Now that Q3 is in full swing, make the most of you and your fellow sales reps’ time by following these twelve outbound sales tips. Your quota will thank you.
1. Target the best-fit match
Any SDR can make 80-100 calls a day, but that’s hardly a solid strategy. Targeting accounts that you think would make a great fit with your product or service jumpstarts the prospecting process and leads to more conversions down the road.
You can begin this journey by utilizing an ideal customer profile. An ideal customer profile is a template a sales and/or marketing team creates that lists desirable traits that a perfect prospect would have. This is most often cribbed from existing customers and includes data points such as ROI and sales cycle length.
Make sure that you and your sales team is utilizing an ICP correctly to ensure that any leads an SDR furnishes has at least a majority of qualifiers before making contact.
2. Segment your markets
Now that you have your ICP, you can further narrow down your prospecting efforts by segmenting which markets you are targeting and tailor your sales strategy to fit a specific need and client. This streamlines the sales process and will overall increase your close-rate.
After finding qualified leads thanks to your ICP, split them up based on factors like need, value, job title, region, size, or even industry. This gives you infinitely more data to work with so you can craft your pitch and develop a great rapport with a future customer.
3. Target an account, not just a lead
Finding qualified leads through the steps above is all well and good, but many successful sales teams use a targeted, holistic approach to making first contact and securing more deals. This is where targeted account selling (TAS) comes in.
TAS is an outbound sales strategy that uses a well-researched and well-structured approach to engaging with multiple points of contact within an account. This method can be a whole article in and of itself, but here are some brief steps to get started utilizing this technique correctly:
- Map the company’s internal structure. TAS requires you to reach out to leads from every layer across multiple departments, from junior to C-level execs. Mapping out the internal structure helps you identify who does what and where.
- Identify key decision makers and influencers. The big decision makers should be your prime targets, but connecting with lower level staff that hold sway will help cultivate a lot of buzz around your product.
- Prospect to juniors first. Reach out to junior level reps first to take a bottom-up approach to getting the whole company on board. Junior level staff are often more aware of different pain points they face than upper level executives, so this will be insightful for your sales strategy going forward.
- Get buy-in from different departments. Pitching to team members across an array of departments is crucial to fulfilling a TAS strategy. Getting members from multiple channels on board will greatly influence decisions that higher-ups will make.
4. Elevate your value proposition
Amassing hot leads waiting to hear your pitch is only half the battle. Creating a great value proposition that addresses the needs of your prospects is what elevates good salespeople to great salespeople, and your on target earnings will reflect that.
A value proposition is a simple statement that communicates to prospects the benefit of purchasing your product or service, but going deeper to define specifics will enhance the prospect’s interest dramatically.
Crucially, you need to understand your customer before you try to pitch them so you aren’t just reciting a canned speech on your product. Potential customers love a consultative approach, so show them how you can help them specifically. This is why the discovery process is so important.
This is where you can implement all the data points you gathered above and truly speak to your lead about the issues that are most important to them. Testing and refining your value propositions to ensure you’re conveying your message in the best way is a key factor in determining whether your sales pipeline runs dry or if you can land deals quickly and often.
5. Master the cold call
The cold call is the bread and butter of an outbound salesperson, but here are some essential tips to make sure you’re making the most of them.
- Use a local number. Spam calls are a nuisance everybody deals with, so a familiar number will lead to less screened calls.
- Call at the right time. Tuesday through Thursday during mid-day and mid-afternoon will net you the most connections.
- Utilize a script, but carefully. A cold calling script–one that implements a great value prop that we outlined above–can help you hammer home the main points of your pitch that you want to get across, but make sure to infuse the conversation with a personal touch so you don’t sound cold and robotic.
- Keep it brief. Don’t waste you or your prospect’s time by talking in circles. This is an easy way to show a prospect that you care about their time and experience during the sales cycle.
- Let them speak. Steamrolling over a prospect to deliver a memorized pitch is a surefire way to fumble a deal. Allowing them plenty of space to speak not only fosters a great relationship, but gives you great data points to use further down the road to convert.
- Record your calls. Revisiting past cold calls will help you learn from mistakes and formulate the best cold calling strategy moving forward.
- Don’t sweat rejection. This often goes without saying, but handling rejection with grace and confidence is a simple sales best practice that enhances your reputation.
6. Create a defined contact cadence
Research has found it takes an average of eight touchpoints before a deal is landed. Structuring the cadence of these calls will increase your conversion rate and help you smash quota early and often.
Waiting too long or reaching out too soon can harm a deal, so finding that sweet spot is imperative to hooking a lead. Research your successful clients from the past to see how your calling pattern took shape, average them out, and then apply that formula to ongoing prospects.
Block these calls out in your CRM and your personal calendar so you don’t miss any, but make sure to keep your schedule a little flexible in case you find yourself with a lead who has many pain points or concerns that you need to address.
7. Batch prospecting sessions
Prospecting takes time and patience, so carving out chunks of time each day to whittle away at it is the best proactive approach to prospecting. The following regimen is a great start.
If your itinerary permits, schedule at least a couple 2 to 3 hour batches every day for outbounding. Within those hours, set a timer for about 20 to 30 minutes for each call so you can move on to the next one and forgo chasing leads that are running cold.
You can be flexible with the exact formula for what works for you and your clients, but just make sure to leave 5 minutes in between each call so you can log your efforts into a CRM.
8. Implement social selling
Studies have found that 75% of all B2B buyers use social media to help make their purchasing decision. So as an outbound salesperson, it’s crucial you meet them where they’re at.
Search through LinkedIn or other social media platforms for specific keywords related to your product and see what conversations are taking place. Commenting or answering questions on posts is a great way to engage with prospects and establish authority in your market.
Once you find a contact you believe to be a qualified lead, send a friendly intro to them through a DM or a cold email. From there, you can let your regular sales funnel take off.
9. Hybridize inbound and outbound methods
Inbound prospecting allows the customer to come to you after they engage with a piece of your content. These leads are often motivated to buy, so once they make their way to your docket, they are half way through the sales cycle already.
Using inbound prospecting to furnish leads and then utilizing well-honed outbounding procedures to drive the deal home is a great way to supercharge your sales funnel and close more deals.
10. Ask for referrals from existing customers
If you’ve absolutely crushed it with one of your current clients, ask for a small favor in return in the form of a customer referral. 70% of sales professionals report that referrals close faster, so not asking is simply leaving money on the table.
Allow for a period of time–typically 30 days–after a new contract begins to reach out. Do not lead with the referral, but instead implement your usual CSM skills to make sure they’re completely satisfied and willing to recommend you to another client.
Great salespeople often net plenty of word-of-mouth referrals, but taking initiative and asking for one yourself will net you more leads that you can count on helping you smash your quota.
As you can see, outbounding takes time and effort. But with these tips, you can ensure your resources are being spent wisely, allowing you more time to think about what you’ll spend those sweet commission checks on.