Think long and hard before starting outbound sales. Outbound sales can be very effective when done correctly. However, if done without a plan in place, you’re heading towards an inevitable disaster.
Outbound sales should be a long term game plan. It helps you target the companies that you believe are a good fit for your business and you can help them solve their needs or pain points. Traditionally, outbound sales are reserved for “bigger deals”, e.g. over $1000 MRR. If you’re looking to go after a smaller deal size, make sure that the ROI is worth it.
Your CAC plays a huge role in how you go about doing outbound sales, or if it’s worth it at all. You should read this blog post to see which sales metrics you should be tracking.
In most companies, the inbound channel is the main source of their leads. That means that there is a finite number of leads that salespeople can work with. Going outbound is a great way to find more leads and grow your sales pipeline.
This guide will help you with your outbound strategy and highlights the Do’s and Don’ts of outbound sales. So let’s start with the Don’ts:
Spray and Pray
Yes, we’re all guilty of this. Loading up a list of contacts and blasting them with an email sequence, praying a few of them will reply. That’s not a strategy since you don’t know if those prospects really need what you’re pitching.
I’ve seen this, time and time again. Salespeople burning through hundreds, sometimes thousands of contacts without yielding any results. Those contacts are not researched, we don’t know anything about them other than the fact that they are from a certain industry and where they are located.
You are really hurting your conversion rates if you’re not tailoring your message to each type of prospect. A company that has 10 employees has a different mindset than the one with 100 employees. Also, you’re “burning” all the contacts you are email blasting, once you send them a sequence and they don’t respond, you shouldn’t reach out to them again at least not right away. Rendering them useless for the near future.
If you’re going to interrupt someone’s busy day, you’ll get a better response if you show them that you understand what their particular needs are right now, by tailoring your messaging.
So, next time you’re about to send out an email blast, stop and try to personalize your message to every prospect to maximize the chance of getting a positive response.
Send Emails at the Wrong Time
If a prospect is located in California, and you send them an email at 12 pm CET, chances are it will get buried in the backlog of emails in their inbox. Think about it, 12 pm CET means that it’s 3 am in California.
If you have an ongoing discussion with them, sure, they might respond you then. But a cold email or even a follow-up sent at a wrong time will land in only one place, and that’s deep in their inbox.
Optimizing your cold reach out for the perfect time can grow your positive response rate exponentially. I always research my prospects and then send out the email, according to their timezone.
You can also use this Time Optimizer, as it may help you find the perfect time to reach out to your prospects. Use tools like these to your advantage. As a Salesperson you will spend a lot of time prospecting leads and crafting emails, hence your efforts shouldn’t go to waste due to an email being sent at the wrong time and not landing at the top of the prospect’s inbox when they are active.
If you’re sending out an email campaign, chances are that tool already has a “schedule to send” feature, use that to make sure the emails are optimized to be sent out at the right time.
Contact the wrong prospects
Nothing is worse than wasting a ton of time and effort on a client who ends up not doing business with you.
Same can be said about the prospects that you are reaching out to via outbound. No matter how hard you try, if there isn’t a mutual fit and you can’t solve a prospect’s needs, they won’t get back to you. No matter how well crafted the email might be.
So rather than wasting time on leads that will yield no results. It’s best to focus on the ones that actually fit in your ICP and you know you can help them solve their needs.
If you already have customers, it’s always a good idea to look for similarities amongst them. Go through the list of current customers, their job titles, where they are located, industry and the type of company they are. This will give you an idea of whom to contact. If you’re already helping companies from a certain sector, chances are you can help more businesses from the same industry/sector.
Furthermore, this can be a used as cannon fodder for the opening pitch. Prospects are more inclined to reply or do business with you if they know you’ve already helped other businesses in their industry. This adds a layer of legitimacy to your outreach.
Give Up Too Quickly
Ask any sales rep out there and they’ll tell you outbound is hard. It’s not hard to do it but to get results out of it. Yes, it’s difficult to get somebody’s attention when they get an onslaught of emails land in their inboxes every single day.
It can get difficult to differentiate amongst the other vendors. However, if you genuinely believe you can help a prospect or a company, then it’s your fiduciary responsibility to follow-up with them.
Outbound should be a long term game plan. If you’re expecting quick results, this might not be something for you. Outbound sales takes time to work, you just have to find your sweet spot and to get to that point, it may take months. So, you better make sure you’re strapped in for the long haul.
One thing I consistently see amongst salespeople is that if they personalize their first cold email and don’t get a response, they tend to go with the email follow-ups that worked for them in the past. Big Miskate!
Every sales rep out there uses templates like yours, the only way to differentiate and be effective is to be original. And what better way to do it then to show the prospect that you actually researched how you can help them and if they jump on a demo or a call with you, it will be worth their time.
So, don’t give up so easy and keep personalizing your message, rest assured your persistence will pay off. After all, outbound is a mix of both consistency and persistence.
Now, let’s move on to the DOs.
Figure out your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
Look, it’s no fun shooting aimlessly in the dark. Knowing whom to target is half the battle. Often times sales teams contact prospects that don’t have a need for the product they are selling. Those prospects just aren’t a good fit for them.
So, the best thing to do here is to figure out your ICP. Meaning, who is it that needs the product you’re selling and if there is a mutual fit. The best place to start is with the list of current customers you have. Go through the list and look for similarities and once you group those customers into segments, try to look for companies similar to them.
Sure, finding out your ICP does not guarantee success in outbound. But, it does bring you one step closer to acheiving positive results. Think about it this way.
You represent a pharmaceutical company that sells insulin. Who would your ICP be?
Diabetic people, right?
You have a better shot at success by pitching them than people with no diabetes. ICP plays a very important role in outbound, targeting the right companies and prospects can open opportunities. Spending that time targeting companies that don’t need your product only leads to dismay and frustration.
Don’t just pitch anyone, try to see if someone has a potential need for what you’re selling and you’ll already be ahead of the curve.
Use different tactics and strategies, experiment
Virtually raise your hand if you’ve heard this one before. Write emails that are short and sweet with subject lines that are no longer than 3 words.
Look, there are no set of rules set in stone when it comes to sales. Sure, some things might’ve worked for one company or a sales rep. Does not mean it will work for you.
If you could take one thing away from this blog post, take this.
Do more of what works for you.
Period. If something is working for you, keep doing it. If it’s not, keep tweaking it until you find the right fit for YOU. Keep going back to the drawing board, throw things against the wall and see what sticks.
All these sales gurus didn’t get to where they are by just listening to what others said and read what others wrote. They experimented and hammered on what worked for them. So, take all the advice you find on the internet with a massive grain of salt. (Even the ones in this blog post) 😉
Try different things, long emails, short emails, funny emails, cat emojis, your own pictures, unicorn poop, hell use porn gifs if they work, but keep trying different things. Make videos and send them over to the prospects, crack crappy dad jokes (guilty), anything that is genuine and original. Just stop parroting what each and every sales rep out there with a few years of experience is recommending.
Find your own competitive edge. And the only way you can do that is by trying different things, experimenting with new ways of lead gen and of course doing outbound.
Set yourself apart.
Do you know what annoys me the most about cold emails?
That they all have the same tone. Often times even the same script painted in different words.
If you make the effort to reach someone on Linkedin. Why not go the extra step and personalize your message. Just because you are writing a message does not mean you will get a reply.
However, if you put some research into it and personalize your message, the chances for a reply go up exponentially.
Would you rather reply to a sales rep that is pitching just another CRM software or the one that writes with the knowledge that they know which software you use and potential things that are missing in that software that they can help with?
The latter, right? At least, I hope so 🙂
Small things/tweaks go a long way. Same can be said about the follow-up emails. If somebody did not reply to the first cold email, don’t just chuck them in an email sequence.
Keep personalizing your message, go through their social media, see what they are interested in and use that knowledge to your advantage. Don’t just give up, outbound is all about hard work and persistence. And your persistence will pay off eventually, just keep believing in your approach.
Show the prospect that you care and how you can help them. Go above and beyond the call of duty.
Use Video, or More of it
A picture can say a 1000 words. So, how many can a video say?
So skip the old boring emails and try something new and fun for a change. Put the person back in salesperson.
Video enables you to be more personal and human to your prospect. A prospect can’t gauge your emotional response via email. But, with video, all those things come into play. Since you are talking directly to them and have all their attention.
Video is just a great way to build familiarity. Chances are the prospect will remember your face and respond, even if the answer is negative. They will remember you in the barrage of emails they get every single day.
So instead of sending that same boring stripline stuck under a rock, eaten by an alligator, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, email, actually leave your prospect with some value!
Include screen capture in your video, walk them through three things that they should take away from the video. That way in the future, when the timing is right, they can then refer back to that screen capture video, understand why you were reaching out, and then start the conversation when the timing is better.
Video is the new cold calling. Hmm, not sure if the comparison is right but hey, you get what I mean, right? it’s 2019 after all.
So go out there and do more outbound. Don’t be scared, if it doesn’t work the first few times. Keep going back to the drawing board and keep making changes. Eventually, you will find your own strategy and maybe who knows, one day I’ll be the one reading your blog post.
I also want to leave you with a list of tools and resources to get you up and running.