Block the time and prospect!
You will succeed by doing consistently the right things, and not performing unusual task sporadically.
We are all busy. We all get tons of meetings to assist, internal tasks from the company, spreadsheets with useless content to fill, managers to report to, complaints to manage, orders to process, quotations to get out to customers. However, you must have time to do the important things, not only the urgent things. This is not done by leaving your calendar manage you. Be the owner of your calendar, block enough time to perform these activities, and respect it.
If your colleagues/customers have access to your calendar, they will think twice before putting a meeting for you in that timeslot, and if that still happens, you need to think twice before accepting it (of course you will have meetings you cannot reject, like from an important project, a promotion from the president of the company, etc), but you need to educate your boss, colleagues and customers to respect your structure and your consistent actions.
The blockers on your calendar can be called “prospecting x product division”. We also recommend you do this as the first thing you do in the morning. Sometimes these calls are hard to do for many sales engineers, and it is better to do them when you still have the positive attitude and are not yet “contaminated” with the bad news from the daily business. This is however true only for those that are morning persons. People that are in a horrible mood during the morning, should better do it in the afternoon.
An interesting read about this particular subject is: 7 Habits of highly effective people https://www.franklincovey.com/the-7-habits/
What is prospecting? What is a lead?
Companies define these terms differently depending on the understanding from both marketing and sales. For the sake of understanding in this article we define a lead as the contact information and possibly the probable interest of that contact person which could be an interesting prospect to sell products to. In this sense, prospecting are all those activities that involve attracting these persons and the activities related to contacting them to insert them into our funnel (qualifying).
Prospecting is not only qualifying your existent leads
If your product is very popular and attractive for many customers and markets, you will have a ton of leads to work on. However, this is not the only activity related to prospecting. Those leads are only a part of the cloud represented in the figure above as the market leads, and the prospecting task also includes your reaching out to potential customers in a business development driven task.
Marketing leads are good, but yours are better
The leads mentioned above are related to your market and may be very interesting for you. However, many of those will only be small companies, hobbyists, and universities. Therefore, it is also your task and maybe one of the most important ones, to seek for matches in the market. You are very aware of the applications that brought you and your colleagues´ success and can reach out to them to tell them about these success stories. This approach is mostly called call calling or call acquisition. In this article we describe them as a warm calling, and the explanation can be found further down. Tools to find the right person to contact are many and some of them are very effective. To mention 2 that are currently very popular and most effective are: Linkedin (upgrade with Sales Navigator) and Rocketreach
Call, call, call: Cold calls are not as effective as warm calls
An introductory E-Mail to your products and services is a very good starting point. In fact, many of the prospects, will prefer to be contacted firs via e-mail. This is great, especially if you get a reply on that e-mail. However, in many cases (we would dare to write most of the cases) your first e-mail does not get any response. In these cases, you cannot give up. The second and third e-mail will most probably end up as the first one, unanswered, although there are some techniques that can be used to trigger at least a “no, I am not interested” kind of answer.