Like any other industry, sales is subject to changing trends. Outbound sales, sometimes called outbound prospecting, has fallen out of favor in recent years. The focus is primarily on inbound sales now.
That doesn’t mean outbound sales aren’t helpful. When attempting to turn a potential customer into a successful conversion, the best strategy is whatever works. In many cases, that’s an outbound sales strategy.
You adjust your sales process constantly to match your target market. Every potential customer is a chance for your company to learn, grow and provide outstanding service. To do that, you need to search for and prospect leads.
Maybe you excised outbound sales from your selling strategy. Much like cold calling and door-to-door sales, experts have been predicting their end for years, so that’s understandable. The experts were wrong—as they sometimes are.
Outbound sales are still relevant and productive in today’s sales environment. When you expand your focus to include outbound sales once again, your odds of successfully converting a potential prospect rise.
Perhaps you never gave up on the idea of outbound sales. If that’s the case, you already have the basic framework. Now, you and your outbound sales representatives have the chance to take your company to the next level.
Today, we’re going to look at tips and strategies to improve your outbound sales.
What Are Outbound Sales?
When you think about outbound sales, you probably think of cold calls. There’s more to outbound sales than that, but it’s an excellent place to start.
When you practice outbound sales strategies, you reach out to a potential customer. With inbound sales, it’s the other way around. Inbound sales strategies often require fewer follow-ups because you’re starting with a lead rather than a stranger. Outbound sales strategies have their own merits, too, though.
Which is better? Sales experts have been debating the merits of inbound versus outbound sales for years now. So far, no one has come up with a definitive answer.
The sales strategies that work for your company might not work for someone else’s. The first step to finding the right approach for your business is to gather more information. Today, we’re going to explore outbound sales strategies and how to improve your existing ones.
Advantages of Outbound Sales
The advantages of outbound sales are many, are varied and differ from those you see with inbound sales. These are just a few of them:
- The ability to target your outreach efforts is invaluable.
- You receive feedback and results right away.
- Having personal contact with your prospects helps build lasting relationships.
- You’re able to control the pace of your marketing and selling activities.
Your sales strategy should be holistic. That means implementing several different approaches, techniques and methods. Outbound sales are just one part of a healthy sales strategy, but they’re an important one.
The final advantage we listed is one of the most crucial. Outbound sales give you more control over your sales process.
You don’t have to wait for potential customers to come to you, allowing you to target them more actively. You can also scale up your prospecting efforts when you want to make more sales.
Difference Between Inbound and Outbound Sales
We have already mentioned the main difference between inbound and outbound sales. With inbound sales, potential customers come to you. With outbound sales, you contact them first.
Inbound sales have become more prevalent in recent years because of technological advances. Search engine optimization, social media and other forms of digital marketing are the main ones.
It’s far easier to spread the word about your company, products and services than it was before the internet. When you catch the attention of a potential customer online, they’re more likely to reach out for more information. Communication is much faster than it used to be, leaving outbound sales in the dust.
Outbound sales methods are more traditional. Cold emailing now supplements cold calling, but the idea is the same. When you’re practicing outbound sales, you’re operating in much the same way a sales representative from years ago would have.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Classics become known as such for a reason.
How Do You Increase Your Outbound Sales?
The practices that will augment your outbound sales are more straightforward than you might expect. There are three you need to be aware of:
- Increase the number of people on your sales team.
- Optimize your sales operations.
- Take advantage of new technologies.
Of course, simple doesn’t mean easy. Optimizing your sales operations covers a lot of ground. The hiring process can get complicated fast. New technologies change constantly and require time and money to invest in.
Still, these are the foundational elements that will let you increase your outbound sales.
Build an Efficient Outbound Sales System
The system you build is what you’re going to succeed or fail by. We want to see you grow, so we’ve created this list of ways to make an efficient outbound sales system.
1. Put Together the Right Sales Team
Having a good sales team to support your efforts is vital. If you’re involved in hiring, how do you define what makes a team member “good”?
That’s going to depend a lot on your personal preference and experience.
Do you want long-time sales veterans with years of success behind them? Or are you willing to take a chance on someone with little experience but lots of potentials? Maybe you’re looking to hire several people with a range of skills and knowledge.
Having a team composed of several members is helpful—even if your company is small. The best team members offer support while driving each other to even more significant successes. You’ll also have to worry less about gaps in productivity when someone is sick.
2. Create Personas for Your Ideal Buyers
You already have a vague idea about who your target market is and what they want. If you haven’t already, it’s time to get more specific than that.
Buyer personas are the way to go.
With buyer personas, you can put together all of the information you need to know about your ideal customers.
Information you might consider includes:
- Social and economic circumstances.
- Pain points and problems they face.
- Interests and likes.
- Wants versus needs.
- How they learn.
- Where they get their information from.
When you have buyer personas put together, you can target your ideal customers more effectively.
3. Know the Value of Your Products or Services
Why should someone invest in your product or service? What good will it do them? If you can’t answer those questions, spend some time thinking about the what and why.
The point of a sales strategy is to show a lead that what you’re selling will make their lives better and how it will. If you can’t articulate that to yourself, you’re not going to be able to explain it to your prospects.
Come up with a clear, easy-to-understand value proposition you can share with your potential customers. Think of a value proposition like a promise.
You’re going to provide your customers with the value you tell them about. They believe you. A value proposition is the foundation of trust in customer relationships.
4. Begin Generating Leads
Buyer personas are all very well, but they’re ideas. They’re not real people. You need real people to sell to, and that’s where lead generation comes into play.
We’ve discussed lead generation in-depth in past blog posts. However, most of the strategies we focused on were for inbound sales.
Lead generation for outbound sales looks a little different. The industry in which you operate and your company’s position within the market will influence which strategy works for you.
Advertising via billboards, direct mail and newspapers are standard outbound methods of lead generation. You might also consider using a paid lead database, but only if you’re confident the information they provide is trustworthy.
5. Have a Plan for Your Outreach Activities and Start Selling
At this point, you’re probably more than ready to start selling your products or services. Prep work is necessary, but compared to making a successful sale, it can seem dull.
There’s one more step before you can start selling.
Develop a plan for your outreach activities. Know whether you’re going to start with a phone call or an email. Plan when to leave a voicemail and how to follow up afterward. In general, have a timeline in mind for your actions.
With that done, it’s time to sell.
4 Widely Used Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
How do you know your outbound sales strategies are working? These four key performance indicators can help you evaluate your success. You might find other indicators helpful as well, but these provide a great starting point.
1. Time Spent in the Sales Cycle
The time your leads spend in the sales cycle before making a purchase is a valuable metric of success. Do the math to discover the average amount of time it takes your leads to make a decision.
Breaking average times down by buyer persona can provide more insight into different variables affecting decision-making.
2. Cost per Opportunity
Cost per opportunity is similar to but not quite the same as opportunity cost. It’s what it costs to generate a lead in time, effort and money. Focusing on leads that offer a high return on investment can help you optimize this indicator.
3. Click-Through Rates
In general, the higher your click-through rate on an ad or other media, the better. Because this metric is relatively easy to measure, it’s a great way to experiment with different methods.
4. Ratio of Calls to Close
The ratio of calls to close doesn’t necessarily have to involve phone calls. Any type of contact you have with a lead counts.
The ratio looks at how many times you have to contact a lead before you close the deal. You can learn about different facets of your target market this way.
5 Useful Outbound Sales Strategies You Might Need
At long last, here are five outbound sales strategies you might need. Not every strategy is suitable for every company, but everyone needs somewhere to start.
1. Put the Prospect First
Prospects know you’re trying to sell them something. Often and understandably, they’re reluctant to part with their hard-earned money.
Change how you frame the advantages of your product or service. Focus on how the product or service can help your prospects rather than focusing on its features.
How will it make a potential customer’s life better? When your sales representatives can answer that, they’ll be at their most persuasive.
2. Don’t Forget the Importance of Referral Sales
Chances are if one client can use your product or service, they know someone else who can too. Don’t be afraid to ask.
Referrals can open up previously undiscovered market segments and boost your sales.
3. Don’t Limit Yourself to One Method of Contact
Let’s say you’ve been emailing a potential customer. So far, they haven’t opened any of your emails. What’s your next step?
You could send another email. Will they read it? Probably not.
Instead, reach out another way. You might call them or use a social media platform instead. Use multiple channels of communication.
Persistence is key. Avoid overwhelming or annoying a potential customer. Follow a schedule.
4. Prepare a Script Before Making Calls
Sometimes, even the best salespeople struggle to make their point. A calling script can help.
You don’t want to sound too formulaic, but having a conversational outline is helpful. It keeps your representatives on track, and new hires will appreciate it.
5. Automation is Your Friend
To date, nothing has replaced the value that real human sales representatives bring to a company. Automated sales activities have increased their efficiency, though.
With less time spent on busy work, your sales team can focus on building and maintaining customer relationships.
Outbound sales are a powerful way to connect with potential customers. A robust sales program needs a lot of different elements, and outbound sales strategies are essential. Your sales reps and customers alike will benefit when you implement them.
The best sales teams are versatile. Making an outbound call is second nature to them. They have well-practiced sales pitches and take advantage of digital marketing. They use prospect marketing to guide a lead further into your sales funnel.
Your company’s success depends on your sales team.
Here at Selling Revolution, we’re dedicated to providing you with the support you need to succeed. Our focus is on channel alignment. By that, we mean getting your salespeople, website and advertisements to work in concert.
If you’re interested in learning more, you can book a call today. A quick, 20-minute introductory conversation could be the start of a revolution for your business. Slots fill up quickly, so don’t wait!