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The Quick Start Guide to Outbound Sales

“I've been relying on inbound leads. We need to grow faster. We have not done outbound sales before. Where do we start? What do we do?”

If that’s you, you’re in the right place.

Sales is one of those professions - it’s not for everyone. We, here at PersistIQ, love sales. But sales is changing. For example, there are a lot of ways to get leads. You may be getting your leads from inbound traffic. You may be buying your leads from a broker. You may be getting leads from partnerships. But there are only a finite amount of leads, and the prices are only going up.

It’s time for a new strategy. Vision isn’t easy, so most people wait and follow the crowd. But, since you’re here, that’s not you. If you want to predictably get more meetings with customer in your market, it’s time to establish an outbound plan.

When you’re starting a new campaign, it’s hard to know who to reach out to, how to find them and what to say. Reach out to the wrong person and you’ve wasted hours of your time. Look in the wrong places and grow increasingly frustrated. Say the wrong thing and you don’t get a response.

Don’t worry, this is normal in the beginning.

I’ve been there, done all of that. I’ve learned many lessons the hard way, and now I want to pass along some wisdom I’ve gained in my years in sales. I want to give you a practical guide so you can get started in the next 5 minutes. I want you to have a dozen prospects and an action plan to reach out to them by the time you’re done reading.

As with most things, getting momentum going is the most important first step. You’ll then start learning what works for your business, product, and customers. And don’t worry- we’ll break down each step below in more detailed posts soon, so keep your eye out.

There are 3 steps to getting up and running with your first outbound sales campaign.

  1. Complete Prospect Profiles and Personas
  2. Complete the Profile Matrix
  3. Execute on the plan

 

  1. Prospect Profiles and Personas

The first and most important step is to know who you are targeting and why. It sounds simple, but it’s a step that is often given insufficient attention and often completely neglected. It impacts every subsequent step in the process, so don’t take it lightly.

Invest the time needed here!

The goal is to have at minimum 3-5 different profiles to start with (certainly do more if you can). Each profile should be a hypothesis, which you can later test to analyze the results and refine your process. In essence, you want to build a feedback loop. This is how you’ll crush it!

So how do you come up with prospect profiles?

  1. If you already have customers, start there! (The best place to sell is where you’ve already seen success). What are common characteristics of your existing customers? What problems do they share? Why are they using your product or service? Try to find a common thread that will help you identify more of them.
  2. If you don’t have customers yet (you could be very early stage or tapping into a completely new market or segment), then start by asking who you believe will find value in your product or service? What problems are you solving? Who has these problems? Who cares about these problems? How are they solving the problem today? You’ll be building personas here.

There are many different ways to create profiles or persona segments, such as the basics of title, industry, company size, geography, role, and more. But don’t forget about competing or complementary products or services they use, growth rates, hiring rates, funding announcements, and more.  Be creative and experiment. Find what works for you. If you’re not sure about certain aspects, use your best guess.

Again, just get 3 to 5 different profiles to start. You can (and should) get more granular with your segments definition as you learn. You can and will always come back and edit or fill in more details.

 

  1. Profile Matrix

Once you have an outline of your prospect profiles, then it’s time to lay the foundation for your outbound sales communication and strategy. One way to do this is by completing a prospect profile table.

The key part of this table is the middle; Problems / Priorities / Motivations.

Group Prospects by shared problems/priorities/motivations.

 

Profile Problems  / Motivations Your Message / Benefits
1 Title / role
Company size
Other distinguishing
factors
  • Problem
  • Priority
  • Motivation
  • Benefit 1
  • Benefit 2
  • Benefit 3
2 Title / role
Company size
Other distinguishing
factors
  • Problem
  • Priority
  • Motivation
  • Benefit 1
  • Benefit 2
  • Benefit 3
3 Title / role
Company size
Other distinguishing
factors
  • Problem
  • Priority
  • Motivation
  • Benefit 1
  • Benefit 2
  • Benefit 3

 

Again, the goal here is not to get it perfect, but to get it done so you can quickly experiment and learn.

 

  1. Execute

This is where the rubber meets the road.

Build your list. It all starts with building a list of prospects to reach out to based on the profiles you just created. There are many ways to build lead lists depending on your prospect profile. One of our favorite methods for account based selling is using LinkedIn. If you sign up for the premium account, you’ll have even more abilities to sift and sort through LinkedIn profiles to add to your list.

Research and prepare. Once you’ve found companies or contacts that match your profiles, it’s time do some research on your prospect. The idea is to find a common connection, whether it’s a friend or co-worker, alma mater, previous employer, etc.

For example, if a prospect went to the same university, use that! I know any time I meet a fellow Harvard grad, I automatically like and trust that person more. Or if a prospect just published a blog post, tell them you enjoyed reading it, especially his/her thoughts around XYZ.

If you can’t find any common connections, look for recent rewards, published content, promotions, etc. You’re looking for anything that will help you build rapport and get your “foot in the door” in a soft and friendly way.

Craft your outbound plan. It’s important to have a plan of attack. If you only have a long list of names and emails to reach out to, it becomes overwhelming and often paralyzing. First, take a look at the position title of your prospect. The given position title is going to inform you the kind of messaging and language to use (of course, in concern with the feedback loop). For example, a VP-Sales will have very different concerns than an SDR, and thus you need to have a different messaging strategy.

Next, craft a templated message directed towards the position title of the prospect you are targeting. The important thing I want to emphasize is that the email should NOT be about you. No one care who you are or what you do. They only care about how you can help them solve their problems. Prove that you can provide value, and you’ll have no problem setting up appointments.

You can also create multiple touchpoints to go out to those to have not replied. Hopefully, you’re using PerisstIQ to reach out so you can automate your outreach while staying personal with the custom variables. Either way, it’s time to send out your emails and start getting replies!

Analyze results. Feedback is crucial for improvement. If you want to get better, you’ll have to analyze the performance of your campaign. Out of your complete list, how many emails bounced? How many emails were opened? How many people replied?  Now you can start to see what’s working and what’s not so you can go back and refine your plan for better results.

Here is a short list of variables you can test to constantly improve: email subject lines, common connections, calls to actions, tone of the message, number and frequency of touchpoints.

 

Resources.

I also want to leave you with a list of tools and resources to get you up and running.

Build your list

Prospecting:

Lead lists

Research

Outbound

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Stay tuned for more of the latest in outbound sales best practices and methods.

This post was brought to you by PersistIQ.  Our software empowers salespeople to easily convert prospects into a qualified pipeline and create personalized outbound campaigns at scale.  See how PersistIQ can help you make your own sales efforts more effective today.

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