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outbound sales tips

Outbound Sales in 2020: 7 Tips and a Bonus

Sales leaders and growth leaders love outbound sales. Why? Outbound sales is a wonderful way to build a fat pipeline, and who doesn’t love that?

Selling is the holy grail of startup success!

You can build the best software, framework and features for your product, but if you don’t know how to pitch and convince prospective customers to buy, your company is destined for failure. To survive you need to acquire more and more customers every month. But, how do you ensure the inflow of customers? Inbound leads are one way to go about it but those are never enough. You must start outbound selling, and include it in your sales process from the get-go. 

Sales leaders and growth leaders love outbound sales. Why? Outbound sales is a wonderful way to build a fat pipeline, and who doesn’t love that? But it’s not all rosy. The competition is doing the exact same thing- You need to stand out from the crowd. How? Let’s look at some of the best outbound practices that I’ve learnt as a salesperson and a founder-

#1 Always be A/B testing 

You can’t guess what’s on your prospect’s mind and what kind of message is going to resonate with them. The best way to find out is to A/B test.

To make A/B testing work for you, you need to test every piece of your message-

  1. Subject line
  2. Opening line
  3. Body
  4. CTA
  5. Signature

You gotta test everything! That’s where success comes from.

For example,  All your emails are asking for a meeting, and there are different ways to ask for a meeting-

  1. How are you placed next Wednesday at 3pm?
  2. Here’s my calendar, please pick a convenient time.
  3. What’s a convenient time for you? I’ll send out a calendar invite.

All three are different and you don’t know which one works. So you A/B test all three to find out what works best for you. Hundreds of Sales teams use Outplay for their email sequencing and A/B testing and according to our data the best option is to give the prospect options i.e. “How are you placed next Wednesday at 11am or 3pm” and the typical response would be either “Yes 11am is good” or “No, can you do 12pm instead?”

A/B testing reduces the friction in getting a response from prospects. Keep A/B testing continuously to see what works best. 

#2 Multi-channel Outreach

Mindspace is the most competitive space, and the notion of “Email-only”, “Call-only”, “Linkedin-Only” has to go. “Only” isn’t going to work anymore. Your prospects will be active on at least 2 channels. Research which customers are most active on what platforms; pick the right channels, make a mix, and set up a sequence.

You can send the same message on different channels at once, or stagger it if you feel like you want to send a LinkedIn request later and reach out on mail first. Yes, this doesn’t ensure a meeting but it increases the chances of your message being seen multifold.

#3 Assume the meeting

How do you confirm a meeting with your prospect once they have responded? 

A lot of times you get a response from the prospect suggesting a time in the future, say next month mid or next quarter beginning. And, when you get such a message, you reply to the prospect to ask for a date/time. 

This does not work all the time because you’re giving the prospect a chance to go cold. What we at Outplay do now is, we assume the meeting. We go ahead and book a slot for the prospect on their calendar and let them know that they can move it around as necessary. This approach has given a 90% acceptance rate and prospects actually show up for the meetings. 

#4 Find that Wrong person 

Sales Intelligence tools like Slintel can help you find the right person to approach at a company to sell your product. But if you want, they can also help you find the wrong person(s).

Who in their right mind wants to approach the wrong person when you can approach the right person, you ask? Anyone who wants a 50% bump at their chances of booking a meeting is who!

Let’s say you’re selling into the marketing function. You’d think that the best approach would be to connect directly with the Manager or Head of Marketing and shoot her an email. But since this is a cold email, your prospect has little reason or inclination to respond back. 

Alternatively, if you reach out to the Head of Sales asking her/him to forward your query to the right person; your response rate will shoot up. Two reason for this,
1) It’s simple to forward your query or refer you to the correct team member and most people consider it their duty to do so.
2) The correct person, in this case the Head of Marketing, is much more likely to now respond to you because you came via their team member.

Try it out and see your response rates shoot up! 

#5 Don’t bad mouth competitors

In today’s world products are not unique. So then, how do you respond to the common question- “How are you better than your competitor XYZ?” 

While bad mouthing competitors would seem like the way to go, it sets a negative precedent from the beginning, and you don’t want that. Try to explain how your product can add value instead of going after your competitors’ advantages and disadvantages. Some tips to keep in mind:

  • Don’t come off as negative about competition during any sales conversation
  • Do let them know how you’re different and what added value you bring
  • Be positive about how you solve problems

#6 Your prospect is the KING

We see that during an outbound sales call or a presentation, the tendency would be to talk more about yourself, your product, and how the product is better than the competition. What really works and what everyone should be doing is talking about the customer, their requirements, their pain points, and how your product solves their issues.

You may not be able to spend 10-15 minutes on personalizing every email you send out, but you can personalize it at scale. Try finding small tidbits of information- like the podcasts they have been on or the webinar they attended and start from there. While you are preparing your list of prospects, create another column “personalization” and include the information you found out about them in one line. This can then go in your email sequence, and you have personalized emails going out to your prospects. You and your reps are not stuck to 5-10 people in a day as you’re doing personalization at scale. 

#7 Old way – Selling product, New way – Selling results

Again, each SAAS product category has at least 50-100 companies right now. So standing out is a big deal in this extremely competitive market. The discovery call is where you understand the pain points of the customers, and then drive that as an agenda in your meeting. Show them results- either what you are getting, or pick a similar customer in the same industry and explain how you were able to help them out. This will make them curious to know how you achieved those results. This inherently leads to the advantages of your product. Instead of showing a simple product demo, show the product in action and you’ll have their curiosity. 

#Bonus – Steal this proven sales process for outbound sales

You can find these tips and tricks online, in blog posts, webinars and a quick search on Google. This is a simple 6 step process you can use to implement the above tips. 

  • Clearly define your ideal client profile
  • Use Linkedin Navigator & Slintel to find current roles and their contact info
  • Add enough contacts to hit your goals – Our SDRs add 60 contacts per day to get 1 meeting a day. This will help you in your A/B testing. 
  • Personalize at scale
  • Create a process that allows easy importing of leads
  • Repeat

A set process and the right tools will ensure that your reps are not confused about what, when and why to do something. Giving them the right tools at their disposal will also allow for them to be super consistent and efficient with this process. These are all the tips we have for you, so go ahead and book that meeting today!

Laxman Papineni

Laxman Papineni

Laxman is the CEO of Outplay- the sales engagement tool helping sales teams achieve 3x Revenue. Every week, he shares actionable sales tips on his Linkedin page.

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