Maybe you’re a mid-sized team looking for a more process-driven approach to prospecting or maybe you’re a founder hoping to scale your team. Maybe you’re a manager trying to increase output. Whatever stage of business you are at, prospecting can help fill your pipeline.
Outbound prospecting is the best channel for direct communication and instant feedback, making it one of the most popular sales strategies. When implemented effectively, outbound leads often provide a larger return on your investment in a shorter period of time.
That’s why in 2020, 55% of sales professionals reported using outbound sales as their primary sales strategy.
New tools and technologies allow us to contact more people than ever before, but with volume, there can also be a lack of quality. Effective outbound campaigns require layers of personalization and a deep understanding of your target audience.
So, how do you increase your outbound efforts without damaging your conversion rate?
What Is Outbound Prospecting?
Outbound prospecting is defined as the process of searching for, identifying, and reaching out to prospects. This outreach is considered “cold” since the person on the other side is not expecting to hear from you. Two of the most popular examples of outbound prospecting are cold calling and cold emailing.
Not to be confused with inbound prospecting, where the prospect contacts or initiates a conversation with you or your company, normally through your website or other content. Outbound efforts can easily run alongside your other marketing strategies and are easier to ramp up or down when necessary.
Outbound sales can be effective because it provides benefits that inbound sales cannot, like:
- Increased targeted outreach
- Instant feedback
- Personal connection with the prospect
- Control over the pace of selling
When looking to scale your outbound prospecting, it is important to consider who will be performing what tasks, and how you will bridge any gaps between sales and marketing.
- Sales Development Representatives (SDRs): Most often responsible for finding new leads and prospects, sending cold emails, and making cold calls.
- Business Development Representatives (BDRs): Focus on nurturing and developing relationships. In most cases, this position works closely with marketing to create better alignment through strategies.
- Account Executives (AEs): Most commonly known as the “closers.” They focus on connecting with qualified prospects, answering questions, handling objections, and ideally closing the sale.
Re-Evaluating Your Ideal Prospects
Before scaling your outbound prospecting, you must reevaluate your ideal customer persona and target audience. You must know who you are targeting, why you are targeting them, and use that information to craft specific messaging that resonates with their wants and needs. Missing any aspect of this can deter them from responding or moving forward in the process.
The last year has brought a lot of change in every industry and COVID is affecting everyone differently. Use your current strategy to determine if any improvements can be made before moving forward. Step outside of your own perspective and try looking at things from every angle. If your organization has a variety of products or services, you should know exactly what to sell to every vertical or organization size.
Use any new information or perspectives to refine your segments and your messaging. Even a small change in the market can present an opportunity to show more value to your prospects.
- Are you providing solutions that meet their most current needs and wants or are you speaking to a perceived value?
- Have I discovered the root issue of their pain?
- How has your competition & positioning in the marketplace changed?
- Are you targeting your most attractive markets or is there room for improvement?
When you know all the answers to these details, you will be able to create unique, personalized messages later in the process, which is more likely to resonate with your prospects.
Should You Scale?
This is one of the most common questions for anyone that has experienced success in their current outbound strategy. Once you’ve started to close more outbound deals, it is natural to want to ramp up activity, but you should first measure the success of your current strategy.
Are you really ready to grow?
Companies need to ensure that processes are working efficiently to generate business for the organization and that you and your team are able to sustain growth.
As offerings change and opportunities develop, it is important to reassess your outbound strategies and make sure that you’re still on the right track.
Are My Goals S.M.A.R.T? (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Timely)
Every successful organization has a plan for hitting targets and standardizing metrics. Plan and achieve your goals using well-defined KPI’s (key performance indicators) that help to create accountability and provide better direction for success.
Am I hitting my targets? Blowing them out of the water? Before you scale, you must analyze where you stand in your current goals. Were those goals SMART? Update your current goals for scaling using results-based and activity-based metrics.
Do I fully understand my ROI?
Understanding your return on investment is key to your prospecting success and determining to what amounts you should scale. It also determines where your time is best spent and helps to establish consistency at the top of your funnel.
- Where does your revenue come from?
- What time spent is high-ticket vs low ticket?
- What are the lead sources of your revenue?
- What is organic and what is paid?
- Is it predictable?
Use a calculator to return on cold calling and other outbound strategies. Google “ROI for Outbound Prospecting” and it will populate results from a few websites where you can fill in your information for a calculated return on investment.
Is My Cadence Working?
Cadence is an integral part of a successful outbound campaign and requires close monitoring and testing in order to ensure that you get seen and ultimately receive a response.
Taking the time to plan when responses are sent, or other channels are utilized is prime. For example, adding a phone call in the afternoon after sending an email is a great way to attract attention, and works as a conversation starter.
There is a fine line between staying relevant and coming across as spammy. Testing and finding a cadence that works for your campaign is key and will definitely play a big role in receiving responses and achieving success.
Is My Strategy Balanced?
From email copy to cold calling scripts, you need to be prepared when you go to scale. A well-balanced outbound strategy is the best way to effectively reach your target audience. If you can’t keep a well-balanced strategy on your own, outsourcing may be a great complement to your strategy.
Remember, sales prospecting is a constant effort, so you must be prepared to keep your pipeline full of leads. Using a variety of touchpoints to reach prospects helps account for an individual’s preferred communication channels. Some prospects want to get on the phone, so a cold call might be better than an email or LinkedIn message.
Am I Effectively Using Feedback?
Outbound marketing is the perfect gradual test market.
Through conversations with your ideal customers, you will be able to identify and correct missed opportunities for showing value. Think of it as a gradual testing market. Use the feedback to improve any sales language and listen for root issues you can help solve.
Hiring or Outsourcing?
Looking to hire more sales reps or thinking about outsourcing? In order to scale, you need to make sure your team is capable of handling growth.
Data from leading job boards like Glassdoor, Indeed, and AngelList suggest the average SDR base salary ranges from $47.8 to $62K. The average hire comes with less than 12 months of experience and an average tenure of under 15 months.
Hubspot also notes that this data does not factor in software, hardware, or other typical overhead costs for hiring internally, like the allocation of human resources costs for hiring, training, and retaining employees.
And training is a large factor that many forgot to consider. Companies are spending around 26% of their time on training – which takes a manager’s time and effort, and automatically reduces the productivity of those around them.
So, let’s put these costs together:
Infrastructure + Hiring (Salary + Commission) +Training (Turnover)+ Overhead Costs
Reporting + Technology + Risk Mitigation + Sales Tech Stack
Scalability + Inside Sales Support + Team Support (Expertise)
= $130,000 (or even more)
And all of this is just for ONE Sales Rep. You may need multiple to meet the needs of your business. If this is too much for your current budget, you should consider outsourcing your outbound needs to a trusted partner.
Like hiring costs, employee turnover can cost you even more.
Outsourcing your outbound strategy is the perfect way to increase sales and maximize ROI, without the internal struggles of hiring and training. And studies prove that experienced B2B call centers make a higher volume of calls and get better results than companies performing these tasks themselves.
Plus, they have the training, proper tools, and databases needed to make more informed decisions. They can expand, scale, and change direction, much easier than your in-house team. Your outsourcing partner already knows all the necessary tools like the back of their hand and is automatically leveraging them to produce better results for your company.
Finding the Right List Source
Building your own quality lists can be difficult but there are multiple databases, platforms, and tools that can help provide more effective targets. When scaling, pay attention to quality, not quantity. A list of cheap leads might sound great, but if they aren’t engaged and in need, you don’t have much. Focusing on high-quality leads will increase productivity, speed up the completion of your sales cycle and reduce inefficiencies within your sales pipeline—all of which improve your bottom line.
Teams of expert researchers are your best bet for specific B2B leads that are harder to find using traditional databases. Make sure your source is reputable and can provide multiple touchpoints like:
- Phone Number
- LinkedIn Profile
At Superhuman Prospecting, we use a variety of sources, databases, tools, and researchers to generate a custom leads list of your target client profiles. All of our marketing lists are manually checked to ensure that all criteria were met with the highest quality data.
We take the three-prong approach for quality list building.
- B2B Contact Databases- Access to multiple sales leads databases that can source accurate contact information based on a variety of criteria.
- AI Technology & Web Scraping Tools– Our team has invested in different tools that use artificial intelligence and web scraping technology to source and generate harder-to-find leads.
- Manual Research– For the more unique prospecting lists, we have several experts specialized in manually researching and scouring the internet for sales contacts.
In addition to sourcing quality sales leads, we also provide data cleansing services or we can enrich your current prospect list to provide phone numbers, emails, LinkedIn links, or any other additional contact information you require.
From CRMs to email automation tools – there is something for every company size and budget.
Start with your CRM or Customer Relationship Management database. It is the center of your prospecting efforts and the most important platform for building an effective tech stack. It contains lead and prospect contact information and is essential for tracking the status of sales across the team, so sales reps can better manage and nurture relationships. Providers like Hubspot, Salesforce, Pipedrive, or Insightly are some of the top-rated CRM’s for 2021.
Marketing automation refers to software platforms that help businesses automate their marketing and sales engagement processes to generate more leads, convert those leads to sales, and optimize ROI. Marketing automation also helps to decrease human error and make marketing initiatives more repeatable for the future.
When scaling it is important to make sure your technology can scale with you. But it’s important to make sure you are automating processes and NOT conversations or interactions.
Not sure if you need to scale your tech stack?
Hubspot put together a list of considerations before moving forward:
- Are you generating a steady flow of new and qualified leads?
- Has Marketing and Sales agreed on what conversations should happen with marketing and which with sales?
- Do you have a content strategy mapped to your buyer’s journey?
- Are you tracking your leads’ digital body language across every touchpoint and marketing channel (not just email)?
- Do you have a proven lead nurturing strategy that you want to scale?
Answering yes to these questions means that you are probably ready to scale using marketing automation.
Managing a remote team? You need also to invest in resources and capabilities that foster collaboration and communication. Tools like Monday.com, Slack, and Asana can help foster communication and can integrate seamlessly into your tech stack.
Marketing automation strategies can be efficient and cost-effective for businesses scaling to any level. Automated emails can make your outbound prospecting a lot easier.
Automations for email sequences and drip campaigns help you save time and energy and engage with your prospects on a deeper level, which is an excellent way to qualify leads and get more information from them.
Check out this list of the 30 best email marketing automation tools.
Sales Dialing Tools
The more leads an SDR can contact, the more potential there is for converting leads into paying customers. Sales dialers bring in more revenue by helping your sales reps make more efficient and effective telephone calls. They also make a huge difference when it comes to organizing client data and storing the progress of each account.
What sales dialing tools are you currently using? Do they provide the support you need to scale your outbound prospecting activities?
Companies like VanillaSoft are working to meet all of your needs at this stage. Unlike traditional CRM tools that need tedious data management, VanillaSoft CRM is list-based. This means your sales team can easily manage their own workflows and queue features while choosing what lists to call based on strategy.
With huge changes in size, you need to stay compliant, keep your sales team happy, and produce more high revenue leads. So, how does one accomplish these tasks?
One option may be a team dialer. Team dialers are human-based call teams that connect a trained SDR with a live conversation maker. This is one of the most expensive options because you pay for the sales rep and the increase in velocity of dials. In this option, pay attention to the company, its transparency, and the company offerings. You need real-time feedback, visibility, and integration with your other sales prospecting tools.
Build relationships and grow your network with sales tools like the LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Plugins and extensions like this are great for researching your prospects, learning about key decision-makers, and for gathering more general details about a company to further qualify the prospect.
Scaling your outbound prospecting is one of the most powerful drivers of pipeline growth. Its goal is to cast a wide net and qualify (or disqualify) as many leads as possible, in the shortest amount of time.
Use inbound marketing to help support your outbound efforts along the way.