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Outbound sales can be a very effective lead generation strategy, and it’s not difficult to get it right.  A lot of people struggle with it, but it’s because they don’t follow the rules.

And if you want to play the outbound sales game, you have to stick to the rules. More about it here.

If you’ve been doing outbound sales for quite a while now, and you still can’t see any positive results it’s probably because you got your prospecting wrong.

READ  Six Ways to Automate Your Outbound Sales

And if I were to name one thing that can make or break your outbound sales process it’s prospecting.

How so?

Because it matters who you’re trying to sell your product to.

And unless you sell a mass product like soap, for example, which a vast majority of people uses you have to be very selective about your prospects.

If you target wrong people, you will not only miss a sale, waste your time and effort, but you will most definitely be perceived as a spammer. And you don’t want that!  

So today, we’re going to talk about the biggest prospecting mistakes you have to stop making if you want to succeed in outbound sales. Time to un-suck your prospecting process.

The Biggest Prospecting Mistakes You Have to Stop Making.

#1 You have no idea who your ideal customer is

One of the biggest prospecting mistakes that businesses make is not knowing who their ideal customer is. You should have answers to the following questions:

  • Where are they located?
  • Which vertical do they operate in?
  • What’s their size?
  • What are their goals?
  • What are their challenges?
  • And many others

I realize that initially, you might not have answers to all of the questions, but you should start building your ideal customer profile as soon as possible. You can continuously enrich it with any missing information.

Creating an ideal customer profile is a process. Here is how to make one.

#2 Your target market is too broad

You cannot please everybody… If you try to target everyone then you end up targeting no one. You have to try to narrow your target market. To be successful in outbound sales, you have to create messaging that will resonate with your readers.

As you can imagine, it’s rather difficult to come up with messaging that will appeal to a massive group of people. They might have certain characteristics in common but essentially they are very different.

READ  How to Identify Your Perfect Target Audience

What’s the solution to that? Try to segment your target audience, based on different criteria: like the vertical they operate in, their job position or their company size.

Different kind of messaging will appeal to a Finance Director and different to a Sales Director. Their pain points vary and so do their priorities so keep that in mind.

If you’re not getting any responses to your outbound campaigns, it probably means you didn’t tailor your messaging.

#3 You don’t know who the decision maker is

You are not targeting the decision maker – this is another big prospecting mistake. Sometimes identifying the decision maker is not easy.

Who the decision maker is will probably depend on how big the company is, the bigger the company, the more hierarchical it is. The smaller the firm the higher you should aim.

READ  Find email addresses for decision makers in 5 steps

In general, you should always target the decision-making process rather than the decision maker. Hardly ever there will only be one decision maker.

Usually, there are multiple people involved in the buying process, and you have to address them all.

#4 You purchase email lists

If this is your prospecting strategy, then no wonder you’re not getting any results from your outbound campaigns. Purchased email lists are pure evil!

The average lifespan of an email address is less than 18 months, so a lot of the contacts will be outdated.

What does it mean?

High bounce rate, which will trigger spam filters. And spam filters are merciless. If your emails are frequently undelivered, it will have a negative impact on your domain reputation.

Worldwide, only 79% of emails end up in the inbox, and this number keeps decreasing.

biggest prospecting mistakes

Image Source: MailChimp 

#5 You do prospecting manually

Prospecting is a very important process, but it doesn’t mean you should be spending endless hours on it.  Doing prospecting manually is definitely one of the biggest prospecting mistakes, as you’re investing your time and energy in a task which can and should be automated.

How many hours per week do you spend looking for prospects? 4,5, 6 hours?

READ  Speed Up Your Sales Prospecting with Growbots

What would happen if you spent this time talking to your prospects instead? You would probably close more deals.

So here’s a little tip for you, use a prospect automation tool like Growbots. Select your targeting criteria, and you’ll get a tailored list of all your decision makers with their email addresses instantly.

There are nearly 200 million contacts available in our database, so I am sure you’ll find something for yourself.

#6 You use a marketing automation platform to send cold emails

Shame on you if that’s what you do, as it’s definitely one of the biggest prospecting mistakes you can make. You should use marketing automation tools for marketing purposes, to nurture leads not to send out cold emails.

Marketing automation tools are not designed for conversations, they have an informational character.

How can you find out whether the prospect you identified is a good fit for your business?

You need to have a conversation with them, and this is what outbound sales platforms are for.

Also didn’t you notice that marketing platforms like Marketo, Hubspot or MailChimp require you to have a permission or a consent from the person you’re contacting before they let you upload their contact details into their database?

READ  7 Easy Steps to Setting More Qualified Sales Meetings

Their mail servers are not designed for handling large volumes of non targeted email campaigns to people who have never signed up to receive communication from you.

You risk damaging your domain reputation, which will have serious consequences, think SPAM.

“Mail servers are a lot like a public park. When someone is littering in that park, it’s ruined for everyone.

Similarly, if you’re not running your own dedicated mail servers, and you’re sending with Marketo, you’re sending your emails on the same IP as everyone else who’s using Marketo.

Even if you’re not spamming, you can be penalized for other people’s spam. All it takes is one really aggressive to kill the reputation of the IP you and many others are using” – great explanation, thanks, Heather.

#7 You don’t remember about follow-ups

Often a response from a prospect is required to enable their qualification. You will hardly ever get any replies after sending the first email.

Not getting a response doesn’t necessarily mean your prospect is not interested in what you’re offering, they might simply be too busy to reply to your email. Alternatively, your email got lost in their mailbox. This is why it’s so important to send follow-ups.

READ  Writing Followup Sales Emails: 7 Steps To Becoming A Champion

On average you should send 7 follow-ups to make the most out of your outbound campaigns. If you give up after the first email, then you’re really missing out.

Are you making any of these prospecting mistakes? Have we forgotten about something? Let us know and we will happily add it to the article.

Kasia Kowalska

Kasia Kowalska

Content Manager at Growbots. Reading good copy makes me want to sing.

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