Irritating, wasted efforts, lost cause, unfeasible – these are just some things a lot of people say about outbound sales strategy. It’s not surprising when all you do is force unwilling people into listening to your pitch without taking into account what their needs or situations are.
While it may be known for its bad reputation, it does not necessarily mean it has not helped companies grow their business. After all, outbound sales are not all about aggressive sales pitches or cold calling. It must be focused on establishing a relationship so that your potential customer would feel cared for instead of harassed.
What is outbound sales?
Outbound sales is a selling technique wherein businesses take the initiative of reaching out to their potential customers. Most of the time, they hire expert sales representatives to contact these prospects and create new relationships for the purpose of generating sales. You do not wait for leads to come to you. That's what makes it different from inbound sales.
Overview of an outbound sales process:
1. Target market identification:
What is your target market? Who are you selling your products and services to? This is the question that you need to ask first before anything else. Without determining your target audience, you will only end calling random people. Most of them may not even belong to the market segment your products are targeted at. This step enables your sales team to contact only the people qualified to make a number of sales. Market segmentation helps map out your outbound prospecting strategies. This is extremely crucial if you sell different products, or your customers are in diverse verticals.
2. Lead generation:
The main goal of this step is to fill your pipeline. To do this, create a list of people based on your market segmentation and look for their contact details. Some companies hire a dedicated team for lead generation, while others simply choose to purchase a lead database.
Here are some great ways to generate leads for your business:
- Guesting on podcasts or videos
- Hosting events
- Publishing blog contents with valuable information
- Speaking at online and offline conferences
- Establishing online and social media reputation
3. Qualification and Outreach:
Whether your preferred outreach is through phone, email, or other methods, this step starts the moment take action. During the first interaction, the outbound sales representatives assess the lead that will likely be converted into a customer. After this sales qualification, once a lead is determined to be a qualified prospect, you'll proceed to the next step. Otherwise, they'll be eliminated from the list.
When planning this, here are some things you need to consider:
- Should you send an email or call first?
- How much time should it take you to start following up after sending a message or voicemail?
- What are the things to include when writing you email message or making a call?
- What should the timeline for follow-ups be?
4. Meetings and demonstrations:
At this point, your qualified leads would get to know more about the product or service you are offering. This is your time to persuade them that your products are worth their time and money. This step may require you to conduct a live demonstration, meet with managers, or call to talk about the product.
5. Closing sales:
If the previous steps are successful, it is very likely that you would come to this final step - closing a deal. This is where the prospect becomes a customer.
How to build an efficient outbound sales system?
If you think that simply hiring sales agents and providing them with leads to call will get the job done, you're wrong. If you really want to succeed in your outbound sales efforts, you have to build a successful team and come up with a winning outbound sales strategy. Take a look at these three steps.
1. Build a successful team of outbound sales representatives:
While you can definitely start calling the leads on your own, it would be more effective and time-efficient to have a couple more people doing the job. Better yet, hire a team depending on the size of your business. As they say, two (or more) heads are better than one. You can create more ideas and even stimulate your competitive spirits.
2. Create ideal customer personas:
One way to know how to communicate with people more effectively is to know who they are, what they do, what kinds of problems they need to be solved, and what their interests are. You may have identified your target market, but it takes more than that to eventually close a sale. Be more detailed about who you will be speaking with.
3. Present your value proposition:
By presenting your value proposition, you are showing your potential customers why they should buy from you. In building your sales team, make sure they are equipped with superb communication skills that could effectively articulate this value proposition. Remember that this varies from one customer or situation to another.
Most efficient strategies that always work:
1. Utilize referral sales:
One effective strategy in B2B outbound selling is to ask your current clients or customers to recommend your products or services to other companies. Take advantage of the good seller-customer you built by adding referral sales.
2. Be helpful:
While closing a sale is the ultimate goal, you should never forget to be sincere in helping your customers. Once they feel your sincerity and you have proven to be helpful to them, there's a big chance they would say yes to setting up a sales appointment with you.
3. Utilize omnichannel multi-touch approach:
This strategy involves incorporating several channels to ensure compelling interaction with your buyers. This can assist you in establishing a consistent brand experience.
4. Use calling scripts:
A calling script is a thoroughly tailored guide that helps outbound sales rep about what to do and what to say to their potential customers when cold calling. This also helps in making sure you do not make mistakes during the call. It usually contains ready-made answers and call flow.
Best tools for outbound sales that everyone mostly uses:
1. CRM Tool:
A CRM or Customer Relations Management tool refers to the database where you store your customers' information. Considered as the baseline mechanism for outbound sales marketers, this has become a must-have when you want your sales efforts for your business to succeed.
2. Sales Intelligence Tool:
While a reliable CRM tool is essential, it will not bring you anywhere if you do not have any idea whether or not your current campaigns are doing well. This is where the sales intelligence tool comes. It gives you a good look at how you are performing in terms of your outbound sales campaigns. With that information, you can determine what your strengths and weaknesses are. It also helps you identify your opportunities for improvement.
3. Sales Communication Tool:
Interaction is the secret to the success of many outbound sales techniques. Hence, a communication tool is another vital requirement to help you reach out and connect with your target market.
Some common techniques to use for outbound sales:
1. Cold calling:
For years, cold calling has been the go-to outbound sales technique. However, it's not as simple as you might think because you are the one reaching out to probably unsuspecting people. What makes it even more challenging is the fact that most people actually try to steer clear from answering this type of call.
It's most probably why a lot of marketers nowadays believe that cold calling is unsustainable and a lost cause. Yet, some other companies who still use this technique could only disagree simply because it still proves to be effective for them.
2. Cold emailing:
Outbound sales teams have begun using the cold calling procedure over cold emailing. The method is basically the same wherein sales agents reach out to prospective buyers through email to try to set up an appointment for a demo or sales call.
While there are some specific benefits of utilizing email as compared to making phone calls, such as the ability to send messages to multiple people in a small amount of time, it also has its share of drawbacks. Because email messaging is not as personal and interactive as calling, sales teams receive less feedback on each sales pitch. Most often, their emails are ignored. This is exactly why a lot of companies are making use of the combination of cold emailing and cold calling for their outbound sales efforts.
There are benefits to utilizing outbound sales strategies to skyrocket your income and grow your business. While it also has its share of downsides, knowing how to implement this sales technique could definitely bring you more good than bad. After all, multiple businesses have proven that cold calling and cold emailing are not just a thing of the past. They have brought their businesses to new heights, thanks to effective outbound selling techniques.