Topic: Sales outreach Word count: 660 Avg. read time: 4 mins
How to get new customers
Sales outreach is how you get in front of potential customers of your business. Largely relevant for those that sell to other businesses (B2B), it’s the process of finding the people who might be interested in your product or service (aka ‘prospects’), reaching out to them, building a relationship and finding a solution that’ll benefit you both. Making sales through outreach is notoriously hard – that’s why your strategy needs to be distinctive and relevant to your industry, product and prospects.
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01: Outline your ideal customer
Think about the type of companies your product or service would be a good fit for – maybe even write descriptions of hypothetical companies based on existing customers.
02: Create a targeted list
Define the criteria that companies need to fulfil to be worth reaching out to – eg, size, values or awareness of your product. Put together a list of between 50 and 100 initial companies to reach out to.
03: Think about buyer motivations
Consider the different priorities of the specific people you’ll be speaking to at your target companies, from founder-CEOs at smaller businesses to sales reps at larger ones.
04: Get searching
Identify the right prospect to speak to at each company using their website, LinkedIn or social channels. Set up a spreadsheet to organise and keep track of the contact details.
05: Pull together educational materials
Create brand books, short videos or ‘about us’ blurbs that are easily skimmable. If the conversation develops, you might bring in more substantial materials like white papers or studies.
06: Assemble a tech toolkit
Think of tools that can make the relationship as seamless as possible, like personalised video platforms, meeting apps or email management software.
07: Decide on channels
Go where they are: whether that’s through email, LinkedIn, social channels or phone calls. You might need to use multiple channels.
08: Work on your initial message
Treat it like a trust-building exercise by constructing a tailored, personalised message to each prospect. Frame your call to action around education rather than a sales meeting. When you’re happy, hit send.
Have a set strategy for how you’ll follow up – and how long you’ll wait between touchpoints. If you’ve tried a few times and hear nothing back, move on.
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‘Cold calling’ is a notoriously difficult way to start a relationship.
Ideally, you’ll go ‘warm’ instead – meaning you’ll have carried out proper research into the prospect, have gained introductions through common connections or will be following up with prospects that have already shown an interest.
Casting the net too wide is a common mistake.
Going after the wrong kinds of customers is a waste of time and resources, so focus your outreach on a narrower list of prospects that are more likely to convert.
Flexibility is key to this process.
It’s not about offering the exact same terms to all your prospects. You’ll need to use a certain amount of nuance and understanding of each customer on a case-by-case basis.
Virtual selling is here to stay.
If digital outreach wasn’t already pretty much the norm pre-pandemic, then it definitely is now, so getting comfortable using online tools and platforms is essential.And, according to a study by management consulting firm McKinsey, 75% of sales prospects prefer video conferencing to phone conversations.