Is sales prospecting dead?

Skeptics say that prospecting is dead. But that’s simply not true. The sales techniques of old, cold calling, knocking on doors, canvassing, have been replaced in the digital age, but prospecting continues to be the foundation of all successful salespeople. Why? Because the one thing that hasn’t changed is that new customers don’t just stroll into your office ready to give you their business. You have to go out there and find them.

If you are an Artesian customer then you are one step ahead – you have at your fingertips the opportunity to strike a veritable gold mine of prospecting data by utilising artificial intelligence layered on top of company information, data and news, to prospect intelligently. But all too often we find that our users are not taking advantage of the full suite tools on offer to take their prospecting activities to the next level. So here are a few top tips to set you on your way:

Create a Great Prospector list

When creating a Prospect list within Artesian there are a range of filters you can choose from. All you have to do is select the filters you require to tailor your search. As each filter is applied, the number of companies will decrease and the filters you’ve selected appear on the right of the screen. Let’s review each of the filter categories:

Apply the geographical filter that most suits your needs – we have four options for you to choose from:

  1. Region – Select your region from the twelve options available
  2. County – The County filter lists out every County in the UK and Republic of Ireland. You can select as many or as few Counties as you need
  3. Town – Search for the towns that you want to include in your Prospect list. Start typing the town’s name and select from the matching options
  4. Postcode – The postcode filter allows you to search on a whole postcode area or drill down to district or sector. The Postcode filter will present you with a choice of letters to start your postcode search. Selecting a letter will give you all the postcodes that start with that letter. Hover over a Postal Area to reveal your Districts options. Choose as many as you need, or select all, then remove the few you may not need.

You can apply industry filters if you are prospecting in a particular sector or SIC code/s. Again we have four options to choose from:

  1. Sector – Twelve main industry categories to choose from
  2. SIC Code (1992) – Use the 1992 Industry SIC code classifications for your search. Either type in the code or type in a key word within a code to reveal potential options
  3. SIC Code (2007) – SIC Codes were re-classified in 2007, use the updated codes in your search or type in a key word to return potential results
  4. Business Type – Use these categorisations for Charities, Defence, Public Services etc.

Financial Data
Use key financial data to filter your prospects. Within each category you can choose from the preset increments or type in your exact criteria, e.g. companies with a turnover between £5m-£20m.

Business Size & Details
Choose filters that apply to specific searches. This time you have eight options to choose from:

  1. Number of Employees – Use the pre-determined search or enter your own criteria
  2. Group Status – Choose from Independent, Intermediate Parent, Subsidiary and Ultimate Parent
  3. Legal Status – There are several variations of legal status to choose from, including Public Limited, Private Limited and Converted or Closed
  4. Age of Business – Type in your preferred age of business criteria
  5. Auditors Name – Type in the Auditor name you are interested in creating a prospecting list for
  6. Bank Name – Type in the Bank name you are interested in and select from the list
  7. Growth Indicator – An indicator to determine whether the business is in growth or decline. Values can be Decline, Growth, Static or Unknown
  8. Mortgage Indicator – A Yes/No flag indicating the presence of a mortgage registered against the company

Credit & Risk
Using Experian ratings in your prospect search, use credit ratings or risk bands to determine their financial status. Use the preset options or type in your preferred criteria where applicable.

View and Sort Results

Once you’re satisfied with the filters applied to your prospecting list you can then view and sort results to inspect the companies which have matched your criteria. We have some additional tools to help you act on this information:

“Hotness” indicates which companies have been active in the news recently. This can be used to identify actively trading, interesting or “hot” prospects to follow. The “Hotness – Selected News” option allows you to view companies which have been in the news recently by specific topics, such as winning awards or acquiring new business. Clicking on the “Hotness – Selected News” button will open up a list of topics for you to choose from – tick those you are interested in, then click the “Apply” button to sort the results of your search based on those topics.

Following Companies

While viewing your results you can add companies to your watchlists. Click on the “Follow” button next to any companies of interest to you, then choose which watchlist to add the company to. If you are already following a company in your results, they will be shown with a green “Following” button instead, however you can still click here to follow it in another watchlist.

Save, Export and Follow

Now that you’ve completed your search, filtered and viewed your prospecting results it’s a good idea to save your search criteria for future use, export it into Microsoft Excel or add the results to your watchlist in bulk. Artesian makes all three options as simple as possible.

  1. Save your search – this allows you to quickly reapply these filters at a later date which can be useful when searching for more specific criteria (such as companies in a certain postcode, or matching certain Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes) on a regular basis, where new companies that fall into these criteria in the future may be of interest to you
  2. Export your data – Exporting results into Excel allows you to further manipulate and filter the data. The company export contains the full range of company and financial data available to us, including information that cannot be filtered on such as contact details, or their presence on the Telephone Preference Service. Select ‘Include People Data’ if you would like the details of the people registered as directors of these companies at Companies House included in the list
  3. Request to Follow – follow the results of your search in bulk by selecting an amount and a Watchlist to add the Companies to. You can also choose to create a new Watchlist if you’d like one specifically for the results of your search.

I once heard it said at a conference that ‘The seeds of your success are driven by your prospecting habits’. Artesian makes forming good prospecting habits easy. If you’d like more information on our prospecting tools, or would like some practical guidance or training on how to get the most out of your Artesian license please give us a call – we love to help.