Editor’s note: This post is part of OpenView’s Outbound Prospecting Series, which walks you through all the steps, necessary roles, and best practices you’ll need to establish and improve your company’s own high-performing outbound prospecting practice. You can also download our free eBook, Building Your Sales Funnel: How to Create an Outbound Prospecting Machine.
Outbound prospecting has been incorrectly viewed as a low-level effort focused on generating sales pipeline. In addition, it generally gets improperly classified as an easy to execute initiative when, in fact, it is one of the most difficult initiatives to initiate and improve.
As organizations create their marketing strategies, segments, and channels, they struggle with building a solid and continuously improving outbound prospecting practice.
Common outbound prospecting challenges you will encounter include:
- Lack of buy-in and/or commitment from your CEO and senior management team, which will make your employees believe that it is not a priority and that their contributions are not important
- Not hiring a qualified manager, which will prevent you from getting the program off the ground
- Lack of clear and measurable goals, which will make it difficult for you to monitor progress and make adjustments
- The lack of clear communication and a focus, which will make it difficult for 1) your management team and employees to get aligned on this initiative, and 2) your business development reps to continue to stay disciplined in making their calls and executing each call effectively
- Getting all of the teams involved (marketing, sales, product development, and business development) in sync, to perform well together, and to continue to improve over time, which will keep your program from flourishing
- Poor target prospect segmenting or poor identification of target buyer roles, which will result in very few qualified leads no matter what else you do
- Poor-quality contact information, which will waste the reps’ time as they try to hunt down accurate information
- Poor training of your business development reps, which will make it extremely difficult for them to succeed
- Poor or inconsistent competitive-advantage messaging, which will prevent your value proposition from resonating with your target users and buyers
- Not focusing on productivity metrics separate from conversion metrics, which will make it difficult to identify the issues and opportunities associated with making continuous improvement
- Not doing enough to support your prospecting efforts, which will derail the program, as the success of this practice depends on the entire company supporting it
- Not sharing the results of the efforts with the business development reps, which will prevent them from staying motivated and being inspired by the results of their good work
- Not having a disciplined approach to improving each day, week, month, and quarter, which will prevent you from getting the 2x to 50x improvement in results that are possible if you conduct retrospective meetings on a regular basis.
Next week I’ll take you through the steps to get your outbound prospecting effort started.
Face it – without new customers, your company can’t grow.
But while startup and expansion stage organizations are always on the lookout for new business, attracting qualified prospects is often easier said than done. The answer is to develop a highly-functional outbound lead qualification process, also known as outbound prospecting.
In OpenView’s eBook, Building Your Sales Funnel: How to Create an Outbound Prospecting Machine you’ll find insights from top sales strategists like Dave Kahle and Colleen Francis to help put your outbound prospecting team on the path to rapid growth including:
- Tips for developing a customized outbound prospecting strategy
- Key ingredients to successful outbound calling from thought leader Trish Bertuzzi
- Details on the best metrics for tracking your prospecting efforts
- Additional quick guides for hiring and onboarding lead qualification managers and business development representatives