How to Develop an Effective Outbound Sales Strategy

by | Jul 18, 2022 | Guests Podcast

Here are some highlights from the podcast.

This is Episode 111 – How to Develop an Effective Outbound Sales Strategy.

Nathan
Today, I want to focus on something that’s simple, but yet hard for some folks. I’m not going to be the one talking about it this time around, but we’re going to come back around. I got my main man from Anvil media and Deksia, the CMO, Kent Lewis.

Kent
A pleasure to be here. Thanks for having me.

Nathan
Hey, I’m glad to have you here because of the topic. I know you’re going to talk about how to develop an effective outbound sales strategy.

Kent
Ah, I’ve been great. I’ve been working on the integration of Anvil into the Deksia brands, the Midwest-based agency. And also we bring the big digital horsepower to a much more well-rounded organization. So I’ve been working on that and transitioning out of my roles so I can focus just on marketing and thought leadership and spend more time with you. So it’s been great.

Nathan
Yay. We like the sound of that. Well, you have this article that you wrote for Inc. It’s called 10 tips for developing a more effective outbound sales strategy and leveraging the outbound sales strategy to develop a healthy sales pipeline.

Man, these are all great marketing speak terms. And those that are not familiar with these things probably want to grab a pen and pad. You might need to pause it, rewind it, process it, and listen to it again.

So without further ado, man. Please share your article with the guests.

Kent
Yeah, first I’ll add a little bit of context. I am not an outbound sales guru. I’m not an expert per se. In fact, the reason I wrote this article because many salespeople or marketing or agency executives, I kind of loathed and did not respect outbound sales, like the whole boiler room mentality, you know, Wolf of wall street sort of thing.

I didn’t think people wanted to hear from me that didn’t ask to hear from me first because I built the entire Anvil brand for over 22 years around inbound, meaning we create interest and intrigue, and then they reach out for help. And so a couple of years ago, the market changed.

Four years ago when I brought in a biz dev expert, Lissa Forester and she’s amazing. And she challenged me. I added her to my advisory board. She said you need to get over your issue without bounce sales and get out there on LinkedIn and start talking to people.

Lissa advised me to start with your warm network, people you know that like you, and I was like, that was great advice because those are the people that generally tend to reach out to you and all you need to give them is a little nudge and then work your way outward to people you know, but maybe you haven’t talked to.

So that effort was my first round and I take things literally. I was like, all right, I’ll hit everybody in my 20,000 connection network that is an executive in marketing and just check-in. And I ended up getting a response from a contact that I’ve known for 20 years. Well, 15 years at the time, but had never worked with her. We just knew of each other. And she said we need help.

It was a large credit union and we ended up taking over for a big agency. And we’re now in our third year and it’s our largest client and history and all of that because of Lissa. Just giving me that nudge to reach out to people.

Guess what? Nobody told me to F off. I reached out to 900 contacts. Nobody told me to F off, 98% didn’t respond. You know, one to one and a half percent said, no thanks but thanks for the note. And then, you know, Half a percent turned into conversations, right? So that adds up. So it’s a numbers game.

You need to hit at least a hundred contacts to make it worth your time to get maybe 10 leads or one deal. So okay, these are the 10 strategies or tips or best practices that I used and I’ve learned from Lissa and others and my experiences more recently in the last three years and how to do outbound effectively because it’s not my natural place. It’s not my happy place.

Nathan
Yeah, I appreciate that. And Kent is peppering in episode 97, The 5 Tips for Exiting Service-Based Businesses, is what Kent was referring to. So I just wanted to give a little bit more context of that for the listener. So go ahead, please continue.

Kent
Part of the reason I have over 20,000 connections is that every day for 10 years, I’d send one or two connection requests. And eventually, it’s a numbers game and then the more people that are one degree away from you are more likely to say, oh yeah, I’ll accept. That sounds like they’re vetted. And so I get to that so that I could literally come with nearly a thousand connections from marketing managers to chief marketing officers.

My sweet spot for Anvil and probably mostly the same for Deksia is the director or VP of marketing. Our primary contact is different for every business, but that’s our sweet spot. CMOs are too high level and marketing managers are too much in the weeds. We may end up being their day-to-day contact but they’re not making that decision.

So know your audience and also that the deals that I closed in my first round of 900 were 5. And four of them were people I knew but had not directly worked with them. So it wasn’t that I worked closely with them because otherwise they probably would’ve emailed me if they had an issue. It was really just that they knew me well enough to trust me and to say, yeah, I’ll respond. Let’s talk.

I never closed a deal with someone I did not know. Now it’s a numbers game. Eventually, you can do that. I’m no longer in charge of sales, so it’s no longer my sweat, but I still wanted to share the love…

So that’s my recommendation there. Now the other thing is while you’re keeping it simple, you have to maintain consistency. So once or twice a year, depending on my need to fill the pipeline I would reach out again to these people.

And then the fearlessness, this goes back to Lissa just kicking me in the butt and just saying you need to get over yourself and make that trustful.

If I was in sales, I would have paced myself. I did a sprint instead of a marathon because I wanted to get it out of the way and move on. So five to ten per day or five to ten per week. Just start there. It’s kind of like a diet, start small and don’t make huge shifts. It’s really hard.

Your body’s going to want to go back. Working out – start walking, then jogging, then running while increasing the distance and the speed. So start small. And then you want to utilize an accountability partner. So Lissa’s consultancy is cheerful persistency, at cheerfulpersistency.com.

When you talk about me selling the business without our largest client, the valuation would have been very different. And so, all she did was give me a nudge, but she did it initially. But then we check in once a month, we have lunch or we get on a zoom call or whatever and we just check in with each other because while she’s building her consultancy business for sales consulting, we check in once a month to hold each other accountable for our goals and it’s very helpful.

Lissa always advises starting with a warm introduction. So start with the people you know well and then work your way out to people you do not know at all. But the one thing I wasn’t doing that Lissa at Cheerful Persistency recommends is asking your hot network of people you know best for introductions to their warm network.

So leverage that network, and look for warm introductions. And then last, almost lastly, it’s a quantity game versus a quality game. Most people say quality over quantity. That’s what we say in SEO. It’s all about quality content over quantity, but in this case, it is a numbers game. So I try to add a minimum quality viable products. And then volume. That’s how I got maybe 20 leads and five or six deals. It’s by going to almost a thousand contacts.

Nathan
I love it. No one told you to buzz off, even though they didn’t respond or some did respond. I think that’s a huge takeaway for those out there that just say, what you have 22,000 people on your LinkedIn?

Kent
Now I have a temporary navigator account and after testing it again after 10 years, I still don’t like it. I don’t want to be associated with or be known as a sales guy. I feel like I’m pushing people, but at least I no longer have the fear. It’s like I locked myself in a closet with spiders and I got over my issue with spiders. And it worked and it built the business. So if I can do it, anybody can do it because that’s not my happy place.

Nathan
Awesome man. Great diamonds, bro! I appreciate you. And so thanks again for coming on the show.

Kent
You bet. It’s always a pleasure. Thanks Nate.

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