May 8, 2024

Modern Sales Prospecting Plan for SDRs and Self-Sourcing AEs

Modern Sales Prospecting Plan for SDRs and Self-Sourcing AEs | Mixmax

Prospecting has undergone a massive transformation over the last few years. Gone are the days when sales prospecting meant just blasting out cold emails and hoping for the best. 

With increasing competition and sophisticated technologies, developing a proper sales prospecting plan is more crucial than ever. 

If you've found yourself struggling to get replies, chasing leads that seem to run the other way, and grappling with saturated markets, you're not alone. The challenges are real, BUT so are the solutions.

In this post, we’ve summarized all the most important parts of a webinar we did with sales expert and trainer Thibaut Souyris on how to create a winning sales prospecting plan.

Here’s how it’s broken down:

P.S. If you want to watch the entire sales prospecting masterclass, here’s the recording (‘tis free). 

Old way vs. new way of prospecting

During the webinar, Thibaut shared a list of what prospecting looked like in 2015 vs. what it looks like now.

And since we’re generous folk, we’re sharing it with you here:

Prospecting in 2015:

  • Build a lead list
  • Create a 5-step email sequence
  • Write down long emails describing what you sell
  • Get a few replies, book enough meetings to reach your targets

Prospecting in 2024:

  • Create a detailed ICP matrix
  • Find your prospects' problems in details
  • Create a multi-channel sequence skeleton
  • Build problem-centric outbound messages
  • Combine outbound, nearbound, referrals
  • Update your messages every 15 days
  • Use intent-data for personalization
  • Navigate conversations for weeks
  • Book meetings (maybe)

Challenges in modern sales prospecting

Prospecting in today's sales environment presents unique challenges:

Lack of engagement: Salespeople are sending sequences and following up, but replies are few and far between—even negative responses are hard to come by.

Technology misuse: There's a rise in the use of AI that leads to poorly crafted, impersonal messages, which prospects can easily detect and choose to ignore.

High competition: The market is saturated, making it difficult to stand out and capture the attention of quality leads.

Understanding these challenges is the first step in refining your sales prospecting plan to meet the needs of modern buyers.

Related post: How to Use AI in Sales the Right Way (with Prompt Examples)


Strategies for a winning sales prospecting plan

Transforming your approach to sales prospecting involves several strategic steps that can significantly increase your chances of success (aka getting a reply and starting a conversation).

Here are the top strategies discussed in the webinar:

1. Leverage your tech stack wisely

Use technology to enhance your productivity, not as a distraction. Integrate tools into your routine that help you prospect, such as CRM systems like Salesforce and Hubspot, lead generation tools like LinkedIn Sales Nav, and sales engagement tools like Mixmax for personalized communication at scale.

If all the tools in your tech stack seamlessly integrate with each other, even better.

2. Define your buyer personas

Work closely with your marketing team to update your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). Understanding who your buyers are, including both above-the-line (decision-makers) and below-the-line (influencers) personas, allows you to tailor your messaging effectively.

Here’s a template Mixmax uses to define our target personas:

Buyer persona example

Buyer persona template

3. Know your competitors & your key differentiators

A crucial aspect of any successful sales prospecting plan involves thoroughly understanding your competitors. Knowing who you're up against can help you anticipate market moves, identify gaps in their strategies, and better position your own offerings.

Once you’ve identified your competitors, list your differentiators. These are the unique factors that make your offerings better or different from anything else on the market, and they are critical in persuading prospects to choose you over others.

4. Set clear goals

Define daily, weekly, and monthly goals for lead generation. Self-source and aim to contact a set number of leads each day, making every interaction count towards building credible relationships.

P.S. Quit blaming marketing for poor inbound leads. If you’re not satisfied with the quality of leads you’re getting from them, take matters into your own hands.

5. Enhance your online presence

Revamp your LinkedIn profile and increase your activity on relevant social platforms. This not only boosts your credibility but also serves as a touchpoint for prospects to understand your expertise and legitimacy.

FYI – We did a webinar with the LinkedIn selling queen herself, Charlotte Lloyd, and you can find actionable insights on how to optimize your LinkedIn profile for sales prospecting ⬇️

Social selling masterclass

6. Adopt multi-channel outreach

Move beyond email. Incorporate phone calls, SMS (an under-used channel, which means you’ll have better luck), and social media into your outreach efforts. This diversification helps you stand out and cater to the communication preferences of different prospects.

Mixmax’s sequences are made for multi-channel outreach. You can send personalized emails (more on that later), create call tasks (and dial directly within Mixmax), send SMS, and send LinkedIn connection requests and DMs.

Mixmax’s multi-channel sequences

7. Follow and learn from experts

Stay updated with the latest trends by following experienced sales professionals on platforms like LinkedIn. Their insights on what works (and what doesn’t) can be invaluable to refining your approach.

P.S. We have a treasure trove of interviews with the top minds in sales (like Jason Bay, Florin Tatulea, Jen Allen-Knuth, Leslie Venetz, Thibaut Souyris, etc.)  here.

8. Personalize at scale

Transition from the outdated "spray and pray" method to a more targeted approach. And no, using the recipient’s first name in the subject line is NOT considered personalization. You have to be more creative than that. 

Here are a few personalization triggers that Jason Bay shared:

And here’s how you can personalize your sequences per recipient with Mixmax:

Sequence personalization gif mixmax

And finally, here’s a good before & after of a personalized cold email:


Implementing your sales prospecting plan

With these strategies, your revamped sales prospecting plan is not just about reaching out—it's about reaching out effectively. Remember:

Regularly update your approach

The market and technologies are constantly evolving. Regular updates to your messages and strategies are essential to stay relevant.

Focus on quality over quantity

It’s better to have fewer, high-quality conversations than numerous unproductive ones. Aim for meaningful interactions that lead to deeper engagements.

Evaluate and adapt

Regularly assess the effectiveness of your strategies. Be flexible and ready to adapt to what your analysis shows about what works best.


  • Dedicate specific hours each day solely for prospecting activities. This could be reaching out to new leads, following up on previous contacts, or researching potential clients.
  • Make sure to inform your manager and team members about your blocked times. Explain that these hours are crucial for focused prospecting efforts and ask them to respect this by not scheduling meetings or calls during these periods.
  • Use calendar tools to set reminders and prioritize tasks.

That’s a wrap

As quoted by Thibaut, "[Booking a meeting] is harder than putting a rocket in space." But with a thoughtfully crafted sales prospecting plan, you can navigate these complexities and start genuine conversations with prospects.

Here are key factors to keep in mind:

  • Develop a deep understanding of your market and competitors to finely tune your strategies.
  • Personalize your outreach to create more meaningful and engaging interactions with prospects.
  • Utilize a mix of communication channels to meet prospects where they are most receptive.
  • Regularly review and adjust your approach to stay aligned with market changes and technological advancements.
  • Prioritize quality over quantity in your interactions to build stronger, more productive relationships.
  • Guard your time to ensure that dedicated prospecting activities are effective and respected.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How do you measure the success of a multi-channel sales prospecting plan?

To measure success, focus on response rates, lead conversion rates, and ROI for each channel. Analyze these metrics within your CRM and sales engagement platform to understand which channels are most effective and adjust your strategies accordingly.

What are some signs that a prospecting strategy needs to be adjusted?

Signs that you might need to adjust your prospecting strategy include a drop in response rates, lower engagement metrics, or feedback from prospects indicating that messages are not resonating. Regularly reviewing these indicators can help you stay agile and adjust your tactics as necessary.

How often should I update my sales messages to keep them fresh and effective?

It's advisable to review and potentially update your sales messages every quarter. This frequency ensures your messages remain relevant to current market conditions and customer needs, while also allowing you to incorporate feedback and performance data to refine your approach.

You deserve a spike in replies, meetings booked, and deals won.

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