Applying a Customer-First Approach to Outbound Sales

For an effective inbound or outbound strategy with an inbound mindset, you need a company culture where being helpful by choice is part of the company DNA.

Supplementing inbound sales with outbound sales is necessary to maximize your selling. However, your outbound campaigns need to match modern consumer behavior, and you need to dial in your messaging and tone to get it right. Maintaining a customer-first approach across your sales efforts will yield the best results.

Outbound vs. Inbound Let's Clarify a Few Things

By now, you have heard that inbound is the king of modern sales strategy. If you aren't doing inbound, you're the equivalent of Dwight Schrute hustling copy paper to the masses while spending your weekends on your family’s beet farm. While I like Dwight and even admire his work ethic, we have to admit the world of sales has changed for good.

We need to clarify how inbound and outbound still coexist in most modern sales teams. I like to think of Pam as your friendly inbound specialist, while Dwight is the typical outbound annoyance that bends you to his will to get the sale. When you encounter a Dwight, all you want to do is pull a classic Jim prank and put all items on his desk in the office vending machine.

The truth of the matter is that companies need both a Pam and Dwight, with a tuned-up approach to conversing with your prospects and internet leads.        

To Clarify…

Inbound – Your marketing team is top-notch. It does a fantastic job of creating a steady stream of inbound leads through the use of highly targeted and relevant blog articles, content, and active social media. Your sales team trains to be helpful, working with customers to guide them to the right products and services while not being too pushy. Still, you focus just enough to uncover a customer's challenges and help them realize their pain is too great to do nothing, they need your service, and you are their personal Sherpa.

Pam is here to listen actively, work with you on the challenges you face, and let's be honest; who wouldn't want to work with Pam?  To learn how to hire a Pam, you can check out how to build a high-performing sales team.    

Outbound – They say cold calling is dead, and while it has significantly changed over the years, let's be clear about a couple of things. 

I have seen enough sales teams operating at a high level in significant fortune 1,000 companies to know outbound is not dead, and neither is cold calling. Even if your primary marketing method for lead generation is inbound, you still need outbound sales discipline for other sales opportunities like; upsells, cross-selling different offerings, and working internet leads. 

With internet leads, your team might likely be competing for a sale with other vendors if you purchase leads which, BTW, you should. Companies purchase leads when inbound does not fill the pipeline enough to hit targets, which will be the case for almost all companies.  Rarely do I work with a company that has enough leads to scale a sales team from inbound alone.     

Even in small businesses that get it right, outbound is supplemental to inbound and absolutely a necessity. Why does Dwight, the hyper-aggressive grinder, have to be the only personality on your outbound team?  Why can't Pam be both a helpful inbound specialist and an effective outbound specialist?

With inbound assumptions, a prospect has done its research and doesn’t need you to tell them about your service; they need you to listen to challenges and be helpful because the customer is already well informed. I think this works great for the following types of companies:

  1. Well funded or first to market - Recognizable companies & brands who have already cemented their name in a target vertical or are spending a ton of cash to make their brand known in a target market.
  2. Companies with excellent marketing teams, maybe a founder is a marketing expert. They have a couple of content writers and someone in the organization who is fantastic at creating podcasts. They excel at producing compelling and valuable content. 

What if you are still trying to figure this out and need customers that need your products or service NOW?

Companies today still realize that you need separate teams; what’s changed is the approach to communicating with your prospects. You still need an outbound team, but you need a better version of outbound communication.

Going after new business opportunities is a requirement. How your outbound team sells is what needs a facelift. In this blog series, we're going to change how your outbound team talks to your potential customers, listens to them, and uses technology to stay engaged with them. Make sure you get aligned with the right type of salespeople to carry out your transition; hiring is essential here, and you need to establish a winning team culture with coachable salespeople.

First, we need to establish one thing; this will never work if your organization has no intention of actually being helpful. If your salespeople try to fake it, it will become apparent to savvy prospects who have an easy button called Home Advisor, Angie's List, Glass Door, Yelp, Trust Pilot, and Software Advice at their disposal. All they have to do is look your company up and trust me, they will. 

To have an effective inbound or outbound strategy with an inbound mindset, you have to build a company culture where being helpful by choice is part of the company DNA.

Read More: Teach Your Outbound Sales Team an Inbound Approach

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