You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. Steve Jobs
So Steve Jobs didn’t know how he became successful until after the fact. Hindsight is 20/20 after all. The problem is that many of you haven’t reached the same level of success that Steve achieved. Why is that a problem? You don’t know what will work for you until it does. In fact, when you start, there is one burning question above all others: what is a reliable and successful strategy for finding leads to convert into sales? There is no such thing as a silver bullet for your uncertainty. However, there are a few great advantages that an outbound sales strategy has over other techniques for acquiring new leads. I would like you to hear me out on why it’s worth it to implement an outbound sales strategy for lead generation.
Why is it better to start an outbound sales strategy than go for other lead generation practices?
It is Predictable
You miss 100% of the opportunities you don’t take, as many a shy high schooler has realized when they are left going to prom dateless, having never asked anybody. If that kid had just asked around, there would probably be at least one person who he or she could go with. Outbound works the same way but with more reliability. In our experience, one out of every twenty people we contact wants a demo. You want another demo? Contact another 20 people. Simple as that.
It is Sustainable
A cool feature of outbound is you can continually generate new prospects without going through a dry patch. There are new companies starting and new people moving into positions of power all the time. Unless you have a very limited number of potential clients, there will always be new leads to generate and sales to be made. You don’t need to wait for someone to get interested in your top level funnel. More importantly, you know you are reaching out to someone who can help you, often a decision maker, rather than someone with an interest but no sway.
It can be scaled through automation
When most people think of outbound, they think of unscalable activities like cold calling or bulk untargeted messages like spam or flyers. Automation tools like Growbots allow you to multiply the time investment of your SDRs.
It is not even just about the benefits. You have to think about…
The opportunity cost of not starting an outbound sales strategy
The current method you use for lead generation may not scale. It may work for now but how well will it work as your company grows? There are certain outbound strategies like cold calling that give people the wrong impression of outbound. No matter how many tools you give your call workers, there is a limit to the number of people they can talk to an hour, usually around 8. By starting an outbound email sales strategy, you have access to a number of tools which have a multiplying effect on your ability to connect with your customers.
Of course, you can always ignore outbound and develop another strategy but before you do so, ask yourself this one simple question: how effective is my strategy?
Relationship building is dependent on a single person
A lot of businesses start with the founder pressing palms, making deals, and relying on personal relationships. There comes a time when you need to think about scaling. Unfortunately, relationships don’t scale. You will need to hire a new sales rep every time to increase sales this way. That person will have to develop all new relationships to sell. With outbound, you can ramp up a new prospector in a matter of weeks. From there their output is predictable, taking the guesswork out of the equation.
Inbound takes a long time to start generating leads
An inbound funnel can be great but it can take about 6 months before you start to see results. As a company founder, you need to ask whether you can survive that long without any revenue or leads for you account executives to close on. With outbound, you can start selling from day one.
So have I got you paying attention? Good because developing outbound can make your life easier.
What problems will you solve when you start an outbound sales strategy?
Think about the major challenges for your company. These are common to both startups and mature businesses.
- You probably need leads to sell to and gain revenue from. You need these leads to come in in a predictable way for the sake of efficiency and future planning.
- You need them in a timely manner to keep a startup revenue positive or a mature business meeting the targets set by its board.
- You want your lead generation to keep pace with the growth of your business.
It’s a tall order to satisfy all those needs.
An outbound sales strategy has the potential to solve all of your problems. It produces leads in a regular and dependable way. You will usually be able to start closing on those leads within a month, bringing in predictable revenue. By buying the right information and using the right tools., one SDR can scale up their prospecting operation meaning that you can increase the flow of your inbound channel as your company grows. Sound good?
Having a dependable and predictable source of revenue come with a number of advantages.
- As a founder, you can pull back from sales and focus on the strategic direction of the company.
- You can iterate your process by bringing on new members of the team.
- It gives you leeway to spend more on product development or developing a less predictable but potentially rewarding inbound channel.
That may sound tempting but not everything is for everybody. That begs the question
Who is it for?
In our experience, the sweet spot for outbound is companies wanting to close deals worth between 1000 and 250,000 dollars, though it is useful for any B2B deal you are willing to spend a few dollars closing. Of course, each company had different goals and pain points. Are any of these issues that you want to solve?
- You want to keep your sales funnel full
- You want a method that can scale with minimal effort
- You are worried about running out of new leads
- You want higher quality leads than your current channels give you
- You need to make your sales/revenue targets
- You don’t want to spend much on landing high-value deals
- You want to gain exposure where you don’t already have access
- You want a predictable revenue stream that you can plan for
Outbound can be a solution to all of these issues. It has worked well with all kinds of our clients, from a sole founder to a corporate sales department. While we have a deal range where it works best, it can work for anything between high margin deals worth only a few hundred dollars to anything above 1 million. So do you now think you would be a good candidate to start an outbound sales strategy? Every business is different and you need to know what the ROI is on your investment so first, you need to know…
What are the results that can be expected?
No matter what your good intentions are, it is results that you are after. After all, your business or your job depend on them. So what can you expect when you start an outbound sales strategy?
One caveat I should mention is that the numbers we provide are based on experiences with fully ramped up prospectors and campaigns. There will obviously be some inefficiencies to start with as you learn. Starting from scratch without any help, it takes about two months to gain the knowledge through trial and error to get these results.
At those levels, your average SDR can generate 10 to 20 excellent leads a month, according to Aaron Ross in Predictable Revenue. He used the automation software that was available at the time (Salesforce) but we have found that with the current tools available, each SDR can feed between 40 and 50 excellent leads a month to their account executives.
So how many people do you need in your operation? Well to start out you really only need one. Using automation tools, this is an approach that can be carried out by a founder. Pretty soon though you will want to expand the team.
It is much more efficient to separate the Prospectors (SDR’s) and the Account Executives (the guys who close deals). If you prospect manually, you will probably need 2 to 3 SDR’s to provide enough leads for 1 account executive.
With a tool like Growbots, you can reduce that ratio to one account executive for each SDR or even 2 SDR’s for 3 account executives. Sounds good?
Let’s Bring it all together
The main thing that I would like you to take away from this article is that outbound sales is within the reach of most sales operations, from a one man founder up to a corporate sales team. You can start selling immediately in a predictable way. There is very little guesswork in the process so it is easy to bring new people into the operation as it expands.
The key to making optimizing outbound to be scalable and successful is employing automation tools like Growbots to speed up prospecting and email campaigns. With these tools, one man can do the work of three and a small corporate sales team can do the work of a large one. All you have to do is take the first step.