Building your Outbound Rythym
When surveyed, the number one department that companies said they would most like to outsource, is Sales. Why, we wonder? Sales is tough, yes but it is also a science. Most companies are experts in their field first, whether it be SaaS development or manufacturing, and then have to become experts in selling to actualise their creation’s worth. Sales is not just the act of selling, there is far more that goes into the selling than “the close”, which is the silhouette that is most often broadcast when people are talking about sales.
The end to end sales process is very lengthy and contains a plethora of stages
- Total Addressable Market Sizing
- Lead Identification
- Lead Mining
- Lead Enrichment
- Lead Engagement
- Sales Opportunity Qualification
- Sales Opportunity Education
- Sales Opportunity Proposal Presentation
- Proposal Negotiation
- Closing the Sale
- Onboarding the Customer
- Customer Renewal
- Customer Upsell and Cross sell
This is an example of an outbound cold calling campaign, where you team out making outbound calls to a set of leads that you have determined to be a good fit for your product or service. A lead is just a lead until you have had the opportunity to qualify it as a sales opportunity. We particularly like to follow one of the most trusted qualification method known as BANT.
B – Budget, does the person I’m speaking to have the required budget to be able to purchase the product or service I’m looking to sell
A – Authority, does the person I’m talking to have the authority to actually make the final decision on this purchase should we get further into the sales process. This is very important as often those at early stage engagement have actually just been asked to survey the market for options and may just be presenting a shortlist. It is important to decipher between Decision Makers, Decision Influencers and support staff around it.
N – Need, is there a correct product/service need for what you are selling. In sales we can very often think that “Everybody needs our Product” that is simply not true. For your sales process to be effective it is important to both qualify the lead both in and out. If you convince yourself and the prospect they need the product when they don’t, it will just inflate your pipeline and even if it does close will lead to fast churn
T – Timeframe, time kills all deals. While you may have the decision maker on the line with the authority to make a decision and you know they have sufficient funds, if they are not going to consider actually closing the deal until next year, you are best to put into a nurturing cycle, as again you are just going to inflate your current pipeline and you will have to re-pitch again next year anyway. Remember, qualify in and out.
This type of outbound cold calling sales campaign is usually performed by an SDR (Sales Development Representative). This energetic, relentless type of profile will look to conduct a very high volume of outbound activities to get the cold lead list engaged so that they can then conduct BANT qualification and create opportunities. However it is far more scientific and structured these days compared to yesteryear, where SDRs were handed the yellow pages and just told to smile and dial!
Outreach rhythms are designed on the foundations of excellent technology partners. There really should be no such thing as a “Cold Call” anymore even with the absence of banner, display or mainstream advertising. From using sequenced email campaigns, to identifying your prospect on LinkedIN and adding them directly, there are a number of things an SDR can do in advance of picking up the phone to ensure the person at the end of the phone has heard or seen your brand already. Even the briefest of impressions on a scroll can stick, this gives your SDR an incision to work on. However, though we have some excellent tools for creating really catchy mail content or organic LinkedIN content, nothing beats, persistent but professional hunting. On average it take 12 attempts for a cold lead to engage, so if your team are stopping are a sequence of 5 or 6, no wonder you are not generating opportunities to progress into pipeline or sales.
A multi-channel approach and rhythm could look like this.
Monday – Start Email Sequence One Inducing your Product Market Fit and Highlight a Industry Problem
Tuesday – Rest Lead
Wednesday – Email No 2 – highlighting how others are dealing with this industry
Thursday – Rest Lead
Friday – Email No 3 – Put in a call to action encouraging your prospect to engage with you
Monday – Attempted Phone call, leave “missed you” voicemail
Tuesday – Rest Lead
Wednesday – Attempted Phone call, send email
Thursday – Rest Lead
Friday – Attempted Phone, end of week email
Monday – Send a LinkedIN Message
Tuesday – Rest
Wednesday – Attempted Call – Leave a voicemail
Thursday – Rest
Friday – Attempted Call, end of week email
As you can see from this initial three week plan, there have been 14 attempts to interact with the prospect. Business development or lead development is not done in single digit attempts. Very often it takes much more than 14 attempts to engage the prospect, if the AVERAGE is 12, you can get an idea how far out your outreach strategy actually needs to be. Remember if your TAM sizing is done correctly the prospect is on your lead list for a reason. So unless you get to talk to them and qualify them, they are still very much a potential customer, why would you give up on them?
The ultimate goal in pre-sales is to identify a Sales Qualified Lead commonly known as an SQL. This is achieved by applying the BANT process to one of two pockets of leads. The first being the above, which is cold lists using an SDR team. The second is using a BDR (Business Development Representative) team in tandem with a marketing program to deliver MQLs (Marketing Qualified Lead).
MQLs are prospects or leads that have reacted or engaged with a planned marketing activity. Usually in the form of digital advertising, the definition of a marketing qualified lead is a prospect that has shown an expression of interest in your product or service. This can be achieved in a number of different ways including but not limited to:
- Tracked visit to key pages on your site, such as services or pricing
- Signing up for a webinar
- Downloading a white paper from your site
- Completing a “Request for Quote” or engagement form on your site
- Engaging with your chat bot on your site
What each of these actions gives your BDR is a pointed person to contact to engage with to apply BANT. Though the activity of the pre-sales team is outbound it is guided by the stimulus of the prospect taking some sort of buyer intent activity. The prospect is either familiar with your brand or offering and has either requested contact or has engaged enough not to be surprised when we do reach out.
Pre-Sales’ role is to uncover pockets of leads, qualify them and present them to the sellers to educate and close. In the SDR process it is mainly nurturing and coaxing the prospecting into engagement. The BDRs main driver is to engage and qualify at speed from the moment that the lead shows an expression of interest. If a prospect engages through the varying options listed, that puts the prospect in what can be classified as “Buyer Intent Mode”, meaning they are open to being sold to and speed to engagement by presales in this situation is critical.
For potential MQLs, the ability for the prospect to easily engage with pre-sales is vital. The ability to “Click to call Pre-sales” from a mobile, or “Chat with Us Now” webchat options are real game changers for when trying to have a significant effect on conversion numbers. If your marketing has struck a chord with your lead, the funnel should get your lead into the hands of pre-sales as fast as possible. Drip your site with opportunities to engage with pre-sales. You can dress this up in various different way, it does not always have to signpost connecting with a sales team, an example could be “Talk to a Specialist Right Now, Click here”
Learning from the losses.
Not everybody wants to buy your product or service. However there can be huge learning from this. The natural and basic disposition is usual “not a fit” or “not now”. However a skilled Sales Development Rep or Business Development Rep, will peel back the layers and discover a valuable learning point. Unless selling ice-cream on a hot day, you will always get more “No” than “Yes” – therefore you have a huge back of potential data to analyse. By effectively understanding and indexing the negative reasons, this can play a huge compound effect on future conversion rates. For example should you have a 20% conversion rate of leads to opportunities on a lead set of 10,000 over a period of time, that means that 8000 leads gave you reasons why they did not want to enter your sales process. By indexing the top reasons given, and actioning perhaps the top 3, you will widen your addressable market and see as high as a 5% increase in pipeline creation due to being more of a fit to more. This will have ripple effects when you widen your lead list again. All positive.