With digital selling taking over traditional sales methodologies, there has never been a more exciting time to be in sales. Leveraging technology, social selling, and sales prospecting tools has ushered in a new era for anyone wishing to pursue a career as a sales rep.
For the first time ever, buyers and sellers are completely aligned. Buyer behavior and selling motion are in sync. It is through the use of the right B2B prospecting that we can continue to succeed in this always-evolving field.
However, with so many sales prospecting tools out there, how do you know which ones are worth your time and money?
To help you out, I’ve put together a wide array of my favorite B2B sales prospecting tools: including those that have a free plan and paid versions. All of these tools will undoubtedly help to improve the success of your sales prospecting method and help you get the best out of your sales team.
But before we start, let’s define what sales prospecting is.
What is Sales Prospecting?
Sales prospecting is the act of searching for customers, buyers, and potential long term clients to help you grow your team’s sales pipeline. In other words, sales prospecting is the art of finding those who most resemble your target buyer or buyer persona, and initiating conversations or engaging with them. To be successful in sales, you will need to have a prospecting strategy to follow, so you know what target accounts or ideal prospects to reach out to, how to interact with them to build a relationship, and what comes next in your sales plan.I learned how to communicate easier w/ my buyer by using sales #prospecting tools to find my target buyer and initiate conversations or engage with them. Great @GoModernSelling ep. w/ @M_3jr and @kurtshaver #GoFlyMSG Click To Tweet
When scouting for a sales prospect, it is important for the sales representative to first identify those who are the best fit for their offerings.
Traditional sales methodologies were heavily focused on closing deals and not much on identifying whether or notthe buyer and the organizationwere a good fit for one another. That’s why we created the PVC Method, which is a sales methodology that focuses on prospecting and walks you through what to do, when, and how. In this way with a structured sales strategy to follow, you can dramatically improve the productivity and success rate of your entire sales prospecting process.
To be clear, prospecting is not to be confused with lead generation and, likewise, prospecting tools are not the same as lead generation software.
What is the Difference Between a Lead and a Prospect?
This is one of the most common misconceptions among those just entering the sales field. I’ll quickly elaborate on both.
- A lead is someone who expresses interest in your product or service, visits your website, watches your videos, or even fills out a form. It is often associated with the inbound sales process. We like to think of them as a hand raiser or often considered a qualified lead.
- A prospect is someone who needs to be qualified. Although they may be aligned with your target persona, they may or may not have a business pain you can solve, and may or may not have engaged with you in some way, shape, or form. It is commonly referred to as outbound sales prospecting. To further engage them, you may send follow up emails or nurture them with drip campaigns. Once you have confirmed that the prospect has shown interest, then they are referred to as a qualified prospect.
Both sales leads and prospects need to be nurtured and driven down your sales funnel in order to ultimately become buyers. Now let’s dive into sales prospecting tools.
To help you on this topic, I encourage you to listen to Episode #161 of the Modern Selling Podcast where I talk with Vengreso’s Co-Founder, Kurt Shaver, about my favorite sales prospecting platform and tools.
The Best Sales Prospecting Tools to Keep Leads Flowing In
In any industry, the competition is high when it comes to finding a potential prospect and convincing them to buy your product or service. This is a challenging task, and in order to achieve your sales goals, it is critical to be open to learn and knowledgeable about new strategies, tools, and technologies that can level up your team’s prospecting game.
A sales prospecting tool is any software that helps you automate repetitive tasks, so your sales reps can save time, effectively engage, and deliver the right messaging to your prospects.
These tools will give your sales reps all the necessary information they need, as well as help you make the best decision to determine whether a person is a good fit or not for your organization. It also helps boost your sales productivity and efficiency that should in turn empower your sellers to get closer to engaging with your buyer persona to close the deal.
Prospecting tools will essentially help you gather more information, move faster, target the right people, and build authentic relationships with your prospects in a more meaningful way in order to close more deals.Now I got new sales #prospecting tools that help me gather more info, move faster, target the right people and engage prospects in a more meaningful way to close more deals. Fantastic @GoModernSelling ep @M_3jr @kurtshaver #GoFlyMSG Click To Tweet
Sales Intelligence Tools to Find Contact Details
Within the realm of sales prospecting tools, there is a myriad of use cases, designed for specific tasks. Here are a few tools that allow sellers to find contact details:
- Seamless, Hunter.io, Datanyze, Prospect.io, SalesIntel, and Zoominfo – Often called the Google of contact searching, these tools allow sellers to not only search for prospects’ emails, websites, and contact information, but also export these newly found prospects into a CSV. In all cases, users can use a Chrome extension to instantly search for the contact information of your B2B decision-makers within a domain name. Within seconds a salesperson can save a POC, synchronize their contact information to their CRM, and begin sending cold emails (which is not an outbound prospecting technique we recommend as a first outreach), place a cold call, or engage directly on LinkedIn.
Many sellers ask us “so who’s the best one?” While we have our favorite, we decided to go out and do some research and see how the sales community answered on which is their favorite sales intelligence tool. After surveying 1,546 sellers worldwide, the numbers came in with ZoomInfo, then Seamless.ai. We personally use Seamless.ai and have found it to be a better solution and data set for us.
Tools to Qualify Prospects
A second category of sales prospecting tools I’d like to dive into are those tools that help B2B sales teams qualify prospects. These tools help sellers assess how likely it is that a person will eventually buy from their organization.
- LinkedIn or LinkedIn Sales Navigator – LinkedIn and LinkedIn Sales Navigator are two separate tools. The latter features a more powerful set of search capabilities and personalized algorithms to help your sellers reach the right decision-maker. Learn more about the difference between the free version of LinkedIn and LinkedIn Premium, including Sales Navigator.
- Leadfeeder – Leadfeeder is a sales prospecting tool that enables you to identify anonymous prospects browsing your website. You can then qualify prospects based on their intent, find the contact details of your ideal person, and automatically assign prospects to your sales reps. Leadfeeder seamlessly integrates with your CRM so you can spend less time prospecting, and more time selling.
Tools for Scheduling Sales Meetings
Once sellers have the contact information and have qualified these prospects, they need to book a meeting because, let’s face it, the end result of successful prospecting is starting a conversation and eventually booking a meeting.
Nevertheless, there are often instances where there are more than two people involved in a sales meeting. In order to successfully schedule the availability of several parties, here are a few of my favorite tools to complete this task:
The Best Sales Productivity Tool
FlyMSG is the first text expander tool that was built for the modern seller. The tool was developed by us, here at Vengreso, and it allows sales pros (as well as marketers) to quickly pull up their favorite sales messages, emails, and scripts using a few simple keystrokes. With these FlyCuts (aka shortcuts) users won’t have to look through old emails, Google Docs, Evernote, Notepad or their sticky notes to find their favorite content or sales message.
The tool is a SaaS-based application leveraging a Chrome Extension and it will instantly increase your team’s sales productivity and uniformity across your sales messaging. You can include links, sales videos, or images and embed them into your messages.
Here’s a use case example. Say a buyer has requested to schedule a meeting with me. Instead of looking through the last email, then copy and paste or having to type a message out for the individual, I simply type into my reply email or into a LinkedIn message a simple FlyCut literally this word: “bookameeting”. Upon typing that into the message area, that word would be converted in milliseconds to:
“To make life easy I have placed my entire calendar online so we can avoid email scheduling volleyball. Here is the link: https://vengresostage.wpengine.com/our-team/mario-martinez-jr – Please click on that link and schedule a 30 min meeting when both of our calendars show free. Does that work for you? I look forward to chatting.”
These sales messages can be instantly pulled up using an abbreviation virtually everywhere online! Talk about increasing sales productivity. Learn more about FlyMSG via this one-minute video. And don’t forget to download the Chrome extension for FlyMSG as we are offering only a free plan right now.I already added FlyMSG Chrome extension, and what a great text expander tool for the #ModernSeller to increase sales #productivity and create uniformity among #sales messaging! Great @GoModernSelling ep w/ @M_3jr @kurtshaver #GoFlyMSG Click To Tweet
This tool is great not just for sellers but also for sales leaders and marketers who wish to increase productivity, especially during the remote selling era where every minute working from home counts.
Tools for Engaging Your Sales Prospect
There are over 700 tools in the sales tech stack in the market today and many specialize in the function of engaging prospects. Which is why I’d like to further divide this category into sub-categories.
Sales Automation Tools (aka Sales Cadence)
Within the sales automation realm, there are many cadence tools but the big four that come to mind and that majority of our Vengreso customers use are:
While a sales productivity tool like FlyMSG will help with 1-to-1 messaging, sales cadence tools will grab these individual messages they’ve created and bring them all together in a sequence, thus improving their chances of sending prospects directly down their sales pipeline. By harnessing the power of both types of tools, you’ll not only save time and create uniformity, but you’ll also become more organized in your sales prospecting techniques.
Sales Engagement Tools and Platforms
These tools help sellers look at the different pieces of content they have available from marketing and help them create 1-to-1 level engagement in prospecting. This can be a great hub to save all of your content in one place so you know what to use and when.
The modern buyer expects a personalized experience, supported by relevant content. That is exactly why we recommend for sellers to always include the V for “value” from our PVC Sales Methodology. These content engagement platforms help to bring together marketing content right to the fingertips of your sellers giving them the opportunity to tell better stories, be relevant, and show value using content – without having to expend much effort.
Gift and Direct Mail Marketing Tools
This next set of prospecting tools are really some very effective ways to connect with customers and drive revenue. Using these tools you can at scale send personalized gifts, branded swag, eGifts, Cameos, virtual experiences, and even send “hand-written” notes to your prospect by way of hand-writing software.
There are a few others in the market, but these two are the most common ones amongst our customers and most well known to me. Both are known as gift and direct mail marketing tools. These are used by sellers to engage with their buyers offline through sales gifts making it possible to build stronger, deeper, and more trusted relationships with your B2B buyers.
Sales Video Tools
In our Video Sales Mastery program, we offer training specifically for this type of engagement platform. With in-person events moving to a virtual environment, video (both synchronous and asynchronous) is the next best thing to have prospects experience to build trust with sellers.
A few of the big 6 video sales engagement platforms are:
These tools allow sellers to not only create and send videos, but some of them also allow your sellers to add various filters to make them more engaging, content within the page, and rich deep analytics that allows your sellers to see who, when, what, and how many times their videos and content assets have been viewed.
Sales CRM Tools
Lets face it, sales CRM tools just don’t have it all to meet the needs of the seller. That is why there are entire partner communities that have come to life to support individual use cases within the sales CRM. That said, the following tools are tools that our team knows likes and trusts and they help to simplify a sellers life. Some are free some are paid for tools.
- OrgChartHub – A tool that lets sellers build an org chart directly within HubSpot. Not necessarily a tool that is used with the prospect directly, but a tool that I use in every meeting. This helps bridge the gap between customer success, support and sales.
- LinkedHub, and Leadjet – Instead of spending time on data entry from LinkedIn to HubSpot, Pipedrive, Saleforce.com, etc., these sales CRM tools allow users to synchronize all info and/or messages from LinkedIn directly into a CRM. This beats the hassle of copying and pasting with the possibility of overlooking or losing valuable information. It also tracks and synchronizes sales messaging from LinkedIn and LinkedIn Sales Navigator and automatically continues synching all of your messages back and forth with your prospect directly into your CRM. You never have to lift another finger again to get your messages into the CRM.
Tools for Sales Prospect Meetings
Now that your sellers have a date for the actual sales meeting, they’re going to want to know what tools to use to host the meeting, what to do during and what to do after said meeting has finalized.
- Gong.io and Chorus.ai – Both record meetings as well as take notes for you. These sales intelligence tools are extremely important to coach your sellers thus improving anything from their confidence, presentation abilities, salesmanship, even cold calling abilities.
- Crystal Knows – This is an AI sales tool that allows your sellers to get an inside scoop on any prospect before they reach out. This somewhat eerie tool reads all the information on the prospect that is available on the web and summarizes anything -from the latest news to the kind of tone a prospect prefers to be reached out. For example, should the seller greet “Hey Mario” or “Dear Mario;” should they use a “best friend voice” or sound more casual. Crystal Knows allows sellers to decipher how to reach out before they actually do, making it even easier to connect with a potential prospect while reducing the prospecting effort in the process. Think of it like having your own crystal ball before you contact a prospect.
Tools for Social Selling
In the paragraphs above, I shared the difference between a lead and a prospect, and how they relate to inbound and outbound sales, respectively.
One of the ways to generate inbound traffic is by teaching your sellers how to share content on social networks thereby building credibility and visibility. It isn’t necessarily part of a social media strategy, but it will help keep buyers engaged.
There are two types of content sharing platforms sellers can use. It can either be 1-to-1 sharing or one to many. On the one to many side, there are tools that are also known as employee advocacy platforms but are more commonly referred to as content sharing platforms. The content can be filtered by a plethora of categories, sharing both personal and business-related information. A few of the top social selling tools are:
For 1-to-1 content sharing, I’d like to highlight the benefits of FlyMSG. Sellers who notice a new view on their profile can instantly send a pre-writtend, tailored message to the prospect who has viewed their profile. In this case, I have created a message for thescenario where someone has viewed my profile and, by using the FlyCut ” thxview”, within a split second I can send them an elaborate 289 character LinkedIn connection request thanking them for viewing my profile. Here is the message that autopopulates on LinkedIn when I use thet thxview FlyCut (or short code):
“Hey FIRSTNAME! Thanks for viewing my LinkedIn profile. I looked at yours and thought based upon our mutual passion for sales and marketing it would make sense to connect. I’d be honored to have you in my network. Open to connecting? Also, feel free to let me know if you had any questions. Mario”
The Best Sales Prospecting Tools to Use in 2022
I’ve shared quite a few sales prospecting tools throughout this article and via the podcast. To wrap this up, I’d like to summarize my favorite sales prospecting tools to use in 2022.
If you have a limited budget, no worries! Look for the ones that say FREE Plan Option next to them.
- FlyMSG – For an all-in-one sales productivity, engagement, and effectiveness tool, look no further than FlyMSG . Save time on tedious tasks and standardize your sales messaging and personalized emails. (FREE Plan Option)
- LinkedIn Sales Navigator – For sales qualification and sales engagement. This platform isn’t a requirement, in fact, most of our current clients aren’t LinkedIn Sales Navigator users. But if you have the budget, we recommend you use this tool.
- Seamless.ai – For finding contact details this is my favorite tool.
- Seismic – For sales content engagement platform. One of the 800-pound gorillas in this segment.
- Postal.io – For gift marketing and direct mail. (FREE Trial Option)
- OneMob – For video for sales, OneMob’s salesforce integration makes them my choice for top video for sales platforms.
- HippoVideo – Similar to OneMob but their integration to HubSpot makes them a sales leader’s favorite. Both HippoVideo and OneMob allow sellers to create custom, content landing pages which ensures your prospects engage with sellers directly. (FREE Plan Option)
- Gong.io – For meetings, I would leverage this tool as it not only records every call, but its ability to also take notes makes it well worth the investment.
With remote selling setting the stage for inside, outside, and field sales teams to be transformed, well, a new line of sales prospecting methods will continue to keep popping up. I predict that within just 6 months’ time, we might just be adding to this list of tools, so stay tuned.