Scaling your prospecting efforts becomes easier when you focus on these four vital components.
In this article:
- Four Things You Need for a Scalable and Effective Prospecting
Prospecting | Scale It Right with These Outbound Sales Components
Four Things You Need for Scalable and Effective Prospecting
I used to have the wrong ideas about prospecting. I was once swept up in the sweet promise of easy sales victory. Before, I believed I could write one prospecting letter, then I could blast it to 1,000 people and rely on the “law of large numbers” to carry me to quota. It’s a fantasy a lot of us tell ourselves when we need to do some lead generation. It’s also not so far from the truth.
In reality, you can find scaled prospecting success through email and other communication without researching your prospects to death. It takes a lot more work than you might want to believe, though.
What are the critical components of great outbound selling at scale?
- Viable comms
I’ll break each of these down below for you.
If you shoot a basketball a thousand times, the law of large numbers indicates you should make at least a few baskets. It doesn’t work that way, however, if you’re shooting at a soccer goal.
That’s the classic prospecting mistake most of us make, especially when we try to scale up the quantity of our outreach. We aim for the wrong target market for our sales funnel.
To speed up our sales process, we buy a cheap list or the biggest list we can. We go at it like a Tyrannosaurus chasing its next meal without giving a thought about who gets injured along the way (including our brand).
We’re shooting basketballs at soccer goals, and nobody wins.
Hypertargeting means we get serious about the potential customers we are trying to approach. We need to lock down our value proposition and our parameters for our prospective clients.
Creating Your Value Proposition
When we define our value proposition for prospecting, we need to be as specific as possible. Look at the difference between a basic value proposition and one with the appropriate level of detail:
- (A) “I provide accounting software for enterprise-level accounting teams with multiple departments across multiple countries.”
- (B) “I help Fortune 1000 companies with departments or divisions outside the US to roll up all accounting numbers easily and remain 100% compliant with local laws.”
This matters in prospecting because it tells us how to focus our targeting. In this example, we need to build a list around accounting teams responsible for looking at the company’s total profits and losses, not just one area.
Imagine the difference in conversions with that improved level of targeting. Now, we don’t want to irritate accounting managers. We’re helping the ones who need our product.
The clarity in your value proposition leads to increased accuracy in defining your potential customers. You’re now better prepared to define the industries, regions, and other indicators that make a company the right fit for your product.
That’s what hypertargeting is all about. You don’t want to waste any effort, no matter how small, on people who don’t need you. You also don’t want to damage your brand with lazy outreach. It’s not worth it!
Another component of effective prospecting is personalization. Up to this point, you’ve probably nodded off as you were reading. Hypertargeting is easy to understand and logical (even if a lot of sales professionals aren’t doing it right or at all).
Now I’m going to propose something that may upset you. In most cases, researching the specific people you’re trying to reach is a low-value activity.
There, I said it!
Here’s what I mean. A lot of reps in charge of sales prospecting fly the flag of “personalization” and think it means the same thing as “quality.” What makes a quality conversation between a vendor and a buyer?
- The vendor has a product that solves the buyer’s problem.
- It understands the problem enough to help the potential customers identify it.
- The vendor can clearly explain how the product solves the buyer’s problem.
- The buyer understands the value of the product as a solution to their problem.
Notice how I didn’t list things like these:
- The vendor mentions that it knows what school the buyer went to.
- It knows the buyer’s favorite Spice Girl is Scary Spice (duh).
- Vendor cyberstalked the buyer’s Instagram feed and knows about their recent trip to Paris.
Value is all about a mutual understanding between buyer and seller that a problem exists, which a product can solve.
How to Do Personalization Correctly
These ridiculous details, though, are the common prospecting techniques of sales reps. For all the “stuff” we post on social media, even on LinkedIn, very little of it relates to our functions within our company. Almost none of it talks about problems we are having at work.
Now you get it, let’s uncover the truth about how to correctly personalize for marketing prospecting. It’s all about the buyer persona.
If you understand the types of people involved in a purchasing decision (decision makers) or who are experiencing the problem you solve, personalization becomes easy. You build your messaging (phone scripts, email templates, and even website copy) around the buyer personas. This way, you know you’re relevant. You know if someone says they’re not interested, it’s not because you didn’t start your email with “Go Cougars!”
If you’ve correctly targeted the business you can help and have crafted your messaging around the buyer persona, you’re halfway to success at scale. The other is creating a tempting offer to bring your prospects to the sales cycle.
Even if your product solves the problem, you have to remember the prospect didn’t ask you to cold contact them. They need a compelling reason to do anything at all about your message.
Some pretty common offers include free trials, free two-day shipping, and lower fees. All these don’t have equal value, though. You need to understand your buyer to know whether one of these will work.
Consider the following:
Do you require the prospect to make a major shift to take advantage of your offer?
If they have to switch to a new technology or platform that takes a lot of migration time or effort, a free trial just won’t cut it.
Is the value of the offer significant enough to make the uncertainty of the outcome worth it?
Buyers often put their head on the chopping block by supporting an unknown vendor or solution. It means the proposed value needs to significantly outweigh this risk.
Can they negotiate the same offer from another vendor (including their current vendor) if they use yours as leverage?
What you think is a major incentive to switch may just be a great way to get a discount without switching.
If you can’t provide a tempting offer, you’re going to need to educate your buyer into working with you. It’s almost impossible to do it at scale through outbound prospecting and will likely fit more in marketing’s wheelhouse.
Disruptive startups are popular for “growth hacking” their way to success. What is the most common component of these prospecting campaigns? It’s an irresistible offer!
4. Viable Comms
The final part of the formula is a viable communication channel. Viability is equal parts efficiency and effectiveness.
Efficiency, for our purposes, means you can execute a lot of an activity in a short period of time. Technology enables an unprecedented level of efficiency in everything from cold calling (a la ConnectAndSell) to emailing (a la Yesware) and even the full stack together (a la InsideSales.com).
With regard to communication channels, effectiveness means you can generate a response from a high number of potential buyers in that channel. When I ran a team that sold to independent insurance agency owners, we found email was ineffective. Phone calls helped us more in sales prospecting.
Please note viability has nothing to do with how much you or your reps like to sell in a given channel. To reach successfully scaled prospecting, we can’t concern ourselves with personal preference. It’s exceptionally difficult to live at the intersection of quality and quantity in outbound sales.
That’s what makes it so valuable, however. If you can master this formula, you will:
- Stand out from your competition
- Drive more sales pipeline and closed deals
- Have more fun in a very challenging role
If you already tried to scale your outbound prospecting efforts, use this as your guide for assessing where you went wrong. If you were trying to figure out how to get more than a handful of good conversations from your sales prospecting techniques, now you know. Happy selling!
What do you think of these prospecting components? Let us know your thoughts below!
Looking to learn more about selling? Check out my book on Amazon called Outbound Sales, No Fluff.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on January 8, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.