Does the thought of cold outreach make you break into a cold sweat?
You’re not alone.
Many people avoid cold calls and emails because they perceive them to be too hard or not as effective as they used to be. While it is harder to stand out, cold outreach is still a viable sales strategy.
In this post, we’ll share everything you need to know to make your outbound sales strategy a success.
Why might an outbound sales playbook be termed difficult?
There are many reasons people object to making cold calls or sending cold emails. Here are some of the most common objections we hear from sales reps:
- Afraid of being called "spammy": We’ve all gotten unsolicited, obnoxious junk mail in our inboxes. Mass sales emails that don’t resonate can leave a bad taste in your mouth when it comes to cold outreach. However, this tactic isn’t the only approach. And effective personalization is easier than you might think.
- Fear of rejection or failure: It can be unsettling to reach out to strangers and ask them to become customers. It’s natural to feel nervous. Being prepared and following a plan will help combat your nerves.
- Not sure where to start: If you aren’t sure how to get started, it’s not surprising that you would be too overwhelmed to attempt this sales strategy. A good starting point is to send one cold email to someone who you look up to and share how something they wrote helped you.
- Self-doubt in their sales abilities: Assuming you have a growth mindset and are willing to learn new things, experiencing self-doubt or imposter syndrome is natural and part of the process. However, putting in the time builds confidence and will make outbound sales easier.
Key benefits of outbound sales
While you may be under the impression that outbound sales is hard, it does have some major benefits that shouldn’t be overlooked.
1. Reach new customers
Outbound sales are an excellent way to reach new prospects. It broadens your pool of prospective clients, so you aren’t limited to warm leads like those you’ve already met in person or the ones that contacted you as a result of inbound marketing efforts.
2. Ability to scale
Cold emails and calls are highly scalable. Although you can only meet so many people in person during the day, you can send endless emails and make many calls. The ability to reach so many prospects in a short amount of time is one of the biggest benefits of cold outreach.
Not to mention, if you use lead generation software like UserGems, you can track the job changes of your leads and customers. If someone is already familiar with your product, they will be more likely to buy it again at their new company.
3. Excellent training opportunity
Cold sales calls and emails are a great way to sharpen your persuasion and sales skills. This is particularly true for new sales team members. The high volume of prospects paired with the difficulty of connecting with your customer is perfect for honing your sales pitch.
4. Tracking capabilities
Whether you are tracking customer job changes, enriching prospecting lists, or analyzing sales calls, you can track every step of the outbound sales process. This will help you measure what’s working and what isn’t so you can make your outbound tactics even more effective.
Outbound sales strategies you can try to improve your response rates
Cold emails and cold calling are two of the biggest reasons. So many sales reps find outbound sales tough. But they don’t have to be a source of stress or anxiety. Here are eight best practices that will help you avoid some of the most common pitfalls.
1. Personalize your pitch
The most effective way to get someone to open your email and respond is to personalize it with relevant information. This doesn’t just mean adding their first name and job title at the beginning of the pitch. Instead, reference a pain point that many companies in their industry experience.
Will Yang of Instrumentl says, “Your email should be personal and tailored to the recipient — generic ‘spray and pray’ messages will almost always be ignored. Make sure you're providing value in your emails - don't just try to sell someone on your product or service from the get-go. Instead, focus on how you can help them solve a problem they're likely facing."
“For example, take the time to research your potential customer and find out what their specific needs and pain points are. Then, craft an email that addresses those needs and demonstrates how your product or service can help solve them. Then make sure to include a strong call-to-action so that the recipient knows what you want them to do next.”
"You can even take this a step further by creating a makeshift digital sales room for your 'whale accounts.'”
Alex Kracov of Dock says, "For target accounts, one of the best ways to stand out is by creating a digital sales room. The digital sales room includes everything the prospect needs to know about your solution, from your demo videos to case studies to pricing. The best sales reps start from a template and then add personalization as they work with prospects. By creating a personalized experience, you're able to stand out from the competition and show that you understand the prospect's business."
2. Add trust signals
When you reach out to someone new through a cold call or email, you’re a stranger to them. So, you need to work harder to build trust by demonstrating your expertise, authority, or social proof (in the form of a mutual connection or shared community that you are both in).
This means you need to do your research beforehand.
3. Focus on a specific pain point
How does your product or service alleviate your prospect’s problems? Cold or warm, your prospect will care about one thing, “What's in it for me?” If you can’t answer this question, you might as well delete the email or hang up the phone.
“The biggest tip is to make sure it is super easy to see what your value proposition is over, say the dozens (if not hundreds) of other competitors out there, otherwise, it is going to be really difficult not to come across as just another person reaching out,’’ explains Vito Peleg of Atarim.
4. Be concise
Whether you try to connect with a prospect on the phone, video, or by email, they’re probably busy with a million other things to do. If your message doesn’t cut through the noise and tell them immediately why they should continue the conversation with you, they won’t. Keep it short, sweet, and to the point. And above all, make sure your ask is clear and upfront.
Friderike "Rika" Osterbuhr of Kosmo recommends, “Be honest and get to the point. I believe by now, all of us have been bombarded with multiple cold emails and cheap attempts to catch our attention. Instead of sending super long emails to convince the reader to respond, keep your message short. Say why you’re reaching out and what you’d like the reader to do.”
5. Add a clear CTA
One of the biggest mistakes that many new SDRs make is being ambiguous and putting the work on the recipient to figure out what the next step should be.
Given that you are the one initiating the conversation, that’s a recipe for your email to be pushed to the bottom of their priority list or ignored altogether. A better approach is to clearly specify a next step that’s actionable and quick for them to do.
6. Be human
You’re a real person, not a robot. While you don’t want to be pushy or overly friendly in a fake way, you should make an effort to connect on a personal level in your cold emails.
This could be as simple as taking 15 minutes to read some of the prospect’s content online and then referring to how something they talked about resonated with you when you talk to them.
Amanda Natividad of Sparktoro is great at this. She gets an 80% open rate on her cold emails by spending time to know her prospect before hitting send. She follows them on their social channels and subscribes to their newsletter if they have one.
Here's the full video:
7. Build out templates
While you should customize every message you send, building a library of cold email templates, cold call scripts, and follow-up messages can help you scale your outbound sales efforts. It also ensures that every person on your team is speaking the same language when it comes to unique value props and addressing key pain points that your product solves.
For instance, Krittin Kalra of Writecream says, “I personally use a cold call script to make the first call. It helps me to get my foot in the door. I also use a cold email script to make the first email. This script has helped me to get my foot in the door, and it also helps me to have a conversation with the prospect.”
8. Follow up
Your prospects are busy, and most of your messages will go unanswered. That’s why following up at least three times over the course of a couple of weeks is essential. Following up is even more important if the prospect has replied to you in the past.
“Always follow up,” says Lisa Dietrich of RemoteCanteen. “If someone shows interest in what you are selling, make sure to reach out and see if there are any questions or concerns that need to be addressed. By following these simple steps, you will be well on your way to making successful outbound sales calls and emails.”
Tools to make outbound sales easier
Outbound sales don’t have to be hard. If you’re brand new to outbound sales, all you need is an email account, the ability to do basic research, and the perseverance to get started.
However, if you are trying to scale your outbound sales strategy, then you are going to need a handful of tools.
Yes, our pipeline generation software 😀 For teams looking to accelerate their sales pipeline, UserGems helps them:
- Automate repeat business when your previous buyers change jobs and move to your target accounts, and then
- Identify the rest of the buying committee in these accounts
These leads are automatically surfaced to your sales reps in your CRM. Your reps can then enroll these prospects in your outbound sequences for semi-cold outreach (because, after all, they've bought from you before).
This means your reps are never going after the leftovers as being timely with reaching out to a new buyer increases your chance of winning by 74% (Forrester).
2. LinkedIn Sales Navigator
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is an excellent sales tool for learning about your cold prospects. The software lets you target ideal buyers and engage with them through personal outreach on LinkedIn.
Features include advanced company and lead searches, customized lead recommendations, and CRM integration so you can connect it to your favorite CRM platform. You can also organize your leads and accounts with tags and take notes that can be synced to your CRM platform.
If you are doing outbound sales at scale, you need a robust CRM, like HubSpot or Salesforce.
For instance, HubSpot CRM features include sales engagement tools, CRM, quote and CPQ functionality, and reporting with analytics. The software helps manage every step of the sales pipeline.
For instance, Rahul Yadav of Mailmodo says, "Hubspot works best for our team. The dashboard of this CRM tool displays deals won and lost and appointments scheduled, and it also helps track customer interactions automatically, so it's easy to use."
4. Cold email software
Many teams use a dedicated cold email platform, such as Lemlist or Mailshake, to automate their cold email campaigns.
For instance, use these platforms to automate follow-ups, invite team members, personalize subject lines and CTAs, and integrate with popular CRMs.
5. Gifting platforms
Offering incentives are a great way to increase response rates on your outbound sales campaigns. And gifting platforms are perfect for giving your cold outreach campaigns a personal touch.
Postal says using gifting can increase pipeline creation by 4X.
An outbound sales playbook is a powerful tool in your arsenal
Too many sales teams shy away from outbound sales out of fear or a lack of confidence. Or, because they’ve been told that outbound sales is hard.
Remember, cold calling and cold email might be tough, but they certainly aren’t impossible. The tactics and tools listed above will make this sales approach easier and more systematic.
If you are ready to broaden your pool of prospects, a great entry point is to use software like UserGems to start tracking job changes of your existing customers. This will help you to generate warmer leads, boosting your chances of success and making outbound sales easier.