How to Build a Successful Outbound Sales Strategy: Tools and Tips

How to Build a Successful Outbound Sales Strategy: Tools and Tips

An outbound sales strategy is where you are actively seeking new customers - not waiting for your customers to come to you. The pandemic has meant that a lot of businesses now need to be more proactive to drive online sales. An effective outbound sales strategy is crucial to how successful you will be in attracting new customers.  

You will need to define your KPIs and have a clear understanding of your user persona. A good strategy will also ensure that your sales team is properly integrated with other departments like marketing and customer support. In this blog we will set out some useful tips on how to create a successful outbound sales strategy:

Stages of a successful outbound sales strategy

Clearly, an outbound sales strategy will differ depending on your company, your objectives, and the people you want to reach, but it usually includes these stages:

  1. Market segmentation
  2. Lead generation or prospecting
  3. Cold outreach and lead qualification
  4. Sales calls
  5. Closing deals

We will explore these in a bit more detail:

Market segmentation

This first stage identifies the micro-markets that you can sell to. This helps you define your target groups and set the right tone to help you promote your products and close deals more effectively. You should ask yourself the following  questions:

  • Who do you want to sell to?
  • What are the customers' problems, needs, or issues?
  • How can your company solve them?

Usually, a good place to start is to segment your market by demographics (age, education, income), psychographics (lifestyle, values), behavioural trends (purchase history, shopping preferences), and location (country, city). Doing this research effectively is the bedrock of every successful outbound sales strategy. Here are some tips to do it right:

  • Make it practical — create segments that are large enough and aim for granularity (it is best to go for 5-8 segments).
  • Create unique segments — Each segment should serve one specific need of your customers and be easy to differentiate from other segments.
  • Come up with a clear way of measuring the performance of each segment.

Lead generation

The purpose of this stage is to find leads and feed them into your outbound sales process. That means creating a list of contacts that you'll promote your products and services. The main factors determining how successful this will be is the quality of your ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) and the lead generation tools you use.

A quality ICP will help you communicate effectively, create powerful campaigns and promote the most relevant products and services to your target audience. In addition, high-quality lead generation tools can help you filter and extract contact information for the people you want to reach and create a really powerful contact list. Having a tool that can verify an email address is also important as it ensures that the emails on your list are verified (ie: they actually exist). As a result, you should end up with a list of high-quality leads that will find the information you send them interesting and relevant. 

Outreaching and qualification

Once you have a good list, it's time to contact people!  The goal is to start a dialogue and try to create a relationship with your prospects. Here are the most popular ways of getting started:

  • Cold emails — you will need to make sure your campaign conforms with the latest UK GDPR guidelines.
  • Cold calls — Calling your cold leads to promote your products and services and - if they are interested - schedule a meeting or demo. This is a skillful job that requires strong verbal and listening skills! It's important to research the people you are calling - don't just have their name and job title. You need a bit of relevant background information.
  • Social media outreach — use tools like LinkedIn to reach relevant prospective customers or if you want to reach creative professionals (like photographers) then Instagram might be more suitable.

Typically, your leads will be:

  • Cold — not ready to buy and have a low level of interest in what you are offering.
  • Warm — interested and want to hear more.
  • Hot — ready to buy.

You will obviously get a mix of leads at the output —  cold, warm, and hot. Here are some tips to bear in mind at this stage:

  • Be aware of your leads' buying urgency with regard to the pandemic - they may have other priorities.
  • Each pitch should be the very best you can do - as if you are pitching in front of a board of Directors.
  • Be prepared to discuss the “new normal and talk about how your company can help with it.
  • Make sure that your website is properly set up to convert browsers into buyers as you can be pretty sure people will check out your website once you have contacted them.
  • Connect with your leads on a friendly and professional level.
  • Leverage data — e.g. if you are using tools like LinkedIn to research the person you are calling, you might want to mention details from the lead's profile that connects with what you do. Build bridges if you can.

Tools that you can leverage at this stage are:

  • CRM (Customer Relationship Management) — A good CRM will allow for versatile integration with any other prospecting tools you are using.
  • Sales Communication tools — These tools are great to schedule and automate email sending and monitor all activity related to your outbound process. You can also personalise and customise email templates and set up proper cadences.
  • LinkedIn Sales Navigator — A great tool for prospecting on LinkedIn with some useful features like lead recommendation and builder, CRM integration, and various options to keep track of your leads' updates (like their CVs, interests, etc). There are also many great LinkedIn automation tools with features beyond Sales Navigator that will help you execute and monitor powerful campaigns.

Sales calls

By this stage, you will have identified priority leads that you aim to schedule a meeting or a demo with. In the current climate, this will probably happen online. Until things get back to normal, your proposal should be ‘pandemic-friendly' — offering discounts or promotional offers or just simply help and advice. One thing that will really help during these calls is a stellar sales script. You should have a list of points you would like to get across - you can deviate from this but it's a very useful place to start. 

Closing deals

Of course, your final stage is to close the deal - turning your lead into a valued customer. That means listening to your client's requirements, having good negotiation skills and just maybe a bit of persistence. Your proposal should be clear and concise and - if required - tailored to your client's individual needs. 

And finally...

We hope you have found this brief outline of how to create a successful outbound sales strategy usefully. Outbound sales are not easy - it requires research, planning, negotiation skills, the ability to listen, and to successfully pitch your proposal. Most people need a little help with one or more of these skills. 

If you are looking to sharpen your skills using Zoom or Microsoft Teams we have courses that will enable you to do that. Or you might be looking for a course on how to radically improve your professional phone skills or how to produce stunning Powerpoint presentations.

by Oli Bridge | 27 Sep 23

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