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Sales Prospecting and Outreach Gone Wrong: Spraying and Praying

7 min

Don’t work hard, work smart—a saying that a lot of sales teams out there can really do with. There may be circumstances where hard work has its benefits, but in the modern world of sales, it really is the smart work that counts. The same goes for sales prospecting strategies.

Sales prospecting and outreach is one such area of sales where reps systematically and habitually partake in the “hard work” to compensate for their lack of “smart work”. “What makes you think so”, you ask?

Well here’s a stat for you:

A significant rise in the number of attempts, but fewer conversations earned? How is that happening?

Sales Prospecting Dos and Don'ts - Slintel

Welcome to the future, where if you’re not data-driven in your sales prospecting, you’re going to end up recklessly leaking precious time, effort, and resources. Oh, while also losing your peace of mind.  

And “spraying and praying” is the most common way sales teams manage to undo their own hard work. But what is spraying and praying and are you guilty of it?

Spraying and Praying, and Overcoming It

The act of reaching out to “prospects” in a randomized and unorganized manner in the hope that one of them might actually be interested in your product would be a textbook representation of spraying and praying. 

By “randomized and disorganized”, I mean any sales prospecting decision that does not use data to identify and prioritize prospects that have a potential need for your product.

If you aren’t using some sort of data or any other indicators to target relevant prospects using the right message, you’re GUILTY of spraying and praying.

Data Driven Sales Prospecting - Slintel

In fact, in most cases of spraying and praying, you’re skipping the whole process of sales prospecting altogether and baselessly sending out randomized messages.

Sadly, this egregious act tends to be common practice among sales folk across industries and comes in all shapes and sizes. From the kind of data/indicators you use to prospect to the relevance of your outreach messages, you possibly are guilty of spraying and praying to some extent or the other.

Sales prospecting and outreach is by far the most time-consuming and effort-intensive task that sales reps can be involved in.

So, the best way to make the most of your reps’ time is to ensure that they are intentionally reaching out to those prospects that are actually a good fit for your product, with relevant outreach messages.

There are many ways to do this, first starting with the data and indicators we use to identify these good-fit prospects, and second, using this data to create ultra-relevant dialogue.

Good Sales Prospecting vs. Spraying & Praying

If you’re spraying and praying, there’s probably little to no sales prospecting going on at your organization. This is cause for major concern and you need to address why you’re bypassing one of the most integral processes in sales. 

A solid sales prospecting process will help you exponentially scale your business if done the right way. And to do this you’re going to have to work with the right data.

The following are 3 steps that you take to begin integrating data into your sales prospecting and transforming your sales productivity.

1. Identifying high-intent prospects before doing outreach

Your company’s TAM is the estimate of the entire market size that could be catered to by your product(s) and/or service(s). Figuring out your TAM will help you understand how you need to go about sales prospecting by showing you who your target ICPs should be.

There are various methods that you can use to manually identify your TAM. You can either do it yourself with first-hand data or get a third-party research consultant to do it for you. Both of these can be long-drawn-out procedures, while the latter can cost you an arm and a leg.

To learn more about how you can calculate your TAM you can check out our guide on how to calculate TAM.

Also, it should be noted that the top 3% of your TAM is ever-changing and manually trying to do this is unfeasible. 

If you’d like to automate the process to help you find high-intent active buyers (the top 3% of your TAM) at any given instant you could use a tool like Slintel.

Sales intelligence tools like Slintel leverage big data predictive analytics, AI and machine learning to mine over 100 billion data points and buying intent indicators across the internet. Using all this, Slintel delivers dynamic lists of industry and organization-specific prospects and deep insights within that 3% of your TAM.

But why is identifying the top 3% of your TAM so important?

Sales prospecting using TAM - Slintel

To give it to you in a gist, at any given time, only 3% of your TAM consists of active, high-intent buyers that have an immediate need for your product. Finding that 3% of active buyers is a crucial step that will help get rid of spray-and-pray antics.

So if you aren’t selling on the basis of your TAM then you’re quite guilty of spraying and praying.

2. Using buying intent indicators to find relevant prospects

Simply put, buying intent or purchase intent can be defined as a buyer’s readiness to purchase a particular product or service at any given instant in time.

There are predominantly two main classifications of buyers in any given TAM:

  1. The first type is the active buyer—those that are outwardly looking for a product like yours at this instant in time.
  2. There also exists a second group of passive buyers that are yet to realize their need for your product and need to be educated and nurtured into the active buying state.

There are a vast number of buying intent indicators that you can use to find prospects that are actively looking out for a product like yours or those that passively have a need for it.

The most accurate of these indicators include technographics, firmographics, psychographics, thematic intent, contract expires, and content consumption.

For example, competitors’ customers with upcoming contract renewals are a great indicator of active intent. Through technographic tools, one can easily find such customers and reach out to them at just the right time with just the right proposal. 

Additionally, you can also use technographics to find customers that use tech products that are similar to, add on to, or integrate with your product.

Here’s our free technographics tool that you can use to find relevant insights, prospects, and competitors’ customers.

To learn more about the wealth of other buying intent indicators, you can also check out our detailed purchase intent guide. Use it to avoid resorting to spraying and praying, and target active buyers that are in need of a product like yours.

And yes—you can use Slintel’s Chrome Extension to find the buying intent score of any company for free. Use the score to prioritize account for prospecting. You can learn more about it here.

We also have for you some free and simple ways to identify prospects actively exhibiting buying intent:

LinkedIn’s Search Bar

You can always make use of LinkedIn’s search bar to identify prospects posting about their difficulties/challenges. This is a great way to find high-intent buyers that are looking for a solution like yours but are yet to make a purchase decision. You can use the search bar to find keywords relevant to your product within posts. 

For example, you can look for LinkedIn posts from decision-makers who are unhappy with/looking to move away from your competitors’ products or looking for alternatives. Do this by searching for posts that contain your competitors’ names.

Free Purchase Intent Tools and Hacks

Make sure to use the appropriate filters to find the right post. 

Relevant Groups and Channels 

Joining relevant groups/channels where decision-makers are trying to solve their problems is also a great way to find active buyers that are looking to start considering a purchase decision. Being a part of relevant Slack channels and LinkedIn groups can always come in handy. RevGenius, OpsStars, Corporate Sales Bros, and Growmance are some good ones.

Once you’ve figured out who you need to target, you can now reach out to them with relevant messaging that they can resonate with. This brings us to our next step.

3. Using firmographic, technographic, and other insights for high-converting pitches

2022 is the age and relevance is the game. Attention spans run thin and are hard to come by in a world where content is severely overdone. So much so that even great content can be disregarded if it fails to resonate with the target audience. Acing customer segmentation is crucial.

Outreach messages have turned bland and repetitive especially when decision-makers are constantly flooded with them. And just like any other content, your messaging may not be worth anyone’s while if it cannot get the decision-maker to resonate with it.

Messaging that truly resonates with a business’s/individual’s current scenario is the way to any business decision-maker’s heart.  Hyper-personalized messaging not only gets you the attention of the prospect but also helps turn those nos and maybes into yeses. 

How do you create this hyper-personalization

Effective outreach messaging needs to put the decision-maker on a podium, emotionally charging and thoughtfully provoking them using facts, addressing the exact problems they currently face, the technology stacks they currently use, and how it has worked for them, recent events, accomplishments and developments, and everything in between.

All the data you’ve used to prioritize prospects in the previous stage will come in handy when creating the right messaging. There’s a ton of data you can gather about any prospect.

For example, something as simple as going through your prospects’ LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media feeds is a great way to find information that can add relevance to your conversations.

Similarly, Googling relevant companies that recently got funded and reaching out to them with a congratulatory message is a basic way to not just identify high-intent prospects but also to begin conversations in an impactful manner.

However, to master the art (and science) behind perfecting your pitch you need right the guidance and pointers, which we have carefully curated for you:

  1. Sales Superpowers: Use Buying Intent To Read Your Lead’s Mind
  1. The Best LinkedIn Outreach Openers From My Inbox
  1. LinkedIn Prospecting: The Definitive Guide

The above-mentioned articles/guides are filled with real-world examples, experiences, and free tools, so make sure you check them out.

Data is the Way, So Don’t Spray and Pray

We hope this article helped you learn why spraying and praying is just no good in this day and age. So any relevant data that you can integrate into your sales decision-making is a step in the right direction.

And while there is a lot of free data that you can easily find with a simple search, there also exists solutions like Slintel that allow you to automate your sales prospecting and outreach data. Talk to us to learn more about our AI and ML-powered sales intelligence tool.

The 6sense Team

6sense helps B2B organizations achieve predictable revenue growth by putting the power of AI, big data, and machine learning behind every member of the revenue team.

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