Let’s face it: Sales outreaches can be demoralizing. You furiously sift through data, email prospects, and dial phone numbers, hoping to close the deal. However, more often than not, the leads turn cold.
But an impactful sales outreach strategy can change that, and in this article, we’ll show you exactly how. Read on and learn the nuts and bolts of sales outreach, plus seven actionable tips to create a strategy that delivers profit-driven results.
What Is Sales Outreach?
Sale outreaches are all about turning prospects into paying customers via different outreach channels, including:
- Networking calls
- Social selling
- Cold calling
- Email campaigns
- Personalized video
- Live chat
- In-person meetings
- And more…
While there’s no one-size-fits-all outreach plan, most strategies have similar goals, like closing deals, building trust, educating leads about your new offerings, or simply introducing the company/product to prospects for the first time.
Types of Sales Outreaches
Your sales outreach can either be inbound or outbound based on who initiates the process: the sales representative or the end customer.
Inbound Sales Outreach
The inbound sales process starts when prospects show an interest in your product/service. Here are a few ways it can happen:
- Prospects may show interest by interacting with your site (reading blog posts, downloading gated content, submitting queries, attending a sales webinar, etc.).
- Prospects reach out to the company in search of information.
Outbound Sales Outreach
The outbound process starts with your company (usually a sales rep) identifying and reaching out to a prospect to connect, engage, and initiate a sales conversation.
With the outbound strategy, you’ll deal with customers who are less aware (or completely oblivious) of your services/product. That’s why, here, your primary task is to connect with them, introduce them to your product, and attract them through engagement and education.
7 Practical Ways to Structure a Lucrative Sales Outreach Strategy
Now that the basics are clear, here are the seven actionable tips for creating a successful sales outreach strategy:
Build Your Buyer Personas
A buyer persona is a detailed outline description of your ideal customer. Ideally, it should include things like:
- Demographics information
- Personal values
- Professional circumstances
- Purchase patterns
- Pain points and challenges
- Online behavior
- Decision-maker, revenue, and size of businesses (for B2B outreaches)
You can also give these personas names with job titles, such as “Ana, the content lead” or “Dave, the marketing director”–a sales trick to visualize the personas as real people.
Next, choose three primary roles that you want to sell to–for example, VP of advertising, Director of social media, and CMO–and list down the following details for each role:
- Key job responsibilities
- How your product/service can make their day-to-day tasks more manageable.
- Buyer’s long-term goals
- How you can help them achieve these goals
This persona will help you craft effective outreach messages–saving you time and effort that would otherwise go into creating personalized messages from scratch every time.
Define Your Outreach channels.
While there may be dozens of outreach channels to choose from, you need to choose ones that work for your business. The key is identifying the channels your ideal customers are using. Your customer persona will come in handy here–telling you the audience’s favorite channels.
Once you’ve found them, you need to meet them there. For example, if Ana, the content lead, is particularly active on LinkedIn, try initiating conversation there (through commenting followed by cold DM).
Email outreaches are also a popular option for personalized and efficient communication. Fortunately, with tools with email finders, you can easily get the emails of your leads and start sending out your well-crafted messages.
But, if possible, go for FaceTime or phone call outreaches, as they let you connect on a more personal level.
Write Your Personalized Message
Sales outreach is an art in and of itself, but it’s personalization that persuades the prospect to take the final action.
Therefore, create a thoughtful, tailored message that makes the prospects feel seen, heard, and understood. Customize your outreach message with the recipient’s or company name (if you are selling B2B). You can also use personalized images and GIFs in your messages to grab customer attention and improve the response rate even more.
Yes, you can (and should) use templates to shoulder the outreach messaging load. But, before hitting send, always sprinkle details specific to each prospect. For example, mention you attended their event, saw their post, or are on the same Slack group–anything that makes the outreach less sales-y and more likely to receive a positive response.
Warm-up Leads before the Initial Message
You can’t meet a guy on the street and start pitching right away–it would be super awkward. And, they’ll most likely not convert. The same is true with sales outreaches.
For positive replies and engagement, it’s important to warm up with the contacts first. This means outreach marketing engagement with prospects. Here are a few creative ways you can test:
- Send them a coffee, gift, postcard, or lunch.
- Like and comment on their social media posts.
- Attend their online events (webinars or lives) and ask questions.
- Acknowledge their experiences with industry-specific comments.
- Participate in discussions on Slack, Facebook, and other communities where they are active.
- Support initiatives they are a part of (like donations or charities).
Customize Your Sales Outreach as per the Buyer Journey Stage
Not every prospect will be ready to buy your product in the first interaction. However, based on their buyer journey stage, you can refine the sales outreach for maximum conversion.
It starts with varied communication styles for different leads:
- Cold Leads: Most cold leads don’t know your brand yet. That’s why the goal is to create a demand for your product/service. The focus should be on understanding their problems and sharing resources (like guides, blog posts, etc.).
- Marketing Quality Leads (MQLs): While MQLs have interacted with your company’s marketing efforts (maybe they signed up for the newsletter), the majority will still need an introduction to your products. Therefore, the outreach must prioritize building a trusted relationship, which can be transitioned to sales.
- Sales Quality Leads (SQLs): SQLs know your products and offerings. They just need convincing why you deserve their account. Special offers, discounts, sharing reviews, and product how-to guides can be the way to go here.
- Opportunity: At this stage, zero in on keeping the purchase intent till the sales through free trials, tips, assistance, and soft follow-ups.
Automate Wherever Possible
Sales outreach is a tedious process–one that can easily wear out even the best. The trick is to use sales automation wherever possible.
Invest heavily in creating impeccable yet customizable email templates. Leverage conversational intelligence software to elevate the levels of engagement and personalization with every prospect. From intelligent email responses and real-time interaction to automated qualification and dynamic content delivery–conversational intelligence software will take sales outreach to another level.
But don’t just stop there. Set up automation for repetitive outreach efforts, including communication, follow-ups, on-demand product demos, downloadable lead magnets, and more.
In the long haul, it’ll save you time and energy while generating more leads.
Lastly, award the heroes who are bringing in those bucks.
Keeping your sales team’s morale high is an important aspect of a successful sales outreach strategy. As a leader, here are a few steps you can take to keep your sales team’s spirit up:
- Always recognize and reward good performance.
- Provide training and career development opportunities.
- Build a great (non-monetary) rewards system.
Moreover, make sure you build a sales compensation plan that motivates and rewards outreach selling behaviors.
Doing this will help boost productivity and give them additional incentive to meet, even exceed, their monthly targets–a win-win for all.
The Way Ahead
Sales ongoing process. Most of what worked miracles a decade ago get barely any results today. And only constant experimentation can help you beat this race against this rapidly changing environment.
The above-shared seven tips are a great place to start strengthening your sales outreach strategy. But don’t just stop here. A/B test everything, experiment, and soon you’ll start converting leads like never before.