The 8 step sales outreach strategy to win more leads
There’s no dressing it up: sales outreach is the hard work we have to get through before the reward of pitching and closing. If sales were a movie instead of a career, prospecting would be relegated to a montage.
Hardworking sales reps and marketing teams would be shown furiously sifting through data and dialling telephone numbers as some soaring music stirs to a crescendo. The hard work would pass by in a blur, before the final scene in which our sales rep heroically clicks join on the scheduled Zoom call.
These scenes might feel empowering, but they gloss over the reality that the hard work depicted is integral to the later victory. It’s thanks to these moments that Rocky goes the distance, Team America foil Kim Jong-il’s plot, and nobody puts Baby in a corner.
So in order for your sales team to smash their monthly target, you need your own motivational sequence. With the sad lack of montages in everyday life, this blog post will have to fill that role. Pop some stirring music on and get reading.
What is sales outreach?
Sales outreach is the process of engaging with prospects who meet your customer profile, with the aim of bringing them into the sales funnel and converting them into paying customers.
The rise of inbound marketing has greatly increased the number of channels for the modern marketer but has also increased the noise that we need to cut through if we are to reach the modern B2B buyer.
Partly as a response to the noise, outbound marketing has been modernised. Prospecting has become a key part of the marketing mix. It allows highly targeted sales outreach which delivers a personalised message to key decision-makers.
Cold sales outreach is a vital part of starting conversations with potential customers. Often, it’s left to salespeople, who prospect as part of their sales process. The merits of this, and which methods of outreach are most effective, are revealed in some eye-catching statistics.
The average sales rep only spends a third of their day actually selling.
40% of salespeople say prospecting is the hardest part of their job. (HubSpot)
60% of B2B buyers say no four times before saying yes.
48% of salespeople never even make a single follow up attempt. (Invespcro)
It takes between eight and 18 calls to actually connect with a buyer. (Brevet & TopoHQ)
Sales reps spend the equivalent of an entire day each week writing emails. (HubSpot)
70% of unanswered sales emails aren’t followed up. (Yesware)
Follow up emails generate 77% of prospecting campaign responses. (Sopro)
80% of prospects prefer sales conversations over email compared to any other medium. (HubSpot)
Email marketing is nearly 40 times more effective than social media marketing for new customer acquisition. (Brevet)
89% of marketers say that email is their primary channel for lead generation. (Copper)
Our 8 step sales outreach strategy
To carry out effective sales outreach, you’ll need a well-defined strategy. We’ve collated some best practices and further reading to outline an eight-step approach to sales outreach guaranteed* to improve your results. (*figuratively speaking. That sentence is not legally binding.)
Understand who your best customers are
Step one is all about defining your target audiences. With inbound marketing, the content you create, the platform you publish on and the channels you use to promote it will help the right people find your message.
Use buyer personas to develop sales outreach messaging
Creating B2B buyer personas is a useful tool for understanding your audience: digging in to their pain points, their buyer motivations, their responsibilities.
By building up a picture of who you are selling to, your sales messaging can be targeted to appeal to their reasons for purchase and the benefits they will get from your product or service, amplifying your outreach efforts.
Prioritise your decision-makers
Look at the information gathered from your ICPs and buyer personas and rank your contact data, based on:
A buyer’s alignment with your solution.
The size of their budget.
Their level of influence within their organization.
Pick your sales outreach channel
Have a think about which channels will work best for your target audience. Cold calling will be the way to go for some (despite that earlier statistic about how many attempts it takes to speak to someone!).
An approach on social media can work really well for others. Of course, LinkedIn is the go-to network for most B2B buyers, although if your audience is, say, wedding photographers, then Instagram might be a place they are more active.
Cold email outreach is a proven tactic that delivers the highest lead rates and marketing ROI. And as the HubSpot research quoted above shows, four out of five B2B buyers prefer to be contacted by email over any other medium.
So from here on, I’m going to assume you’re using email to reach people: not only does it get the best results, but we’re experts in it. You can tweak this strategy for other channels though.
Write your personalised message
You need to be able to write a template that will work for hundreds of leads, but be personalised well enough to feel 1-2-1.
Every person you contact should believe that you typed out an email just for them. Cold email copywriting is an art form in itself, but it’s the personalisation that really takes a message to the next level.
But any automation tool worth its salt will have some sort of data insertion included, and we’ve all received emails where it hasn’t quite worked. You can spot it a mile off.
It’s for this reason that Sopro campaign teams create informal data points for every contact in a campaign. So instead of using a business name (for example, ours is Prospect Global Limited), we use their trade name (ours is Sopro). Instead of using industry names pulled from data sources, we insert the term people would actually use in a conversation (so “Tech” instead of “Information & Communication Technology”).
These tweaks can make a huge difference when it comes to campaign results, and really make your email outreach seem human.
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Follow up emails
Returning to those statistics listed above, we know that 60% of buyers ignore the first four sales messages on average. And despite this, 70% of sales outreach emails chains stop after the first unanswered message.
At Sopro, we crunched the numbers, analysing 400,000 prospecting emails. We found that follow up emails generated almost eight out of ten responses.
Follow up emails are key to making an outreach campaign work, so don’t be shy about sending out chaser messages. You can even add humour to your chaser emails to try an alternative approach.
Use multiple channel touchpoints
At the turn of the millennium, the average buyer had interacted with two touchpoints. By 2015, that had risen to six.
Outbound sales outreach has a lot of benefits that inbound methods can’t replicate, but that’s not to say inbound channels can’t help here.
Running PPC retargeting, display ads, and social media campaigns on the audience you are prospecting can help boost results by keeping your brand and campaign front of mind.
Record outreach results in your CRM
The final step in our sales outreach strategy is to ensure you store all data, interactions and results in your CRM.
It makes the ongoing sales process easier as any sales agent can pick up any account and know the details and history of that prospect. That’s ultimately going to help sales reps sell more.
Sopro is an award-winning sales outreach service. Our advanced email tech, expert team and best in class processes help businesses sell more.
If you want prospecting to be as painless as a movie montage, get in touch today to find out how we can drive quality leads into your pipeline.