Your Outbound Lead Development Strategy as a Sales Advantage
A few things seem to happen quickly as soon as Labor Day is over.
- Nights get cooler
- Leaves begin to change color
- Sales leaders start planning for next year
While enjoying the cooler weather and the fall colors, we have two recommendations for your sales planning. Applying the fundamentals of strategic outbound will set you on the path to success in the coming year.
- Analyze your past year’s results.
- Invest in your team.
1. Should you Change Your Sales Strategy? Your Data Can Answer That Question.
It's Q3, and like all sales leaders, you are acutely aware of your progress toward your annual sales goals. Whether you are ahead or behind, as you plan for next year, we encourage you to take a good, hard look at a few key metrics from the current year.
- How did you perform against the KPIs you set for the year?
- What strategies and programs were the most successful?
- Where did the majority of your revenue come from, which markets, industries, personas; and what percentage came from existing clients vs. net new logos?
- Based on your closing ratio and sales cycle, did you fill your pipeline early enough in the year to hit your annual sales target?
Your findings from this analysis will help you refine your sales program for the coming year. This review process might also lead to more questions that are best answered by listening to the “Voice of the Customer.”
- A win/loss analysis can give insight into why you win or lose deals.
- A client quality assessment survey can identify what your clients value about your offering that can be more heavily emphasized in your marketing and sales message.
- Market research assessments focused on talking to prospective customers can give you a point of view that helps determine appetite and viability for new offerings based on how potential buyers react to the value proposition.
2. Invest in Your Sales Team
Most B2B sales teams need a combination of inside and outside sales talent.
What is the Difference Between Inside Sales and Outside Sales?
The difference between inside and outside sales is where they focus efforts. Inside sales works at the top of the funnel to identify new prospects and develop them into leads and opportunities. Outside sales executives are focused on the bottom of the funnel to turn opportunities into new clients.
Regardless of Position, Experience is the Key to Success
Organizations that have a long and complex sales cycle should avoid the assumption that inside sales is synonymous with "junior sales person”. While inside sales can serve as a training ground for young team members to gain experience and advance into outside sales roles, for a sales program to be successful you should apply the right talent and skills to each phase of the sales program.
“A structured approach to the transition of sales through your funnel and ultimately conversion to new revenue requires an experienced team.”
If you are selling to executive-level decision-makers, we recommend that you invest in an experienced inside sales team. The more seasoned your inside sales team members are, the more successful they will be moving prospects through the funnel.
At ML, we have found the most successful salespeople, regardless if they are inside or out, have several things in common:
- Experience selling to the C-suite. They are comfortable and can speak confidently with senior executives and link solutions to business issues.
- Industry experience. They understand and can communicate how your products and services solve the challenges commonly felt by your typical buyers.
- A natural curiosity, competitive spirit, and desire to solve problems. The very best sales people are curious and appreciate the opportunity to learn. This translates to a sincere motivation to solve their client’s challenges.
Data + Experience = A Recipe for Success
We hope these tips help you build an effective sales plan for 2023. Here are some additional best practices to help you close out Q4 and begin building your pipeline for the new year.
Vice President of Business Development
Joined ML in 2008
“The overarching goal is to maintain a healthy pipeline. This requires salespeople to meet their numbers on a consistent monthly basis to meet quarterly objectives. I like to monitor sales metrics and conversion rates across a rolling 90-days. Sales is a numbers game and months might ebb and flow, but always strive for a rolling average of consistency.
“For me, the Q4 push starts 30-60 days ahead of October by frontloading the early-stage meetings in the back half of September, October, and early November to impact results. Challenge yourself to exceed September and October to impact Q4. Oftentimes, we may share a special offer to our customer base to help them accelerate their positioning for Q4 and planning for the coming year.
“Finally, complete your strategy and set up of new programs in Q4. That way, you will be up and running and seeing meetings on the calendar early in the new year.”
“Beginning early in Q4, I always remind prospects that we can help them with their 2023 initiatives. Q4 is the perfect time to connect to learn more about what their initiatives are, and position how our client’s offerings can help them achieve their goals.
“I also remind prospects how busy the new year can be, especially after the holidays. I suggest scheduling time before then, at least to have that initial exploratory call. Then we can schedule another call in the new year, to dive deeper or provide a demo.”
With 20+ years of strategic outbound experience, we can provide advice to help you with your planning. Feel free to reach out.
Good luck with your planning!