SDR 6 minutes
How to get your SDRs on board with lead scoring with Salesforce
By Tom Shelly October 6, 2019read more
Sales prospecting experts have been debating whether or not outbound sales is dead for quite some time now. The truth is that it’s very much alive. But in order to keep pace with industry advancements brought on by inbound tools and strategies, sales professionals will need to revamp their outbound approach in order to take full advantage of its benefits. Here are 4 key ways to do exactly that.
Outbound is alive and well and these effective sales prospecting ideas are here to prove it.
Yes, there are lots of ways to automate and streamline lead generation with software. But it’s still important to actually do it. These days we see that cutting corners might seem efficient in the short term. But without a mix of manual and automated research, you could hurt your sales strategy in the long haul. If all your competitors have access to the same tools and lists, you’re still all fishing in the same pond. What’s your plan for when that finally dries up?
And with the vast amount of data available to us in 2019, it’s time to reconsider what that research really looks like now.
Although inbound leads often come pre-qualified (thanks to strategies like filtered messaging and targeted social media ads), outbound leads requires additional, manual digging. The good news is, doing this work ahead of time can lead to a higher ROI (around 34 times better, in some cases). Outbound lead research can also help push leads through the funnel faster than most inbound tactics.
And it doesn’t even have to take that long! Consider this helpful speed run chart that you can use a cheat sheet when you’re in a hurry but need more info on a lead:
With or without your automation tools, there are new data resources to pull from thanks to the advancements we’ve seen in recent years. Clearly, manual research is far more lucrative now in 2019 that it was back in the day before automation. While you can (and should) still use your trusted sales tools, templates like the one in this image help flesh out each lead and make them feel like a person and not just another name on a list. Not only does it help you relate to them better (i.e. build genuine, long term relationships), it’s also great for tailoring your pitch to their unique needs and wants.
Now, the ways in which your SDRs choose to qualify those outbound leads will largely depend on your ICP (a plus for overall win rates and better ACVs). But there are some universal factors to consider. Here’s a quick list of what your outbound lead research should include, at a minimum:
When reaching out to prospects, it’s also useful to understand which solutions are overdone, which ones are proven to be successful, and which ones are fading trends. Knowing details like these can help shape your argument for why your solution is the best possible option given what else is currently available in their industry.
As far as how you should conduct your lead research, it’s important to note that automation tools can only get you so far. Manual research, on the other hand, is the best possible lead quality control a team can have.
In general, experts note that sales prospecting done manually is more focused, detailed, and accurate. If you keep this in mind moving forward, you’ll be able to maximize your sales team’s productivity (through process automation tools) as well as their results (through more strategic, manual lead qualifying).
That being said, there are certain tools you can – and should – use to customize your outbound sales prospecting.
Once your outbound efforts spark a new influx of high quality leads, you’ll need to develop a strategy for keeping the momentum up. Sales data points (like calls and emails out as well as success ratios) can be used to measure individual outreach tactics. Then, once the cream rises to the top, your team will identify sales trigger events and use them to further tweak your process.
Here are some tools to help you do exactly that:
You’ve done your research and you have your tools in place. Now it’s time to put it all into action.
As you probably already know, the best cold call scripts always make sure to be selective with prospects, include names (with perfected pronunciations), and establish a personal connection between the caller and the lead. But a great script alone won’t cut it. You’ll also need to have background information available to help improvise when needed. Details like job descriptions next to titles or a reference to something interesting about them can help flesh out an otherwise formal conversation.
Now here’s something you may not know – a practical and strategic method for customizing a prospect call in real time.
Also, if you don’t have that much detailed information on the lead, pull the options that best suit the buyer persona you associate with them. Bonus points if you can jot down a few words that describe the inherent benefits of each option from the buyer’s perspective before you dial those numbers.
Start with your elevator pitch – who you are, what you do, and why you’re calling. Then, ask them 1-2 qualifying questions. From there you can determine if it’s better to end the conversation or, if they’re a good fit, which offer you’d like to present them with first. And, as always, have a few different, pre-meditated CTAs to end your call with.
To further engage customers, make sure your call map is simple and that you keep track of your own experience notes after every conversation. Over time, your call map will grow more effective if you take care to regularly assess its performance.
In other words, information is the key to customization. The more you can learn about someone and the quicker you can learn it play a large part in the success of any outbound sales strategy. Which is why tools like Lusha can really come in handy for cold calling. Automatically enriching firmographic and contact data allows your sales team to prepare qualified leads and fill in the gaps faster and more efficiently.
This outbound sales tactic is simple: a great outreach campaign starts with a great foundation. For most businesses, that means working with what works best for you and your current structure. Focused efforts lead to focused results, which is why a strategy that involves account-based marketing often succeeds. As you can see from this image, ABM helps to “flip the funnel”.
Here, the emphasis is on finding fewer, better quality leads that eventually lead to lifelong customers and high ROI referrals. It might feel like a lot of work for fewer sales. But when you consider the fact that referrals have helped 86% of B2B businesses grow their revenue in 2 years or less, it’s well worth the investment.
Now, let’s say you’re a company with an ABM strategy in place but you want to start making outbound sales a larger part of your efforts. Here’s how to blend them to get the most out of both methodologies:
For example, the Headspace team wanted to learn more about current users and their opinion on their referral program.
Notice how their message is concise. First, it addresses general unease about surveys with a natural joke. Then they explain why the survey is important. After that they provide incentive. And then they finish with a CTA button that reinforces how painless the experience will be.
This same formula can be easily duplicated to ask leads about their interest in a new product, service, or experimental feature. Once the results are in, you can tailor your pitch to their feedback or choose an entirely different offer to pitch them if the first no longer seems like a great fit.
Which is why the social media example below, brought to us by Influitive, is so effective. Not only did the brand create a congratulations video to celebrate the client’s recent achievement, they also followed up from a regular, unbranded account with a request to connect.
The main takeaway here is that sales reps should confidently reach out to their chosen accounts through more casual avenues (like Twitter) using their own face and name as a way to build rapport as acquaintances, not seller and buyer.
So it makes sense why their process for using outbound marketing at the conference looked like this:
First, they created a potential event attendee list. Because this information is typically kept private by the host organization, they had to do a little manual research. You can find a lot of this information by searching for last year’s event hashtag across all social media platforms to find out who posted about it.
You can also scan public lists of event award recipients, speakers, sponsors, branded workshops, and any after party or happy hour celebrations on the event website. Once they ran out of sources, CIENCE made some educated guesses about who would be attending.
Then, they filtered their personal anticipated attendee list through the key identifiers in their ideal customer profiles. Whoever fit the description of their ICPs was highlighted and the rest were crossed out. Those were the accounts they researched and gathered detailed contact information for.
After that, the CIENCE team created a marketing campaign that coincided with the event branding and personalized each message to fit their recipient from the list. The sales team took the pieces, personally sent them to prospects (via email) then followed up by phone after each message was opened. For the contacts who didn’t open the marketing email or hadn’t attended the conference, the team followed up again after the event to see if they had any interest in connecting.
As you move forward with these great outbound tactics, keep the following key takeaways in mind: