6 Prospecting Pitfalls That Every SDR Should Avoid

Here’s the scenario: it’s mid-month and you’ve been prospecting like crazy, but have barely made a dent in your monthly quota. You think you’re doing all the right things: sending an email, following up with a phone call, leaving a voicemail and engaging on social. So, what gives?

If you’re a Sales Development Representative or a prospecting-Account Executive, chances are you’ve fallen for a prospecting pitfall. Don’t fret, we can and get out of the hole and recover. We’re in Sales, afterall.

Here are six pitfalls to avoid when outbound prospecting:

Pitfall #1: Booking Meetings Without Qualifying First

Let’s go back to our scenario: it’s mid-month and your quota attainment percentage is forecasted to fall short. Whatever you do, don’t just make any arbitrary appointment with any lead, even if they’re not qualified.

Outbound prospecting is tough enough. But, if you think that setting appointments with any lead is going to solve the equation—well, it’s not going to work. Sure your activities will go up, but those unqualified and ill-fitting leads won’t amount to a healthy pipeline or closed business in the future.

Solution: Instead of making appointments with any lead just to hit your quota, take the time to book qualified leads. It’s sounds obvious, but we can’t stress enough how important (and a time saver) it is to only work through qualified leads. Sales can work with Marketing to make sure that leads are appropriately scored and defined to ensure peak performance.

Pitfall #2: Not Prioritizing Research

While you may not want to reach out to the CEO, you also don’t want to waste valuable time focusing on the wrong person because you didn’t prioritize research before reaching out. In an ideal world, we’d all know in seconds who the ultimate decision maker is or everyone in the buyer’s committee. Unfortunately, that’s not the world we live in.

Too often, just to get our foot in the door with our prospects, we’ll start our outreach with non-buying decision making employees and have at-length conversations with them, and then find out they’re not the right point-of-contact. Then, we’ll have to play email tag just to figure out who’s actually the right point-of-contact.

Solution: Take the extra few minutes and conduct extensive research on your prospect’s entire company and determine who you should reach out to. The higher level of research and personalized messaging (we’ll get into this later) will aide your conversation and increase your chances of booking an appointment.

Pitfall #3: Choosing the Wrong Method of Communication

Depending on the nature of your product, you’ll find that some methods work better than others. If you’ve fallen for Pitfall #2 of not prioritizing research, you’ll most likely not have founded the right method of communication for your specific prospect.

Solution: In the age of Social Selling, some prospects prefer to engage and build a rapport with a person on social before getting “The Ask” email. Failing to choose the right method of communication can be detrimental to your pipeline because Sales is all about good communication.

Pitfall #4: Forgetting to Personalize Your Messaging

Put yourself in your prospects shoes of getting an email from a complete stranger. There’s no personalization, no research and no interest beyond pitching a product. How would you react and would you respond? Probably not.

Pitfall #5: Forgetting to Follow Up

Studies show that it takes eight attempts to reach your prospect and some reps give up after two. Sales is about persistence and following up to get the follow through. Sure, you’ve got a lot of prospects on your targeted accounts list, but that doesn’t mean you should let prospects slip through the cracks.

Solution: Don’t forget to follow up. For insurance, make sure you’ve created a streamlined outreach campaign for every prospect on your list.  

Pitfall #6: Not Prioritizing the Value Add

People don’t want to be sold to. Instead, they want to receive timely and highly personalized messages that offer solutions to their pain points. In outbound prospecting, sometimes we get too caught up in the process and forget what it’s all about. Sure, prospecting is about connecting with prospects and generating pipeline. But, at the root of it all we always want to add value.

Solution: Before sending out that next prospecting email ask yourself, “Is this adding value?” Did you answer a painpoint? Did you send an invaluable article? If not, don’t hit that send button just yet.

For more information on building Sales Development teams, download our eBook The Definitive Guide to Building an SDR Team.