Your typical strategy for meeting targets in sales is to regularly set aggressive individual quotas, rely on your top sales reps to hit those targets, and hope to get enough from the rest of your squad to get you over the top. This may be fine for driving short-term growth, but may not make for a sustainable long-term sales strategy.

As part of revamping your sales department, author Aaron Ross’s book Predictable Revenue recommends your sales efforts be tackled by specialized teams, including a Sales Development Team.

Consisting of outbound and inbound reps, your Sales Development Team is solely responsible for bringing in and handing off qualified sales leads. The sales development team is ideally split into two distinct parts. Let’s look at the first of those two parts: outbound prospectors.

Outbound Prospectors: Digging for Sales Gold

Outbound prospectors’ sole focus is--you guessed it--prospecting. That doesn’t mean these agents are strictly cold callers. In fact, if they follow a pair of best practices, they will be far more.

1. Define Your Ideal Target

First, your outbound prospectors should be reaching out to targets with big revenue potential (quality over quantity). Secondly, prospectors need to be prepared before contact is even attempted. This can be achieved by defining an ideal target profile internally, and creating a structured, repeatable identification methodology. There are also tools, like CRM, lead databases, and integrated engagement solutions that should be used to properly target and contact prospects.

2. Email First

Today, email is more commonly used than the phone. It gives both prospector and prospect more control over communication. If prospects are interested, they’ll respond with their contact info. At that point, the prospector will have the information needed to not only have a better conversation, but also to know if the prospect is even the appropriate contact. If not, attempts can be made to find out who the right target is within that organization.

And Ross isn’t alone in his advocacy for dedicated prospectors. In a recent post for this blog, LinkedSelling founder Josh Turner notes:

"Salespeople should not be spending their time poking around on LinkedIn. Most of them aren't good at it, and it's simply a terrible use of their time. Did you hire them to perform market research or to build relationships and close deals? Hiring a full-time prospector will allocate your costs rationally, and it will allow your sales team to focus on more high-level activities."