Outbound Prospecting: 12 Tips to Drive Sales Success
With dozens, or even hundreds, of emails hitting inboxes every day, outbound sales prospecting is only getting harder. Cold email subject lines feel more like the new billboard advertising—hundreds of messages waiting to be driven by and archived. Grabbing the attention and interest of your prospects is key, but so is making the subject line relevant. So how do you juggle the act? Follow these outbound prospecting tips to enhance your outreach strategy.
What Is Outbound Sales Prospecting?
Outbound sales prospecting, or lead generation as it is commonly known, is a method of collecting contact information for potential new customers. It’s important to have a clear understanding of your target market, including what kinds of businesses and titles you are targeting and buyer persona. Leads are generated through research and prospecting tools like LinkedIn, social media channels, and websites. This information can be used to filter leads and personalize your offer.
12 Best Outbound Prospecting Tips
Cold outreach is still one of the most successful methods for outbound prospecting, but there are many important things to consider to make the most out of your outreach to increase engagements, responses, and ultimately sales.
1. Sell the value of the product first.
Don’t sell the product, sell the value! Start with the value proposition and how your product or service can help the prospect resolve issues they have related to efficiency, productivity, security, profitability, etc. Too often, clients are so proud of their product or solution that they focus on the features and not specifically what drives value.
If you can’t get the prospect to realize the immediate need and envision the possibilities of working with your company, you won’t get very far. And, no matter what kind of value you provide, you want to make sure there’s always something in it for them.
2. Identify pain points that your product/service can solve.
The next important key is understanding specific pain points that your product or service can help credibly solve. Tailor your outreach to clearly explain what benefits a potential partnership could bring them and how your solution can alleviate these pain points. Identifying challenges does not mean finger-wagging or telling them something is failing but explaining how your services can offer solutions.
Try to convince them that the risk of sticking with the same solution or processes is greater than the risk of trying something new.
3. Use relevant personalization.
Now that you have identified the value proposition and any challenges you can credibly help solve, let’s talk about relevant personalization. Remember, each prospect is a real person who is a blank slate with their own unique experiences.
Take some time to do a little research and find out what is really important to them, including their interests, hobbies, or values. Browse their website and social media channels to learn about their key initiatives, and then tailor your outreach and approach to match so it sounds human and is relevant to the prospect or their company.
4. Be prospect-obsessed.
Along with personalization, you want to make your outreach prospect feel important by including the name of the company and/or the prospect to make them feel important. Instead of stating what we can do for them, express how working together could produce optimal results.
Leave your ego at the door by making the prospect the star of the show, not the other way around. Position your messaging/strategy toward the value prop focused on the prospect.
5. Provide proof.
“The proof is in the pudding” when it comes to outbound sales prospecting. Prospects want to see how you have helped others in their space succeed so they can judge how successful your product or service will be for them.
Provide some evidence (case study, blog article, white paper, etc.) showing why one of your largest clients chose to work with you to back up your narrative. This includes what you did, how you did it, and what impact it has had on the company overall.
6. Avoid hyperlinks to materials in initial outreach.
Avoid linking any material in the first email because it can affect deliverability issues. Instead, ask the prospect if you can send them some information instead.
And remember, when it comes to outreach, it is always better to give before you ask. Provide information, video, or demo—no strings attached. That way, when it comes time to ask for a meeting, you will be more likely to receive a positive response.
7. Create engaging subject lines.
The subject line and first line of the email are just as important as the content of the email itself. If you don’t get the prospect to open your message, then you won’t even get the chance to present the value of your product or service.
In a perfect world, subject lines should be two to three words max, show action, and include personalization (i.e., prospect name or company name). A/B test a few different subject lines to see which one is getting the most traction.
8. Grab attention fast.
The “hook” or attention grabber should be conveyed in the first line to get the prospect interested enough to continue reading. This is your chance to leave the prospect wanting more. Once they are “hooked,” you can then tell a story, including what you’ve heard from other companies in the market, potential challenges they may be facing, and how your solution can help them meet their future goals.
Make sure to weave examples, authenticity, and value throughout the story-telling journey to make your outreach more impactful.
9. Craft a powerful CTA.
When ending your email, close with an interest-based call to action (CTA). Having an appropriate CTA can ensure you are attracting and converting your ideal prospects. Make sure the CTA aligns with the action you want them to complete. This also eliminates confusion as to what value they’ll get from engaging with your offer.
Some of the best CTAs create a sense of urgency, attract attention, and clearly present value by using the right words and phrases that encourage engagement and action. They should be direct in how prospects will benefit from whatever the CTA is calling for.
10. Keep it short.
Another practice to consider in your outbound prospecting efforts is to be brief in your messaging. Most prospects—whether they are a C-suite, vice president, department head, manager, or assistant—are busy, so don’t waste their time with long-winded emails, messages, or calls. Get to the point: Answer why me, why now, and why should I care?
11. Set the tone.
Keep the messaging friendly but respectful, professional, and sincere. Write like you talk, in a very conversational tone, but stay away from SPAM words like free, offer and cash marketing jargon, and any mention of ROI. You want to sound casual and human, not like a robot or a mass-produced template.
Don’t say “How have you been?” when sending follow-up emails or making calls. This sounds like you don’t know the person and can be immediately off-putting. Say “How are you?” instead. This sounds confident and familiar.
If you get a prospect on the phone, speak in a friendly voice, and make sure you are easy to understand and can get your offer across quickly. Ask open-ended questions to keep the prospect engaged and to keep the conversation going. Listen to what they have to say so you can confidently address any objections that come up.
12. Use higher-ups for LinkedIn.
For LinkedIn, it is always better to use a person who is higher up in the company in your outbound prospecting efforts. This will increase connections and engagements with professionals in your industry if they are conversing with someone who has a similar title or who they believe is like-minded.
Start a conversation before you sell. Introduce yourself, tell them why you are reaching out, provide sales collateral, and express interest in working with them. Once they engage back with you, then you can go for the ask—setting a meeting.
Outbound Prospecting Cadences
The industry standard tells us that it takes up to eight touches to contact a prospect. An outbound prospecting cadence or sequence dictates when and through what channel you reach out to prospects. This includes emails, phone calls, and social media channels, like LinkedIn.
The most common mistakes are not reaching out enough or reaching out in the wrong way. Create a defined contact schedule to ensure the necessary steps to accelerate leads.
Make Outbound Prospecting Work for You!
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to outbound sales prospecting and cold outreach because each prospect’s needs and situation is different. But if the timing is right, the value is conveyed, and there is relevant personalization, you should see greater success in driving engagements and sales.