Outbound sales can be powerful, and when done right, can skyrocket your revenue. The catch? Without the right tools, an outbound strategy can be difficult to launch and maintain.
Consider the following statistics:
- Leads that you connect within the first 5 minutes after a web form submission are 100 times more likely to respond
- 79% of sales reps who harness social media platforms like LinkedIn report higher sales than those who don’t
- On the other hand, 40% of sales reps don’t feel fully prepared to initiate an outbound call
The tools you use should help you connect with prospects quickly. They should help you get more out of the time you spend on social media, and most importantly, make you feel more than prepared to build a relationship with your prospects from the very first point of contact. However, this all starts with an aligned B2B outbound sales strategy.
In this article, we’re going to do a deep dive into 5 powerful techniques that will help you build a personalized and high-performing B2B sales strategy for your own team.
Making a B2B Outbound Sales Strategy Work for You
Today, a smart company will leverage both inbound and outbound sales strategies.
Because the inbound marketing approach encourages a client or customer to reach out themselves, it’s effective but can lead to a much longer sales cycle. Some sources say it takes up to 12, even 15 “touchpoints” on an inbound strategy before a customer reaches out or becomes ready to take action.
You can learn more about inbound vs outbound marketing here.
These days, the strategic use of email marketing to generate opt-ins and nurture leads, and the evolution of SEO practices to increase visibility and organic traffic have made inbound marketing the "shiny new kid on the block". And, it definitely has its benefits and the numbers prove it — Hubspot reports that inbound marketing typically provides 59% warm or “sales-qualified” leads to their team.
However, outbound sales, especially B2B outbound strategy, have been around since the days of ad-men on Mad Avenue. It’s a more traditional and direct form of marketing that requires a salesperson to individually and personally make contact and connect with a prospect.
This means that sales are pushing the company’s message or pitch to prospects instead of waiting for leads to come in and reach out. Outbound marketing strategies therefore usually involve the use of “cold” forms of contact — through cold calling, cold emailing, social media contact, etc.
Does that sound daunting? It can to some — but these are the “40% of sales reps who don’t feel fully prepared to initiate outbound contact” that we mentioned previously. So the key is to feel prepared with a clear strategy, which we will discuss shortly. For now, you should know that outbound offers distinct advantages that inbound simply cannot match.
That’s why it’s so effective. Still not convinced? Salesforce reports that 92% of all customer interactions happen over the phone. And it’s not just about active outreach — outbound sales is about relationships. The Brevet Group illustrates this with a story about their best salesperson:
“One of the best salespeople we ever knew was glued to his phone yet never made a single cold call. He would spend 2 to 3 hours every day making “check-up calls” - calling old professional friends to (1) maintain relationships and (2) learn about developments in their companies which opened up potential new opportunities where he could help.”
Here’s the truth, though: whether you use inbound or outbound to capture market share, all sales are about relationships.
But B2B outbound sales strategies aren’t bulletproof — not in 2023. And that’s because it’s become inefficient to conduct outbound sales in an all-digital landscape. If you want outbound sales metrics to match and even outpace inbound, you’ll need a high-performing outbound strategy that is a mix of automation and people skills.
The Undeniable Benefits of a Strong Outbound Sales Strategy
Ever heard of the saying, “It’s not just about the destination — it’s about the journey?”
B2B outbound sales strategies follow a similar path to success. The effort you put into refining your approach - from researching and identifying your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) to perfecting your pitch and messaging to selecting and utilizing the appropriate tools for personalized initial contact - will play a significant role in the success of your strategy.
In other words, these five benefits that your business experiences directly contribute to the strength of your strategy.
#1: Target your ICP/IAP
One of the key aspects of a strong outbound sales strategy is a refined ICP or ideal client persona. In B2B outbound sales, this is known as the IAP or “ideal account profile.” These are individual customers or accounts that your sales team has identified as the perfect customer for what your organization solves through its product or service.
ICP or IAP data comprises multiple points including demographic or firmographic identifiers and environmental and behavioral attributes. It’s developed by collecting quantitative, qualitative, and potentially predictive data.
It’s just a document, but it’s not just a document — the goal of the exercise of refining and zeroing in on your ICP requires you to harness objective value measures from your sales metrics, including annual contract values (ACV) and lifetime values (LTV).
The benefit? Formulating an ICP/IAP upfront helps to align your marketing, executive, and sales teams to the highest-value accounts.
With this profile clearly defined, you’ll also be able to segment the ICP by value, drive account list creation, and organizational structure. They become the jump-off point for sales actions and they’re also the accounts most likely to convert with the right amount (and kind) of “input.”
#2: Engage decision-makers directly
One of the major benefits of an outbound sales strategy is that you may be able to shorten the sales cycle. Engaging decision makers using cold contact techniques is “risky” — but only if you don’t have a plan. And, you can conduct successful contacts that result in a response (like a scheduled demo or discovery call) at scale using automation tools like Captain Data.
So, how do you go about capturing this benefit? Well, the right outbound growth tools will help you find, extract, and address decision makers you’ve identified as key players in the sales process directly and without wasting hours sifting for contact information.
Research shows that, in a typical firm with 100-500 employees, on average, there are about 7 people involved in most buying decisions.
Suddenly, targeting the right person right away is more important than ever.
#3: Get quick responses with less wait time
Controversial statement time: There’s no such thing as a “cold” prospect — only inadequate information.
Imagine an outbound interaction where you’re able to quickly and efficiently identify who to contact and you’ve gained enough information to personalize that conversation.
Suddenly, a “cold” lead warms up when you connect with them. You’re armed with a deep knowledge of their needs and you’re genuinely interested in helping them solve these issues for less, faster, better (or whatever else your product’s/service’s USP offers).
What prospect doesn’t want that?
It’s not about using cheesy persuasion tactics but having a genuine conversation with your prospect in a direct way. They’re much more likely to convert right through your interaction — whether that’s the first or the third — because you’ve initiated the outreach.
By contrast, inbound means waiting on your prospect to reach out. In between, a multitude of other distractions may come in the way and either delay or totally mitigate their contact. So, with outbound strategies, you’re likely to experience faster responses with less wait time — and 30 to 50% of sales go to a vendor that responds to their prospect’s needs first.
#4: Obtain instant feedback
The deeply actionable nature of direct outreach or outbound contact means that you have the opportunity to instantly gain feedback from prospects. You can validate new ideas or decide on if a product update is the right course of action simply by connecting with and speaking to your customers, earning their feedback on the spot.
What’s the key here? Trust. In inbound marketing, you’re waiting for a customer to trust you enough to voluntarily take action. Does it happen? Absolutely — but eventually, not right away.
In B2B outbound sales, you’ll definitely still need to follow up — but trust is built in a more active, immediate way (through communication). So when you present a demo or ask for that sale, your prospect has a choice: yes or no? Their answer supplies you with real-time feedback about what in your strategy worked (or didn’t). From here, you can iterate and evolve future calls, emails, and pitches.
#5: Can be less costly & time-consuming
Done right, outbound sales strategies require less upfront “inputs.” What do we mean by that?
Well, all you really need is a full-time, well-trained sales ops and a list of contacts, complete with an email or phone number to connect with.
By contrast, inbound takes time and money to create because you’re relying on marketing assets like videos, blogs, and well-timed ads or offers that show up in front of the right eyes, at the right time.
Speaking of videos, they are a powerful tool for both inbound and outbound strategies. Nowadays, many companies use tools such as VEED's add subtitles to video, auto subtitle generator, and video caption generator for their video content :)
Now, we should add a caveat to our previous statement. Outbound marketing is most effective when you’re strategic about your contact. Anyone with a list can call individuals — but if it’s not armed with firmographic details or behavioral data like past buying decisions (that you may be able to capture in a CRM), the chances of those conversations actually resulting in a conversion of any type are slim to none.
That’s why Captain Data offers two powerful features — Automations and Integrations — to connect your scraped data with pre-existing applications (like Salesforce and LinkedIn), formulate workflows that tell each app what to do with the data, and harness the power of other app features to retrieve direct phone numbers or find B2B email addresses (like Hunter.io and Kaspr).
5 Techniques for a High-Performing Outbound Strategy
So, how do you build a high-performing outbound strategy for your team? These five steps will walk you through the process. Prepare to roll your sleeves up and dive in!
1) Get organized with your strategy
Your strategy must begin by identifying the “who.” You’ll need to zero in on who your targets are and who you’re planning to reach out to.
This part of your strategy comes before actual outreach and cold-communication begins. For sales metrics like ROI to really matter, you want to ensure your efforts are focused on the right people — key decision makers.
And that begins with understanding who these individuals are and what makes them the right fit for your product or service. You’re looking for alignment between what you sell and what their pain points and needs are. You can only prioritize these individuals and nurture them as leads when you can correctly understand these factors.
Identifying your ICP/IAP then also paves the way for decisions you’ll make about pitching positioning (what appeals to these prospects most?) and messaging (which value statements or product features/metrics are they most likely to respond to?).
Get access to a handy framework for building these essential elements of an outbound sales pipeline.
2) Identify quality leads, where to source them, and their conversational rates
Once you have a solid idea and a set of criteria for your ideal customers, it’s time to begin and expand your search. You’re looking for individual decision makers who most closely match this ideal customer (or account, if you use an account-based marketing strategy).
Based on your ICP, these contacts may live somewhere quite specific.
So, for example, if you’re looking for individuals operating in B2B, but specifically targeting players in the digital sphere, you might begin with LinkedIn.
Or, if your solution/service/product is built for a specific industry, like plumbing or construction, your specific place to start your search might be Google Maps.
And, likewise, if you know your decision maker is a recruiter, Indeed is where you’ll look for contacts.
Who your contact is, what role they likely play, and what niche their business operates within are all useful criteria to help you target where to source your leads from. Next, capture the information of these leads, including full name, title, company name, location, and company size.
Once you’ve settled on a “where” (which would be a domain name to source these leads), you can use outbound data extraction tools to find email addresses without any code required.
3) Build a tailored email sequence
Finding contact information and email addresses is the first part of your journey.
The next step is to get smart with your strategy and use planned, highly targeted email sequencing and messaging. You’ll need to consider granular decisions such as:
- Specific wording that appeals to your prospect
- Personalized details that potentially reflect their preferences or needs
- What intervals to send your email sequence (once every day for 5 days or twice in a week for 4 weeks?)
- When to start sending these pitches
Remember, these are cold contacts so planning your email marketing strategy in a sequence is best. Sequences allow you to plan for an introduction, a follow-up, and a discussion of features before making an ask or presenting an offer. It’s a much more trustworthy process that builds familiarity with your brand or business, and your prospect won’t feel instantly pressured.
However, just because you’ve pre-built an email sequence doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ignore key metrics. Here, open, click-through, unopened, and trashed rates really matter. You want to carefully set up automation in the backend so you’re able to capture and report on these insights.
They'll tell you what’s working and if something about your messaging or timing is missing the mark. You'll be able to refine these factors moving forward — but only when armed with this information.
4) Experiment and analyze
You’ve got the “who,” “where,” and “how” done. Now it’s time to test and iterate.
Remember those metrics about open- and click-through rates you’ve been tracking? Your next priority is going beyond and improving these rates by running a series of A/B tests. A robust B2B outbound sales strategy is not a rinse-and-repeat process. Certainly, every strategy must have the first three parts down well.
But if you plan to grow you’ll need to dedicate some time and attention to running growth experiments. If these experiments are successful, you'll be able to incorporate them into your current lead generation pipeline — or you may just uncover an entirely new market segment, leading to a secondary or tertiary ICP.
5) Optimize and automate with tools
Look, 500 leads is better than 50. And to scale your lead generation process up to these numbers, you’ll need automation tools. Automation tools can help you streamline your strategy by cutting down on the complexity and the amount of time it takes you to execute functions like sourcing leads, data extraction, email contact, and experimentation.
“Tools like CRM, Sales Engagement platforms, prospecting tools, etc are no longer an option today – they’re an imperative.” - Kenty
Your B2B outreach strategy helps you map out the overarching, big picture plan. These five techniques, while seemingly simple, are powerful because they’re repeatable, dependable, and scalable (with the right automation tools).
However, as you can see, a lot of your success relies on your actual contacts. These five areas can be priorities, but if you’re really going to succeed, you’ll need to drill down and formulate an equally detailed and comprehensive plan around your email or call contacts.
- What scripts will you use?
- Where will your prospects’ data live?
- What constitutes a “positive” email response?
- How will you search for prospects before automation?
- What will your follow-up emails entail?
Your next steps are to answer these questions and build out the “communications” part of your outbound strategy. Use this comprehensive guide to outbound email sales prospecting and get ready to supercharge your outbound sales with Captain Data by your side.
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