Sales Prospecting Definition: What, Why, and How?

Prospecting is an essential part of successful sales. Understand the Sales prospecting definition and why it's important for your business.

Ah, sales prospecting. It’s one of the things that, in spite of the thorough guides and research, most of us are terrible at. Whether you’re brand new to dales, or a battle scarred industry veteran, it’s incredibly likely you’ve engaged in some form of prospecting. The question, though, is are you good at it?

Data has shown that a rep’s prospecting capability is directly related to their success in sales. So this question has become more and more relevant as companies watch their forecasts fall short and lose reps to performance-related issues.

There’s no shortage of reps fighting for buyer attention - millions are contributing to the top-of-funnel activity. If you check LinkedIn you’ll find over 1.5 million reps with those titles, and that’s barely scratching the surface.

Thus, whether it’s a SDR/BDR/ADR/whatever your company calls sales support, or AE/Sales Rep that closes the deal, everyone on your sales team should be spending time prospecting. Why? Because there are plenty of ways to be better at sales, but only a few to be great at it.

What Is Sales Prospecting?

Sales Prospecting Definition: The search for potential customers or buyers.

At a high level, the concept of sales prospecting is about as simple as they come, right? Find potential buyers to engage them. Yet, there have been thousands of articles, books, videos, and podcasts dedicated to this subject. The reason: Prospecting is simple in theory, and vastly complicated in practice.

The term prospecting in sales strategy consulting comes from the gold rush and the idea that people would search through piles of useless garbage looking for that one gold nugget that would make it all worth it.

Why You Need Sales Prospecting?

In essence, a company requires only 1 thing: a product/good/service. In order for a company to succeed, someone has to sell a product that somebody else wants to buy. The relationship between the buyer and seller is a tale as old as time, and for good reason.

The Rain Group, a B2B sales consultancy in Boston, studied nearly 500 buyers and sellers in relation to prospecting. They found some incredible data that highlights the absolute importance in sifting through rocks to find gold. Here are a two key findings:

  • 82% of buyers take meetings with sellers
  • 71% of buyers want to hear from sellers early in the buying process.

To break that down, 82% of buyers have actively admitted they will take a meeting with a seller even if they didn’t know their product existed. Secondly, 71% wanted to hear from the seller before they make a decision.

Imagine, in a perfect world, you have a product and 10 people to sell to that have never heard of your product before. Would you feel satisfied if 2 of those people sought you out, knowing there were 8 other people that would have taken a meeting if you asked? Now imagine 7 of those 8 wanted you to tell them about your product, but you sat in the corner and spent all of your energy on those 2 that came directly to you, ignoring everyone else because it was easier this way.You might have made 2 sales, but there were 8 more on the table that you neglected.

As John Barrows put it - “A big fat pipeline solves most problems.” (Seriously though, what is up with Boston and their sales leaders being excellent).

Let’s remove the hypotheticals now and look at HOW this mindset directly contributes to success (or lack of) in sales.

According to The Bridge Group, a Sales Development Consultancy also out of Boston, 28% of AE pipeline is sourced by Marketing, leaving 72% to Sales. They also found that 64% of AEs are supported by SDRs, yet only 25% of pipeline is generated by SDRs on average.

For all of you that didn’t grow up around Harvard, that leaves 47% of pipeline responsibility to the AE.

Statistically speaking, if you’re on a team of 10 reps, more than 3 of you (68%) won’t hit quota. The Rain Group also found that 44% of low-mid level prospectors don’t hit quota. By those numbers, you only have a 38% chance of breaking quota if you’re not an exceptional prospector.

If your career is on the line, those odds are certainly not in your favor.

How To Approach: The Right Mindset

They say the first step to recovery is acceptance. In sales, the first step to recovery is accepting that success and prospecting are tied hand in hand. You may not love it, but you should probably start to try.

According to The Rain Group, 66% of sales leaders agree that their organization doesn’t dedicate enough time or energy to prospecting. The data shows a clear relationship between mindset and success when it comes to prospecting and sales.

When the Rain Group surveyed those 500 sellers, they broke them down into two categories - ‘Top Performers’ and ‘The Rest’. Take a look at the data and tell me if you see a connection:

  • 73% of Top Performers enjoy prospecting vs 49% of The Rest,
  • 80% of Top Performers say they feel energized after prospecting vs 52% of The Rest,
  • Only 20% Top Performers say prospecting is the least appealing part of their role vs 37% of The Rest.

By the numbers, it’s clear that there is a significant difference in mindset between top sales development platform and others. Viewing sales prospecting as a means to success won’t only affect your mindset but will also impact your success. Hence, before you even think about prospecting another rep, the most important thing you can do for yourself is accept that not only is prospecting necessary, but it’s crucial to your success, and learning to enjoy it will have a huge impact on how well you do in your role.

Video Blog
Table of Contents
Get In Touch With Our Team


Learn more about our B2B Lead Generation Services.

B2B  Blog Posts

Harnessing the Competitive Edge of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Decoding the Pivotal Relevance of Sales Content in Lead Generation and Sales Development
Revolutionizing the Future of Sales: A Deep Dive into the AI Landscape
Navigating Towards a Smarter Future: Incorporating AI into Business Processes
Unlocking Business Potential with Sophisticated Sales Systems
Mastering Startup Sales: Tackling Best Sales Practices for Phenomenal Growth
Catalyzing Business Progression with Premium Sales Team Support
The Sale Before the Sale: the Secrets of B2B Pre-Sales
The Transformative Influence of Sales Collateral During Meetings
Mastering Inbound Leads by Leveraging SEO's Role in Today's Sales Schema
Transforming Sales with AI: The Ultimate Vision of SalesHive
Revitalizing Business Tactics with AI’s Influence
Transforming Corporate Sales Mechanism: Amplifying Results with vRep’s AI-Powered Chat System
Embracing the Future of Business with vReps: with SalesHive Driving the Transformation
Better Business Practices with Virtual Representatives: Digging into SalesHive's AI-powered vReps
A Deeper Dive: Why Outsourcing Sales Outperform Traditional In-House Sales
Escalating the Trajectory of Business Growth with Outsourced Sales Teams
Amplifying Business Capabilities: The Essential Strength of a Sales Agency
Breaking Ground: Reimagining Closing Deals with Chatbots
Harnessing the Power of ACV Sales in B2B Lead Generation
The Power of Sales Outsourcing: Why B2B Lead Generation is Foundational for Business Growth
Schedule More Sales Meetings with SalesHive: The Ultimate Business Game Changer
Leveraging Outsourcing Strategies During Economic Hardship
Remote Outsource SDRs: Redefining Business Development at a Fraction of the Cost
Create New Revenue from Existing Clients via Strategic B2B Partnerships
Supercharging Sales Performance: The Power of Onesheets and Sales Deck
Building Employee Community Incentives: A Must for Smart CEOs
Embracing Remote Work: Boosting Company Productivity Through the Migration to a Digital Workplace
Unleashing the Potential of Remote Sales Development Representatives: The Compelling Case for Hiring Them in Your Business
Maximizing Your Outreach Sales: Strategies and Best Practices
Maximizing Sales Engagement: Strategies and Best Practices
Outsourcing Sales and Marketing Companies - Everything You Need to Know
Understanding the B2B Sales Funnel
Improving Outreach With A Lead Generation Specialist
How Much Does Outsource Lead Generation Cost?
What Is B2B Sales Outsourcing and How to Do It Right
10 Reasons to Consider B2B Outsourced Inside Sales
Why Should Companies Use BDR Outsourcing In Their Sales Development?
When is it Time to Hire an Outsource Sales Team?
The 4 Pillars of the Sales Development Process
17 Key Hurdles for B2B Sales Development (Part Two)
17 Key Hurdles for B2B Sales Development (Part One)
Should I Hire More Than One Outsourced Lead Generation Company?
A Platform-wise Guide To Executing Outbound
Outreach Channels You Should Care About For Effective Sales
REPORT: Optimizing Outbound Sales During COVID-19
When It Comes To Sales Prospecting, One Size Does Not Fit All
The Advantages of B2B Prospecting Services
The Advantages of Using Account Based Sales
The True Cost of an SDR (Sales Development Rep)
B2B Lead Generation

We’ve Set 85,000+ B2B Sales Meetings.

Speak With Our Team To Learn How!

Loading SalesHive API...

Want More Sales Meetings?

Contact us to embark on your journey to meeting heaven.
b2b sales rep climbing latter
No thanks, I'm getting enough leads.
sales development outsourcing and lead generation
Real-Time Alerts

New Meeting Booked

Prospect Company
Prospect Title
Meeting Source