Your cold email just arrived in your prospect’s inbox. But will your prospect open, read and respond to you?
Here’s what the data says: probably not.
And that’s because cold emailing, a form of outbound prospecting, is notoriously difficult and challenging for even the most seasoned sales professional. Still, outbound prospecting is an essential part of any successful B2B sales strategy that you shouldn’t avoid.
So, what can you do? The good news is that there are ways to improve your efforts. And in this blog post, we share some of the best outbound prospecting strategies to help you crush your sales goals.
Let’s get started!
What is outbound prospecting?
Outbound prospecting is the process of reaching out to potential customers or clients to sell them your product or service. This can involve anything from sending out cold emails and making phone calls to attending industry events and networking with potential leads.
If you’re new to sales, prospects might find your outbound prospecting efforts annoying and easy to ignore. But in reality, outbound prospecting is a highly strategic and effective way to generate sales opportunities. According to a survey of IT executives, 75% of executives are “willing to make an appointment or attend an event based on a cold call or email alone.”
On top of that, outbound prospecting allows you to proactively engage with potential customers who may not otherwise be aware of your product or company. Rather than waiting for leads to come to you, outbound prospecting gives you the power to reach out and connect with prospects directly.
Inbound vs. outbound prospecting
Outbound prospecting is all about hunting for new business opportunities, while inbound prospecting involves waiting for those opportunities to come to you.
Strategies for outbound prospecting include cold calling, email outreach and social media prospecting. These techniques allow you to target specific potential customers based on their needs and interests, increasing your chances of connecting with the right people.
On the other hand, strategies for inbound prospecting involve building your brand or company’s online presence and any tactic that helps you generate quality leads. This can include optimizing your website for search, creating engaging social media content and partnering with influencers or industry experts to reach a wider audience.
Ideally, you’ll use a combination of outbound and inbound prospecting strategies to reach new customers and grow your customer base. For more information on how to do that, check out our post on inbound vs. outbound sales.
8 tips for building an effective outbound prospecting strategy
#1 Use behavioral data to update your ICP
When was the last time your company updated its ideal customer profile (ICP)? For many companies, it’s been a while, and all the info is somewhere on an old PowerPoint presentation.
And you know the worst part? Most of the information in that presentation doesn’t even scratch the surface of what characteristics and behaviors actually define your ideal customer.
If you’re looking to do outbound prospecting more effectively, it’s time to look beyond firmographic and technographic data and focus instead on what we at Rev call exegraphics. What are exegraphics? The characteristics and behaviors of companies that define how they operate and make important decisions, such as when and how to adopt new software solutions.
By assessing these qualities and using them to update your ICP, you can develop a clear understanding of who to target and how to reach out to them.
#2 Personalize your messaging
You may know your prospects’ names and job titles. But personalization is so much more than that. To do outbound prospecting like a pro, you need to understand your prospects’ motivations and pain points and craft messages that truly resonate with them.
For example, by using exegraphic data, let’s imagine that you discovered that the type of companies most likely to buy from you are in the process of downsizing their marketing teams. To start outbound prospecting effectively, you might personalize your messaging by highlighting how your product or service can help these companies replace lost revenue and automate essential marketing tasks.
By tailoring your outbound prospecting strategy to address your prospects’ specific needs and concerns, you will be able to establish more meaningful connections and increase your chances of closing big sales.
#3 Identify the best medium and channel for communication
Depending on your target audience and the type of outbound prospecting campaign you run, you can use various methods and channels to connect with potential customers. Some popular methods include email marketing, phone calls, social media outreach, and webinars or live events.
For example, email marketing is a popular and effective outbound prospecting method, as it allows you to easily reach out to many potential clients at once. However, because your message is delivered electronically, you may find that it doesn’t always resonate with your target audience or elicit the response you are hoping for.
On the other hand, phone calls and live events may be more effective at fostering real conversations with your prospects and building trust. Of course, these methods can also be more time-consuming and challenging to scale.
#4 Share valuable product-led content
Content marketing is typically seen as a component of an inbound prospecting strategy, as it allows you to create valuable content that speaks directly to the needs and interests of your target audience.
But rather than just creating content and hoping your prospects find it organically, you can incorporate content into your outbound prospecting strategy. How? By leveraging product-led content to guide prospects through the sales journey.
What is product-led content? Product-led content is any type of content that helps to educate potential customers about the features and benefits of your offering. This can include blog posts, ebooks, infographics, webinars, video tutorials and more.
One of the key benefits of product-led content is that it helps to build trust and credibility with potential customers. By providing high-quality, relevant information about your product, you demonstrate that you are an expert in your field and can be trusted to help solve your customers’ problems.
#5 Include social proof
No matter how detailed and thorough your sales pitch is, prospects are likely to always ask themselves questions like:
- What are other people saying about this offering?
- Has this company helped businesses like mine before?
- What do others think of its quality and value?
One great way to address these concerns is by including social proof in your outbound prospecting efforts.
By including social proof, such as testimonials and reviews from satisfied customers, you can build credibility with potential clients, instill confidence in your offering and make it more likely that they will become customers.
#6 Automate repetitive tasks using sales prospecting tools
Prospecting can be a tedious, time-consuming process. There’s a lot of work involved in researching potential clients’ contact information, reaching out to them and following up with those who don’t respond immediately.
To streamline your outbound prospecting efforts, consider using automated sales prospecting tools. These tools can help you to easily manage your outreach campaigns, tracking the status and progress of each lead and automatically sending out email follow-ups, among other things.
#7 Create a schedule for following up
Few prospects will respond to your outbound prospecting efforts right away. Instead, they’ll likely need some time to consider your pitch and research your company. As such, it’s crucial to create a schedule for following up with leads to ensure that you don’t miss out on any opportunities.
When and how often should you follow up with prospects? Some sales professionals recommend following up as soon as possible, within the first 24 hours after making your initial contact. Ultimately, the best approach will depend on your sales process and the type of leads you’re targeting.
For example, if you’re selling a highly technical product or service, it may be best to wait a bit longer to follow up with leads. This will allow you more time to thoroughly research their needs and develop a tailored solution and response to potential questions.
On the other hand, if you’re selling a more commoditized product or service, it may be best to reach out as soon as possible. This will help you stay top-of-mind and continue to build a relationship before your competition does.
#8 Track and measure your results
You’ve heard it before. What gets measured gets managed. Sure, it’s a cliche, but it’s true.
To get the best out of your outbound prospecting efforts, you need to track and measure your results so you can make improvements as needed. Some metrics you’ll want to track include:
- Number of outbound emails/calls sent and response rate
- Lead conversion rate
- Sales funnel progression
- Average deal size and time to close
By analyzing these key metrics, you can identify areas for improvement to better engage and convert prospects. For example, the data might encourage you to tweak your messaging or adjust your targeting criteria.
Outbound prospecting is challenging. It requires persistence and creativity to find the right target contacts, craft engaging messages that stand out from the competition and convert leads who might not know much about your company.
To maximize your efforts, start by taking the time to refine your ICP with exegraphic data. That way, you can identify the businesses most likely to be interested in your products or services. Next, develop engaging messaging that resonates with your target contacts and compels them to respond. Ready to use these strategies to level up your outbound prospecting and start closing more deals? Contact us, and we’ll give a free, prioritized list of target accounts that have the same characteristics as your best customers.