There was a time when salespeople could land meetings by showing up to industrial parks with a box of donuts and eventually get a meeting with someone. Today those prospecting efforts won’t get you past the front door… unless your target appreciates the novelty of your approach.
It’s harder to get someone on the phone than ever before and can be even more difficult to set up a meeting. Dialing through a list of contacts from your database likely isn’t going to result in meetings, unless it’s a list full of engaged contacts patiently waiting by their phones for your call.
Cold calling isn’t dead though, it’s just different than it used to be. If your team isn’t getting the same results they once did, it’s time to examine the tactics being used and adapt your processes to the way your prospects want to engage with you.
Make sure your sales dashboard is providing you with the insight you need to identify shortcomings in your outreach efforts. Not sure if your dashboard is giving you the right information? Read this blog, “Does Your Sales Dashboard Provide Powerful Insight?” to see what you should be tracking. Addressing these gaps early is crucial to ensuring a healthy sales pipeline.
There could be several reasons why your business development outreach isn’t working. If you are having issues connecting with contacts, check out the following best practices to see how they compare with your sales approach.
Target the Right Accounts
Instead of focusing a wide range of leads, your team needs to zero in on the targets most likely to buy. Determine your ideal customer profile and what makes them a good fit for your company. Then, send your team to go find accounts that match that profile. This ensures your sales and marketing efforts are focused on those most likely to get the biggest value from your offering. Check out this blog to see how you can create more qualified leads.
When done right, this account-based outreach approach helps you find the customers best aligned with the unique way your company can help. This targeting effort will give your sales reps a much higher chance of getting the right people talking to them and a much better chance of landing new customers on a regular basis.
Target the Right Personas
Know the job titles, roles, and responsibilities of the people most likely to be the decision makers when it comes to buying from you. The buyer likely isn’t just one person buy rather a group of people evaluating your solution from varying perspectives.
Ensure your sellers understand the pain points of your ideal contacts and can speak to each of them in a way that resonates with the priorities of their role. What matters to an operations manager is going to be different than what captures the attention of an IT director or CFO.
Say the Right Things, in the Right Order
Your outreach efforts should vary depending on who you target. Be intentional with building bite-sized messaging. Your objective is to capture your prospect’s attention with something interesting that can be read at a glance.
Arm your salespeople with the right messaging to use in their outreach efforts. How should they approach various contacts differently? Is your competitive differentiation clear? Is your offer aligned to common customer needs?
The best salespeople are exceptional executors and relationship builders. Enable them with proven outreach messaging to improve new account break-through.
Getting anyone on the phone is nearly impossible these days so you need to give your team multiples ways to deliver examples of how your company can help.
The art is using a variety of outreach methods to capture attention with cohesive content that all works together to gradually relay the various ways you can help. The only thing you’re trying to sell is an exploratory conversation, nothing else.
Be Patient, Helpful and Creatively Persistent
All too often a salesperson reaches out to a brand-new contact just seconds after the prospect accepts their LinkedIn connection. They launch into a sales pitch and try to set up a meeting.
Just ask yourself, how often do you actually engage with someone when they treat your connection acceptance as permission to sales blitz? This approach will cost you credibility and may damage your chances for any meaningful conversation in the future.
Instead of selling right away, take a nurturing approach to building a relationship with your prospects. Your goal is to stimulate the contact to engage. Connect with them. Correspond with them. Learn about their business and challenges without inserting yourself as the solution.
This may happen when they read a case study or industry insight report you provide. Perhaps they view a short video Once the contact is showing engagement, inviting them to an upcoming webinar can be particularly effective.
Another pitfall is that most salespeople stop reaching out to a prospect after a few messages go unanswered. Sadly, this usually happens way too soon! Your prospects need to know that you are reaching out to them because you passionately believe what you are selling will help them.
When your prospect picks up on your resolve as you reach out that fifth, sixth, or seventh time, they recognize your conviction in what you are advocating and are more inclined to invest some attention on your outreach.
There is nothing more powerful than a seller who truly believing in the value of what they are representing.
Do the Work
All of the previously mentioned tactics will improve your outreach, but if the volume of outreach effort isn’t there, then you may still fall short of your goals.
Your salespeople need reach out to contacts several times as part of an established cadence.
Make this process as easy as possible for your team. It can be as simple as setting up email templates in your email system or as advanced as incorporating a plug-in for your CRM that automates your multi-touch sales outreach process.
Providing a turnkey, easy-to-use outreach messaging model that follows a consistent cadence allows you to clearly measure prospecting effectiveness. This level of efficiency also allows salespeople to spend their time pursuing new contacts instead of laboring over how to craft the perfect email or digging around to find the next content offer to provide.
If all reps are following a consistent outreach approach to all leads, then you can trust the insights your data shows you. Patterns will emerge to signal you when it makes sense to change elements of your outreach process to optimize your results. Do you have the right mix of new accounts? Are your reps calling prospects enough times before they close them out?
The sales outreach tactics that you used to achieve success may have worked yesterday and could still be working today, but they might not work tomorrow. You need to be continually adapting to the way your customers want to buy. If your processes don’t match this, then find ways to remove friction that gets in the way of setting meetings and uncovering new opportunities.
Your salespeople are great at selling. Give them the proper tools so their focus can stay on sales activity and relationship building. Make sure you are taking away as many non-selling tasks as you can.
If you think your outreach efforts could be improved, then let’s set up some time to talk. Any gaps you are seeing now need to be addressed before they grow into sizable problems later. Don’t wait, contact me through any of these methods:
If you’d like to discuss the improvement you’re looking for in your lead generation process, contact me through any of these methods: (773) 203-7086 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I also invite you to follow me on LinkedIn to gain exposure to future article posts that will offer more valuable selling insights.
Another helpful resource I offer is a custom report you will receive after investing 2-minutes taking my Sales Agility Assessment. It’s filled with tips on how to optimize your sales environment based on your unique responses, making the report individualized and insightful!
I am part of a national group of Senior Sales Leaders who collaborate to share insights like the examples shown in this article. We formed because of our shared passion to help business leaders exponentially grow their revenue.