So…you’ve been doing outbound sales for a while. Maybe a long while. And, you’ve had some success.
Your messaging is tight, your SDRs are comfortable on the phone and you’ve zeroed-in on your ICP, resulting in accurate lists of prospects.
It should – this is (more or less) the outbound sales process, as we’ve come to know it. And the system works: train your SDRs well on your product, teach them how to talk to leads, write engaging emails and you will connect with (and ultimately sell to) prospects.
But, surely, there are other, novel ways of connecting with potential customers, right? How else can we do this?
Enter Tukan Das, CEO of Halifax’s LeadSift, who’s developed an outbound sales process devoid of static list building and email cadences, and instead focused entirely on various “trigger events.” “The whole idea at our company is to rely on outbound sales and marketing. We don’t have a ton of inbound leads coming in, so we have to reply on outbound,” says Das, on a recent edition of The Predictable Revenue Podcast.
“When we looked at outbound prospecting, we realized it was static list building approach. It was going to LinkedIn, getting profiles, building lists and cold calling or sending emails.
But, the problem was just because a person had the right title at the right company didn’t mean they were in the buying journey at that moment.
As a result, these busy people don’t get back to.”
So, Das and his team started evaluating prospects and their companies on their online activities (the aforementioned trigger events).
Their assumption was that if they could see a potential prospect showing an interest or need for what LeadSift offers (in their case, lead generation) then they could proactively reach out knowing the prospect has this top of mind.
“We look at signals that indicate people might be interested in buying, or learning more about us,” adds Das. “Wherever they are in the funnel, we want to know if they are interested.”
Thus far, the method has yielded great results. On average, LeadSift has seen a 4%-5% positive response rate from it’s outbound prospecting.
“People say they get a 12-15% response rate, but when you dig deeper it’s a bunch of “unsubscribe” messages. There’s a need to differentiate between positive and negative responses,” says Das.
“We see on average 4%-5% of people having positive response rate. That means if we send 100 emails to 100 unique people, 4-5 of them will raise their hands and ask to learn more or book a meeting.”
Note: using trigger events as a basis for prospecting can work for those selling to any industry.
There are, naturally, numerous different trigger events you can use to form the basis for your prospecting.
A particularly powerful one, according to Das, is tracking your competitors. This method requires two activities:
- Defining your competitors and building an exhaustive list of them;
- Defining trending ideas / hot topics / key industry terms from your particular business universe.
From there, you can use tools like Hootsuite to search for those terms and you will get a steady stream of people discussing whatever term you’ve searched. Simply scroll through those people, visit their profiles, check out their LinkedIn pages and if anyone matches your ICP, reach out.
“Of course, you don’t know if they are necessarily interested in buying marketing automation software, for instance, but you do know if it is top of mind for them,” says Das. “You might get a list of 20-30 people in this way, who are at least all thinking about marketing automation software.”
Another method of tracking competitors is to visit their social profiles (every business has social profiles). Check out their followers – who is consuming their content? If you can isolate the people consuming your competitors’ blog posts they are, obviously, aware of the space and you can try and get a meeting with them. “Of course, you have to be careful. A lot of the people who are often talking about specific terms are vendors themselves,” says Das. “So, be mindful of that.”
Tracking Job Changes
This is another powerful trigger event. If a company that you could sell to is hiring for a role that would use your product or service, you know they are investing (and serious) about your particular business function. For example, if your company specializes in demand generation, targeting companies that are hiring a CMO or other senior marketing roles could yield meetings rather quickly.
“They say a new VP that is hired makes $1 million in new buying decisions within a month,” says Das.
“New people want to change things and switch things up.” To search for job openings, head over to LinkedIn, and click on the “Jobs” tab. From there, you can search the job openings for whatever role you want.
For a more granular search, you can further filter for companies that are in computer software, for instance.
Tracking Event Attendees
Everyone loves events, right?
But attending or sponsoring events can be expensive.
You can track relevant events again using social media, to see if any potential prospects are attending conferences that may apply to your offering.
To do so, once again, turn to Twitter (or Twitter via Hootsuite). Typically, events have their own hashtag. So, type in the hashtag and see who is tweeting it.
Some of those people will be going to the event. When you see interesting people Tweeting the hashtag, do your research on them and reach out. But, remember: many of the people using the hashtag will be employees of the company organizing the event. Ignore those people.
“If you can find out all of the attendees there, you can reach out to them. This can be a very timely intervention,” says Das. “And, you don’t have to sponsor the event. That’s the best part.”
For more on Das’ use of trigger events for outbound prospecting, check out his recent edition of The Predictable Revenue Podcast.