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ATD Blog

3 Guiding Principles of Sprint Prospecting

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Prospecting requires agility because sales professionals must adjust to the increasing changes in the customer’s setting. These changes stem from industry convergence in which digital transformation blurs the line, separating industries. As businesses embrace new technologies, they begin to resemble new entities driven by different needs. Today, this development is in its third phase called Convergence 3.0.

With sprint prospecting, sales professionals develop the agility to track those changes, deliver on-point messaging, and win the sale. Here are the three guiding principles of sprint prospecting.

1. Engage to Sell

Most prospects are not eager to talk with someone trying to sell them something, but they are eager to engage with a sales professional who provides value and insight in an authentic manner. Applying these three approaches helps to engage prospects:

  • Research prospects. Effective research means developing a social engagement strategy. Sellers must monitor alerts that keep the sales professional up to date on the latest developments within an industry or a prospect’s business.
  • Engage in reciprocity. Reciprocity in sales is the simple idea that when a person offers something of value, the other feels compelled to offer something in return. Reciprocity is a natural characteristic of the human condition. Sales professionals can engage the law of reciprocity by offering valuable insight to the customer. In time, the customer is likely to respond to the gesture in a positive way.
  • Connect with authenticity. Authenticity emerges from having a genuine curiosity about the prospect’s business and a sincere interest in helping them. When the sales professional’s actions are driven by these things, they develop the prospect’s trust because the initial conversations are not about the product or service.


2. Be Your Own Micromarketer

Too often sales professionals rely on lead generation from other sources. Today, they must equip themselves to engage as thought-leaders. They must nurture relationships and more directly create curiosity with prospects in traditional and nontraditional manners. Being your own micromarketer consists of three steps:

  • Identify the ideal customer. Sales professionals should take the time to assign specific metrics to the ideal customer profile. Doing so means answering questions like “What is the ideal revenue of our ideal customer?” Other important numbers include years in business, total employees, and growth rate.
  • Leverage the priming bias. Priming bias tells us that someone becomes more open to something the more they are exposed to it. A consistent, multitouch approach provides this important, consistent exposure. The idea is to rely on the incremental gains that come from repeatedly and reliably offering value to potential customers.
  • Develop a communication cadence. Sellers need to commit to a multistage communication cadence. This approach works best when it leverages numerous mediums including calls, emails, and social touches. As the seller reaches the end of the cadence, the frequency of outreach should slow.


3. Challenge the “It’s a Numbers Game” Mindset

Generalized messaging is ineffective in a setting where each prospect faces a unique and unmatched set of challenges. Sales professionals can increase their odds of success by improving every facet of prospecting: their approach, their targeting, their messaging, their cadence, and their conversations. Overcoming the number’s game mindset happens in three steps:

  • Deliver ultracustomized messaging. Ultracustomized messaging articulates ways that the solution has helped similar businesses while keeping the content differentiated and concise. Sellers must remember to invite action and avoid unnecessary details around the solution.
  • Consider the saliency bias. Information that stands out or seems relevant is more likely to affect our thoughts and actions. Therefore, effective prospecting is about understanding what issues are important to the potential customer. If the sales professional can target the prospect’s concerns or goals, they will immediately gain their attention.
  • Using alternative messaging styles. As the sales professional begins to understand the nuances of the prospect, they may discover that a different messaging style is appropriate. Some of these other styles include the customer success story, the value proposition, and the list of core challenges.

Effective prospecting means being able to see changes as they unfold. Sales professionals need the agility to track, understand, and speak to this morphing setting in which traditional challenges and needs are a thing of the past. Sprint prospecting is built for this new reality and equips sales professionals with the skills to engage leads, market themselves, and access underlying customer needs.

About the Author

Ben Taylor is the content marketing manager at Richardson, a global sales training and performance improvement company focused on helping you drive revenue and grow long-term customer relationships. Our market-proven sales and coaching methodology combined with our active learning approach ensures that your sales teams learn, master, and apply new behaviors when and where they matter most — in front of the buyer.

Ben has an MBA in finance from LaSalle University and more than a decade of business and writing experience. He has covered content for brands, including Nasdaq, Barclaycard, and Business Insider.

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