One of the worst trends in the content marketing industry is when the “end” of something is declared. How often have you read an article titled “Organic reach is dead” or “The end of cold emails”?
When we chase clicks and positioning, we sometimes get too carried away and add a little more dramatization to an issue that’s not a big deal.
That’s certainly been the case with outbound sales. As inbound sales increase, outbound sales seem to be the next thing in line to be declared “dead” every so often.
However, experienced salespeople know this is simply not true. Outbound prospecting is still invaluable when you want to get quick results, diversify your portfolio, or simply build long-lasting relationships with important clients. Crucial things to remember are that you need to develop good strategies and spend some time perfecting your outreach efforts for outbound sales to really work.
So, why do people believe outbound prospecting is on the decline? Read on to find the answer and learn strategies to improve your outbound prospecting in 2023.
What Are Outbound Sales?
Outbound sales prospecting, also known as outbound sales, is a sales approach where sellers initiate contact with potential customers, or leads, to pitch their product or service. The primary objective is to introduce prospects into the sales cycle and convert them into paying clients.
An outbound prospecting strategy is the traditional approach to sales. People working in telemarketing, door-to-door salespeople, and traveling salespeople are all examples of outbound prospecting efforts.
This type of prospecting is what’s referred to as “cold outreach.” This means that the lead has not contacted the company before their sales team got in touch with the lead. Cold calls and cold emailing fall into this category.
What Is the Difference between Inbound and Outbound Prospecting?
Outbound sales are usually presented in contrast to inbound sales. Inbound prospecting is all about attracting customers to your business.
The outbound strategy includes creating valuable content and experiences that are tailored to potential clients.
The aim is to build brand awareness and attract new business via channels like blogs, search engines, and social media. Customers find you through these channels when they’re interested in your product or service.
While outbound sales are sometimes painted as pushy and aggressive, inbound sales are considered subtler and possibly even more effective. Conversion rates for outbound sales techniques are typically lower, so many people prefer a less aggressive approach.
But, inbound sales have a significant downside, too—it takes much longer to see any results.
For an inbound approach to work, marketing teams must create content regularly. It’s like casting a wide net and waiting for your relevancy to increase enough that your inbound leads will start coming to you.
Outbound prospecting is the way to go if you want to grow your brand faster, reach specific users, and generate revenue.
Is Outbound Prospecting Dead?
The short answer is no! Outbound prospecting gets a bad rap because it’s always assumed that your prospects are either unfamiliar with or uninterested in your brand. The perception is that outbound sales are spammy and ineffective because you’re reaching out to someone out of the blue.
And, sure, those who don’t research their target audience and send generic emails will be regarded as spammers. If they do this, they deserve all the bad rap they might get.
When we talk about outbound sales, we’re not talking about an old-school, paint-by-numbers approach. Successful outbound prospecting is a carefully executed strategy where you don’t simply reach out to your entire existing customer base.
You go through a precise process of generating and qualifying leads, you make lists and audience segments, and then you reach out to them with personalized messages and tailored offers across email and social media channels.
Think of it as a direct marketing channel where you identify the right customers and introduce them to your company. Sounds much more convincing than just picking up the phone and cold calling, right?
Are you ready to get started? Let’s look into some outbound prospecting strategies that can bring you awesome results!
The Best Outbound Prospecting Tips of 2023
Strategy #1: Get Creative with Lead Hunting on LinkedIn
The first step to outbound sales success is to find high-quality leads.
As we mentioned above—it’s about reaching the right people rather than reaching everyone. Focus on nurturing leads that are more likely to convert. This approach will yield better results, enhance your brand’s legitimacy, and protect your reputation.
A great place to start is on LinkedIn. Here’s how:
✔️ Connect with friends of friends
Easily find potential leads among your current LinkedIn connections’’ networks with just a few clicks. To do this, enter a relevant job title like ‘social media manager’ into the search bar and select ‘People.’
Next, click ‘All filters’ and choose ‘Add connections of.’ This allows you to start typing the name of a current connection and view their connections.
You can add multiple connections in this field, which will potentially give you hundreds of leads from the same industry who may be more interested in your offer due to their connection with your existing LinkedIn connection.
✔️ Look for contacts in social media groups
The next thing you can do to generate high-quality leads is to scrape contacts from LinkedIn and Facebook groups. These are usually communities highly dedicated to specific fields, so you can join a group from your industry and scrape contacts from it by using an automation tool like TexAu.
For instance, a quick search for ‘social selling’ on LinkedIn reveals almost 400 groups with nearly 15,000 members in just the top three! If you’re selling anything related to social selling, these groups are teeming with potential leads.
You can apply the same approach to Facebook groups.
You can also use LinkedIn’s advanced search function to find qualified leads from specific industries with specific educational backgrounds, or who work for specific employers.
Whatever you do, one thing should matter more than anything else: find those leads who are tightly connected to the industry you’re trying to target and focus on them.
Strategy #2: Focus on Email Marketing
Email is one of the best channels to engage all those quality leads you collected. In fact, 31% of marketers believe that it’s the best channel to nurture leads.
So, get to work and start preparing your email marketing strategy. Here are some tips to make your emails work for you:
✔️ Use email-finding tools
If you want to build a good email list, an email-hunting tool will save you a lot of time. Let’s say you scraped the contacts from a Facebook group, but only a handful of these profiles have their email addresses displayed. An email finder will help you get their email addresses by using their name and domain.
✔️ Craft a good subject line
There is a big chance that your prospects will ignore your emails if you don’t do something to stand out. One of the best ways to stand out is to use smart subject lines to improve your open rates.
✔️ Send automated emails to stay in touch with target customers
An automated email is a message that’s sent out automatically based on specific triggers or scheduled times.
These can include welcome emails when someone signs up for a newsletter, confirmation emails after a purchase, or reminders when a user abandons their shopping cart.
The content, timing, and frequency of these emails are predetermined, which allows businesses to maintain consistent and timely communication with their audience without the need for manual intervention.
✔️ Make your emails mobile-friendly
In the past few years, more users have started reading their emails on their phones. Keep this in mind and try to optimize your emails for smartphones. Your subject lines should be short, your copy concise, and your CTAs prominent.
Strategy #3: Personalize All Your Outreach Efforts
89% of marketers see a positive ROI when they use personalization in their campaigns. So, personalization should be your top priority, whether you reach out to your prospects through email, social media, or a sales prospecting tool.
The last thing you want to do is send the same email to all your prospects. You’ll need to at least explain how you got their contact information, what connects you, and why your offer is perfect for them. Mention all of these things in your email, and be honest.
Also, don’t forget to mention their name—there’s nothing more annoying in email marketing than receiving an email that starts with “Dear Mr./Mrs./Miss.,” It makes your prospects feel like numbers in your revenue column.
A good way to take this approach one step further is image personalization.
With that, you can add a new dimension to your outreach campaigns and surprise your prospects. Instead of ignoring your message, they’ll be more likely to be intrigued and check out what your offer is about.
So, what is image personalization?
It’s the process of using your prospects’ data, like their name, job title, website, etc., to send them a message that features these details in a personalized image. Here’s how we used it in our LinkedIn outreach campaign (check out the replies, too):
You can also use it to personalize images in your emails and even your website content.
With Hyperise, you don’t need coding or design knowledge to create these messages. Everything is drag-and-drop so you can easily craft personalized messages by using our streamlined interface.
When you apply image personalization to your outreach strategy, you can end up with a message that looks like this:
In this message, everything is personalized. Both the image and the opening line mention the prospect’s name, you address the thing that you have in common, and you talk about their interests.
As you can see, this goes far beyond old-school outbound prospecting. The leads are high-quality and the messages are highly personalized. With this approach, you’ll be much closer to getting the open and reply rates you want.
Strategy #4: Use Data and Metrics to Inform Your Decisions
You’ll gain great insights if you track your success by using analytics to ensure everything is going the right way. That way, you can adjust your strategy where needed and make the most out of your outreach efforts.
For example, you might have one group of leads that consistently performs better than other groups. Upon studying your analytics, you might learn that who you thought of as your primary audience wasn’t actually that interested in your offer. You also might learn that the messages that looked the prettiest didn’t perform as well as you thought they would. Information like this could help you craft better messages going forward.
Observe, learn, and adjust—that should be your motto.
Here are some analytics you should always keep an eye on:
✔️ Conversion rate
The Holy Grail of online marketing, this number shows you which percentage of your new leads went through the entire funnel and ended up purchasing your product or service. You get it by dividing the number of sales by your total number of leads and then multiplying this number by 100.
✔️Open rate and response rate
These show how many people actually opened or responded to your emails/connection requests. A low conversion rate can be an indicator of a problem with your product or website.
A low open/response rate is almost always due to low lead quality or a badly composed message.
✔️ Bounce rate
If you have a website and want your prospects to visit it, it’s good to watch your bounce rate. It shows the percentage of visitors who accessed the site and instantly left without viewing another page. It’s a good indicator of whether or not your website is properly optimized.
ℹ️ According to FullStory, a bounce rate of 40% or lower is considered good, while a bounce rate of 55% or higher is considered less ideal and may indicate that improvements are needed.
You can focus on many other metrics, but these should definitely be in your top five. When you choose your prospecting tools, make sure they have advanced analytics to help you make informed decisions.
Outbound Prospecting: The Final Word
Let’s make a big announcement: outbound prospecting is NOT dead.
It’s only being improved on and rethought to reflect the amazing technical progress we’ve been making in the past decade. When you focus on user data and do your best to deliver the right messages to the right people, you’re doing everyone a favor.
You’re also restoring the reputation of outbound sales and helping us move the whole industry forward.
And, if you want to go to the very top of the industry, you might want to consider image personalization. This latest personalization trend will do wonders for your outbound sales strategy.
Register for a free trial of Hyperise and start personalizing on a new level!