So, you want to build an outbound sales team.
I don’t blame you – outbound sales, unlike any other channel, can provide scalable and predictable revenue, month over month, and year after year. But, of course, deciding on establishing an outbound team and succeeding at outbound are two different things. The road to outbound glory is littered with sales teams that never quite got it right or, worse yet, never got anything from their outbound experiment.
That’s because successful outbound sales take more than just an interest in new revenue, it requires consistent execution on three key pillars: consistent top-of-funnel growth, running great meetings, and establishing world-class follow-up.
Top of funnel growth
Everything starts here.
For outbound to be successful, you have to grow the top of the funnel with qualified opportunities. And the first step towards that goal is nailing your niche.
To nail your niche, we suggest sales managers do three things: define your market, divide that market into verticals (or sub-verticals), and, rank those verticals according to their potential deal value.
For example, let’s say you sell to manufacturers – that’s your market. And within manufacturing, you realize you sell to bicycle part manufacturers most often. That’s your vertical. Finally, based on the potential deal size of those bicycle part manufacturers, you rank them from most lucrative to least.
This exercise will give you immediate visibility into your market, the vertical you should target in that market, and which accounts you should spend more on acquiring (the bigger the deal size, the more you can spend on your outreach).
Running great meetings
The foundation for running great meetings is acknowledging that inbound meetings are different than outbound. Plenty of sales teams assume these are the same – that is simply not true.
For example, outbound prospects are, more often than not, unaware they even have a problem. Inbound leads, regardless of whether or not they are a good fit for your product or service, have at least determined they need help.
To bridge that gap for outbound prospects, we encourage all salespeople to adopt the “earn and learn” framework for their meetings: selling the dream, the earn, and asking revealing discovery and qualifications questions, the learn.
Let’s look at learn first: you need to tailor your outbound pitch to match the place in the buying cycle your prospect is at. If they are unaware they have a problem, look for gaps. Remember, they think they’re happy.
But don’t just show up and throw up on these calls. You have to build rapport and trust as well. This is the learning, or discovery, portion of the call. Get to know your prospect by showing an interest in what they do.
Finally, for all you sales managers out there, make sure you are conducting regular call scoring and call reviews for your team. Call scoring is a holistic review of calls, for all your reps. This is to make sure that the fundamental pieces of a call – rapport building, discovery, and establishing a time frame for a decision – are being taken care of.
Call reviews, on the other hand, are hyper-focused meetings between a manager and a rep, where they work on improving one specific piece of a call. A call review can be initiated by either a manager or a rep.
World class follow up
Sadly, only a fraction of your market is going to be ready to make a purchase within 90 days of your first call. That means there is a pot of gold waiting a few quarters down the road, for those willing to put in the work and stay top of mind with their prospects. As such, you need to execute world-class follow-up.
For example, if your prospect can’t proceed with a deal because their company is hiring a new VP of Marketing in the next quarter, make sure to follow up and ask if they made that hire. Learn those details, and make them work for you during the sales cycle.
You can also use a rotating group of emails – from the short, but effective “Hey, is this still a priority for you this quarter?” to the more informative, but less direct “Hey, I just read this blog post and thought you’d appreciate it.”
Both options will keep you on your prospect’s radar. Of course, you’ll likely have to follow up again (and again) to begin working towards a close, but that’s part of the gig. And by growing the top of the funnel, running great meetings, and establishing world-class follow-up – you’re well on your way to new revenue and making your outbound team the success it can be.