Early-stage startups don’t have customers knocking at their door. They have to do some marketing to either find customers or get customers to find them. While inbound marketing can effectively attract leads, startups should focus on creating an outbound sales strategy to generate leads faster. It’s a more effective (and less expensive) way to validate your market, attract new customers, and identify the best path forward to scale your business.
Let’s dive into employing an outbound sales strategy to generate leads and win new customers for your startup.
- Determine who you will target with your outbound sales strategy
- Choose the right channels for your outbound marketing
- Personalize the message when reaching out to potential customers
Choose Who to Target with an Outbound Sales Approach
Determine who you will target before engaging in outbound marketing. This will enable you to focus your sales efforts and improve your conversion rate.
Define the Ideal Customer
Create a profile of the ideal customer based on specific characteristics that matter to your business. These criteria will help you to effectively target the right leads. Evaluate potential customers according to the following categories:
- Product categories / what they sell
- Annual revenue
- Company size / number of employees
- Organizational structure
- Corporate goal
Identify Key Personnel and Roles
Choose three primary roles at the organizations you will be reaching out to (e.g., VP of Communications, Sales Manager, Procurement Director). For each role, outline the following information:
- Their main responsibilities
- How your product or service can improve their ability to execute their responsibilities
- Their goals and objectives
- How your product or service can help them meet their goals
Rank Targeted Personnel
Once you have created a list of potential leads to reach out to at the organizations you want to do business with, you should then rank the people you want to reach according to how they will fit your business. Score each lead according to the following criteria:
- How well aligned they are with your offering
- Their budget
- Their level of influence at the organization
Select the Right Channel
Now that you know who to reach, decide on how you will reach them. This will often depend on the industry, the type of product or service you provide, and the channel that your prospects use the most.
LinkedIn is an effective channel for an outbound sales strategy. People expect to connect with other businesses in their industry, as well as salespeople, on this platform. Check out the prospect’s LinkedIn page to determine how active they are on the platform.
Email marketing works well as a channel for outbound marketing — it’s almost 40 times more effective than social media. If the prospect is already on your company’s email list, check their open and engagement rates in your CRM or email marketing system. If they are active and engaged, then a targeted email might be the best choice. A well written, customized email marketing campaign can also be effective for attracting and engaging cold and warm leads.
Send a Personalized Message
Attracting new customers requires developing a relationship based on trust. One way to build trust is to reach out with a customized message that demonstrates you understand who they are and what they need. Scripts and templates will keep you organized and make the writing process more efficient. However, do not send an entirely generic and scripted message, as you are less likely to get a positive response than a customized email.
Follow these tips to personalize your email or LinkedIn message to prospects:
- Keep the message short.
- Write a relevant, targeted subject line.
- Begin the message with the prospect’s name (i.e., nothing generic, not their title) as well as the company’s name.
- Do not start off by selling, pitching your solution or discussing product features. The goal is to build trust, not sell, at first contact.
- Include relevant context in your message. State what you know about the prospect and their situation or the problem they are trying to solve. Demonstrate that you understand their market and their needs.
- Include a call to action - invite the prospect to take the next step (e.g., sign up for a free trial, subscribe to a newsletter, call for more information).
Developing a Targeted Outbound Sales Strategy for Your Startup
As a startup, focus on using outbound sales strategies to more quickly and effectively generate sales leads and win new customers for your business. This approach will enable you to target potential customers that best fit your business. You control the message and who you reach, as well as the direction and whether to pivot based on the responses to your marketing outreach.
Do you need help with creating an effective outbound sales strategy? Connect with us.