The ultimate guide to sales outreach

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March 5, 2020

sales outreach optimization

With thousands of reviews and unbiased opinion posts just a few clicks away, buyers are more empowered than ever. In fact, 60% of buyers want to connect with sales during the consideration stage, after they've researched the options and come up with their shortlist.

Has your sales outreach strategy evolved to keep up?

In today's market, the best sales outreach strategies strike the perfect balance between volume and precise targeting. At least 50% of your prospects are not a good fit for what you sell, so it’s important to identify the bad fits as early as possible. You don't want to waste your time and your prospects’ time if they're never going to fully benefit from your product or service.

With these sales outreach best practices, you can effectively prioritize your funnel, win the attention and trust of your perfect leads, and bring in the highest ROI. But first things first, let's go over some of the basics...

What is sales outreach?

A sales outreach strategy is the set of tactics you use to attract new business, including prospecting emails, campaigns and offers. For some companies, this is likely to include account-based selling techniques.

Sales outreach is connected to sales prospecting, or the process of bringing in new business by searching for buyers for your products or services. Sales outreach can either be inbound or outbound.

Inbound vs. outbound sales outreach

In outbound sales outreach, you make the first move by seeking out and selling to your buyers. This used to rely a lot on cold calling (unsolicited calls to sell a product or service), but now it includes cold email outreach and social media outreach.

On the other hand, inbound sales outreach consists of a warmer sales approach and your buyers come to you. Your leads are people who have already made the first move and have an idea of what your product or service offers.

As you're not starting from scratch, inbound outreach is generally more effective and easier than outbound prospecting. However, many companies incorporate outbound sales outreach as well to reach a wider audience and get a higher volume of leads in their funnel.

Best practices for sales outreach

1. Build an inbound sales machine first

If you solely rely on outbound sales outreach, your sales machine will grind to an abrupt halt when you stop putting the hours and money in. This isn't a sustainable strategy!

Instead, build a foundation of inbound sales outreach that can be supplemented by cold outreach strategies.

This can mean creating buzz on social media, using SEO and keyword research to drive qualified leads to your website organically, and attracting leads with lead magnets before guiding them down the funnel.

2. Create a diverse sales outreach strategy

There's a wide range of tactics that you can include in your sales outreach strategy, so it's worth handpicking those that best suit your business model and what you're selling.

Examples of inbound sales tactics:

  • SEO for high-value keywords, focused around relevant topic clusters for your business
  • Nurturing emails for leads (e.g. blog subscribers) that move contacts down the funnel and towards sales-ready actions, like requesting a demo
  • Lead magnets on your website, such as banner offers, CTA buttons, discount codes and optimized pop-ups offering value-adds
  • Social media and email campaigns for people who already know your brand

Examples of outbound sales tactics:

  • Cold emailing to a carefully collected list and with personalization tokens
  • Cold calling
  • Social outreach, such as LinkedIn Message Ads

3. Incorporate account-based selling

Account-based selling takes a quality-over-quantity approach to sales, and there's much that you can take from it to add to your sales outreach strategy. This works especially well for B2B businesses that want to attract higher-value clients.

Rather than trying to bring in the most leads, account-based sales focuses on bringing in the right leads. Many of the key principles of account-based selling are sales best practice, including:

  • Personalizing your messaging to every prospect, so they feel like an individual rather than an email on a mailing list
  • Knowing your key sales personas: the target audiences that are a perfect fit for your product or service
  • Integrating sales, marketing and support for a holistic customer-centric approach

4. Keep accurate contact data everywhere

If your contact data isn't accurate, you can't get the best results from your sales outreach. Inaccurate data means running the risk of reaching out to contacts at the wrong time, calling leads that have already been contacted by your colleagues or pushing a lead to buy too soon.

These are all sure-fire ways to leave a bad impression, but they're easily avoidable.

Set up two-way contact syncing between your apps and always see the latest version of your contact data – whether you're looking at your CRM, automation tool or sales software.

5. Great sales copy

Everyone makes mistakes, but don't click send on your sales outreach emails if you haven't proofread and optimized your message. You need to give the best possible first impression, especially if it's cold outreach and your prospects don’t have opinions of your brand yet.

If your business has a marketing team, find out if you can get their support creating and A/B testing effective sales enablement content. It's also worth taking the time to set up clear tracking, for instance by sending your emails from a CRM like Pipedrive or HubSpot, so you know how your sales sequences are performing.

6. Honesty and transparency

You can't outsmart your prospects – and don't even think of deceiving them with sleazy car salesman tactics. If you lose your prospect or customer's trust, they have plenty of other competitors they can turn to, so don't risk it. Honesty and transparency need to be core sales philosophies in your business; it'll always come back to bite you otherwise.

7. Match your outreach to your brand

If your sales outreach doesn't line up with your business's core values, your prospects will be left wondering what your business really stands for. If you have a caring and thoughtful brand on social media, but your salespeople hound your leads with cold calls at any time of day, which brand image is the real one?

This is why it's important to not create your sales outreach strategy in a vacuum; make sure to involve your other departments, including marketing, product and leadership. It's easy for a few bad sales outreach emails to ruin your brand for potentially perfect-fit customers.

The strongest brands are consistent – and the strongest sales outreach strategies are aligned with every other aspect of the business. Make sure your sales outreach matches your business values and how you believe in communicating with your target audience.

8. Automation

Scaling up your sales outreach doesn't mean you need to do it all yourself. With so many automation tools at your fingertips, you can easily send the right messages to the right people at exactly the right time in their buyer's journey – with minimal effort required from you.

Before automating your sales processes, make sure to connect your apps for more reliable data. By syncing your data two-ways between your most important apps, you'll always have access to accurate, up-to-date information in every tool – and you can put your data to work with more accurate workflows and real-time dashboards.

About Lucy Fuggle

Lucy Fuggle writes for PieSync, the two-way contact sync tool for hundreds of apps. She also works with her clients to make their brand matter with a content-rich marketing strategy.