This is a guest article by Jeni Wehrmeyer, COO/CMO, Anthony Cole Training Group
If you have a plan and stick to it, your outbound selling will become more effective. All of the companies we work with are compelled to do outbound lead generation and relationship building. By the same token, many do not have the luxury of filling their sales pipeline with inbound leads. With a good plan in place, both goals can be achieved.
Are you a sales leader or a salesperson in need of an outbound prospecting strategy? Here are 7 steps to improve your outbound sales success:
1. Know and Focus on Your Target
If you are familiar with the 80/20 Rule, you know that the majority of your revenue comes from about 20% of your clients. Spend time defining the type of customer you can really help and then determine how to go about finding and reaching more of them. You may even have several profiles. We work with both Banks and Insurance firms, for example.
In my outbound sales efforts, in any case, I must focus and put on one of my profile hats. If I am looking to increase my outbound lead generation with banks, I need to think about— where bank CEOs hang out; what they read; what are their biggest problems; and what my message to them will be.
LinkedIn, Google, associations, competitors, or the like are all great resources to help you put your best prospect hat on. This is not a one-time event; of course, you should always be gathering industry information about your target client.
2. Do Your Research
Think about all the irrelevant emails that you receive. Dedicate yourself to not being one of those. There is a place for mass emails, but for now, I am speaking about one-to-one outbound communication for lead gen.
Once you have determined that a particular company is worthy of outreach, find out everything you can about them. If you have a resource like HubSpot, you can see other connections within the company. If you utilize ZoomInfo, you can pull down contact information and even org charts to help customize your outreach.
3. Customize Your Outreach
We are not big proponents of systematic emails. You will have a greater chance of being noticed if you customize your email or call with something you know is on your prospect’s mind.
I do outbound calling on bank and insurance associations, and every single time before I reach out, I visit their websites to see what is new and what events they are working on. It takes time, but it makes my message more specific and relevant.
If you are working within an industry, you can use information you’ve learned from one company for another. I religiously read our industry newsletters and our competitor’s marketing messages to my target as it helps me be smarter and more relevant with my outbound sales outreach.
4. Don’t Expect a Response
So, we all know that our increasingly virtual world has increased the likeliness of being ignored. Yesterday, I sent out 11 custom email outreaches. I heard back from one. I will do a call follow-up to all 11 today and send out 11 more. Then in a couple of weeks, I will reach out again, further refining my message.
There are some prospects that never respond which may mean they are not a prospect, or at least, not right now. Your outbound sales strategy has to include being resilient and persistent. Let’s face it, you have to prove your way in the door, find a connection, some reason for that person to engage with you.
Don’t expect a response, but be thrilled if you get one and…
5. Respond Quickly and Efficiently
Maybe this goes without saying, but your level of enthusiasm and timeliness of response is critical… but don’t go overboard and send them everything you have! Answer their question and maybe offer one additional helpful suggestion (what has worked for others is always good).
This is a conversation, not a sales pitch so find out how to help. If that is always your goal, to help your prospect solve a problem they have, your outbound sales strategy will be effective.
6. Be Excellent with the Details
I try my best to minimize the back and forth needed by trying to anticipate what the prospect will need. Make it as easy as possible on them once they are engaged. Be the resource they think, “Wow that was a great experience and I got what I needed.”
Deliver what you say you will and remember the adage: don’t overpromise and underdeliver. Give them more than they asked for.
7. Don’t Forget to Thank Them, Follow up and Build the Relationship
Seems obvious right, but think of your outbound lead generation strategy as a pipeline to others.
Thank them, ask them for feedback, ask them if you can help in any other way. If you feel confident that they were/are very pleased, ask them for a testimonial or a Google review, or an introduction to another company. If a salesperson really understands your business, provides an excellent solution, is easy and efficient to work with, wouldn’t you want to help them build their business?
To improve your outbound selling success— have a process, follow and improve the process, be a continual learner, have some fun along the way, and remember, you are relationship-building. Relationships take time and genuine, ongoing interest to develop trust and longevity.
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Anthony Cole Training Group has been helping organizations close their sales opportunity gap by helping them sell better, coach better and hire better.