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Blog Post

Is Outbound Prospecting Dead?

November 19, 2020
Table of Contents

Is outbound prospecting dead?  Before we can answer that question we first need to understand the why.  Why are we asking this?  Why are frustrated sales reps trying to convince themselves that outbound prospecting is dead? 

When you dissect the question you start to realize it’s not a question at all.  But maybe the belief is actually a cry for help or a negative thought that was brought on by continuous rejection.  Before we can resolve this issue we first need to understand how this doubt started in the first place.  I can’t imagine your hiring manager selected you due to your one-of-a-kind pessimistic attitude on prospecting.  

So let’s take a look at three common problems why a sales rep might be struggling when it comes to outbound prospecting. Outbound sales reps are commonly lacking in one of these 3 areas, if not all 3, when their doubt in prospecting starts to creep in: 

  1. Planning and Preparation 
  2. Resources and Tools 
  3. Execution and Consistency

Planning and Preparation.

This is the most important phase in the outbound prospecting process, yet is also the most commonly overlooked.  Sales reps overlook planning because it is timely and lacks excitement. The hard truth is without planning and preparation, you are doomed to fail.

How can you provide value when you don’t have any knowledge about who you are calling or reaching out to?  Why should they entertain a conversation with you when you can’t take five minutes to learn a little bit about their company?  Guess what, they shouldn’t and they won’t.

First priority: set aside preparation and research time to ensure your prospecting efforts are meaningful.  Understand how you can bring value to who you are reaching out to and do this first by crafting target lists with an ideal customer profile.  Craft lists that are very pointed.  Start to ask the below questions and combine common targets in lists together.

  • Question 1: What industry or vertical do they belong to?
  • Question 2: How many employees are in the company?
  • Question 3: How much revenue do they earn annually?
  • Question 4: What employee title do I tend to get decisions from?
  • Question 5: What problem of theirs do I solve?

If you are having trouble putting together a list, a good place to start is by looking at current customers.  What makes them an ideal customer? Why have we been successful with them? Try and mirror that same client or company and find others that will have the same problems/needs.  Use your targeted and researched hit list to become much more strategic in your outreach.  This will allow you to easily develop talk tracks, email templates, drive conversations, and identify the pain points of your target accounts quicker.  Over time, you will become a subject matter expert within the verticals you are going after, allowing you to bring true value to your target sales prospect starting from the first touchpoint.  

Related: Identifying and Optimizing the Stages of a Sales Funnel   

Resources and Tools.

How well are you equipped today to be the best sales professional possible?  Do you utilize all the resources available or are you manually sending out 50 generic cold emails and wondering why no one has responded?  The year is 2020, yes things are crazy, but you have more tools for sales prospecting available than ever before.

Regardless of what sales organization you work for, you, as a sales rep, have opportunities to make connections with prospects by phone, text, email, social media, direct message, contact us form, leveraging a referral network, etc.  How well are your prospects responding to these different platforms?  If you are unsure, then find out.  Start testing on different channels and lean into what works.  

There are even sales prospecting tools that will automate many of the processes that you are likely wasting hours on today.  Reply.io is one of many email automation tools that will allow you to create a personalized email campaign that can be sent to countless prospects in the sales funnel at the click of a button.  Dux Soup is a LinkedIn marketing automation tool that sends custom connection requests to a specified list of sales prospect targets.  You can literally have this tool run in the background while checking emails.  Countless tools that make your job easier exist, you just need to find the ones that are best fit for you.

Related: What Is Marketing Automation? 

Execution and Consistency.

You likely put in hours of hard work perfecting your sales prospecting tools and building your lists to target, so now it is time to capitalize.  Put your plan to action and get to work!  

Whatever you do, do not ever give up after your first attempt at outreach.  I would recommend that you don’t stop reaching out until you’ve hit at least ten touchpoints over a reasonable period of time.  If your outbound sales strategy is not working, switch it up. Lean on others for support; a second pair of eyes can sometimes catch something that you’re missing.

Stay consistent, execute on your outbound strategy plan, and be confident in the service you are providing.  If you do this and learn from any mistakes along the way you are bound to win and you’ll soon be laughing the next time you hear someone ask “is outbound prospecting dead?”

In summary, outbound prospecting is not dead! It has just evolved and changed, so your strategy must do the same. By being laser focused in building the right target hit list, using the appropriate tools and continuing to test and try new ones, and holding yourself accountable to consistently provide value and connecting with your outbound lead targets, you will find that prospecting is in fact alive and well. 

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