Did you know that companies who said cold calling is dead experienced 42% less growth1 than those who said it was alive and well?
So many companies have become obsessed with inbound sales and have abandoned the old faithful model of outbound sales. After all, going out and hunting for your leads the traditional way is harder than attracting them to you.
Or is it?
While it’s true that outbound sales strategies such as cold calling and direct mail campaigns require more effort from your sales team, that doesn't necessarily mean those are harder to do. By developing a solid outbound sales strategy that maximizes your unique resources, you can improve your team's productivity AND make more sales — faster.
Let's talk about how to design an effective outbound sales strategy from scratch.
What’s the Difference Between Outbound and Inbound Sales?
In outbound sales, you actively seek prospects that fit your target market or customer profile. Outbound contains many of the marketing strategies that we grew up with, such as direct mail and cold calls. In outbound, you, the seller, initiate the action first. That’s because the prospective buyer may know they have a problem but just haven't actively sought out a solution yet (or they may have searched for solutions but haven't heard of yours).
It’s your job to introduce yourself, identify whether or not they have a problem, show that it’s a problem you can help them solve, and then show them why your product/service solves their problem.
In recent years, there’s been a shift toward a more personalized marketing experience. This is why many businesses tend to focus on developing an inbound sales strategy because of its emphasis on lead nurturing and education. The modern customer doesn’t want to be sold to, they want to research the problem themselves. They often search out their own solutions (which works nicely with the inbound sales approach).
However, that doesn’t rule out outbound marketing.
You can still help them solve problems without waiting for them to come to you. In fact, outbound marketing gives you the opportunity to create an even more personalized approach for each individual prospect.
In inbound sales, prospects come to you. You lay a trail of breadcrumbs that lead back to you, whether that's a website, a webinar, a lead magnet, or some other lead capture destination. While inbound seems “hands-free,” it requires your marketing team to put in a ton of work initially.
Typically, the inbound sales strategy relies on content. You share content casually wherever your target buyer lives (on social media, in forums, or even via search engines like Google). Your target buyer may stumble upon your blog post from a Google search, watch your YouTube video, or see your Instagram ad and then decide to learn more about your product. They’ll click and end up on your optimized landing page.
From there, they may enter their contact information and get a freebie (such as a free trial, consultation, or downloadable ebook). Because they’ve shared their information with you, your sales team will then get a new “warm” lead (MQL) who’s already familiar with your brand/product.
What are the Benefits of Outbound Sales?
For all of its benefits, inbound is painstakingly slow. It’s rare to make an immediate sale when using inbound strategies. Outbound offers an opposite experience, and here’s why the outbound approach is awesome:
Immediate feedback - Outbound calls and sales allow you to have a direct conversation with your prospective customer. You can get an instant reaction to your sales pitch. This allows you to modify your sales message on the spot.
Inexpensive - When compared to inbound marketing strategies like SEO, pay per click, and content marketing, a good ‘ole cold call is an economical alternative. How much does it cost to craft personal emails or LinkedIn messages to prospective B2B customers? How much does it cost to craft a full-throttled social media ad campaign targeted to that same group of prospects? Compare to see how much you can save by adopting an outbound approach.
Targeted lead generation - You choose your customers. With outbound, you can hand-pick who to target, whether you’re reaching out to businesses or consumers. An inbound strategy paints with a large brush and an outbound strategy tends to be much more precise. This makes it easier for you to identify and reach the right people.
Quick results - Inbound takes a lot of time before it translates to a sale. It may take weeks, months, or even years to build a relationship of trust with your prospective customers that convinces them to buy. With an outbound strategy in place, your sales team has the ability to target leads who are ready to buy now— not a year from now.
Inbound is great for attracting new leads, but it will never replace the outbound approach for every company. The two should of course work hand-in-hand to create a robust sales and marketing strategy for your business...don’t put all your eggs in one basket!
How to Build an Effective Outbound Sales Strategy From Scratch
Outbound is insanely effective when done correctly. Here’s how to build a strategy from the ground up.
1. Set Goals
Your ultimate goal may be to generate leads that convert into customers, but that's not specific or give your sales team a concrete goal. You need a clear target for each sales call to improve productivity and align your efforts with your objectives.
The easiest way to do this is to develop SMART outbound sales goals: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-Based.
For example, let’s say you’re launching a new product and you want to make immediate sales. You can give your team a SMART goal to hit by:
- Getting specific on how many immediate sales you want to have within a certain time period
- Identifying key performance indicators that track your team's effectiveness through that period
- Ensuring that every team member knows what they need to do and has the necessary tools to accomplish their tasks
- Creating goals that can be met with your current sales team and its resources
- Assigning a deadline to accomplish this goal (i.e., by the end of the month)
2. Identify Your Ideal Customers
Who will you target with your marketing message?
If you haven’t already, now’s the time to create customer personas to help you hone your sales message. A customer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal buyer. If you have multiple customer types, you need multiple customer personas.
Creating a customer persona forces you to learn more about your target customer, including their:
- Job/ Industry
- Average income
After answering those questions, you’ll have a greater understanding of who your target customer is and what makes them buy.
For example, many customers are motivated by safety, so reducing risk in the form of a money-back guarantee can close the deal. Find out what the motivating factors are for your unique set of customers.
Also identify their hesitations ahead of your call so that you can ease their objections and improve your chances of making the sale.
3. Use a Tool to Help You Extend Your Reach
Outbound marketing requires a lot of effort. To reduce their burden and empower them to meet their goals, give your sales team the right tools.
Actually, you only need one tool — PhoneBurner. PhoneBurner is an all-in-one outbound sales tool that includes customer relationship management (CRM), power dialing, and workflow automation in one package. Here’s a quick look at how PhoneBurner complements your outbound sales strategy:
Power Dialer - Your sales agent can dial up to 80 leads each hour. The dialer handles repetitive tasks like leaving voicemails, logging calls, and sending emails so reps focus on what matters - talking to live prospects. Unlike other dialers a power dialer has no dreaded "telemarketer delay" so contacts won't know you used software to call them.
CRM - With our connected CRM, your team has access to their entire call and communication history, and contacts can be intelligently organized and filtered for smarter, more thorough follow-up.
Local ID - Prospective customers rarely answer calls from unfamiliar area codes. With our local ID feature, your caller will see a call from an area code they know — their own.
Many sales reps give up too easily, and using software to streamline your outbound sales process can make it easier for your sales team to take all the steps needed to get through to prospects and land a sale.
4. Develop a Plan B
What happens if the prospect doesn't answer the phone?
While many teams have a follow-up protocol for answered calls, it’s also important to follow up on those unanswered calls, too.
Do you leave a voicemail (74% of companies don’t2)? Do you call again at a later date (it takes 8+ attempts on average to reach a cold prospect)? Do you send an email, or a follow-up postcard?
Decide what happens next, and vary your outreach strategies to improve your chances of reaching your targeted prospect. One-touch sales are incredibly rare from outbound, so your team needs to be prepared for a multi-touch follow-up process.
5. Monitor and Motivate Your Sales Team
Your team will either make or break your outbound sales strategy. You must monitor your team's progress, and invest in their happiness and success because it directly impacts your bottom line. Here’s how to boost your team’s productivity and morale:
Incentivize hard work - Reward your team for their hard work. In addition to monetary bonuses, consider offering paid time off, office parties, or gifts. These small gestures can show your team that you truly value them and recognize their efforts.
Give them the necessary tools to do their jobs - If your sales team feels unsupported by upper management, they’ll eventually become apathetic. Provide all the tools or outbound call center they need to accomplish their tasks. To be successful in outbound sales, every salesperson needs a solid CRM tool where they can read and make notes about prospects. They also need a way to automate tedious, time-consuming tasks, like manual dialing. Use PhoneBurner as your all-in-one outbound sales tool, wink wink, nudge nudge ;)
“What gets measured gets managed.” - If you’re going to reward your team, you’ll need to keep track of the metrics that define success. Whether that's the number of calls made, voicemails left, appointments set, deals closed, or digging deeper into listening to call recordings - tracking the data is critical for training, accountability, and rewards.
Despite the rise in popularity of inbound sales tactics, outbound plays a critical role in the success and future growth of your business.
If you use the above tips to create and master your outbound sales strategy, your business will improve, and your sales team will thank you. Win-Win.