24 things that can negatively impact the success of a B2B prospecting program

  1. Target market not clearly defined, e.g., industry type(s), geography, and company size
  2. No in-house or commercial database is available representing the target market, requiring that the database be compiled manually (very time consuming)
  3. Low quality of (inaccurate) organizations represented in target market database (wasting the time and cost of the prospectors)
  4. Insufficient quantity of organizations matching targeting criteria exists
  5. Target buyer (decision-maker) role or title is not properly defined
  6. Difficulty identifying the actual buyer (decision-maker) in the organizations targeted, primarily due to the difficulty reaching someone to ask and their reluctance to provide the information.
  7. Offering hasn’t been sold before – no reference accounts or sales experience exists
  8. Marketing collateral (PDF) doesn’t exist for the offering
  9. Seller’s website doesn’t mention the offering or provide a link to information or evidence of happy customers.
  10. Poor sales & marketing positioning and messaging — the message doesn’t elicit curiosity or provide perceived value about the offering to those pursued.
  11. Market demand is weak to nonexistent, e.g., a the market is saturated with comparable offerings and/or the market interest/need for the offering is waning.
  12. Strong competition exists, frequently discovered early in the prospecting program
  13. Inflated or unrealistic expectations regarding the success of the the program
  14. Prospecting qualification criteria is too tight, loose, or is nonexistent
  15. Prospecting exploration questions focused on qualification (seller-centric), not prospect development (buyer-centric)– it’s a turn off.
  16. The lack of a structured prospecting process and prospect pursuit strategy
  17. The absence of calling tools like a complete and well-structured call-guide that covers the common prospecting situations, voicemail delivery, email messages, direct contact, FAQ responses, as well as provides background on what’s being sold to whom, etc. and provides a baseline for continuous improvement.
  18. No prospecting best-practices exist to maximize contact rate and conversion, nor exercises to drive it home
  19. Ill-equipped and/or non-committed prospectors.  For example:
    • Prospectors are not situational fluent about the offering, its market, positioning, etc.
    • Prospectors are not clear on the type or organizations and prospective buyers they are pursuing
    • Prospectors are not familiar with the prospecting process, documenting progress & conversations, or best practices to achieve their goal
    • Prospectors are uncomfortable with the messaging and bastardize it or deliver it in a way that turns off the prospect.
  20. No or poorly configured CRM for tracking, managing, and reporting program progress
  21. Person overseeing the program is inexperienced in B2B prospecting, nor program and prospector management
  22. When qualified opportunities are “passed” to Sales, they aren’t appreciated, are discounted and sometimes not followed up on at all.
  23. No structured mechanism exists for daily, weekly, monthly reporting
  24. No one is truly accountable for the success of the program, nor is pay-back (return-on-investment) applied to the program results

Like this article and want to learn more about the author or his B2B prospecting services company (Meta), email us or give us a call at (513) 739-0155.