B2B Sales Prospecting: 3 Buyer-Centric Tips to Drive Conversions

Feb 12, 2023

For your best chance of conversion, your prospecting techniques should be buyer-centric. Here are three tips that put the customer at the forefront of each interaction.

Lauren SpillerSr Content Writer
B2B Sales Prospecting: 3 Buyer-Centric Tips to Drive Conversions

What we'll cover

Business-to-business (B2B) sales leaders looking to drive conversions through prospecting efforts must prioritize a customer-centric approach. Some companies may think they're customer-focused but actually spend most of their resources on internal seller-focused activities such as sales rep training. It's a well-intentioned but shortsighted strategy.

Gartner research [1] warns that B2B sales teams that aren't truly customer-centric risk losing prospects by failing to engage them or meet their needs. In this article, we'll break down three tips informed by this research to help you rethink your B2B sales prospecting methods so you can better connect with buyers, build their confidence, and, ultimately, close more sales.

What is sales prospecting?

Sales prospecting, according to Gartner [2], is the first step of the sales process, and it involves identifying and contacting potential customers. The goal of prospecting is to create a database of potential customers, also known as leads.

Tip #1: Create an ideal customer profile to dial in B2B buyers’ needs

To increase your odds of connecting with a high-value prospect, the first B2B prospecting method we recommend is creating an ideal customer profile (ICP). An ICP has everything you’re looking for in a client: What sort of company would benefit the most from your offerings? How many employees and what sort of funding do they have? What problems are they trying to solve?

To help get you started, your marketing team may have already created something called a buyer persona, a tool that helps business leaders understand what their target audience wants and how they will engage. Buyer personas are created through a process called segmentation, which categorizes potential leads by traits such as demographics, goals, and motivation factors.


Buyer persona mapping in marketing automation platform GETitOUT

Segmentation for B2B companies often looks different than it does for business-to-customer (B2C) firms because as a B2B company, you sell to groups of stakeholders rather than individual customers [3]. So, to make this approach as B2B buyer-centric as possible, you’ll need to focus, instead, on what these stakeholders are trying to achieve for their company and how your product or service can impact their business or professional goals.

Your next step is to investigate key decision-makers within businesses that fit your ICP. To do this, start with their websites, and make note of any leadership or management roles listed. You can also use LinkedIn, but we’ll discuss that more in our next tip: conducting pre-call research.

Tip #2: Research prospects before making cold calls to formulate your hook

Many organizations focus on cold calling as a sales tactic to be covered in training. But what if you could make your sales team more efficient in a way that still puts your potential buyers first?

By researching a potential customer before you call, you put yourself at an advantage by gathering information you can use as a hook: What contacts do you share with this lead? What wins or losses has their company recently experienced? What pain points have your current clients experienced that might resonate with this prospect and their company?

You’ll get the most value out of this prospecting activity if you leverage two important tools: social media and referrals.

Use social media for pre-call research

The use of social media to generate leads is known as social selling. According to Gartner [4], social selling allows a sales professional to engage prospects, create and strengthen relationships with them, and then move them through the sales funnel for conversion.

For this reason, lead management tools that offer social media integrations, such as the example shown below, are a great way to scope out leads and build connections. LinkedIn, for instance, makes it easy to determine a stakeholder’s role as well as their recent achievements, which is information you can leverage in a cold call or email by opening with a congratulations message.


Image highlighting client connections in LinkedIn Sales Navigator

Use referrals for pre-call research

Since 89% of consumers are more likely to trust their friends and family for an honest review of a product or service than any other form of marketing [5], referrals are one of the most effective ways to build trust with a prospect. They also provide an easy way to open a cold call: “Your colleague, Michael, thought you’d be a great fit for our latest product.”

But as with segmentation, requesting referrals from B2B buyers looks a little different because, once again, there isn’t just one buyer at the helm of the decision-making process, and since you’re trying to influence a team of buyers, you’ll need all the backing you can get.

To help you out, Forbes [6] suggests the following tactics to get referrals as a B2B brand:

  • Integrate a section on referrals into your initial service agreement so clients know you appreciate referrals.

  • Ask clients, via phone or in person, if they have any colleagues or associates who could benefit from your services.

  • Launch an email campaign to remind clients about your referral program.

  • Run polls and surveys to solicit feedback, and follow up with those who say they’re highly likely to recommend you.

  • Share your referral program on social media, along with client testimonials. According to Gartner research [7], 85% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur via digital channels by 2026.

Tip #3: Perfect your outreach cadence to maximize efforts

Your outreach cadence, also known as your sales cadence, refers to the purposeful order in which you perform various prospecting activities with the goal of driving conversions. If you don’t carefully time your sales pitches to be relevant to a potential buyer as they’re experiencing a need, you risk squandering that opportunity to connect and build confidence in your product.

An effective outreach cadence, therefore, requires careful orchestration that considers the right moment to reach out to a lead as well as the amount of time you should spend on attempts to progress them through the sales pipeline. Gartner [8] claims cadences should align with your business goals as well as milestone activities such as events, launches, and announcements.

With that in mind, we recommend the following buyer-centric best practices:

  • Determine your timeline. Collaborate with marketing to iron out your messaging a month or two before your event or product launch so you can determine the angle you’ll use to sell your product or service [8]. Keep this timeline in mind as you research leads so you can draw parallels between your latest offerings and the needs of prospects.

  • Be persistent. If your first pitch isn’t an immediate conversion—and it’s likely it won’t be—follow up with an email and then a phone call. Make sure you’re always one step ahead of the next conversation so you’re ready when your lead makes their next move.

  • Prepare for gatekeepers. You might have to speak with an administrative assistant before connecting with your prospect. This is another area where the referrals we mentioned earlier come in handy because you can name-drop a mutual connection. But even if you don’t have any mutual contacts, proceed with confidence, be polite, and try to build rapport.

  • Learn to decode “no.” While a “no” can mean your lead is simply not interested, it can also mean something else; for example, your product or service is out of their budget right now. The chart below can help you prepare for these answers and how to respond:

Type of “no”Example response
Not within budgetDescribe the return on investment (ROI) they can expect from your product by saying something like: “What if we can increase your social media engagement by 40%?”
Not prepared to implement your solutionAsk what their biggest pain points are right now. Then, walk them through how your product or service could get them back on track.
Already working with a competitorAsk how their experience has been and if there are any shortcomings you could help address.
Need more informationThey might not be receiving your emails. Verify their contact information to get them back in the funnel.

While you shouldn’t be discouraged by a lead who turns you down, it’s also important to remember that you have plenty of other leads who are more likely to say yes. Therefore, don’t spend too much time trying to persuade a prospect who isn’t interested. Once you’ve followed up with a response and feel as if you’ve given your best effort, move on to the next lead.

Boost your sales pipeline with the right tech tools

Our three B2B sales prospecting tips center the buyer in a way that helps you connect, build confidence, and close more sales. Here’s a quick summary:


The right tech tools can make the sales prospecting process easier. Lead management software is the most valuable prospecting tool to have in your sales toolkit. It can help you collect and manage information on leads as well as capture lead details from multiple sources such as your website, social media, and online ads.

Below, we’ve listed some other types of software that can help you maintain relationships with prospects and get referrals from existing clients. Hint: Many of them can integrate with lead management software to function as an all-in-one solution.

  • Email marketing software is designed for marketers, but it can also be used by your sales reps to build email lists, personalize messages, and send automated email campaigns to prospects.

  • Customer relationship management (CRM) software allows your business to optimize the sales process and connect with customers at the right moments. Check out this article for reasons you should adopt a CRM tool rather than manage your sales pipeline through an Excel spreadsheet.

  • Customer satisfaction software lets your business collect, organize, and manage customer feedback. It’s a great prospecting tool to conduct polls and surveys to solicit feedback from current clients.

  • Similar to customer satisfaction software, referral software can help your business promote its offerings by using your customer base as a source for additional sales leads.

For more resources on sales and business development, check out our collection of articles here.

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About the author

Lauren Spiller

Sr Content Writer
Lauren Spiller is a Sr Content Writer at GetApp covering customer service and customer experience with a focus on customer acquisition through SEO. She has an MA in Rhetoric and Composition from Texas State University and has presented her work at the European Writing Centers Association, Canadian Writing Centres Association, and the International Writing Centers Association conferences.

She is currently developing content for a workshop series on SEO writing.
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