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How to Build a Sales Outreach Strategy that Attracts Ideal Customers

Building a successful sales outreach approach requires systematic planning and a clear understanding of your target audience. For B2B sales, creating a pipeline of quality leads can be complex and require a specialized outreach strategy. Winning outreach means providing value to customers, opening doors, and building brand awareness. You should aim to communicate who you are as a brand and what you stand for.  

Spam emails and generic cold calls are a thing of the past when it comes to winning customers through outreach. Digital marketing has unlocked a plethora of opportunities for B2B companies looking to engage with prospective and past customers in a meaningful way. Personalization and automation tools can help you craft authentic messages that resonate with the right consumers. 

If you’re not seeing the desired result from your current outreach strategy, it might be time to re-evaluate and take a new approach. In this guide, we’ll go over what sales outreach is, types of outreach strategy, steps to develop a successful outreach plan, and some top tips for success – so you can be confident that you’re crafting an outreach strategy that’ll stand the test of time and adapt with your consumers.

What is a sales outreach strategy?

A sales outreach strategy is your plan to convert leads into paying customers using outbound and inbound sales tactics. It should combine several tactics across your marketing and sales teams to boost sales. This can be achieved by pursuing new customers but also by turning existing consumers into repeat buyers. 

Things like improving your customer support, creating loyalty programs, and offering deals and discounts are great customer retention examples. On the other hand, finding new customers will involve identifying your target audience, creating buyer personas, and tailoring your outreach and advertising efforts to meet customer demands. 

Your outreach efforts will vary depending on the size of your company, your products, and your existing sales process. There will be no one uniform strategy that will achieve results for every company. Indeed, you might even have to alter your strategy with each new launch. Additionally, incorporating customer feedback and soliciting business ideas can be invaluable for refining your offerings and tailoring your approach to meet evolving market demands.

Types of sales outreach strategy 

There are two distinct types of sales outreach – inbound and outbound. You can pursue either of these or combine them.

Inbound sales outreach

Inbound sales outreach starts with your prospective customer showing an initial interest in your products or services. This is known as warm outreach. They will find your company through search engines, social media, or other marketing efforts. Once they’ve shown this spark of interest, they’ll visit your site and engage with your website content. 

Producing high-quality and interactive web content will encourage leads to sign up for mailing lists, read your blog, and download eBooks/manuals. Inbound outreach is about making long-term and meaningful connections with customers while solving problems and offering value.

Read more: The Incredibly Simple Guide to Inbound Marketing

Outbound sales outreach

Outbound sales outreach or cold outreach involves your company reaching out to prospects, rather than the other way around. Outbound tactics can range from email marketing and SMS marketing to traditional cold calls, advertising billboards, and sponsorships. 

Outbound leads will be less aware than inbound prospects. They are less likely to have heard of your brand or engaged with your content before. Therefore, Your strategies and salespeople must communicate your brand message clearly and inform your ideal customers of all the benefits your products/services provide.

Read more: 6 Actionable Tips for Using Cold Email Outreach to Skyrocket Your Lead Generation

Why is a sales outreach strategy important for attracting ideal customers? 

A sales outreach strategy is crucial for reaching and attracting your ideal customers. When used correctly, they should convert leads, increase sales, and ultimately improve your return on investment.

It should have the following benefits in particular:

  • Identifying and approaching target customers
  • Educating potential customers on the benefits of your product/services
  • Reaching leads on a range of platforms
  • Building and maintaining both industry and customer relationships
  • Maintaining brand loyalty with ongoing engagement
  • Cross-selling to existing and interested customers 

Steps to develop a successful sales outreach strategy

Although an effective sales outreach strategy will comprise different elements for each company, these seven steps should be built into every plan. Think of them as your outreach springboard. If you’re not sure how to start planning your strategy, this is the place to begin. 

1. Understand your target audience

The first step of a winning sales outreach strategy is to identify your ideal customer. You should uncover the demographic characteristics of this consumer, such as their income, geographic location, age, and social status. You’ll also need to figure out what they’re looking for, such as what problems they want to solve and what needs they want to address. Conduct research and build data to have credible and accurate information on which to base outreach decisions.

You should also consider if your outreach will target new or existing customers because strategies will vary significantly depending on the answer. For example, if you’re hoping to retain customers, you’ll look to improve your after-sales services with things like a 24-hour client hotline or a chatbot for customer service support. Conversely, outreach focused on new customers should leverage tactics that set you apart from the competition and increase interest/awareness in your brand. 

2. Create ideal customer personas

Once you’ve identified who you’d like to target, the next step is to create buyer personas or an ideal customer profile (ICP). This will help to guide your sales team in its outbound outreach and allow them to personalize the experience. 

Personas lets your salespeople and marketing team have a real customer in mind when crafting their outreach plans. They can put themselves in your customers’ shoes and better understand their main concerns, what they’re looking for from you, and what appeals most. You can even create multiple personas and rank them from low to high priority depending on their likelihood to convert.

3. Choose the right outreach channels

Effective outreach can only go so far if you pursue all the wrong channels. You need to pick channels based on which digital media your ideal customer uses and is most likely to interact with. You may need to build a presence on a variety of platforms and pursue several channels because customers move around depending on where they are in the customer journey.  

Emails and phone calls are an effective initial touchpoint for engaging with consumers. From there, social media tools can play a pivotal role in converting leads and building long-term relationships. 

4. Personalize your messaging

Personalization means crafting outreach messages that are more attractive, relatable, and relevant to your target customers. It helps show that you’ve heard buyer demands and makes customers feel seen and understood. Personalization isn’t just a perk; customers expect it to be the default standard in 2024. 

Additionally, implementing strategies such as account-based selling can further enhance personalization efforts, tailoring outreach specifically to individual accounts’ needs and preferences.

You can customize digital messaging by including prospect names in emails and any other relevant information you have – i.e., the problem you know they are looking to solve. Do the same with your cold call script to ensure that your messaging stands out from the generic sales pitch competitors offer.

5. Always follow-up

Maintaining client relationships helps to keep them involved in an ongoing sales process and can create new leads through referrals. Follow up via email or SMS so that your customers are aware they’re valued. 

Here, you should recap the conversations you’ve had with them and offer your availability to answer any follow-up questions.  If you’ve set meetings, make sure to document the times and dates for those in this email. If a customer was indecisive in your previous interaction, send a personalized offer or discount to push them over the line. 

This is how an automated follow-up email flow looks like in Encharge:

6. Keep data safe and secure

If you’re asking leads to enter their contact data on your website, you must communicate that this process is safe and secure.  

Store data in one central location and ensure you back up regularly. When conducting customer service, you should aim to communicate to your clients how their data is stored and ease their privacy concerns. 

7. Use automation where possible

A successful marketing automation strategy can simplify your outreach, create key efficiencies, and free up your team for more complex sales tasks. Automation can be used for a variety of outreach, but it is particularly useful for time-consuming and repetitive tasks. This includes automated emails and validating customer email addresses, managing responses to outreach, and keeping track of these with CRM tools. 

You can also use automation to scale your referral program and attract new leads from existing customers. It’ll help segment customers by analyzing customer behavior and preferences. From here, you can send automated personalized offers and follow-ups via reminders and invitations. 

How to measure the success of your strategy

Once you have a strategy in place, you’ll be able to collect real data on how your ideal customers are responding to your outreach tactics. From here, you’ll see which ones to dedicate more resources to, which to drop, and which have growth potential. 

Your success will be measured using a few key metrics. These determine how engaged your prospects are with your outreach. 

Open rates

The easiest way to measure the success of your email marketing is to use an email marketing software to analyze your open rate metrics. These will tell you if customers are opening your emails, how quickly they’re being opened, which of your emails has had the highest open rate, etc. 

There are a few simple ways to boost your open rates and engage customers once they’ve clicked. Try to include sender names, use catchy subject lines, or even use emojis where appropriate. You should educate your teams on email marketing psychology, so they can put into practice effective marketing techniques for enticing consumers. 

For email subjects in particular, these can be strategies like creating a sense of urgency, arousing curiosity, and limited-time offers. For open emails, things like the psychology of color use, eye-catching typography, and interactive/animated media can all work to draw your customer in. 

Return on investment 

A successful outreach strategy means increased return on investment (ROI). To measure your outreach ROI, you need to determine the ratio of your outreach benefits to costs. Benefits will be the value you have generated from your outreach tactics, i.e., the amount of revenue you’ve generated from new customers. 

You should also assign a value to any increase in brand awareness and social media impact that might improve your sales in the long term. Outreach costs are simply your expenses. Calculate your outreach ROI with this basic formula: outreach benefits – outreach costs = ROI. 

Social media engagement 

If your sales outreach strategy involves social media, online sponsorships, and the best affiliate marketing programs, you can measure success based on changes in social media engagement. Have you gained followers on your social platforms? Are users engaging with relevant brand hashtags? How many of your website visits are coming directly from your social pages?

Customer satisfaction 

A customer retention-based outreach strategy will measure its success based on customer satisfaction. Responses to surveys, reviews, and customer service feedback should be collected and analyzed. You can also measure success based on how many of your existing customers have referred new customers and how many have repeated their business. 

Three top tips for successful outreach

To close off, here are three top tips to increase the efficacy of your sales outreach strategy. 

1. Build relationships with the right audience 

Your chance of converting leads increases dramatically when you meet the right people in the right places. Understand which channels are relevant and build detailed buyer personas to ensure you’re targeting customers most likely to purchase your products/services.

2. Plan and be consistent 

Consistency is key when it comes to outreach. Once you’ve run a successful marketing campaign, have the next one ready to go. When you’ve processed the leads from your current strategy, you need to have new ones in the pipeline. 

3. Stay relevant and offer value 

Keep up-to-date with your customers’ needs and wants so that you’re always ready to offer value. If you’re a B2B distributor, you might find that a particular question or concern arises in your industry. Try to answer those and provide clients with useful and relevant resources.

Start building an effective sales outreach strategy today

A well-executed sales outreach strategy will optimize and streamline your sales efforts, build profitable long-term client relationships, and help you offer value to your consumers. You’ll engage your ideal customer with resources that are tailor-made for them and, in so doing, build credibility in your industry. 

Remember that sales outreach strategies need to adapt to the customers they target. You should constantly reevaluate your plans and adjust them with every new launch. Collecting data over time will help you refine your plans so that they reach peak productivity.  

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