The art of making a sale has not changed much, even after the addition of technology and other parameters in the mix. However, digital marketing and technology have introduced a few new strategies to improve the overall sales process. These techniques and strategies help brands stay ahead in the race and add great value to the overall process.
Of these, the outbound sales process is now one of the most common and well-used strategies. 55% of sales professionals reported using outbound sales as their primary sales strategy, and the technique is still being improvised for boosting sales productivity.
Post-2020, outbound sales are no longer restricted to just selling your products or services. Instead, it is a technique to design a sales process that is the best fit for the organisation's overall performance. If you are new to outbound sales and would like to understand exactly what it is, here's a guide to create and scale your outbound sales process.
Defining Outbound Sales
In simple terms, outbound sales is basically the technique of proactively reaching out to your target buyer and engaging them to generate additional revenue. For outbound sales, organisations need to reach out to prospective buyers who have never interacted or engaged with your brand. This requires a different set of tools and an outreach plan.
While outbound sales are focused on directly reaching out to the customer, inbound sales use the opposite approach. These two approaches may have several differences, but their core objective is similar. In both these strategies, the idea is to generate revenue and create interest in the target customer. Inbound sales are focused on the pull; outbound sales are focused on push.
A classic example of outbound sales would be cold calling. In this process, you are reaching out to potential customers directly. In modern outbound sales strategies, social media and other communications channels play an equally big role and are ideal for reaching a cold or uninitiated lead.
Inbound sales leverage the power of marketing like content marketing, search engine optimization or others to get the customers interested and talking, which is the pull to get the customers into the sales pipeline. Outbound sales, on the other hand, involves reaching out to leads directly and enabling their progress in the sales pipeline, requiring the sales team to create a push towards closure.
Since both these processes generate revenue, organizations tend to use both in tandem to maximize the benefits of each. In this article, let's focus exclusively on creating and enhancing outbound sales to be effective and efficient.
The Process Of Outbound Sales
Before we jump into understanding how to build an outbound sales process, let's first talk about why it is worth doing. In short, a good outbound sales strategy is all about focusing on a few key areas -
- The ideal customer profile
- The right playbook for this customer
- Effectively measuring performance and success
Despite the popularity of inbound sales and new techniques to get the customer interested in you before you make a move, outbound sales are still worth the effort. 75% of executives are willing to make an appointment or attend an event based on a cold call or email alone.
Meanwhile, emails are 40x more effective at getting new customers than Facebook and Twitter combined. That's how powerful an outbound sales strategy can be for your business.
Outbound sales can be effective because it provides benefits that inbound sales cannot, like:
- Targeted outreach outside the known circle of influence
- Instant feedback
- Personal connection with the prospect
- Control over the pace of marketing or selling
Because you are reaching out to target customers instead of waiting for them to make the first move, outbound sales is a powerful channel for generating revenue. And combine this with your inbound sales tactics, organizations can get the best of both worlds. Now that you are familiar with the benefits of outbound sales and the approach, let's look at how outbound sales actually works.
Why Outbound Sales Needs To Be The Focal Point Of Your Sales Efforts
In a famous article by Ben Raffi, Growlabs used the outbound sales strategy to go from $0 to $2.5 million ARR (Annual Recurring Revenue) in just a span of six months. The key to their success, according to Raffi, is market segmentation and focused messaging. Although the steps in the outbound sales process may be similar for every organization, every company has a different outbound process.
To build an outbound sales process for your organization, here is a step-by-step guide to get you started:
1. Focus on the most lucrative customer segment and the right leads
As with any sales or marketing process, knowing your target audience is the first step towards a successful outreach. To help you create the ideal customer profile, you should be able to answer the following key questions:
- Who will you be selling to?
- What are their needs or challenges?
- Why should they leverage your products or services?
- When should you be reaching out to them?
- How should you approach your ideal customers?
This simple exercise will help you create the right customer segments and tailor your sales approach. Most importantly, if your organization has a variety of products or services, you should know exactly what to sell to every vertical or organization size.
2. Empower your sales team
The next step in the outbound sales process is to enable the sales team to start the outreach. Be it cold calls or emails; what matters is how the sales team reacts and takes the interaction ahead. For them to be able to deliver the right information to the target customer at the opportune moment, they need to have all the details handy.
The sales team can take the lead on this by creating a template that the marketing, product or other departments can fill in to help the sales team get accurate information. These templates could include details of the product or service, the USP, industry research, actionable details and other information apt for converting the suspect into a prospect.
3. Curate outreach plans
Now is when the outbound sales process actually takes shape. Once the basics are taken care of, it is time to start reaching out to the target group. Whether by phone, email, or any other method, the sales team will be effective if they know exactly what is to be achieved from the call. So, define the process and have a clear trigger to move the lead through each stage of the pipeline.
For example, during the cold call, does the customer mention any specific time they wish to be reached out? Depending on the budget and the requirement, a particular lead may not be the right target at the moment but can be the ideal customer when the time is right. If there is no clear indication or requirement, have a process to remove the lead from your list and move on to the next one.
For the ideal outreach plan, you need to define:
- Which customer segment you will be reaching out to?
- When should you be reaching out to them?
- How do you get them to speak about their needs or requirements?
- How frequently should you be following up with them?
The outreach plan will keep changing as you progress, incorporating the learnings of each previous action. However, it is also imperative to strategize for the initial outbound outreach and not let the sales team go in without a plan.
4. Keep up with technology with social selling & AI
Advancements in technology are now creating added avenues for enhancing sales processes, and this will also help make outbound sales more effective. The power of AI and bots is already being leveraged in marketing and user interactions. The same can also be used in outbound sales to increase the success rate of closing the deal. AI phone bot is increasingly being used for making cold calls and saves you time and money.
Sales reps can also practice social selling, which enables organizations to meet prospects and generate leads. Successful social selling is a must-have for both outbound sales and inbound marketing in an age where digital usage is increasing across industries.
5. Refine your USP
Your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is the main trigger that will get the customer interested in buying from you. In a world where there is huge competition in almost every business segment, the key to driving sales is knowing the #1 reason your customer will choose you over the rest. While your offerings can have a diverse set of benefits, the USP should be a clear differentiator for the particular target group.
Sales teams need to be able to use the USP at the opportune moment as well. For example, if you try to push your USP before even trying to understand the customer's need or pain point, it may not be as effective. For any sales process, make sure you keep personalizing your outreach so that the chances of success are higher and the USP is relevant to the customer.
6. Leverage data to define your buyer personas and personalize introductory communication
You may already have some information in your ideal customer profile that can help you create curated and targeted outbound outreach. Talk to your contacts, current customers or have your marketing team research on the particular market segment that you are trying to bag. Keep in mind that your products and services may not appeal to all kinds of customers, but if you keep it specific, the chances of success will increase greatly.
Now that you have the data, you can define the outbound process and personalize the communications accordingly. And while you are at it, make sure you track each parameter in your process to further curate and increase the chances of success. Data can be leveraged to answer key questions like -
- Should you call or email first?
- What is the ideal time to reach out to your customers?
- Which content has worked best for each target group?
- How many times should your sales team follow up?
- How long should you wait before leaving a voicemail to your customer?
- What are the reasons for rejection? Which of these reasons can be addressed?
Data and information used for the right purpose can turn your sales process around to be highly effective and efficient.
7. Diversify your lead sources
Ultimately, if the outbound sales process has to continue generating leads and business, it needs proper nurturing and segmentation. Your outbound outreach should reach various categories of your prospects, and you must be creating a strategy apt for each segment. The leads must be segmented either as cold, warm or hot leads or according to industry, need or any other idea.
Make sure your prospect list helps you in approaching the right prospects at the right opportunity to ensure higher chances of success. And keep diversifying your lead sources while you are at it. Be it an inbound lead or an outbound lead, companies need to ensure that both processes are working efficiently to generate business for the organization.
Tools To Ace Your Next Outbound Sales Call
Ready to kickstart your outbound sales strategy? While outbound sales can be made with no need for any tools or technology, having a set of tools can accelerate your journey. For cold calls or emails, having a customized list of target contacts is essential.
You can explore tools like ReadyContact's Targeted, which is a premier data research offering that gives you the exact specification of datasets that you need. Targeted is a great platform as it helps you get access to a list of contacts that is just right for cold emails or cold calling. These can also be passed on to other departments for geo-targeted and role-based campaigns.
Additionally, if you have finalized your list using role-based segmentation, Rolebase is the apt platform to help you get qualified datasets. Rolebase datasets are actively managed and refreshed every month and provide deeply researched role-based contacts who are decision-makers for their function. These are the perfect contacts for your outbound sales strategy.
An effective outbound sales strategy requires a lot of work upfront. To be successful in outbound sales, organizations need to hit the sweet spot, where the sales strategy is in perfect sync with market realities and customer behaviour.
This perfect sync can only be achieved through strong perseverance and patience. Be it any sales process; the best practices will only be created over time, leveraging the past learnings to amplify the success rate.
Sounds like a lot of work, right?
It would be best to have a solid plan, the right set of information on your prospects and the tools to support your outbound selling to be a successful sales program. ReadyContacts is the brightest light when it comes to getting access to a curated list for kickstarting your outbound sales.
Why work hard to source leads when you can work smarter and get campaign-specific datasets with ReadyContacts?
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