Comparing sales prospecting methods

Sales prospecting methods are a necessary part of a company’s sales strategy. Indeed, the definition of a global sales and marketing strategy is itself the foundation of every prospecting activity. This strategy must guide your company’s sales development by setting clear, realistic, and achievable objectives for your teams. Facing this question every day, sales teams tend to try out different practices haphazardly, and without using a clear methodology. These methods can turn out to be ineffective, or even counterproductive.

At Datananas, we have determined which sales prospecting approaches and methods are the most effective, relevant, and qualitative for developing and optimizing your prospecting activity.

Which sales prospecting methods should you use?

Before choosing one or another sales prospecting method, we remind you that it is core that, on a strategy standpoint, you define or redefine your “Ideal Customer Profile” (ICP) in order to optimize your sales process. Once you’ve defined this profile, you will need to choose the mix of the prospecting methods best-suited for your activity, your organization and the sales strategy you have defined upstream.

We support you in this process as we have scrutinized the main sales prospecting methods in use. We want to provide you with a panoramic view that will guide you and help you define or redefine your sales strategy. To this end, we have compared, for each of the following methods, the volume that can be processed according to each method’s effectiveness.


Cold calling

This method tends to disappear but makes up Sales Prospecting Methods 101. In fact, a sales representative rarely makes more than 70 calls per day and only a tiny amount of those are worthwhile. In the end, very few meetings end up with a sale. Ultimately, even if this method is still widely used, it is extremely time-consuming for low quality results.

Manual cold emailing

Manual emailing is a very effective method, because it is very personalized and qualitative. However, like cold calls, this method is very time-consuming because it takes a long time to write and send emails one by one. It requires a heavy workload and only generates a very small volume in the end.

Personal connections

The same is true for connections on professional social networks. This method is very effective and high-grade because the dimensions of direct contact and personalization are taken into account. Unfortunately, like the first two methods, this one is also too time-consuming to be worthwhile. Especially for a company whose objective is to generate high-quality volume quickly. However, new practices are emerging in the professional social networking arena. Social Selling, for example, develops innovative practices to optimize the effectiveness of sales prospecting on social networks.

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Email marketing strategies, Adwords advertisements, and retargeting

On the contrary, marketing emails and Adwords-type advertising strategies allow you to process a higher volume and reach a large number of prospects at the same time. However, the open rate, click rate, and sales meetings generated are often too low compared to the number of prospects approached. In the case of an online ad using Adwords or Facebook and in contrast to their obvious ease of use, it is often necessary to know how to manage each of these advertising platforms skillfully before being able to manage your budget and ROI (return on investment) of these ads (CPC, CPM, CTR, etc).

The same problem arises when doing retargeting (or remarketing), which is aimed at all your website visitors indiscriminately. This mass targeting solution also turns out to be very ineffective with a near-zero conversion rate if it is implemented without experience. But most importantly, this digital campaign can become a real hurdle to sales if it is too aggressive in its implementation.

These methods are often not qualitative and don’t allow your organization to engage your leads effectively and convert them into clients, despite significant time savings and a gigantic volume processed.

Note: Regarding emailing strategies specifically, these solutions are relevant when the recipient has already agreed to receive your email and your content (email opt-in). But when the recipient has not officially given his permission, which is often the case when you are prospecting (email opt-out), your campaigns and your content fall straight into your prospect’s email spam box. So we strongly recommend to use a sales emailing solution.

Inbound Marketing

Inversely, Inbound Marketing is a very effective and qualitative method based on content production. This activity allows your company to position itself as an influencer and reference in your industry. Your content can thus be transformed into a powerful prospecting lever. However, this method fits into a medium to long-term strategy.

Indeed, it can be a very long wait to see results and get a decent volume of qualified prospects. It generally takes six months for a new blog to gain a large enough audience to generate conversion and capture new leads. Furthermore, this requires inserting this practice into a more overarching marketing strategy. This strategy includes introducing the deployment of tracking and analysis tools that will allow us to guide content production and distribution.

It is absolutely essential for your activity that you set up an Inbound Marketing strategy that complements your Outbound Sales strategy.

Outbound Sales

In our opinion, the method that enables you to generate a high volume of leads while remaining effective and qualitative in the smallest amount of time is Outbound Sales (or automated cold emailing). This prospecting method is included in our “Lead Relationship Management” (LRM) strategy. As a reminder, this technique is intended to send automated scenarios using personalized contact approach and follow-up emails.

All emails are directly sent from your email box. The idea is that you will only call leads who reply to your automated emails. At Datananas, our sales teams use this method daily. We are convinced that this method is a valuable asset in the organization of your commercial strength.

All of these notions may seem complex to understand at first glance. To help you choose the sales prospecting methods best-suited for your organization, we have prepared a diagram that summarizes the pros and cons of the various methods tested. If you want to know more about B2B prospecting, check out our article about measuring your sales prospecting performance.

Prospecting methods comparison


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