
Starting price: Free. Paid plans start at $30.00/month
Monitors and alerts
Social media content creation
Frequently asked questions on sales prospecting
Still have questions about sales prospecting? Not to worry. Here are a few frequently asked questions on the details of sales prospecting and how to make it work for your company.