We hear it every day: Cold-calling doesn’t work anymore. "Inbound" -- responding to leads/inquiries on the company website -- is the new “it” strategy.
And, with today’s customers savvier than ever, it’s no surprise that so many sales professionals have bought into the idea.
But there is still a place for outbound sales. An outbound sales strategy -- meaning cold-calling and emails -- can still be effective. If you do it right.
Take it from SalesLoft, a sales software company that helps sales teams gather leads and convert them. In 2014, over the course of 10 months, using outbound sales, SalesLoft was able to increase its revenue from $200,000 to $3.7 million, a 1,750 percent increase.
So, how did the company achieve such massive growth?
In an interview with the Growth Everywhere podcast, Kyle Porter, founder and CEO of SalesLoft, addressed his company's success. “We’ve got a lot of good science on the front end, and then we’ve got really good people who are able to use this rhythmatic process of Prospector plus Cadence [SalesLoft tools] in order to get 300 demos," he said. "Then, we’ve got an executive sales team that comes in and closes those demos.”
Porter attributed SalesLoft’s massive growth to a three-pronged system: the right people, the right strategy and the right attitude.
Hire the right people.
Without the right people in your company's essential sales roles, you can’t expect great results. Good salespeople are self-motivated and love a challenge. They aim high and are committed to going above and beyond expectations.
When you’re looking to grow your revenue, your salespeople must not only meet their quotas, but exceed them. At SalesLoft, reps consistently beat their quotas by 400 percent.
In her book, Agile Selling: Get Up to Speed Quickly in Today's Ever-Changing Sales World, sales strategist Jill Konrath spoke about the right criteria, writing that, “All the top sellers I know possess a unique balance of positivity and negativity. They’re always optimistic about the ultimate outcomes, but they sometimes seem paranoid about everything that could possibly go wrong. That’s why they succeed.”
Takeaway: When you’re shooting for massive growth, you need those sales reps who will help you succeed. Take your time in the hiring process to home-in on those A-players and bring them on board.
Use technology to Iimplement a high response rate from prospects.
The sales team at SalesLoft has a specific system in place for how and when to reach out to prospects. Over the course of seven days, prospects are contacted seven times, either by phone or email. This frequency of contact means prospects have no choice but to respond by one means or the other. This system has produced an 80 percent response rate for SalesLoft.
With a process like SalesLoft’s in place, sales teams ensure that leads are kept track of and that no one slips through the cracks. Instead, team members are able to track their communication with leads, provide quotes and make sure they stay top of mind.
As executive speech coach Patricia Fripp said on her website, “It is not your customer’s job to remember you. It is your obligation and responsibility to make sure they don’t have the chance to forget you.”
Marry quantity and quality.
Traditionally, outbound sales are focused mainly on the numbers. Outbound's quotas, deals and revenue are weighted heavily and attributed the highest importance. For your own outbound sales strategy to be effective, don't forget about the human factor.
So much of sales today is about building relationships. It’s not just about the product you sell, but about the story you tell. In his interview on the Growth Everywhere podcast, Porter said, “Our sales executives, they’re peers to the buyers at the organizations they’re talking to.”
Don’t forget to take the time to get to know your prospects and understand their needs. Once you know their needs and wants, you can better sell to them.One of Kester’s biggest tips is to not spend so much time talking that you forget to listen. “Listening is your greatest ally,” he wrote on the SalesLoft blog. “You can uncover the ‘keys to the castle’ by asking smart, directed questions.”
You need to make prospects feel appreciated and not just another number on the sales board. In his book, Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time, entrepreneur Keith Ferrazzi wrote, “The only way to get people to do anything is to recognize their importance and thereby make them feel important. Every person's deepest lifelong desire is to be significant and to be recognized.”
What do you think of SalesLoft’s outbound sales strategy? How can you apply some of the same ideas to your own sales strategy? Share your thoughts in the comments below: