Published On: Sat, May 10th, 2014

5 Steps for Social Prospecting Success

Social ProspectingI’ve been thinking a lot about social prospecting lately, and how organisations can empower their sales teams to leverage social and fill their pipeline with the right people, insights and relationships.

During this time I’ve come across some great research, best practice and helpful tips from a number of companies – and learnt a lot. The good news for those organisation wanting to explore social prospecting is, that there’s some fantastic free tools and steps that you can take to boost your efforts.

Without further ado, here are 5 steps to social prospecting success:

1. Identify potential prospects

First up, download the SalesLoft Prospector Google Chrome app. This fantastic extension helps you construct a Boolean search query on Google that lets you search LinkedIn profiles by title, industry, country, location and keywords. Just make sure that you’re logged out of LinkedIn when you click on someone in the Google search results – this way you can see the person’s full name, groups and employment history (if you’re logged in it will give you the person’s first name and first initial of their surname).

2. Find a prospect’s email address

Once you have the prospect’s name it’s time to try and find out their email address. First up Google what company they work for and look at its web domain. If the domain is companyname.com then most likely the prospect’s email address will end e.g. @companyname.com.

Once you have this information run the following search on Google:  “email * * companyname.com”

If this doesn’t work try entering the following into Google:

(“media contact” OR “media contacts” OR “press release”) “company name”

Then on the results page you should be able to find the email address of someone who works at your prospect’s company. Look out for email patterns and here’s a selection of some common variants:

  • ben.cotton@companyname.com
  • bcotton@companyname.com
  • bencotton@companyname.com

These two tests will enable you to work out the email patterns, then equipped with this information head over to MailTester and run a test to see if the email address works.

3. Reach out to your prospect

Each company will reach out differently to prospects, but the usual rules still apply about offering value and looking to earn trust. One tool which can make your outreach that bit better is HubSpot signals. This extension lets you see if, when and how often someone has opened your email and what links they have clicked on. It provides intelligence that lets you make better use of your time and tailor your follow-up more accurately – you now have the opportunity to phone someone when they’re reading your email. HubSpot give you 200 notifications per month for free, otherwise it costs $10 per month per user. Another similar tool is ContactMonkey which works in much the same way.

4. Follow-up with your prospect

Boomerang is a tool that lets you to draft and schedule an email for later. This could be particularly useful when you’re on a sales call and want to follow-up with a prospect, rather than sending than sending them an email straight after a call.

5. Understand your prospects’ world

Newsle is an extension that lets you see if your LinkedIn connections are in the news. This can give you an understanding of what your prospect is up to, what’s happening at their company, within their industry and can give you a good reason to follow up with your prospects.

What tips do you have for social prospecting? I’ll be sharing what I’ve learnt about getting ready for social prospecting in the coming weeks.

About the Author

- Marketing Manager with a passion for inbound at HubSpot, Founder of Growth Hack Talks, Blogger at Ben-Cotton.com and Chief Quaffer at CraftySwine.org .

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