Building A Successful Outbound Sales Strategy From Scratch
Author: collin stewart
Business to business (B2B) outbound sales strategy has seen a tremendous shift in recent years, with the previous “sales at all costs” mindset being replaced with a more subtle marketing approach. The general consensus of outbound sales was to push your product, service, or brand, regardless of whether it benefited the client.
But in recent years, the nature of sales has started to shift toward building stronger customer relationships. Sales leaders such as Andy Paul have begun to advocate for a “humanity-first” approach to sales.
With so much information available online, customers are more educated than ever before–but they’re also less trusting of salespeople. In today’s market, a successful outbound sales strategy requires more than just cold calls and pushy sales tactics. It requires getting to know your customers on a much deeper level.
Building Your B2B Outbound Sales Strategy
Typically more complex than business to consumer (B2C) sales, B2B demands that outbound sales reps negotiate through layers of departments within a company before they can close a deal. In order to be successful, B2B companies need to foster strong customer relationships and their products or services must significantly boost the customer’s business performance.
The network of stakeholders B2B companies need to keep in mind will usually include:
- The User – Despite having little to no influence over the decision-making process, the user is your true target audience. End users are the ones to interact with the product, and as such, should be deeply understood by you and your outbound sales team.
- The Navigator – The navigator will be your initial point of contact and will eventually connect you with the network of stakeholders.
- The Decision-Maker – Usually residing at the top of the chain of command, decision-makers have the last word when it comes to purchasing your product or service.
- The Protector – The protector will assess any threats you may pose to the company and will usually come from a legal or IT position.
- The Saboteurs – These are the people who can obstruct or slow down the sales process, often assuming the role of CFO or purchasing agent.
- The Contributor – Any consultants, advisors, or trusted peers of the decision-maker fall under the title of the contributor.
When conceiving and maintaining a successful outbound sales strategy, you should consider the motivations of each of these stakeholders. Ultimately, however, the needs of your customer will be the main driving force of your strategy.
Defining Your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
Crafting a reliable B2B strategy requires a considerable amount of research, beginning with your ICP.
In an interview with Predictable Revenue, Guillaume Moubeche, Co-founder and CEO of Lempire, highlights the importance of finding your ICP: “It is the most important thing to consider when growing a company. Once you have that, your conversion rate will increase, and you will potentially drive more sales.”
When identifying your ICP, there are a few things to consider including consumer goals, initial contact, and any possible objections. It’s best to develop a personal ICP, containing their name, position, age, hobbies, and country of residence.
Defining Your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
If you don’t have any customers yet, a bit of research will point you in the right direction. Knowing your target is the easy part but finding individuals and organizations that fit that mold is an entirely different ballgame.
”LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a great way to segment your targets by adding as many filters as you can. It could be their industry, geography and location, or company growth,” Guillaume explains.
If LinkedIn doesn’t work, you can also try Facebook. “By running multiple ads, you can determine which one is performing the best towards your value proposition and generating the greatest audience response,” Guillaume says.
Try joining relevant Facebook communities where you ICP might be found. ”For example, I use a SaaS community on Facebook called ‘SaaS Growth Hacks’,” says Guillaume. “Here I can target SaaS companies, watching the community to see how people interact with each other, what they’re saying, and how exactly they respond to one another.”
Mining job descriptions
Another great hack for learning about your customers is to check job descriptions on job advertisement sites. “If you are targeting VP of Sales, for example, you can go onto Indeed (or other job site) and check the job requirements. Here you can identify potential challenges a person in that role may face and that is something you can leverage into your value proposition.”
It all boils down to making the sale. “If you know their challenges, you can offer the right solution. And if you offer the right solution, it will be easier to build the relationship and close the sale,” Guillaume asserts.
Building Your Own Community
”Once you grow, you can build your own communities,” Guillaume says. “That’s what we did with Lempire, and now we have the biggest community around sales automation. Here we can pose questions to our audience and get to know them better. So whenever we develop new products, we have direct insight into what’s working well and what isn’t.”
Ultimately, the goal is to build a product or service that will enhance the customer’s business in some way. By starting online communities related to your product and service, you have the opportunity to collect information from prospective consumers and use it to increase your chances of success.
Growing Your LinkedIn Profile
The beauty of LinkedIn is its ability to connect you with professionals across the globe. It helps you to build relationships and, in turn, drive sales.
Connect With Your Target Audience And Users
“In order to grow your LinkedIn profile, you need two things,” Guillaume says. “Connect with both your target audience and product or service users.” Prompt your customers to connect with you on LinkedIn through your website or email marketing.
“By doing this, you bring together people who know you and who don’t know you. The people who know you, your users, will cheer for you so that you are more credible to those that don’t know you, your target audience.”
Expose People to Your Content
People need to know you exist and that you have something to say. However, you should always make sure you’re offering your audience valuable information, answering their questions, and establishing yourself as an authority with a reliable source of information.
Writing LinkedIn Posts
When writing posts to promote your content, there are a few things to consider:
- Is your question/title engaging?
- Does your image draw attention?
- Are you writing about topics that showcase your expertise?
By generating posts that your audience finds fulfilling, you can drive interest, website traffic, synapse, and an improved customer-seller relationship.
Best Cold Email Practices for Outbound Sales
The mistake often made by novice B2B salespeople is to focus too heavily on the ROI, when really, cold emails are about creating a dialogue and relationship with your potential customer.
The process of sending cold emails, and when executed effectively, can be hugely rewarding. Here are some key tips that Guillaume has successfully employed:
- Find your target on LinkedIn. Guillaume suggests using LinkedIn Sales Navigator to refine your search. Find their email address and any other useful data
- Begin the cold email sequence
1. Use a casual subject line to encourage people to open your email
2. Your intro sentence should clearly state why you are reaching out to them
3. Add an attention-grabbing, personalized thumbnail that links to a landing page for booking meetings
4. Finish off the email with a simple question e.g. ‘What do you think?’ This triggers curiosity and encourages the reader to click the link.
If you need help writing your cold email sequences, book a free discovery call with our coaching team! We can help bring your team up to speed on best practices.
Getting in Front of Your Audience
Podcasts are another great way to access not only your audience, but also that of the podcast host.
To maximize your chances of featuring on a podcast and exposing more people to your product or service, try a similar approach to LinkedIn cold emails. A combination of intriguing subject lines, concise text, and a sprinkle of personal data can significantly increase your chances of being featured on a career-boosting podcast.
Should You Pay to Promote Your LinkedIn Content?
One of the main points of contention for B2B salespeople using LinkedIn is whether or not you should pay to promote your content.
”We don’t pay, and have never used paid ads, what we do is organic,” explains Guillaume.
The problem with paid ads is that the automated system doesn’t always target your ICP, instead pushing your content to a vast number of LinkedIn users. This means that a majority of the money you invest in a paid promotion will likely do nothing to help push your sales further.
Keeping Things Personal
At the end of the day, an effective outbound sales strategy relies on the relationship between customers and sellers. Most clients prefer to buy from a trusted source, and rightly so. If you want to drive your B2B sales and ultimately your revenue, it’s best to focus on creating a dialogue with your ICP, rather than pushing the sale.
To hear more insight from Guillaume on successful B2B outbound sales strategies, check out his interview at the ‘Own Your Growth’ live summit.
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