9 Crazy Sales Prospecting Techniques to Boost Sales in 2024

Janhavi Nagarhalli
min read
January 9, 2024

Sales prospecting is hard ❌

Sales prospecting is hard because you’re using the same played-out strategy over and over again ✅

When you send out the 72342th cold email with the tired old “hope this email finds you well” opener, you’re bound to feel disappointed because you’re not getting the desired results. 

So, let’s think outside the box, shall we? 🤔

Here are 9 unconventional sales prospecting techniques you can try out to close deals quickly in 2024.

What Are Sales Prospecting Techniques?

Sales prospecting techniques are the methods or processes a sales rep uses to run sales outreach. The sales prospecting process is cumbersome, from collecting lead information to enriching it with details in the CRM to crafting multichannel cold outreach campaigns.

How you execute each step and what kind of outreach you want to do depends on which prospecting technique you plan to leverage. Common prospecting techniques are cold calling, emailing, and social selling.

For instance, SaaS companies typically send cold emails to their prospects, whereas other B2B businesses, like office supplies, law firms, etc., use cold calling to attract leads. 

Remember that when you’re prospecting, you’re creating the first impression a potential customer would have of your brand. So, your sales prospecting strategy will either win you a lifelong customer or drive your prospect away.

9 Sales Prospecting Techniques You Must Know

There’s no dearth of effective sales prospecting techniques out there, so choose one that fits your sales strategy. Here are 9 techniques you can try for your brand: 

Hyper-personalized Cold Email Campaigns 

While this advice sounds cliche, most people don’t utilize the power of personalization in their cold emails. You can’t simply limit personalization to “Hey [name]” and call it a day. 

Hyper-personalized emails involve conducting in-depth research about your prospect’s pain points, identifying JTBDs (jobs-to-be-done), and tailoring the perfect pitch that solves specific problems. Top sellers spend an average of 6 hours researching their prospects every week, so use this research to craft that perfect pitch. 

Here’s how David Kemmerer, the Co-founder and CEO of CoinLedger, uses hyper-personalization and data-driven targeting to attract prospects:  

“We researched the specific needs of each prospect, and based on these needs, we personalized our pitches.

We would examine their pain points and the industry trends and identify unique value propositions. However, a lot of time was spent gathering customer insights, and we were majorly working in the dark, missing out on potential opportunities that data analysis would alert us to.

We then decided to blend hyper-personalization with data-driven targeting. We use Bombora to pinpoint our prospects who are seeking our product category. It helps us process high volumes of data, and we can get in touch with CoinLedger's potential clients at the best time. We can also improve our efficiency and supplement our insights to avoid missing potential opportunities.

This led to a 30% increase in our conversion rates.”

Another great way to hyper-personalize cold email campaigns is by including personalized and interactive demos in one of the follow-up emails. 

an image of Storylane's personalized product demo feature

Build Thought Leadership

People connect with people, not brands. The best way to build brand awareness and gain your prospect’s trust is by establishing yourself as a thought leader or subject matter expert in your industry. 89% of business decision-makers say that thought leadership effectively enhances their perceptions of an organization.

To become a thought leader, you need to give back to your network with helpful advice and insights. If you’re considering thought leadership as a strategy for your brand, here are some tips to help you get started:

an infographic showcasing the elements of good thought leadership content

Neil Patel is an excellent example of thought leadership done right. He spent years building a large following on Twitter and LinkedIn while sharing insightful content about SEO and content marketing. He made a large community of curious content marketers, massively boosting business for his agency. 

Attend Networking Events

Industry events present a gold mine of opportunities for sales prospecting. You get to learn new things, meet new people, and improve your chances of reaching out to your target audience. 

However, remember that networking isn’t about randomly walking up to someone and telling them about your product. Here’s a step-by-step approach you should take: 

  1. Post on your social media and email your email list informing them that you’ll be at the event.
  1. Find out about the event attendees and whether or not they match your ICP. If they do, send them a message telling them you’ll be attending the event and are excited to meet them. 
  1. Make sure people have a way to contact you beforehand and locate your booth on the day of the event. 

Your main goal is creating brand awareness, networking, and exchanging contact details. Thinking long-term and warming up your prospects gradually leads to better success.

Social Selling 

Ignoring social media for sales prospecting is like ditching a fishing pole and diving in the lake to catch fish with your bare hands. 

LinkedIn is one of the best platforms for sales prospecting because you can connect with leads whom you may not have known otherwise. 53 percent of top-performing sales reps said they significantly grew their network on LinkedIn. They’re much more likely to use LinkedIn to write articles or share content from their companies.

Here are a few ways you can use LinkedIn for sales prospecting: 

  1. Befriend your prospects and engage with their content
  2. Investigate your competitors' networks
  3. Optimize your LinkedIn profile for sales
  4. Send personalized DMs
  5. Build a solid personal brand 

Ask for Referrals

Whenever you buy an expensive product, you usually ask your friends and family whether it’s worth the price. Investing in SaaS products is no different. Ask your existing customers to refer your tool to anyone who would benefit from using your product. 

Instead of directly requesting a referral, initiate the conversation by asking for their feedback. If they are happy with your tool, you can say something like:  

“We’re glad to see that you loved using our product for [benefit]. Do you know anyone who would also appreciate [benefit]?” 

You can also get them to share their experience on their social media profiles to increase brand visibility. However, don’t badger your customers into giving a referral. Instead, you can offer incentives like a discount or a gift voucher for every referral that turns into a new customer.

screenshot of Storylane partners page

Join Relevant Communities 

“There is immense power when a group of people with similar interests gets together to work toward the same goals.” this quote by Idowu Koyenikan, author of Wealth for all Africans, speaks volumes when we talk about the power of using communities for your sales prospecting process.

Whether it’s a LinkedIn group or a Slack community, people love to gather and talk about the latest on-goings in the industry. Join relevant groups to deeply understand the problems that your prospects face and tailor your pitch accordingly.

For example, if you’re selling candidate sourcing software, join HR groups where recruiters discuss their struggles with sourcing candidates.

Host an Event

Attending events is one thing, but if you want your prospects to come to you, host an event! Whether it’s a webinar or an exclusive fireside chat, create buzz on social media and incentivize people to join. 

However, you must make sure your event isn’t a “pitch-slap.” Collaborate with relevant thought leaders to discuss thought-provoking ideas on how to shape the industry.

Once you have an email list of all the attendees, reach out to them and thank them for taking time out to attend the event. Ask for feedback, and use it to initiate a conversation about how your product might help their company.

Sprout Social does a great job because, along with asking for feedback, they also share resources that the attendees might find valuable. It’s an extra step you can take to ensure you have a value-first approach toward your prospects.

an image of an email sent by Sprout Social after a webinar
Source: ActivCampaign

Form Strategic Partnerships

Partnerships can go a long way, but only when you’re smart about who you choose to partner with. Collaborate with companies where you can co-sell your services and get together to map out sales opportunities.

For example, if you're an IT company that sells laptops and computers, you could co-sell with an internet service provider. Both companies have complementary offerings because when people purchase laptops, they need the internet to work on their day-to-day activities. 

You can also work together on marketing initiatives like:

  • A co-branded landing page on your websites 
  • A co-branded marketing campaign (e.g., paid ads, social media ads, eBooks)
  • Guest blogging 
  • Podcast interviews
  • Press releases

For instance, Salesforce and IBM have been working together since 2017 to empower the use of AI in enhancing customer experience and business operations. They had also announced plans to launch an AI platform together: Watson AI Cloud for Salesforce® Einstein™, which took digital transformation to a whole new level. 

Use Videos

Creating and sending videos as a prospecting method shows creativity, a great way to pique someone’s interest. 

You can be as innovative as you’d like here, from sending a personal video about your product or a demo video straight to their inbox.

When Buffalo Wild Wings was looking for a communications platform, Frank from Dynamic Signal took a pretty hot and wild approach.

He purchased their spiciest and hottest Blazin’s wings and recorded a personalized outreach video. Frank delivered his pitch for their account with his tongue on fire and eyes filled with tears. Luckily, the video did the trick, as he managed to book a meeting in no time.

How Do You Make Your Cold Outreach Stand Out?

If you want potential prospects to pay attention to your outreach efforts, you must add a little oomph. 

Here are 5 ways you can stand out of the crowd with your prospecting:

Interactive Demos

Instead of waiting around for your potential customers to book a demo, why not surprise them with a personalized interactive demo in their inbox? 94% of the companies using interactive demos increased their response rates by over 2.5x in their outreach campaigns. 

Storylane helps you nurture leads and speed up the sales process by showcasing the product's unique features with a self-guided product walkthrough.

You can create and send unique demo links, share gifs, and track who opened and engaged with demos.

Cold emails using interactive demos

Lawlytics uses the power of interactive demos all across the board, from pre-sales to customer onboarding. 

They replaced static images with Storylane demos in their follow-up emails. They spin up and send 30-45 second micro demos showcasing different aspects of their tool to highlight how their software can transform how small law firms work. 

"Storylane has become a new verb for us as we call our demos Storylanes. Like people say, I'm gonna Google it; we say, we're gonna Storylane it. It’s one of my favorite tools, and everybody in the company knows that. So whenever somebody needs a Storylane, they just come to me."

– Sara DeLeeuw, VP of Customer Success at Lawlytics

Memes and Gifs 

When your prospects work long hours at your job, they’d want a good chuckle occasionally. Want them to engage with your cold email? Make their day by sending funny memes and gifs. 

Humor is the best way to connect with someone, and if they like your sense of humor, they’ll be inclined to check out your product, too. Ensure you A/B test this approach to understand the types of gifs and memes that work. 

“If you can get them to laugh, you can get them to buy.” Jeffery Gitomer in The Little Red Book of Selling

You can especially use them when following up with your potential customers to amuse them and break the awkwardness of being ghosted. Here’s how Lemlist uses memes in their cold outreach campaigns:

image of Lemlist cold email with meme

Personalized Gifts

Sales teams must remember they’re selling to real people who have personal interests beyond the job. A personalized gift that reflects their interest can go a long way.

For instance, if they express love for a particular sports team or a TV show, you can send them merchandise with a clever reference. The merchandise can range from personalized caps and t-shirts to custom jerseys and hoodies.

However, you need to be cautious when you’re trying to be clever because it can be disastrous too!

If you want to play it safe, send a gift voucher or an item with their name engraved on it.

Have a Celebrity Feature in Your Video

What if you could have your favorite celebrity make a sales pitch for your brand? 

Having a celebrity collaborate with your company is a great way to get eyes on your product. Whether you’re promoting an event, a product launch, or rebranding, you can use a tool like Cameo to get celebrities to feature in your video. However, it costs over $1000 to hire a celebrity, so make sure you use this approach strategically 👀 

Check out how Sendoso hired Ice-T to create hype about their event “Connected”. He spoke about the value of building meaningful relationships in sales during the pandemic and how Sendoso is connecting people during the new remote work era.

Send out Handwritten Notes and Cards

Handwritten notes always win in every situation, from birthdays to anniversaries to prospecting! Any SDR can send emails and make cold calls, but if you want to win a prospect’s admiration and drive upsells – a short and sweet handwritten note is the way to go. 

You can thank you notes to thank your prospects for investing in your solution or nudge them into upgrading their existing plan. 

Jesse Stein shared a template on how a brand can inform its customers of a new product upgrade: 

image of a handwritten note about a product upgrade

Wrapping Up

Even though prospecting is touted as the most challenging job for SDRs, it can be fun, too. When you use the right sales prospecting method and add a dash of creativity, your prospective customers are more likely to check out your product, and you can close the deal faster than you imagined. 🚀

Use Storylane to create and send self-guided demos in just 10 minutes to help your prospects reach the AHA moment and fill up your sales pipeline in no time. 

Book a demo with us today to see how personalized interactive demos can boost your pre-sales engine! 

Q1. What is the 80/20 rule in prospecting?

The 80/20 rule in prospecting, also known as the Pareto Principle, suggests that 80% of sales often come from 20% of leads. Focus efforts on the most promising prospects.

Q2. What is the first step in a prospecting strategy?

The first step in a prospecting strategy is creating a list of potential buyers that meet their ICP criteria and performing in-depth research before conducting outreach

Q3. Which prospecting method is the most effective and why?

Sales prospecting via email and social media are the most effective methods. According to the Salesforce State of Sales 2024 report –  57% of buyers prefer to engage with companies through digital channels.

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"Previously, there was scope for error and we’ve gone from a process that could be time consuming and painful to a process that’s super quick."

"Previously, there was scope for error and we’ve gone from a process that could be time consuming and painful to a process that’s super quick."


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