Small businesses face a lot of challenges on an everyday basis.
Remaining competitive while lacking the resources of some bigger companies in the field is no easy task.
On top of all, they can’t afford the luxury of inbound marketing. At least not in the beginning.
Inbound marketing is a long-term solution and good things take time. While inbound marketing is absolutely critical as the foundation of your business, there’s another fix that can help bring clients quicker.
It’s called outbound prospecting.
If you struggled to hit your sales and marketing goals using inbound-only tactics, now is the time to incorporate some outbound prospecting tricks. Adopting one of these suggested techniques could help you move the needle in 2019.
Outbound Prospecting Defined
Outbound prospecting is all about identifying your target customers and then directly reaching out to them introducing your company and its products and services.
It’s typically done using email or cold calling.
B2B outbound prospecting consists of two crucial things:
- Compiling a list of companies and people in those companies that you believe are the best prospects for your company’s products
- Reaching out to those prospects
Only in some instances, an outbound prospector might end up taking the prospect all the way through the buying process to close the sale.
However, that’s usually the case with low-priced B2B sales.
Why Use Outbound Prospecting
Small and mid-sized businesses can’t afford the luxury of doing inbound prospecting only. At least not in the beginning. That’s why outbound prospecting can be the right tactic for them.
Being proactive and reaching out to potential customers can be the game changer for your business.
If you want to sell, you must educate the potential client how your solution fits their needs.
Below, you’ll find some tips for successful outbound prospecting.
Tips for Successful Outbound Prospecting
Identify Your Ideal Customer Type
The first step to a steady growth starts with creating an ideal customer type so you can find high-quality leads your startup needs.
Prioritizing this discovery can save you months of wandering in the dark. Remember, you can’t be all things to all people.
Here are some steps to follow if you want to create an ideal customer profile.
Who Are Your Best Customers?
The easiest way to start is by identifying your past and current customers. Look for the companies that really loved your product or service.
Those companies that found a lot of value in your product will be more likely to share their thoughts, so conducting surveys or interviews with them can be beneficial in the long run.
Look For the Common Characteristics
After you finish conducting interviews it is time to systemize this information and look for common themes.
Is there anything specific that your customers have in common?
Maybe you will find out that they are similar in size or that they do purchase in the same way.
There are a couple of other ways that can help you find your ideal customer profile. You can check them here and also download our free template.
Research And Qualify Prospects
Making that first connection is critical. That’s why researching potential prospects before calling or emailing them can make a whole difference.
Knowing the company’s background can help you prepare better for the conversation.
Collecting as much information as possible can make a more personalized experience from the first touch.
Here are a couple of key steps that can set you in the right direction:
Learn About the Company
Visit the company’s website and read about their mission and vision for the future. Identify how your product or service can help them achieve that vision.
Of course, you won’t do this for every company on your list. Decide how much effort you should put in for different account tiers.
Some basic information can include the size of the company, number of employees, typical sale size, their competitors, etc.
You can also set up Google alerts for your target company and get emails related to them. This can give you more relevancy when reaching out to them.
Do a Background Check
The next stop in your research process consists of looking for the right person at that company. Usually, the first places you should look at are the company website’s “Contact” and “About” pages.
You will probably find contact information for certain areas, such as marketing or sales related inquiries.
Another great place to look at is LinkedIn. This professional platform can help you find people that fit certain criteria such as their job function, education, etc.
Besides Linkedin, there are other great places where you can look for potential prospects. Here are 18 great ones.
A highly-qualified prospect needs to satisfy three things:
- A need. – A qualified prospect is ready to buy your product now or relatively soon.
- A sufficient budget. – A qualified prospect can afford your product or service.
- The authority to buy. – A strong prospect needs to have the power over the purchasing process.
Create an Outbound Sales Cadence
Source: CallBox Inc.
Once you have leads flowing into your pipeline you need to decide which one of them you are going to contact first and how you are going to reach out.
If you don’t have answers to some of these questions you need to develop a solid sales cadence for your team. It can bring structure and order leading to improved productivity and performance.
A sales cadence is a timeline of sales activities and methods reps use to engage leads.
Below, you can see how a good outbound sales cadence should look like.
- Day 1: Email/InMail
- Day 3: Email in the morning, call in the afternoon
- Day 5: Call in the morning, Call with a voicemail in the afternoon
- Day 7: Email in the morning, Call in the afternoon with a voicemail
- Day 10: Email and call in the morning
This sales cadence is spread over 10 days. Its strengths lie in the fact that it utilizes all three key channels (email, phone, and social). It also leverages the law of immediacy.
Form a Team
The research done by the Bridge Group found that specialization in roles is more common at companies with roughly $100M in revenues. Outbound-only teams are consistent at 20 percent of respondents across revenue bands.
Those companies that have both inbound and outbound sales team have roughly two outbound SDRs for each Inbound Rep.
Check our 13 steps guide on how to build a rockstar inside sales team.
And since sales environment is hectic, salespeople need a special skill set. Here are ten prospecting skills that can turn every individual in your team into a sales machine.
Track Your Progress with a CRM
If your team uses CRM to manually log their customer communication it can make the process slow and less efficient.
That’s why you should use a CRM that allows you to make calls directly from the platform with a touch of a button. A good CRM tool should automatically record the call’s audio and even your team’s email communications.
This is helpful for several reasons. All of your customer information is located in one centralized hub so your team can access the data from any device.
It also helps your sales team track the progress of your leads and deals. And lastly, it can minimize manual data entry so your sales reps can do what they do best – sell.
Take a look at our ultimate guide on CRM tools, sales hiring, and automation for more information.
Best Tools for Running Effective Outbound Prospecting
To boost the productivity of your outbound sales prospecting you can utilize some of the following outbound prospecting tools:
LinkedIn Sales Navigator – One of the best tools for finding prospects. It has advanced search filters and displays detailed information about each prospect. You can also check our blog post which explains in detail how to blast your B2B leads using Linkedin.
Angel List – a directory of different companies that you can filter by organization type, the number of employees, stage of funding they’re currently at, etc.
Albacross – a sales intelligence software that helps businesses learn more about their anonymous website visitors and convert them into leads.
It provides you with hyper-specific details about companies interested in your business including their size, revenue, industry, demographics, and contact details of their chief decision-makers.
Additionally, you will gain insights into the behavior of your website visitors, such as time spent on your website and buyer consideration stage. This functionality goes a long way toward optimizing your prospecting time.
Hunter – helps find all the associated email addresses of any given domain
Google Alerts – collects breaking news headlines on a wide range of subjects
Zoho CRM – manage your marketing, sales, and support in one platform
Are you ready to invest time and effort into outbound sales prospecting?
We can help you speed up the process and save on overhead as our prospect list building services are designed to deliver contact data that perfectly matches the client’s ICP.