Outbound sales may have lost some of its popularity in recent years, but by no means is it dead – just evolved – just evolved.
Not everyone has large marketing & sales departments with clearly demarcated roles and often, you’ll find, prospecting is a part of your function as a sales professional.
You might be unfamiliar with top-of-the-funnel marketing, but it makes a lot of sense – the more leads or prospects you generate, the greater your chances of meeting your sales goals.
The main problem, of course, is getting people who haven’t expressed any interest in your brand to give you the time of day. So, if you’re unfamiliar with how to generate more prospects or widen the top of your funnel, read on; we’ve got some useful tips and techniques for you.
1. Have an Ideal Customer Profile in Hand
Knowing your customer and your target audience is step 1 of prospecting. When you’re putting in the effort to find prospects, you want to maximize the chance of them turning into a sale.
One way to do this is to make note of the 5 biggest clients your company works with and make note of their profiles. Another way – if you can’t rely on existing customer data – is to arrange a quick meeting with your company leaders and take notes.
Your ideal customer profile should include the following details-
- Demographic information– in B2B companies, this will be information about the company such as the revenue, location, etc. In B2C companies, this will include the buyer’s gender, age, professional role, etc. in addition to location.
- Buying behavior– problems/needs/pain points, their buying process or habits.
- Psychographics– their business or personal values and daily habits/business processes.
Growing Businesses often find it helpful to use sales CRM software to engage with their prospects, understand their needs and preferences, and in turn create an ideal customer profile.
2. Create a Lot of Content – the Inbound Approach to Outbound Sales
Did you know B2B buyers consume an average of 13 pieces of content before deciding on a vendor? The leading source of content is the vendor’s website, followed by their social media handles at a close second.
Now you probably don’t have enough time to generate content yourself, so we suggest two ways to employ this technique-
- Be personally active on LinkedIn– use the networking platform to build your own personal thought leadership in your business vertical.
Share content and write content about new developments or innovations in your industry and share company updates such as case studies. Don’t forget to re-post your company’s LinkedIn updates for added reach!
- Initiate a blog-writing rota in your company– you’re probably too busy to write a lot of content yourself, but content marketing is a great B2B lead generation tactic.
Talk to the leaders in your company about getting everyone – including them – to write a blog post every month. Once you have a schedule up and running, it’s simply down to sharing and promoting that content!
Eventually, you’ll have enough content that you can start ‘gating’ the valuable bits such as blog posts with case studies and proprietary insights. (Gating is when you request users to share their contact details in exchange for the knowledge contained in a piece of content.)
3. Actively Ask for Referrals From Existing Customers
Did you know, 67% of people say they’re more likely to buy a product when they get to know it from family/ friends via social media or email.
The way to go about this is to identify customers that are satisfied with your product/service and also identify a possible incentive that you could provide.
Then, simply create an email list and shoot out an email asking for a referral – remember to thank them for being a loyal customer!
You can also ask for referrals from leads that you have a great rapport with; leads that are convinced about your product but simply do not need it or want to purchase it at this moment. You need not offer them an incentive here, but the effort you have put into building a rapport should stand you in good stead.
4. Use Personalized Email Marketing – With a Double Emphasis on ‘Personalized’
According to a recent study conducted by SaleCycle, 59% of respondents said their purchase decisions are influenced by marketing emails.
You may have heard a lot of people talk about how email marketing is dead, but the truth is that the strategy behind it has simply evolved. Y
ou can’t get away with blasting out standardized promotional emails to databases; you will get unsubscribed and create a really bad association with the brand.
What you can do, however, is-
- Carefully build an email list that matches your ideal customer profile segment that lists if needed– segment prospects by industry, by your products/services or by location.
- Plan an email flow– the first touchpoint should be an introduction, if they open it/answer to it you send a second email contextual to their action, and then a 3rd and so on. We’d recommend putting a cap of about 4 emails so you don’t over-assert yourself.
- Keep it personalized– even though you may be following a template, personalize parts of it to each segment (by mentioning their pain points/needs, the corresponding benefits of your product/service, etc.)
- Maintain a standardized tonality– polite, respectful, formal yet with a personal touch so it sounds like it’s coming from one person and not a company.
5. Use Account-Based Selling
It works! Did you know, 1 in 5 companies that used an account-based approach saw a revenue increase in just 12 months?
What is account-based selling? It’s a B2B sales approach that involves targeting a company rather than a particular lead. What you need to do is-
- Create a list of companies that fit into your ideal customer profile
- Identify different decision-makers within it.
- Do your research about these decision-makers – using a simple online search – and their needs, problems and how your product/service can help solve them.
- Reach out to them via email or LinkedIn to establish a contact in a personalized way (no standardized scripts here!)
Prospecting with a few contacts within the company increases your chances of conversion so you’re not just widening your top of the funnel but creating depth too. For more on how to get started with account-based selling, read ‘5 Best Tips for Account-based Selling’.
If you have any other prospecting and outbound sales tips, we’d love to hear from you! Simply drop a comment below to get the conversation started.