Welcome to an in-depth exploration of outbound sales.
In this blog, we’ll talk about when to start outbound sales activity, what impact it will have on your business and the core activities your business will need to undertake in order to generate revenue and foster growth.
When to start outbound sales
This might be a controversial opinion, but we do not always recommend outbound sales as a solution to our client’s sales challenges.
Before diving headfirst into outbound sales, it’s essential for businesses to establish a solid foundation. This includes elements such as brand identity, a coherent product or service portfolio, and a consistent marketing communications output.
Only when these fundamentals are secured can outbound sales truly become an effective sales tool. Ideally, the business will also have some evidence that the market is ready for what you are trying to sell them.
If your business is unsure about whether this approach is going to work for you, please book a call to discuss further. We can quickly identify the opportunities and challenges with you and make some instant recommendations on your future sales strategy.
A definition of outbound sales
Outbound sales are by its very nature a proactive, forward-looking sales strategy. Rather than waiting for customers to come knocking on your door, outbound sales involves strategically reaching out to prospects on various platforms to generate new business prospects, assess their viability for your services, and convert those who qualify into valued customers.
Those people leading the outbound sales activities must seek out and identify prospective businesses and individuals that match ideal customer profiles.
This dynamic sales method can be a highly effective means of scaling sales efforts, expanding customer bases and bolstering revenue. In short, it’s definitely worth investing in! Read on for an exploration of the benefits and some advice on how to get started.
Top three benefits and impact of outbound sales on your business
There are a huge number of business benefits to adopting outbound sales but here are our top three:
- Increased sales pipeline. Relying solely on inbound leads poses risks when building a sustainable sales pipeline. Outbound sales activities offer an effective approach to nurturing and expanding your pipeline, ensuring future sales success.
- Better understanding and connection with your ideal customer. Engaging in purposeful conversations with your ideal customers provide valuable insights into their pain points and how your products or services can address them. It also serves as a powerful tool to test new offerings in untapped markets, identifying potential needs and opportunities.
- Visibility and brand awareness. In today’s overcrowded online world, capturing buyers’ attention is a significant challenge. An outbound sales plan, incorporating personalised 1:1 approaches, complements existing marketing efforts and helps you stay front of mind with your target audience.
What results or impact will your business see when adopting outbound sales activities?
This may vary depending on the nature of your business but broadly, we see the following impact when we work with clients on long-term outbound sales projects:
- More sales conversations and conversions. By increasing outbound sales activities, your salespeople will enjoy more productive conversations that lead to conversions. Secure qualified sales meetings and watch your sales pipeline flourish.
- Securing more ideal customers at the right deal value. Inbound leads don’t always align with your ideal customer profile. Targeting specific customer profiles through outreach significantly reduces this mismatch and increases the value of your deals.
- Long-term security and sustainability of the business. Achieving a solid and reliable forecasting model is every sales leader’s dream. Mastering outbound sales empowers your team to identify the activities that yield the best results, ensuring long-term security and sustainability for your business.
Creating a successful outbound sales strategy
Creating a successful outbound sales strategy requires a complex set of skills but it can truly rev up your revenue and take your business to new heights.
These are the types of questions we recommend you answer or get clarity on before embarking on an outbound sales campaign or project:
- What’s the campaign objective?
- KPI’s/Targets to measure:
- How does this campaign support the overall business strategy and growth targets?
- What problems are you solving for your customers?
- What key questions need to be answered by the ideal client to turn them into a warm lead or opportunity for the business?
- How will the campaign data be gathered or created? Who is responsible for this?
- What is the expected sales process and campaign activity?
- How long will the sales activity last and how much time will be dedicated to it?
- What sales materials will be available for the campaign activity?
- When will the campaign activities be reviewed?
- How often will the campaign team meet to discuss progress?
For a full sales campaign planning worksheet download our free Ultimate Ethical Sales Handbook.
Core outbound sales activities to consider for your business
We would recommend that your nominated sales leader or team are trained on outbound sales techniques and methods before starting a targeted campaign. They need to know fundamental sales principles, such as active listening, objection handling and relationship-building. Provide them with coaching, feedback and opportunities to role-play to help them develop these skills.
Choosing the right channels to reach out to your target audience is also important. This will depend on various factors such as demographics, the budget allocated for sales and marketing, the target area and its reach, and much more. It may be necessary to experiment with different channels to determine which ones work best for your specific product or service.
Lastly, your business will need some patience, and staying power to truly benefit from outbound sales efforts. Contrary to many other lead gen agencies, we do not believe in a short-term, pay-per-lead style of outbound sales. This will not yield sustainable results and will alienate many potential customers. If your team can be supported to remain persistent, focused and have the willingness to deal with rejection, the growth possibilities are endless!
Let’s take a look at two key elements of outbound sales activities a little deeper to help your business decide which channels are right for you:
Sales calls or ‘cold calling’ is not easy, but it’s an essential part of outbound sales strategy in our opinion. With practice and the right mindset, however, making relevant and targeted sales calls can secure the undivided attention of decision-makers and gather vital qualifying information to progress quickly through the sales cycles.
At Ethical Sales, we are fans of ‘warm calling’ as opposed to purely cold outreach. The key difference is that we are often ‘warming up’ those prospects who we want to speak with before getting on the phone.
This can be in the form of social media activity, emails or dove-tailing with a marketing communications strategy.
Creating effective email campaigns requires a deep understanding of your target audience. It can be a challenge to create a compelling email that is designed to go out to many email addresses all at once.
Our advice is to utilise sales enablement software tools to empower your sales team to send out highly personalised emails that are customised to the individual receiver as they secure much higher response rates.
A clear and concise subject line is crucial in getting your emails opened. Avoid using spammy-sounding words or click-bait titles that can turn off your recipients. Keep it simple and straightforward.
Focus on highlighting the benefits of your product or service rather than listing its features. Show your audience how your product can solve their problems or improve their lives. Paint a picture of the positive outcomes they can achieve by using your offering.
Don’t forget to include a strong call to action that encourages your recipients to make the next step. Use action-oriented language and make it easy for them to respond. Whether it’s to sign up for a free trial, request a demo or make a purchase, make sure your call-to-action is clear and easy to follow.
The importance of follow-ups
This is a critical aspect of outbound sales that’s often overlooked. It’s rare to get an immediate response from prospects, they often need to be gently nudged a few times to respond, even if they are interested in what you have got to offer.
Make your follow-ups stand out by providing value, such as additional information or resources they might find helpful based on the conversation you had. And don’t forget to track results. The team can only improve when they know how they have performed in the first place.
Persistence is absolutely key in outbound sales. Many campaigns fail because those leading them got bored and move on after not getting instant results. We like to talk about the ‘sandune effect’ in outbound sales where it takes time to build momentum but when it does, there’s a steady stream of new business opportunities to nurture in an increased sales pipeline.
Outbound sales for the win!
As we’ve shown, outbound sales can offer many advantages to your business, including higher sales conversion rates and a faster sales cycle.
It does require some planning, thought and resources to get the most from the activities and to set up an effective outbound sales function.
For those businesses new to outbound sales that need to look into this more deeply, we recommend you download our free Ultimate Ethical Sales Handbook with handy campaign worksheets and calling checklists.
Alternatively, book a meeting with Corinne and the team to discuss your outbound sales challenges and we can talk them through with you.