A Checklist for Scaling Your Outbound Sales Team

Krista Caldwell, Senior Strategist, Predictable Revenue

The single most important factor to accelerating the growth of any business is leads – a constant, unrelenting stream of qualified leads. Month over month, year over year.

Sure, offering a great product or service helps. So does having a high-functioning, supportive team (a group of talented, likeable people never hurt any company). But without that steady of funnel of prospects, who is that high-performing team going to sell to? And who is that great product or service going to help?

Very few, if any, businesses get enough inbound leads to satisfy their revenue targets, let alone achieve any form of consistent growth. Simply put, you have to go out and get those leads. You need to do outbound sales. But, developing a predictable outbound sales process takes patience, diligence and 6-18 months. Outbound success doesn’t happen overnight, but the payoff can completely transform your business – and generate millions in revenue.

For companies that want to consistently generate new conversations every month from outbound sales, the most common outbound killer is the transition from designing a successful campaign blueprint to putting into practice a campaign that hits the same metrics with twice the input. Can you scale your outbound sales?

The first year of executing outbound at scale is essential to your program’s long term success. Not surprisingly, it’s where we see most companies fail. And, it’s the hard part. Hitting scalable campaign metrics does not necessarily get you “Home Free.” There are numerous factors to consider when scaling your outbound machine.

We love outbound sales and checklists – if you haven’t read the Checklist Manifesto yet, go check it out (pun intended, sorry), we’ll wait for you – and made the following checklist to make sure we weren’t pouring our efforts into leaky funnels.  We use it for our own outbound campaigns and in one of the Milestones in our Accelerate Program.

Why would I scale my outbound campaign?

Before deciding to scale an outbound campaign, it’s important to clearly define that campaign’s goals, and how its success will be measured. For example, our clients choose to scale their outbound initiatives for a number of different reasons:

  • Meet revenue/growth goals;
  • Stabilize their pipeline during months with less inbound leads;
  • Reduce their marketing + sales costs (or reduce spend in other categories);
  • Expand quickly into new verticals;
  • Test new verticals.

On the other hand, some clients develop successful, ROI-positive campaigns and choose not to increase their volume because:

  • Their internal sales team does not have extra capacity (more leads will not increase the team’s throughput);
  • Their current volume generates enough new revenue to meet their revenue/growth targets;
  • Their market isn’t huge, and is somewhat saturated (only 100 – 1,000 accounts they can prospect to in a year);
  • Other factors influencing growth (timeline, money and appetite for risk, for example) limit their commitment.

When should I scale my outbound campaign? 

This is the most common question any business that’s seen some success in outbound asks. It’s natural to want to turn up the dial once you’ve started closing outbound deals. But, simply throwing more resources at outbound won’t proportionally increase your revenue. At the risk of sounding cliche, if it were that easy everyone would do it.

Editor’s note:  hello readers, Collin here, I’m jumping in to stress how important this piece is.  We see a really high failure rate at this stage.  The financial stakeholders are probably pushing you for ROI on their investment, your closers are hungry for new prospects to talk to, and you are under the gun to show some leading indicators of success.  My advice to you is to focus on quality instead of quantity.  Your team only gets one first impression and if you send your closers 40 low quality meetings that don’t go anywhere, they might lose faith in outbound as a lead source. 

So, how do you know when it’s the right time scale outbound? When do you make the leap?

That’s a critical development for any organization, and one we take very seriously. For example, every client in the Predictable Revenue Accelerate Program is assessed on three key metrics before we increase the volume of their email campaigns: conversion rates, their market and their team.

Are prospects reading and responding to the emails? Is your market large enough to warrant substantially increasing prospecting? Can your team effectively handle, and ultimately close, more leads? By asking these questions, we get a truly holistic look at the outbound strengths, and weaknesses, of each of our clients.

Below is the checklist I mentioned earlier in the post. Have a read, get a sense of our process…and let’s chat if you’re looking for help scaling your outbound team.

Conversion Assessment

Getting Opens

Open Rate >40%

2+ healthy prospecting domains configured with DKIM, SPF, DMARC

Getting Positives

MIN 3 different keywords and subject lines have been tested

3.5%+ of prospects who open respond positively

Getting Qualified Handoffs

MIN 3 different CTA messages have been tested

Qualification Criteria for Handoffs calls has been developed with AE’s and tested (AE’s are enticed by the calls – they’re not obviously bad fits)

Handoffs that don’t convert to AWAFs

20% of Positive Responses convert to “I’m available for a call.”

80% of prospects show up to calls they book

Calls are converting to SQL’s

AWAF script has been developed and tested

Qualification criteria for AWAF calls has been developed with AE’s and tested

70% of AWAF calls are Sales Qualified

SQL’s are converting to Opportunities

Ops are closing

Campaign is generating ROI

Market assessment: How big is my market actually?

For each niche/campaign:

How many companies?

How many buyers?

How many referral targets?

How many months until I’ve reached everyone in this niche?

Team assessment

Do my AE’s have excess capacity for:

AWAF calls?

N more prospects?

Is senior leadership bought in (CEO, Marketing, Sales)?

Have they reviewed + signed off on Milestone Reports?

Do they agree with ROI statement?

Does marketing contribute to campaigns with case studies, etc.?

Is the sales team servicing the leads they receive?

Do they show up to calls?

Do they follow up consistently with prospect to convert AWAFs to SQLs?

Do they provide helpful feedback when leads are unqualified?

Here’s a google doc template of the above checklist, click “File” then “Make a copy” to edit and customize your own.



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