To start making sales, you need to bring prospects into your pipeline, and one of the best ways to ensure you have a healthy flow of leads is to have an effective sales outreach process.
Knowing how and where to reach out to your prospects can be a daunting task, but with the techniques and tips in this article, your sales team will have the confidence and the procedure to contact your leads and the results to keep your pipeline full.
What is outreach sales?
Outreach sales refers to the processes and tactics your sales team use to reach out to new prospects, cold leads and previous customers.
It’s a way to build awareness in your audience and add new leads to your sales funnel, bringing potential customers to one of your products or services that they may be interested in.
Common outreach sales activities include making cold calls, sending cold emails and posting social media messages, which are often the first step in creating a relationship with your prospect.
Sometimes, outreach sales are unprompted by the prospect; you’re reaching out to them with a solution you believe will interest them.
Other times, you’ll use outreach sales techniques to reengage a cold lead, start a conversation with someone who has visited your website, or bring back a former customer.
If you are initiating the conversation with the lead, you are using outbound sales techniques, but if the lead came to you, you are doing inbound sales.
There are many outreach sales strategies that you can employ, but some techniques will work better for you than others. It’s important to understand what you’re trying to achieve when you reach out to new clients, and then use the right method to portray that message.
4 outreach sales techniques to drive leads into your pipeline
1. Qualify your leads
To appeal to your prospects with the highest probability of making a deal and bringing in revenue, you first need to know who they are.
Without lead qualification, you’ll have no way of knowing whether your prospect is in the position to buy your product—they may be too junior to authorize a purchase, or their business might not be able to afford your solution.
Keep your team focused on the leads who fit the criteria of what you need, and who are likely to want your product, as that’s where you’ll find the best conversion rates.
To determine who your ideal prospects are, here are some useful methods to help you qualify your leads:
Build an ideal client profile
The first thing to do is to develop an ideal client profile for your business.
You want to identify the clients who match one, if not all, the following criteria:
- You offer a solution to their problem
- Your sales cycle matches their buying cycle
- Your product pricing aligns with their purchasing budget
With these criteria in mind, look back over your historical sales data to find what the deals you won had in common. Focus on:
- Which audience had the best conversion rate and which had the most valuable deals
- The timescale and purchasing behavior of the prospects you converted into customers
- The common customer issues your product solves best
- The common attributes between your customers (such as company size, location, industry, etc.)
- Which customers have had the highest LTV (lifetime value) for your business
With a list of what your most valuable customers had in common and an understanding of their buying habits, you can begin focusing your attention on appealing to those prospects.
You’ll have a much easier time dealing with your ideal leads—56% of companies found they had a better quality of lead after implementing lead profiles—and what’s more, your reps can focus their time on appealing to these high-value prospects, rather than being spread thin across conversations with unqualified leads.
Compare prospective leads with your ideal profile
There are several ways to qualify inbound sales leads against your ideal profile.
One is to have web forms on your website for leads to fill out themselves. This saves your team time and enables you to get valuable information from a lead, including an indication of their level of interest. Once you have their details, you can compare them to your ideal profile and assess whether they make a good fit, or if they’re not in the position to be a customer.
For example, asset reliability experts Reliability Maintenance Solutions (RMS) uses the Pipedrive Web Forms feature on different product pages to identify exactly what a website visitor wants and fast-track them through the sign-up process.
Another way is to use chatbots on your website, such as Pipedrive’s LeadBooster Chatbot, to assess whether a lead is right for you. When a lead initiates a live chat conversation with your chatbot, it can be programmed to help assess their viability as an ideal prospect. Chatbot provides a solution to their issue, if they are an existing customer, or reroutes them to your sales team if they are a potential customer. Again, this inbound method of qualification has the prospect reaching out to you, and is a good indication of a pre-existing interest in your product.
But not all leads become known to you via self-qualification on your website. Some require outbound sales techniques, where your team are the ones finding leads and then qualifying them.
One method is to use Pipedrive’s Prospector tool, which searches through a huge database of B2B contacts based on the parameters of your ideal client profile for verified contact data of leads that match your profile, meaning you can instantly contact the highest value leads and not waste time on less likely sales.
Another powerful method is to use social media. Social media platforms are built around bringing people together and they’re a great resource for data on people’s job roles, interests and milestones.
Search for groups populated by your target audience, check for comments and the past activity of your possible leads and use their profile to learn more about their position and company—all this information can be used to determine if they fall within the brackets of your ideal client profile.
Lead processing is a two-way street. By using the techniques in this article and making sure leads are right for your organization, you aren’t wasting their time or your own.
If there are things about a lead that you’re not sure about, don’t worry; when you start talking to them you can qualify them further. Just make sure you have some signs that they have the potential to be a hot lead before you contact them.
2. Cold emailing
The best way to get prospects interested in your service is by demonstrating what it can do for them. In fact, personalized trigger emails have over twice the chance to lead to a transaction as unpersonalized ones. If you’ve identified what your lead’s challenges are, then you can show how your product can be the solution.
The most obvious data, like their name and job position, will help you personalize an email so it catches their eye in their inbox. However, you should also check their social media profiles or company pages for other useful information. For example, you could compliment them on an award they’ve posted about or start a conversation about an article they share on LinkedIn.
The purpose of your email is to demonstrate:
- That you’re well informed of your lead, their company’s position and their problem points
- That you can offer a solution that will help them with their challenges.
Remember, the most important part of sending a cold email is to make your email personalized to your recipient. If you can pique your lead’s interest by appealing to them directly with information relevant to their job position, you stand a much higher chance of having your email opened and read.
The keys to success are in keeping your email concise, well informed, well mannered, and you’ll have an excellent strategy for reaching out to prospects about your products.
3. Cold calling
Like cold emailing, cold calling also benefits from personalized messages.
Before you go into the call, be aware of your prospect’s name, position and company name, and know the challenges they’re likely to be facing and how your product can solve them.
Unlike emails, however, phone calls have you and your prospects communicating simultaneously. This means your lead has more chances to say ‘no’ and end the conversation before you’ve made your pitch. Knowing your lead’s details will also help you get past any gatekeepers.
To engage your prospect, begin the call by stating their name. This will immediately tell them that you’ve done your homework and that you may be able to offer them something of value. Once you’ve introduced yourself, jump immediately into the reason you’re calling—asking your prospect how they’re day is going gives them a chance to terminate the call.
It’s important not to waste your lead’s time though; make your pitch succinct and to the point, but still include enough information to let them know that you understand their position and problem points and where your product can come in to offer a solution.
If your lead isn’t won over by your initial pitch, then you can use further personalized details to win them over. Asking leading questions with solutions ready (perhaps even an example of your previous success), like a flow chart, so that you can lead your prospects towards the answers you want to give them.
But remember not to treat your leads as obstacles. The way to win them over is to understand their issues and know how to solve them. Listen to their concerns and be polite. Even if they’re not ready to make a purchase now, they may in future, so don’t burn your bridges, instead leave them thinking that when the time comes your business is a contender.
Read our article with 25 cold calling scripts for more tips, tricks and guidance on dealing with different scenarios.
4. Outreach on Social Media
When using social media as part of your sales outreach, the platform you choose should be dependent on the audience you’re trying to reach and the product you’re selling. If your products are photogenic, Instagram could be for you, for example, while B2B companies may have more success on the professional network LinkedIn.
Providing valuable content for prospects is a good way of generating inbound sales, as users who resonate with your content will engage with it, letting you know they might make a good lead. You’ll also be a name they associate with solutions for their problems, so when the time comes for them to buy, they’ll go to you.
By getting your reps to join groups and contribute to discussions that are relevant to your industry, you can quickly build up a list of hot leads, plus you can use how you found them as a springboard for contacting them, either via the social media platform, or one of the other methods listed above.
3 outreach sales tools to help automate the process
Implementing a new strategy can be daunting, but there’s a host of helpful outreach sales tools to automate the repetitive tasks and keep your team focused on selling.
1. CRM software
If you’re not already using CRM software, then now’s the time to try it.
Not only can CRM help with automation, but it also makes the lives of your sales team easier and ensures you’re maximizing your sales.
Within the scope of outreach sales automation, there are a few things they can do in particular to simplify the process.
Templates and scripts
Writing individual emails is a time-consuming task, but having pre-written templates with customizable fields for your CRM to input personal data into automatically can radically reduce the time spent drafting outreach sales emails, without lessening the personalized effect.
Sometimes even the subject line of a cold email can be enough to dissuade a prospect from opening it, but a good CRM will help create the best subject lines to ensure your open rate stays high.
And when your team cold calls prospects, measure their success and improve their technique with call-tracking software, which enables you to log calls and record them, so you can relisten and find out what works best.
Set follow-up reminders
Knowing when to next reach out to your prospects is key to progressing deals through your pipeline, but with lots of leads to manage it’s easy to forget when you should be following up with them.
Good CRMs take on this responsibility for you. Set automated reminders within customized workflows to ensure you deliver consistent outreach to each of your leads and never miss a follow-up message again.
See your results
It can be hard to tell how well your sales outreach strategy is working, but with CRMs providing clear data about your sales metrics, you’ll have a grasp on where your outreach strategy is working and where it needs refining.
With customizable dashboards to review the numbers, you’ll know where to make changes to improve results, as well as what your most effective outreach strategies are. Knowing where you’re getting the most success can help you be sure that you’re spending your time appealing to the right demographic.
2. Email automation tools
Creating marketing emails to keep prospects and customers in the loop can be time-consuming, but you can speed up the process with email automation tools to create and customize eye-catching emails quickly.
Beyond templates for your marketing campaigns, email automation tools offer some impressive personalization and automation options.
Create automated campaigns that respond to your lead’s behavior—depending on the emails they open, the messages they engage with and the purchases they make, you can create automated workflows to send messages when certain triggers occur, keeping your lead engaged whatever stage they’re in.
Depending on their viewing and purchasing history on your site, you can program your email automation tool to target your leads with offers and deals customized to their interests.
You can also check to see what’s working and what’s not. Like CRMs, good email automation will show you the effectiveness of your campaigns so you can determine what your leads are responding to best.
3. General automation tools
Having tools dedicated to automating certain parts of your workflow is effective, but having a more general automation tool such as Zapier to automate responses between the apps you use can make a huge impact.
By setting conditions and the responses you want them to trigger, you can create automated processes to keep you in the loop and up to date.
Get email notifications of any leads reaching out to you on social media or automate follow-up emails when leads sign up for your services.
Or, when an outreach sales campaign gets a response from a lead, you can set up a trigger to move them to the next stage in your pipeline.
If there’s a part of your workflow where a condition met in one app triggers a response in another, you can automate it. There’s a vast amount of time to be saved, and again, automation ensures there’s no human error when it comes to repeating uninteresting admin tasks.
Let technology take care of the tasks that don’t require your rep’s expertise, allowing your reps to spend their time selling and fostering relationships with your leads and customers.
Bringing your strategy together
With the powerful automation tools available to you, personalized outreach sales are a powerful way to get the best quality leads into your pipeline.
By completing your admin tasks via automations and setting up alerts to keep your team informed, you can make sure your reps’ attention is focused on building lasting relationships with prospects and drawing them into your funnel.
Don’t give your leads a reason to say no to you. Train your reps to give your prospects value and advice before you’ve even initiated any sales and give your reps the power to do this by automating all the tasks that take their attention away from the client.
Set yourself up for a long-term relationship with your prospects and keep them engaged. The goal isn’t to force a sale, but to establish long-term relationships with customers who trust your product, your business and ultimately make more purchases in the long run.