Inbound marketing is often a viable lead-gen strategy, but it’s rarely enough on its own. First off, it takes a lot of time to build large automated sales funnels. Second, startups are often entering saturated highly-competitive markets in which inbound marketing represents a low return-on-investment or simply isn’t feasible at all.
With all that in mind, there are many other growth strategies to use that can complement your Inbound strategy. In this post, you’ll learn practical steps for consistently generating leads and driving sales excellence through active outreach.
How to build a consistent disciplined outreach strategy
When it comes to active outreach, many companies and sales organizations lack one thing more than anything else: discipline.
Active lead-generation is a numbers game. It’s essential to set prospecting targets and meet them daily or weekly while measuring results. By keeping on top of key performance indicators (KPIs), you can test the success of your campaigns’ different elements. You’ll also be able to drive continuous improvements to your systems and processes.
Common areas for ongoing improvement include:
- Call scripts and email templates
- Quality of lead information sources
- Lead engagement with webinars and white papers
- Define email and call times (book time in your calendar)
- Performance of account-based marketing ads
Active lead-generation is a long-term process. Initial activities like cold calling are only the beginning. B2B companies can usually significantly boost their overall close rate by carrying “no” and “maybe” leads over to a well-designed nurturing cycle.
What’s more, it’s possible to build on this basic strategy using micro-engagements. If discipline is the engine in your prospecting car, micro-engagements are the turbochargers.
Why companies should harness the power of micro-engagements
If a lead doesn’t convert on a cold call, they should be added to a long-term nurturing sequence. Micro-engagements are small interactions with your brand, which, delivered multiple times over weeks and months, will convert “no” and “maybe” leads into customers.
When leveraging micro-engagements effectively, you will start building a factual strategic basis for the following components:
- A thorough marketing database - Direct outreach is one of the most effective ways of building a high-quality database than relying on third-party data or form entries. This database represents a cohort of leads that are ripe for nurturing.
- Personal contacts - Ensure that information is correct, up-to-date, and that you’re speaking with a decision-maker in the target organization.
- Tailored follow-up - Personalised follow-up is vital if you’re going to build connections with leads. Include details of previous interactions, recognized pain-points, and obstacles that may have been expressed. This personalization should be automated as much as possible.
- Long-term outlook - We’ve already said it once, but it’s difficult to overstate this point. Active outreach is a long-term game. Plan your sequence over weeks and months rather than days, and don’t try to force conversions.
- Thought leadership and branding - Thought leadership is one of the most effective ways of connecting with would-be customers across numerous touchpoints. Syndicate content across as many channels as possible, including social media (especially LinkedIn), blogs, third-party websites, and more.
How to set up your micro-engagements strategy
Let’s take a look at an example of how to implement the general steps outlined above:
- Leads will receive a cold call from sales reps. If they’re not ready to try your service, but say they want to keep your contact details, they’re added to a nurturing sequence.
- Next, they’ll receive an automated email that includes the sales rep’s contact details and a recorded webinar.
- After two days, leads receive a personalized email from the CEO.
- The lead/company is then added to an account-based marketing campaign to receive ads when they visit relevant business sites.
- Finally, the contact is added to a “long drip” email flow and will receive a maximum of three emails (with invites to webinars and the option to download ebooks) over two-three months. Be careful to avoid seeming spammy or aggressive at this stage.
Once the nurturing sequence is over, do not push to make a sale. Instead, wait. After receiving a “no” or “maybe” in the first stage of the prospecting process several weeks ago, a lead may still not be ready to buy.
With this active prospecting strategy, your aim should be to build a connection with potential clients, getting brand awareness, and establishing a relationship, so that when their needs change, they come straight to you.
Conclusion - Direct outreach is straightforward and effective
Companies that rely solely on inbound marketing at the expense of active prospecting are putting themselves at an unnecessary disadvantage. For the vast majority of companies, generating customers from direct outreach is straightforward and effective.
Spend some time building an active prospecting strategy to run alongside your inbound campaigns. Once you start to see the results, you’ll wish you’d done it sooner.
Do you want to read more about strategies to create growth for your Saas business? We made an eBook - The bootstrapped SaaS revenue engine - that explains how to concentrate on the right metrics, set achievable KPIs, and build a sales process that will create growth and success for your SaaS business.