According to Radicati, business users are expected to receive 140 messages in their inbox per day by 2018. And while according to Marketing Sherpa 70% of buyers prefer to first learn about a new solution via an educational email, the days of one-size- fits-all blasting prospects asking for a meeting or simply pitching your solution are over.
Across hundreds of campaigns over the past several years, including our own, we have developed the following best practices for email marketing to generate solid leads for our outsourced sales team to qualify for our customers. Here are the types of email you can expect from an outsourced sales effort. The emails are simply a way to share content and communicate with your buyer at multiple stages in their buying cycle as the framework below outlines.
Email Blasts to Start to Fill Your Sale Funnel
Email is a great way to generate new leads. But for the best results we highly recommend that you target a rented opt in list with a series of three emails. And every email needs to have educational value. At the end of 2016 and in the first quarter of 2017 we have all seen the trend of email asking for an appointment out of the gate. In many cases this is pure spam and we do not recommend this approach.
We recommend that in these initial campaigns you start with a content offer that uses your blogs, whitepaper and webcasts that explain the problem in the market and potential approaches to that problem.
We call these eProspecting eMails.
Once you have leads in your funnel you will need to implement a marketing automation system. A marketing automation system has 2 core functions. The first function is to send email on a regular basis to early stage buyers. The second function is to score the buyers activities so they you can prioritize who to call first. A nurturing campaign, when run correctly, can track email opens and track the content buyers engage with. It can save a substantial amount of budget when compared to having callers call leads with no predictive score.
The content for these emails can slowly move from shorter educational pieces to pieces that talk about your solution specifically. But we do not recommend them to be extremely salesy. Your initial nurturing campaign should be about 6 to 7 emails over a 90 day period. After that you simply need to send out an educational email once a month to stay top of mind with buyers not ready to buy.
- Content offers can include case studies, blog posts, demo videos and headshot videos
- The email copy and design should be short and simple. In most cases text only outperforms a great deal of graphics.
- You can also use these emails to engage buyers in your social media platforms
- Remember to score in your automation system so your Sales Development Reps know who to target.
Sales Prospecting Emails for Outsourced Sales
After you have your marketing automation system set up and your nurturing program in place and running you can also run mini-campaigns directly from sales reps. You can use the automation platform to send personalized emails to the reps targets in small campaigns.
- Sent from a personal email of the sales rep
- Needs to be part of the calling and nurturing cadence
- Keep it short and direct asking if the buyer would like a meeting
About Gabriel Sales
Gabriel Sales helps companies build modern sales and marketing operations. To learn more about email marketing and other tactics we can help you leverage to generate and sustain a steady flow of sales qualified leas feel free to check out How Outsourced Sales Can Help Build Modern Sales and Marketing Operations.
Outsource Sales – Start with Sale Prospecting First?
When owners of companies with complex sales or solutions sales are ready to scale they often consider two options:
- Hiring an outside sales rep or outsourcing closing
- Outsource sales to prospect and fill the funnel
As an outsource sales and marketing company, we have a strong belief that in many cases the second path can make more sense. Or, in some cases it makes sense to hire an outside sales rep and outsource sales at the same time.
This quick blog article will quickly explore the pros and cons of both approaches and recommend an alternative path.
Lead with Outside Sales Reps First
Remember Outside Sales Reps Are Closers Not Lead Gen Experts
For the past 20 years the standard way for small businesses to scale sales is to hire an enterprise-level sales rep. This is because organizations believe that senior sales reps can leverage their extensive contacts to generate narrow leads and close deals. But every sales rep’s list of contacts is finite. When the rep gets through that initial push, leads dry up quickly.
And outside reps by the time they get to this point in their career, cold calling and content marketing to generate leads is not something they are doing on a regular basis. It is not something you should expect them to do.
In most cases if you invest in a closer first you are putting the cart before the horse. You are focusing on the bottom of the funnel and are in a high risk situation because you are counting on the outside reps ability to close deals. But you are also relying on them to generate leads as well. And the reality is a closer cannot do both effectively at the same time. So even in the best of circumstances you will generate a handful of initial deals and then the closer will not have a top of new set of leads in the top of the funnel to work. You are investing in the bottom of the funnel and not the top of the funnel, which leads to point two.
Outside Sales Reps Are Expensive
Simply throwing sales reps at your revenue growth problem without focusing on lead generation first is expensive. Domain experts with solid experience command a large base salary and substantial compensation package. Inside reps and a marketing team that can generate leads can often come in at the same or even reduced cost.
If you have a founder or internal resources that can close deals it often makes sense to ramp the lead generation first to:
- Ensure you have a sustained flow of leads
- Give your closer something to close as soon as they walk through the door
Outsource Sales to Fill the Sale Funnel First
Throwing bodies at a sales problem no long works reliably. Instead of hiring expensive outside sales reps it now often makes sense to invest in modern sales an marketing operations first to fill your sales funnel with a consistent and repeatable flow of leads. An outsource sales organizations can now:
- Fill your funnel with leads with PPC campaigns, email marketing campaigns and cold calling
- They can then use content marketing and marketing automation systems to score leads
- They can staff business development reps to qualify leads for your closer
- You can then continue to close deals with your existing team and when you have a funnel that is bursting you can hire that expensive outside sales rep and get them productive immediately
About Gabriel Sales
Gabriel Sales specializes in filling your sales funnel with warm sales qualified leads. We build modern sales and marketing operations that are crucial for sustained revenue growth – using a combination of marketers, business development reps and tools to maximize your investment. Visit our about us page to learn more about our approach and services for outsource sales.
Over the past several year’s buyers have shifted their early stage buying process and sales operations dramatically. 70% of buyers prefer to learn about new products on their own or to learn about new solutions through an educational email that shares educational content. The new digital buyer then prefers to have a brief conversation with a sales rep if it is supported by additional educational content. This includes content that allows the buyer to evaluate if your specific solution can solve their business problem, pain, or need.
This means the skills you require for modern sales and marketing operations have changed. This blog article will outline the skills a small business now requires from their internal marketing operations, or the marketing skills they can leverage with outsourced sales operations.
Skills Required for Building Modern Marketing Operations (and skills you can gain with an outsourced sales team)
Strategic Planning: The number of tactics that can be leveraged to generate leads is now endless. It is critical that you have a leader and strategic thinker that understand how all the pieces fit together and the ability to craft a plan so sales and marketing work together as part of an integrated, strategic plan. It is important to budget correctly to produce the desired results. It is also critical to keep your marketing efforts aligned with your sales team’s hard quotas and goals. Your strategic plan requires the ability to conceptualize the marketing strategy, select a course of action based on key success criteria, and determine upfront what the core KPIs of that integrated effort will be.
It is also critical that your strategic plan has a clear understanding of how both sales operations and marketing can most effectively use content for both sales and marketing efforts. Your strategic planning also needs to include a strategy for how to use content.
Copywriting: Your marketing team now needs strong writers to tell a strong sales story. This team must be strong writers, as they construct the messaging that represents your company. They also write persuasively with an authentic and concise style. In addition, they are able to write in different formats including copy for websites, blog articles, video, webcasts and email marketing.
Video Production/Editing: Video is one of the most preferred ways for buyers to learn about and understand solutions. Your modern marketing and sales operations requires a resource that understands how to produce multiple types of professional and educational videos.
Graphic Design: Visuals are becoming more critical in modern marketing, and basic graphic design skills are key important to create value and social agility of your marketing assets. Similar to coding/programming (discussed below), modern sales and marketing requires someone on the team that understands graphic design or a outsourced sales partner.
Website Management: Your website is now a lead-generation and buyer education platform. In short, your website now needs to be a dynamic publishing tool that supports inbound marketing, outbound marketing, buyer development, and your sales team. The goal of your site should now be to carry on sales conversations with prospective buyers to generate new leads and develop existing leads into qualified buyers for your sales team.
Lead Management/Nurturing/Automation Systems – Simply generating leads with cold calls no longer works with the same level of effectiveness. Once you generate that initial lead from a call, a Pay-Per-Click ad, SEO, social post, or email campaign, you also need to leverage your automation system to develop the lead and score them for your sales reps. It is essential that you develop leads with automation, and organize them so your reps can focus on leads most likely to buy. This is essential to organizing and engaging these leads through the funnel. This requires personnel with both technical expertise and best practice experience in running CRM and automation platforms.
Coding/Programming: Unless you are a software company, most small businesses don’t need to staff developers full-time. But at least one member of your marketing team does need to understand the basics of coding/programming to get the most out of your automation technologies.
Email Marketing: Opt-in email marketing is an effective way to generate new leads and to develop leads with marketing automation. When executed correctly, it is the quickest and most cost effective way to jump start a lead generation program, and to develop leads without hiring expensive calling resources. Email marketing is also a great way to maximize your investment in content that you create. Email marketing requires multiple skills including understanding the buyers journey, how to build target lists, how to segment messages, and how to tweak campaigns based on data.
Data Analysis: There is a growing need to prove ROI in marketing investments. Marketers must have strong analytical skills—the ability to interpret website and marketing data, gauge the success of a campaign, and communicate meaningful results. They must be able to turn information into intelligence, and intelligence into action.
Paid Search Management: If designed effectively, pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns can drive results for your business. If left unmanaged, they can be a vortex that swallows budget. Modern sales and marketing operations now requires technical understanding of how paid search programs work, and how to continuously evolve strategy based on results.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): When you are using content to support campaigns, it makes sense to optimize that same content for SEO simultaneously. Just like sharing this content in social media (discussed below), a little extra effort by a marketer that understand SEO can go a long way to producing incremental results across an integrated campaign. As my grandfather used to say, “little snowflakes make big snow falls”. When you optimize your content for both social media and SEO, these little wins eventually turn into big wins.
Social Media: Social networks are becoming increasingly critical to sales and marketing success. Social media does not need to be complicated, but it does need to be leveraged in support of your content marketing, email marketing and outbound marketing campaigns. A little extra effort allows you to improve the results of not just social media, but all of your other campaign efforts by sharing messages used in one channel.
Sales Manager/Lead Generation Manager – Companies now need someone to manage this flow of leads and to ensure that the right buyer is being followed up by the right rep at the right time. In many cases, sales can now be managed and facilitated by an inside sales manager with skill in managing an automation system and the deals can be closed by domain experts and sales engineers. Or, in the case of lower-end SaaS products, by customer service reps, an account manager, or onboarding reps.
Buyer Development Rep – Generating new business now takes a more customer friendly approach. You need to focus on helping to educate the client first, understanding their needs second, and selling third. This means you can leverage reps that lack deep domain expertise to share educational content and to ask probing questions. When the buyer starts to give off buying signals, they can be introduced to the senior talent with scheduled meetings; saving both the buyer and seller time and money.
How Can an Outsourced Sales and Marketing Team Help You Build Modern Sales and Marketing Operations?
Most small businesses have the most critical pieces in place to scale which are:
- They have closers or executives on staff that know how to close
- They have deep domain expertise in the area of their solution
- They have a team that can successfully deliver the solution
- They understand the steps in their sales process (even if it is not documented)
What they typically lack is a blend of the new skills required to build and manage successful modern sales and marketing operations. It’s not hard to understand why.
To hire and find this talent is often difficult because most of these disciplines are relatively new, so there is not a large pull of experienced talent to pull from. Most small businesses can’t afford to staff full time resources in all these areas because there is not enough work to justify full time or even meaningful part time positions when the budget does not exist.
Because of these reasons, outsourced sales and marketing is an ideal solution for companies looking to scale. The company can focus on the delivery of the solution and rely on their outsourced sales team to provide a team of blended sales and marketing strategists, technologist, and sales and marketing execution specialists. You will get all the talent you need, staffed in the right amounts at a competitive price.
We invite you to visit our approach to outsourced sales and marketing. more about our proven methods and philosophy to building modern sales and marketing operations.
Gabriel Sales specializes in generating leads for small businesses using a combination of:
- eMail Marketing
- Content Marketing
- Marketing Automation
- Inbound Marketing
And at some point in the sales process your buyer is going to need to speak with a sales rep to qualify the opportunity to try and set an appointment with your sales rep to take the deal further and deeper into the sales funnel.
What follows are some tips for follow up sales calls and sales outsourcing for small businesses.
Have Probing Questions Ready
Some follow up calls you make will move along faster than others. Even if you have the prospect’s attention we still recommend that you don’t sell too hard on the first follow up call. The best way to engage the customer for the long haul and to build the trust required to close the deal downstream is to use the first follow up call to learn more about your buyer’s needs. To do this you need a handful of questions ready to go. Keep them short:
- How are you solving the problem today?
- Have you tried other ways to solve the problem?
- Who else is involved in a decision like this?
Smart questions turn into smart conversations. With smart targeting you will occasionally wind up calling the right person at the right time. If handled correctly and with smart questions this timing could translate into an immediate opportunity.
Ask for the Appointment but Be Ready with an Additional Piece of Educational Content
If a buyer engages in a meaningful conversation after you start asking questions then you are ready to ask for an appointment. But it’s important that you do this politely in a non-pushy way. We recommend something like this:
“Well Mrs. Buyer…it sounds like we have something that may be a fit. Do you think it would make sense for you to speak with our Product Specialist to learn more about the way our solution can help you solve (insert the problem here).”
If you have had a meaningful conversation you should get a yes about 50% of the time. But be prepared for that no. If the “Yes” comes – set a firm time and date. If the answer is no, be ready with a new piece of educational content. Offer to share it and then let the buyer know you will follow up at a later date for additional conversations.
Prioritize Inbound Leads First
Gabriel Sales uses multiple tactics to generate leads including email marketing to rented opt in lists, Google AdWord campaigns, long term content marketing, and cold calling. We also use marketing automation technologies to score leads. But of all the leads you get, you need to prioritize inbound leads first. If a buyer is submitting a request for more information, in most cases, they will also be submitting them to other potential vendors too. Make sure you get to the buyer before your competition does.
Just like any marketing program you need to build a systematic process. Keep a record of the calls you’ve made and track the results. You can only improve what you measure. If you don’t have a CRM in place, an outsourced sales and marketing company will be able to help you select the one that is right for you. Tracking results can help you continually refine your sales strategy.
Set Goals and Call Daily
Just like cold calling, follow up calling needs to be disciplined and done daily. Create a plan for follow up calls and stick to it. Plan to make 10 to 50 follow up calls daily. Start with inbound leads first and then the highest scored leads in your marketing automation system. When combined with educational content marketing on a regular basis, and part of your regular daily tasks, you will start to see results with a sustained effort.
Gabriel Sales specializes in building modern sales and marketing operations. We use multiple tactics including:
- Email marketing
- Content marketing
- And business development reps
to generate real sales opportunities for our clients.
To learn more about our services for follow up sales calls and sales outsourcing for small businesses sales approach and overall philosophy visit this link to sales outsourcing.