You’ve probably heard claims over the past several years that outbound sales are a thing of the past. In the ongoing battle between inbound and outbound, many sources argue that inbound strategies hold the key to the future, while outbound has become ineffective or outdated.
There’s no denying the importance of inbound sales in the market today. But despite the recent focus on inbound selling, a productive outbound strategy continues to be an essential component of a successful sales program. A recent study shows that it’s still more common for sales to be primarily outbound than primarily inbound.
It’s as important as ever to run a successful outbound operation: these interactions are a unique chance for your sales team to take more control and penetrate new markets. Let’s break down five proven best practices that will help you achieve a successful outbound strategy and reach your goals.
1. Spend Time Effectively Segmenting Your Prospect List
As a buyer, there’s nothing worse than hearing a generic spiel from a sales representative, and knowing it's the speech they deliver to all of their prospects. Market segmentation is a crucial step in any outbound sales program because it helps to avoid this problem. Taking the time to segment your prospect list helps you tailor your approach, so your team can use different strategies and develop unique sales cadences for distinct market segments.
To effectively segment your prospect list, it’s important to develop detailed ideal customer profiles: you don’t want to waste time on prospects that aren’t a good fit. Instead, identify the different categories that your prospects fall into, and train your sales team to approach each of these segments in an appropriate manner. No matter what industry you’re in, this will lead to more productive conversations and drive sales.
2. Focus On Being Helpful and Consultative
Gone are the days of the “traditional” salesperson, who’s trying to convince you to buy a product you don’t want or need. With all the information at their disposal, buyers today hold a lot more power in sales interactions. As a result of this trend, selling is far more customer-oriented: the focus has shifted from the “selling process” to the “buyer’s journey.”
In order to drive outbound sales, your sales team must be trained in consultative selling. Representatives should be equipped to guide a buyer through their journey, acting as a source of council and guidance rather than pushing products on a customer who isn’t a good fit. To create long-term relationships with customers and stand apart from the competition, your team should always put the needs of the prospect first (even if that sometimes means losing a sale).
3. Use Omnichannel Strategies: Don’t Shy Away From Social Media
Today, there are more ways to connect with people than ever before. The numerous channels at our disposal open the door to countless ways sales representatives can connect with prospects. As your team develops a standard sales cadence, incorporate a mixture of touches over phone, email, and social media: combining these mediums into an omnichannel, multi-touch strategy maximizes the chance for a connection.
One of the most common pitfalls of outbound strategies is to overlook the power of social media, and the proof is in the numbers. Studies have found that 78% of social sellers outsell peers who don’t use social media. Use social media platforms to gather useful information about prospects: LinkedIn is a great place to research decision-makers and learn more about their companies. Incorporating this information into your emails and calls will lead to productive, tailored conversations that bolster your chances of closing the sale.
Additionally, tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator can assist you by identifying prospects faster, thus helping to accelerate your sales process.
4. Automate Steps of the Process
Sales representatives, like many other professions, have historically viewed automation as a threat. Increased automation and technology have undoubtedly changed the fundamental nature of sales for good. But it's time to embrace the opportunities that come with new technologies and increased automation: use these tools to empower your sales team.
Administrative tasks consume sales representatives’ time, with employees spending an average of 14.8% of their time on these duties. Use digital systems and automation to cut down on this lost productivity so that your sales team can spend more time making sales. This will strengthen your outbound program and boost efficiency.
The key here is to automate repeated, procedural steps in the process, such as emails or data entry. An able sales CRM that can integrate data across the entire sales cycle will be the most important tool at your disposal.
5. Productively Measure Successes (and Failures)
How will you know what’s wrong with your sales program if you can’t accurately measure and analyze your sales outcomes? The first step in achieving this objective is to determine the end goal of your sales strategy; then, identify the key indicators you need to track in order to gauge the success of your campaign (e.g. email open/reply rates, connect rates, conversion rates, conversion time, etc.).
Again, a powerful CRM is critical to gather data, track important metrics, and allow for meaningful analysis. It’s good practice to produce regular internal reports that capture relevant data, so everyone on the team is aware of your program’s successes and shortcomings. The first step to growing and improving your outbound strategy is to understand what’s working and what’s not.
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As companies develop their inbound sales and marketing strategies, one of the biggest mistakes they can make is to neglect their outbound program. Incorporating these five strategies will make a world of difference in creating a productive, scalable outbound sales operation.
If you’re determined to transform your outbound program, request a free consultation with FullFunnel’s team of experts to discover how our outbound programs combine proven strategies with accomplished sales talent to provide companies with a scalable solution for driving demand.