You don’t know what will work for you until it does. This is true in life and in business. So when you start a business, you are constantly wondering how you will get customers to buy your product and bring you revenue.
In fact, when you start, there is one burning question above all others: what is a reliable and successful strategy for finding leads that will be converted into sales?
There is no such thing as a silver bullet for your uncertainty. However, there are a few great advantages that an outbound sales strategy has over any other techniques for acquiring new leads. I would like you to hear me out on why it’s worth it to implement an outbound sales strategy for lead generation.
Why is it better to start an outbound sales strategy than to go for other lead generation practices?
A. It is Predictable
Once you figure out your outbound sales strategy, it’s very easy to predict how much business you will generate based on a very simple equation. All you have to do is decide how much revenue you want to generate and you can figure out how many people you need to contact. Need more customers? Simply contact more leads. Simple as that.
B. Outbound sales can be scaled through automation
Automation tools like Growbots allow you to multiply the effectiveness of your sales reps by 3.
You pick your customer
Outbound is proactive so you don’t have to wait for customers to come to you. And since you have full control over adjusting your targeting, you have 100% certainty that you will get customers who perfectly match your ideal customer profile.
It is not even just about the benefits you have to think about.
The opportunity cost of not starting an outbound sales strategy
The current method you use for lead generation may not scale. It may work for now but how well it will work as your company grows? Of course, you can always ignore outbound and develop another strategy but before you do so, ask yourself this one simple question: how effective is my strategy?
A. Relationship building is dependent on a single person
A lot of businesses start with the founder shaking hands, making deals, and relying on personal relationships. Unfortunately, relationships don’t scale. You will need to hire and develop a new sales rep every time to increase sales this way. With outbound, you can ramp up a new prospector in a matter of weeks. From there, their output is predictable.
B. Inbound takes a long time to start generating leads
An inbound funnel can be great but it can take about 6 months before you start to see results. As a company founder, you need to ask whether you can survive that long without any revenue or leads for your account executives to close on. With outbound, you can start selling from the day one.
So have I got you paying attention? Good, because developing outbound can make your life easier.
What problems will you solve when you start an outbound sales strategy?
Think about the major challenges faced by your company. These are common for both startups and mature businesses.
- You probably need a predictable flow of leads to sell to and gain revenue from.
- You need them in a timely and predictable manner to keep a startup revenue positive or to meet the targets set by a board.
- You want your lead generation to keep pace with the growth of your business.
It’s a tall order to satisfy all those needs. An outbound sales strategy has the potential to solve all of your problems.
It produces leads in a regular and dependable way, you start getting opportunities in just a month, and it can be automated, scaling up the output of the same team you have now. That all sounds pretty good but it begs the question:
Who is outbound sales for?
When we started as a lead generation agency we worked for a diverse range of businesses but never had to give up a client because outbound wasn’t working for them. We did learn a few things though along the way about who it works for especially:
A. Outbound sales is great for companies targeting small and medium sized businesses
Outbound sales is all about targeting at volume and there are a lot of small and medium sized businesses out there. With automation, you can contact thousands of potential customers quickly.
Fact: one of our customers was able to start sales conversations with over 3000 SMBs in only 3 months.
B. Outbound sales is great for companies targeting enterprises
When you use targeted email, you bypass the gatekeepers who normally prevent you from making contact. After all, can you just call the VP of marketing for Microsoft, cold out of the blue and expect to talk to them? Probably not, but they do check their own email which is where you can get through to them.
Just take our customer Relatable. They were able to get meetings with 87 Fortune 500 brands in only one and a half month.
C. Outbound sales is great for service companies
Service companies need to match the capacity of their staff with their customer demand while avoiding difficult customers. Using Outbound sales means they are able to get the correct volume of ideal customers rather than deal with inconsistent demand and difficult, resource draining customers.
So you can see what we mean, here is a case study of a marketing agency.
D. Outbound sales is great for unconventional companies
We have a customer who designs custom candles for businesses. It was able to close a deal with Facebook thanks to outbound sales using Growbots.
The bottom line
To be successful at outbound sales, you need to have a big enough deal size x average close rate to cover the expense of contacting your prospects. In most cases, one deal will cover the cost of your outbound efforts.
Oh, I’ve tried outbound sales but it doesn’t work
When done right, outbound sales almost always works predictably. But people tend to give up on this channel before they know what might have gone wrong for them. There are few things that can trip you up with outbound sales like:
Your campaigns might not be done properly when you have just started
You didn’t tailor your message to your specific audience
Segment your audience so that the message you send to a specific lead speaks to their specific situation. The more segmentation, the more compelling your message and the better results.
The data about your prospects is misleading or just wrong
Messaging a company who can’t use your product won’t get you very far. Make sure your targeting data is accurate to get good results. Most data providers oscillate between a 25% to 30% bounce rate, which can significantly harm results. Try to find data with at least 90% accuracy.
What are the results that can be expected?
No matter how good your intentions are, it is the results that you are after. After all, your business or your job depends on them. So what can you expect when you start an outbound sales strategy?
One caveat I should mention is that the numbers we provide are based on experiences with fully ramped up prospectors and campaigns. Starting from scratch without any help, it takes about a month to start seeing your first warm leads.
At those levels, your average sales rep can generate 10 to 20 excellent leads a month, according to Aaron Ross in Predictable Revenue. He used the automation software that was available at the time (Salesforce) but we have found that with the current tools available, each SDR can provide between 40 and 50 excellent leads a month to their account executives.
So how many people do you need in your operation? To start out you really only need one. Using automation tools, this is an approach that can be carried out by a founder. Pretty soon though, you will want to expand the team.
It is much more efficient to separate the Prospectors (SDR’s) and the Account Executives (the guys who close deals). If you prospect manually, you will probably need 2 to 3 SDR’s to provide enough leads for 1 account executive.
With a tool like Growbots, you can reduce that ratio to one account executive for each SDR or even 2 SDR’s for 3 account executives. Sounds good?
Let’s Bring it all together
The main thing that I would like you to take away from this article is that outbound sales is within the reach of most sales operations, from a one man founder up to a corporate sales team. You can start selling immediately in a predictable way.
The key to making outbound scalable and successful is employing automation tools like Growbots to speed up prospecting and email campaigns, tripling the output of your sales reps.
Originally published at blog.growbots.com on April 12, 2017.