We all know the business landscape has changed. ‘Prospects’ aren’t sitting around waiting for you to call them – and even if they were, they’re probably not who or what you initially thought. Enter the white-noise age of inbound. So, does outbound sales activity still play a meaningful role at all?
Absolutely, it’s just a slightly evolved science. Why? Because for many, the human equation will always remain. What’s the answer? Creating meaningful connections through a curated approach…
If your business sells a service that’s fundamentally about people, you still need to match with prospects on a human level long before process, tech specs or price. Bring an emotive, subjective or intangible product (think consultancy, product design or any creative discipline) to the table and this is doubly true. And while you can ignite this process through many other channels, a considered, direct approach can still be the most efficient, effective and meaningful way to connect with that new buyer.
It has to be about quality over quantity, capturing attention in a millisecond. Get it right and it works, leveraging way more value, sooner and easier, than more remote techniques. Get it wrong, and you won’t get a second bite.
001 / Forget generic criteria, think laterally
Always find out who’s leading the charge before you make your approach.
The businesses you want to work with are fluid, shifting and responsive, and they no longer categorise their people by old-school job titles. In the age of innovation, companies are taking staff out of pigeon holes, and to be effective, you have to identify the person who is really at the source of the business problem – then find the connection between them and you.
002 / Create that meaningful connection
Develop a well-informed message that resonates personally.
No one wants to work with a provider who doesn’t share their values – but forget their LinkedIn profile. Do some deeper research and talk to them on real terms. Find their standpoint, their ideals, what they’re setting out to achieve. Try their job history, public speaking engagements, or interviews. With some basic research, you can pinpoint the places in their personal story where you can genuinely align.
003 / Join it all up in the context of bigger business
Be unequivocal about how what you do will drive success for them.
It’s great that you both support the same football team or like the same wine, but how does that help their business grow? Make sure you use the points of alignment in a way that makes sense to the prospect’s commercial objectives. Think synergetic partner, not creepy stalker.
004 / Remember the law
Demonstrate legitimate interest – create an offer that is “of clear benefit to you or others”.
As long as your data has been sourced correctly, you can still use direct approach techniques and remain compliant. By crafting a message that truly resonates with the prospect, you can be GDPR-proof and instantly create more credibility in the prospect’s eyes.
005 / Use a multi-skilled team
Develop a collaborative sales approach.
The concept of a single BDM is dead and buried. A collective of minds, tools and techniques is required. This includes a strategic mindset that truly understands what your business offers; a real-world, analytical understanding of the prospect’s market; creative and copywriting skills; relationship building, and the technical management of content and CRM. Beneath it all, a single-minded vision for a certain type of growth and the tenacity to deal with the knock backs (and bruised egos…) that still comes with sales.
People buy people….We live in an age where almost anything can be automated. Technology has fundamentally changed the way we operate and how we communicate, but the human equation should never be underestimated. You still need the salesperson, that relationship master-craftsman to get on the phone or to an event and do the tough job of actually talking to people. If you stick it out, the rewards are there, and they’re worth it.