Does your company receive all the sales enquiries needed to reach your financial goal?
If not, outbound prospecting is the best answer. Contrary to much that’s written today, prospecting still works. In fact the best salespeople are masters of all the traditional aspects of selling.
Companies and their salespeople can’t leave it all to inbound marketing, content marketing or social media. Most companies don’t receive all the inbound enquires they need to reach their sales plans or financial goals. Also, most company’s largest and most profitable customers are won by outbound marketing and sales efforts combined.
The best marketers and salespeople are prepared to interrupt prospects and spend a significant proportion of each week doing so. To be effective, good lead generation takes a lot of self-discipline and a sound process. A database of carefully selected target companies likely to benefit from your particular product or service will need to be keyed into the CRM system. Email prospecting is the sending of cold emails to targeted organisations. It’s worth remembering that sending a small number of tailored emails to specific decision makers isn’t spamming.
Emailing can be extremely effective and generates very good ROI. A recent study in the US by the Direct Marketing Association found that businesses earn an average of $43 for every $1 invested in email marketing. That’s a 4,300% ROI. Not surprisingly, this beats all other advertising channels. According to a 2015 report by DemandGen, 87% of B2B demand generators listed email as their top channel for generating leads.
In a 2014 study by GigaOm, marketers ranked email marketing as the most effective strategy for acquiring leads, generating sales and retaining customers. Another study by McKinsey & Co found that businesses are 40 times more likely to create a new customer from email marketing than through social media. A study by SEMPO found that 66% of marketers believe email marketing delivers a “good” or “excellent” ROI, while only 41% of them said they feel the same way about social media.
The more familiar a prospect is with a provider, the more likely they are to talk to them. Inbound marketing certainly helps with familiarity in the long term but outbound prospecting brings results more quickly. However, prospecting takes patience and perseverance in equal measure.
The best form of campaign to adopt is “multi touch” including telephone calls, voicemail, email/InMail, and sometimes old fashioned communications such as letters and faxes. It’s a little known fact that many directors’ personal assistants still have their own fax lines. These are largely unknown to receptionists or switchboard operators.
Be prepared to make touches per prospect well into double figures. This is why only the best and most dedicated sales and marketing people succeed, as most people give up after a couple of attempts. Sadly these people will do almost anything to avoid picking up a telephone to “cold call” a prospect, especially if that prospect is a senior or board level decision maker. But if a tailored prompt sheet is utilised and emails are sent before and after the telephone call, there is less to fear.
It’s a fact of life that marketing and salespeople will always be rejected by some prospects and sometimes several. It’s part of the job. However, the people who are the best at this early stage of the sales process are often the best performers at the business end of the sales process as well. As long as there is a strong and relevant value proposition, based on thorough homework of each prospect and insights about their industry sector, there’s a much better chance of engaging the prospect.
Add these methods to your inbound marketing efforts and you have a multi touch system which makes prospects much more likely to do business.