Cold outreach might be frowned upon, but in reality it’s a sales tactic most businesses are using in one way or another. And, contrary to popular belief, 82% of buyers would accept a meeting if you proactively reach out to them.
Be it via email, phone calls, or social media, outbound prospecting is a great way to connect with your prospects. Yet, effective cold outreach takes some grit to make sure your messages actually reach the prospects and creativity to stand out from the crowd.
If you’re looking for inspiration, here are some of the creative outreach tactics you can implement to book more sales meetings.
1. ICP-based outreach
Targeting is the key to effective outreach. No matter how good your email is, it won’t drive any results if it’s irrelevant to the prospect. This means having a clear, laser-focused ideal customer profile (ICP) to tailor your outreach to.
A typical ICP includes the following information:
- Firmographics - company size, industry, location, team size, organization structure, etc.
- Demographics - location, age, job role, etc.
- Psychographics - problems, concerns, desires, etc.
Yet, there’s one more aspect to consider when selling IT products — technographics. Simply put, it’s the current tech stack that the organization relies on and how your product can substitute or complement it.
For example, as a software development agency, you can target accounts using Shopify as their core technology to tailor your offering accordingly. Or you can spot companies using the tools your product natively integrates with and suggest it as an addition to their stack.
With this same approach, you can also reach out to companies using your competitors with an appealing counter-offer.
2. Intent-based outreach
Targeting people who are currently looking for your product (or facing specific challenges your product solves) is probably the best way to make sure your outreach hits the right chord. But how do you spot those people?
The answer is pretty simple: pay attention to the signals that identify their interest or relevant need, i.e., buying intent.
For example, if a company is looking to hire more salespeople, they might actually be seeking to scale their sales operations and grow revenue. In this case, a tool that automates routine sales-related activities to minimize the human effort involved can be a valid alternative.
Similarly, a company that has recently started its global expansion might need help with website localization.
There are many other more proactive signals you can try to capture:
- Social media mentions — your or your competitor’s brand, relevant event, topic, etc.
- Relevant searches on platforms like G2
- Direct website visits
All of these signals can be used in your account-based prospecting, making sure your outreach is relevant, timely, and effective.
3. Outbound referral tactic
When targeting larger companies, it’s a common practice to contact 3-5 prospects within the same organization. So, instead of focusing on one person who perfectly matches your ICP, you also get secondary points of contact, thus increasing the chance of hearing back from them.
In this case, you can use the so-called referral tactic to get an additional benefit when you reach out to the decision-makers.
In other words, rather than going for the chief executives or managers straight away, you can try to spot entry-level employees within the department and get them to introduce you to the decision-maker.
This approach works well for two reasons:
- The inboxes of lower-level employees are less crowded, so it’s easier to cut through the noise.
- Having a referral from someone your prospect knows and trusts gives you a valid reason for outreach and a head start when it comes to competing for their attention.
Plus, these leads are more likely to respond since it’s always easier to point you in the right direction than deal with the question on their own.
4. Visual prospecting
Knowing who you’re trying to reach is great. But using the right message to appeal to them is even better. That is why we pay so much attention to the templates and scripts we use in outreach.
Yet, with the amount of business correspondence exchanged daily, it’s still easy for your outreach emails to go unnoticed. That is why I strongly recommend adding a visual aspect.
Visual prospecting means using images or video to grab the attention of the prospect you’re reaching out to. Whether it’s just a selfie to put a face to the email, an infographic personalized using brand colors and logo, a fun GIF, or a custom video message, there are tons of ways to implement this approach.
Although we’ve listed this as a standalone tactic, you can still use personalized images and video with every other approach in this article.
5. Reengaging stale leads
As a sales rep, your job is to build a sales pipeline and generate as many opportunities as possible. To do that, you’re constantly adding new contacts to your CRM. Some of them convert, many don’t. If a prospect stops responding, most of us will send a couple of follow-ups and forget about them, leaving money on the table.
That is why we strongly recommend reviewing your CRM every 3 months to spot inactive or churned leads. If the prospect was pretty engaged and there was no clear closure to the account, you can always try to reengage them.
Using their previous activity with your company (or even possible reasons why they went dark) you can create a more relevant, more timely offer and breathe new life into this opportunity. To make this tactic even more effective, you can use additional reasons for outreach like a new feature or integration they’ve requested, relevant content, or some other exciting news.
Best outreach practices to close more deals
Implementing the listed tactics is a great way to spice up your outreach efforts and get more deals. Yet, regardless of the approach you take, there are some best practices to consider:
- Cover multiple channels. To create a truly effective sales cadence, you need to mix and match different types of touchpoints across several channels. This could be emails (automated and manual), phone calls and voicemail, social media interactions, even physical mail or targeted ads.
- Prioritize engagement, not a sale. Be it a referral or intent-based email, your main goal should be to establish a connection, build awareness, and not make a sale right away. That is why cold outreach is mostly used in B2B, relationship-based selling.
- Track and measure every interaction. Being able to see how prospects react to or interact with your outreach messages can give you enough insights to tailor your sequences for better performance. Use dedicated tools like a sales engagement platform (SEP) to streamline and track the process.
Following these best practices will give you a competitive edge and allow you to build a steady flow of outbound leads.