Outbound calls are not utilized enough by marketers while content is not used enough by sales teams.
With little to no understanding of a prospect’s background and pain points, even well-scripted calls can often be a hit-and-miss exercise in turning prospective buyers into customers. It’s not surprising then that ‘cold calling’ has developed a reputation for being seen as intrusive, pushy, and rarely successful.
If your company is using an inbound sales strategy (if you’re not, here’s 4 reasons that you should!), then you’re familiar with the targeted process of using the right content in the right place at the right time.
Using the inbound methodology can give you insights that can take your outbound calling efforts to the next level, leading to a far more effective (and personal) way to connect with prospects than simply following up by email. The knowledge and understanding gained about the buyer during their journey through the sales funnel can reveal crucial and riveting details about your customer that can change the scope and content of those outbound calls. This in turn, can be used to educate the prospect and encourage them further down the buyer’s journey instead of rushing to convert them into customers at the outset.
Outbound calling and the inbound sales methodology go hand-in-hand, much like the coordinated efforts of the sales and marketing departments to hit goals and increase revenue (more on that later).
Here’s why you should make outbound calls a part of your inbound sales strategy:
Buyer behaviour has changed with the evolution of the internet, and more often than not, you are dealing with an informed buyer who is already aware of their options, and is NOT keen on being sold to. Luckily, the inbound methodology helps you connect with relevant leads, those already interested in your product or service.
For instance, if a prospect downloads an eBook or white paper to learn more about how your solution can help them, it gives you the advantage of understanding more about their needs and what prompted them to make the action (which you can confirm later on when you call).
Learning more about their interaction with content and responses to it, can allow you to weave little details into your outbound calls, leading to a better overall experience for your prospect.
"Giving buyers that relevant, personal, "delightful" experience that is driven by their needs and happens on their timeline is what an inbound approach to sales is about." - Brian Halligan, CEO, Hubspot
Since people don’t want to be sold to anymore, sales reps can avoid spending time and effort chasing unqualified leads or those who are not interested or ready to use your product or service. Once the sales rep or associate gets a list of relevant leads, they can use their research skills to learn more about their leads’ background and use this information to shape their buyer persona, and refine inbound marketing efforts further.
Using Hubspot’s marketing and sales automation software, for instance, helps reps review the content that visitors have engaged with - this means you can follow up with them on calls to help them make their decision without being “pushy” and intrusive. The aim is to inform and educate (with the right content - a blog, guide, or infographic) and discuss the client’s needs, ahead of them making the decision to buy.
Leads nurtured with targeted content produce an increase in sales opportunities of more than 20%. (HubSpot)
Access to CRM data (and to their social media accounts) can reveal a great deal about your customer base, and help you personalize your call. (Apart from names and professional titles, you can also see every interaction that your company has already had with the lead - calls, emails and content downloads for example).
Drawing insights from this data, along with a review of their social media details, can make a major difference when speaking to your customers. For instance, knowing at which organizational level they work at can allow you to pitch the higher/lower value product or service your company offers.
Outbound calling is a much more direct and personable way of communicating with leads than emails or social media messages.
Emails are a great first touch to make buyer personas aware of your presence and share valuable content such as eBooks or infographics but once a prospect has engaged with your content, you have enough context to call them and push them further down the funnel into the consideration or decision stage. It also allows your “conversation” to be two-sided, and allows for (instant) feedback.
lt gives you a better shot of converting your leads to customers as you are placed in a favourable position of understanding where they are coming from.
Armed with the right sales techniques and with a robust understanding of your buyer persona’s background and pain points, sales reps are well-equipped to connect with them on a personal level, position the product or service in response to their unique pain points, and overcome objections when they come up.
Finally, in order to make the relationship between outbound calls and inbound sales work for you, it is recommended that you make smarketing part of your lead generation strategy.
It is essential to get members of both teams to seamlessly communicate and collaborate to increase sales. Get your marketers to sit in on sales calls to learn how to generate better quality leads, and get your sales reps working with the marketing team to understand more about content offerings and to share knowledge on buyer persona details.
Both teams need to understand they are cogs in the inbound sales machine, working towards a shared goal… revenue!