There is no easy way to close a sale; many things are involved in creating an effective sales outreach strategy. To drive sales, you must:
- Be clear on your niche target customer
- Understand their biggest challenge
- Determine where they spend time online
- Create amazing content
- Position your business against the competition
- Communicate value consistently
And these are just a few elements of an effective sales outreach strategy. The customer is making a judgment on you from the moment you make contact and begin the selling process. The old sales adage says, “All things being equal, people want to do business with their friends. All things being not quite so equal, people STILL want to do business with their friends.”
There is no best way to do sales outreach or close a sale, but there are several elements that you should utilize to generate sales consistently and predictably. Here are the 14 steps to creating an effective sales outreach strategy.
14 Steps to Effective Sales Outreach Strategy
From identifying the target customer and competition to building your channels and touchpoints to strategically reaching out, this list includes all the main elements of effective sales outreach strategy that small business owners must build into their plan.
1. Determine Your Ideal Target Customer
Start by defining your ideal target customer. An effective sales outreach strategy starts with connecting with prospects. It’s essential to keep your business growing. You must define and research your target customer first for your sales and email outreach efforts to be effective. It’s also good to know where your target customer spends time online.
2. Build Customer Personas
Building customer personas will help you understand your audience deeper. You should study their pain points, motivations, aspirations, and buying ability. By building up a picture of who you are selling to, your sales messaging can be targeted to appeal to their reasons for purchase and the benefits they will get from your product or service, amplifying your outreach efforts.
3. Know Your Competitive Landscape
It’s rare these days for products or services to not have competition. Take the time to learn all you can about your competitive landscape because this knowledge will help you create an effective sales outreach strategy. Since your competitors are aiming their messages at the same people as you, your message may be lost. To avoid this, explain what it is about your product or service that sets you apart from the competition. What is your unique value proposition, and how will it help your clients? For example, perhaps you have an amazing money-back guarantee that your competitors don’t offer. Maybe you have a track record of success with thousands of positive online reviews. Use this kind of data to help you stand out from your competitors.
4. Determine Your Value Proposition
Use surveys and interviews to determine which characteristics your customers like and dislike about your product or service. Next, construct your marketing message around how your customers perceive the value of your product or service. It’s critical to consider the consumer’s interests when formulating your unique value proposition. Then build marketing messages that communicate what sets your product or service apart.
5. Pick Your Sales Channels
Which marketing and sales channels will work best to reach your target customer (phone calls, social media, direct mail, online ads, SEO, email, digital billboards, PPC ads, radio ads, etc.)? Choosing your sales channels is an essential part of your sales outreach strategy. Cold calling will be the way to go for some. Instagram can work well if your targets are under 30. Of course, LinkedIn is the top platform for B2B sales. And if you want to sell through video, YouTube might be a place to engage prospects.
6. Build Your Blog and Social Media Presence
Use content to drive top-of-mind brand awareness and build your reputation. Use your business blog to share your brand story, actionable tips, thought leadership, photos, videos, training, and anything else your customers or followers would find interesting and valuable. Blog a minimum of twice a week but be sure to post daily on your target’s social platforms. You will position yourself as an industry expert as you demonstrate your expertise. Producing blog content regularly will also increase your organic Google search ranking. You can make it simpler by creating a content calendar.
7. Use Content Strategically
To develop inbound marketing leads, you must create content your target customers crave. Use their pain points to create content for your website. Consider your customers before selecting the social platforms you’ll use and any additional channels, such as email. Content done well will draw the right people to you. They will find your message and seek out your products and services.
8. Use Multiple Channel Touchpoints
The average buyer will interact with your brand six times before converting. Outbound sales outreach has a lot of benefits that inbound methods can’t replicate, but that’s not to say inbound channels don’t produce well. Running PPC ads, retargeting ads, display ads, and social media ad campaigns on the audience you are prospecting can help boost results by keeping your brand and campaign top of mind.
9. Incorporate Networking Events
Most people take networking for granted. However, how you engage with people and your communication skills can determine whether the outcome is business or no business. Face-to-face networking is still a great way to attract and connect in the world of social and online sales. Here are my top three networking tips.
- Shake and Look: When I shake someone’s hand, it’s a firm grasp, and a look them directly in the eye.
- Leverage Your Smile: Giving a smile will often get a smile back.
- Be Interested in Them First: Look to build a relationship, not make a sale. Whether I ask for their name or a simple “how are you?” I want to hear the other person before I speak about myself.
10. Be Strategic About Reaching Out to Target Customers
By understanding what channels your customers prefer and their schedules, you can determine the most effective way to contact them. If you try to make a phone call to a busy business owner at 4:00 P.M. on a Tuesday, chances are she will be working and won’t be able or interested in speaking with you. A better strategy might be to reach out ahead of time via email or LinkedIn and try to schedule an appointment. Or attend an industry event for women business owners and strive to make a personal connection with as many prospects as possible. Or, if you have a consumer food product, you could hand out samples in a grocery store and direct people to where they can get more in the store.
11. Write Your Personalized Message
You need to write a sales template for yourself that will work for hundreds of leads but be personalized enough to feel like you wrote it just for one person. You need one for the phone and one for your email or LinkedIn outreach efforts. Every potential lead you contact should believe that you typed that message just for them. Personalization takes sales efforts to the next level. Beware: people can smell generic email automation and it can damage your brand when it’s not done well.
12. Follow-Up Emails
You don’t just need one great pitch email; you need a sales funnel or nurture sequence to follow up to introduce your brand, build trust and then make your pitches. According to research, 60 percent of buyers ignore or say no to the first four sales messages. Yet, 70 percent of sales campaigns stop after the first unanswered message. Follow-up email sequences are key to making a sales outreach campaign work, so don’t hesitate to send out a series of emails. That’s the best way to close a sale. You can even add humor to your nurture emails to try and garner a response.
13. Utilize a CRM System
One of the final (but most important!) steps in building a sales outreach strategy is to ensure you store all data, interactions, and results in your CRM software. Be sure to rank your contact data based on:
- A buyer’s alignment with your solution.
- The size of their budget.
- Their level of influence within their organization.
14. Commit to Daily Sales Outreach
A sales outreach strategy will only work with a commitment to following through. You must work on sales daily, even if it’s just 2 hours a day or one whole day once per week. Your daily outreach will build your brand awareness, drive leads, and lead to sales appointments. You’ll always have a full pipeline of sales leads with daily sales activity.
Building Your Sales Outreach Strategy
The sales process is much easier when you know the details and history of your interactions with that prospect. But your communication is key. A good ending must be decisive, set up, and inevitable. You must be engaging, believable, passionate and offer a compelling message to close a sale. You should be prepared with testimonials from happy customers and proof that your future customer will have a positive outcome for their business after buying from you.
Also, if you want to close more sales, start by changing your mindset. Assume the sale is yours. The assumptive position is the strongest sales outreach strategy in the world.
How have you built your sales outreach strategy? Does it include any additional elements than what is on this list? Share your thoughts in the comments.