Whether you’re providing marketing software or enterprise security solutions, a well-oiled outbound sales operation is essential to getting your product in front of every potential customer. But where do you start? If you invest your limited budget in the wrong direction, you’ll be spending time and money you can’t lose on tactics that don’t work.
With that in mind, let’s explore what you need to build a successful outbound sales strategy.
What Is Outbound Sales?
Outbound sales is when you’re actively reaching out to potential clients to make new connections and close new deals. One well-known instance is cold calling, but email outreach and other forms of communication are now a part of a modern sales strategy.
The distinguishing characteristic of outbound sales is that leads don’t come to you. Instead, you reach out to people to generate fresh leads. This is known as inbound marketing, which frequently results from effective content marketing.
What You Need to Build Your Outbound Sales Process
Before starting outbound sales, you need the right strategy and the tools to act on it.
You know who your target market is. But to sell effectively, you need to get into specifics. You need to know where they get their news, their ambitions and fears, and the specific issues they face weekly. If you know they’re put off by the high deployment costs of 5G infrastructure, you will not sell them on a substantial investment, but if you have a cheap solution, you could sell that persona on your pricing.
In a buyer persona, all of this information is collected to describe one “character.” And your sales team can benefit greatly from using that identity. This persona will comprise data you’ve gleaned from industry surveys and observations from your sales team.
Often companies will have several buyer personas. It depends on the volume of goods they offer and the range of demographics they appeal to. If they’re a B2B company, their sales process will often have to account for several people at a potential account – from executives to IT specialists.
Why does your ideal customer need to hear to say “yes”? Your value proposition is exactly that, and it’s what will close the sales with your best customers. Make sure everyone on the sales team can speak about it without hesitation and on demand.
You can’t open your cold calls with a technical explication of the merits of your product’s ACID properties database, you need to start with how that makes your ideal customer’s day so much easier.
Naturally, you might find that your value proposition evolves with time. You may have to reposition your brand to consider new competitors or some customers may use your product for situations you didn’t anticipate when you started the company.
Tools for generating leads
If you have your buyer personas and the value proposition nailed down, it’s now time to create a client list so you can start making sales.
The majority of lead generation techniques utilized nowadays are about getting inbound leads:
- Writing blog entries and online manuals.
- Appearing as a guest on podcasts.
- Organizing events.
- Increasing your social media authority.
- Giving speeches at conferences.
These lead creation techniques all encourage individuals to contact you. Though they often take a lot of time, they are scalable, sustainable, and don’t require a significant financial investment. Traditional marketing strategies including print ads, outdoor advertising, direct mail, and others are still effective.
The best outbound strategy for your business depends on your industry, sales strategy, and stage of development. The majority of businesses will combine different strategies, but since you’ll always be generating leads, it’s important to take the time to determine which strategy is the best return on investment for you.
An outbound sales strategy
Before your outbound sales team can begin cold calling, they require a strategy for outreach. The following items should be in that plan:
- Whether you will call or email first.
- How long you will wait before following up on your first message.
- The format of the follow-ups. Perhaps you should try emailing first or use omnichannel call center software to ensure customer calls come straight to the right person in the sales team.
- Specific lines to add in calls and emails and which customers to use them with.
- Schedules for ongoing email follow-ups.
You can capitalize on your experience if you’ve had success with marketing before now. If you haven’t, start with what you believe your buyer personas will find appealing and iterate from there.
This strategy will evolve as you discover what works and what doesn’t, but before you let your sales team go, you should have a provisional sketch of their outbound sales process.
Once you have a strategy in place, you can start selling! Get everyone on the phone cold calling after ensuring they understand how to carry out your plan.
Sales intelligence tools
Sales intelligence tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator help determine which potential leads are worth pursuing. You can discover all the information you need for businesses in your target market, including org charts, contact details, and information on revenue and investment. It is the information your outbound sales team needs to efficiently generate and qualify leads, create well-tailored pitches, and close sales.
There are several cheaper solutions to find contact information if you cannot afford a pricey, fully-functional sales intelligence tool. Voila Norbert determines the work emails of your best leads, and ReachHub locates targeted leads on LinkedIn and adds them to a list of good prospects.
Gmail isn’t going to cut it. A well-run outbound sales operation needs tools like Salesforce and LinkedIn Premium, and ideally, a software platform bundling features like automated call routing and a text messaging service for business.
All-in-one platforms like Dialpad can improve communications across the board, but specific sales tools like Outreach can help teams get high engagement from their sales efforts. Another option is Prospect.io for teams who need the benefit of flexible pricing.
How to Start Your Outbound Sales Process
Once you have all the resources you need, you’re ready to start selling. The first steps in your outbound plan will include building an outreach plan, figuring out your sales segments, and building relationships with influencers in your niche.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools
Customer relationship management (CRM) enables you to track, monitor, and record the evolution of customer connections with your company. CRM is crucial for providing a complete experience that forges enduring bonds with customers.
Detailed notes on your customers will ensure continuity of service between different sales reps, so if your online phone number redirects one sales rep’s prospect, another can pick up the sale with all the information they need to help the customer.
But how can you translate data from a CRM database into a workable sales strategy?
Use the CRM data to sort out your best clients from those who take up company time without actually buying. Use the insights from that data to tailor your efforts around attracting more of those profitable clients.
Segmented mailing lists
A cold email campaign is a cost-effective way to reach out to leads at scale. But segmented campaigns – targeted at specific audiences within your mailing list – have resulted in a 760% boost in revenue for companies.
You can raise cold email open rates by creating segments based on the sales cycle, industry, firm size, or interest. That’s more effective than creating a generic email that works in the recipient’s first name in the subject line.
If you’re selling a B2B product, it’s essential to segment your messaging based on factors like the size of the company and their estimated budget for your product. Segment your emails to individuals based on factors like their job role or level of seniority.
Affiliates and influencers
Building relationships with influencers is a highly effective strategy to increase the success of your outbound sales process, and it can lead to its own flow of inbound sales. The whole affiliate dropshipping industry is built on this model of keeping investments low by outsourcing inventory to logistics companies and lots of marketing to affiliates.
Working with influencers who are well-known in your industry will help you enhance brand exposure and awareness among your target market. According to a 2019 report by Mediakix, influencer marketing budgets continue to rise, with 17% of businesses allocating more than 50% of their marketing budgets to influencers.
The bigger an influencer’s audience, the bigger your marketing spend will be. But if you’re in B2B, you have the benefit that the biggest media figures in your industry probably aren’t household names, and they’ll be happy to promote a product they believe in for a small kickback.
Improving Your Outbound Sales Process
An outbound sales process can feel like a lot of work, and it can be a lot of work if you’re not “working smart” and deploying your time and effort efficiently. If you have the right tools and data in place, you’re in a position to close deals when your sales team is successful and quickly improve sales skills in a data-driven way when they’re not.
**** This is a guest post from Grace Lau. Grace is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, an AI-powered cloud communication platform for better and easier team collaboration. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, partnering with SEO and Ops teams to build and nurture content.****