You Said It Was Important - Here Are Your Sales Systems On
Automating Outreach Tasks
FROM BULLETPROOF SELLING:
Chapter 6: Campaign Systems
Prospecting is a campaign, not an event – Anthony Iannarino
ANTHONY’S QUOTE IS worth diving into before we explore the mechanics of creating campaign systems. Too many salespeople will receive or research a lead, reach out once or twice, and when the prospect is unresponsive, the salesperson will move on. This, despite research that states 20+ touches are often required to drive a single executive-level conversation! That’s why it is critical to build those 20+ touchpoints into a system allowing salespeople to provide value and be persistent while not being seen as a pest.
With a closed pipeline that moves prospects from one campaign system to another in theoretically endless loops, we’ll ensure a prospect continues to be prospected until a conversation is generated or they are pulled out of the pipeline.
In establishing campaign systems with our own clients, we find it helpful to ask what they’ve learned to keep top of mind – or what has gone wrong in the past – when:
Qualifying prospects as worthy of outreach?
Driving sales meetings?
In conversations with buyers?
During proposal issuance or acceptance to increase conversion?
In generating referrals?
In each of the above areas, what are things they’ve learned to ensure they should avoid doing?
Incorporating those answers as you build your outreach systems will ensure your campaigns accomplish their goal of getting prospects closer to the sale instead of repeating what’s gone wrong in the past.
If your salespeople have been left to their own devices to manage and create their own pipelines and campaigns, you’ll need to meet with them to create a standardized version of their outreach steps for your prospects’ sales cycle. While you are welcome to adopt the names of the campaigns I’ve outlined here, you may also find they’re called something different among your team or in your industry, and it’s best to use your ‘native tongue.’ You may also find the model outlined here serves as a good foundation, but your sales cycle may involve purchase orders, delayed payment schedules, or any of the hundreds of permutations in the world of sales. Take those into account as you map out the overview of the campaign systems you’ll ask salespeople to adopt.
Let’s take the ‘Cold Outreach Campaign’ as an example and walk through how a campaign system looks during creation and rollout.
Establishing a Campaign System
Trigger: When is establishing each vertical of a pipeline.
Bulletproof Impact: Defining specific outreach steps ensures salespeople maintain communication with prospects, allows them to schedule future outreach, and ensures salespeople make more than a two-call effort to engage prospects in conversation.
Overview: Explain that as part of the efforts to increase everyone’s sales (and commissions), you’ll be looking at capturing best practices for how to reach out to new prospects and generate sales conversations. As you’re starting with the first point of outreach on a new prospect, ask yourself/your team: “What have we noticed works well in qualifying prospects and getting them into initial sales conversations?”
You’ll want to pay attention to a few areas that will begin to surface:
You’ll quickly see if your team favors a certain medium when reaching out to new contacts (email, social media, phone, etc.). Pay attention to which method generates the best response from otherwise ‘cold’ or indifferent prospects.
If you’re creating the campaign on your own, ask what methods of outreach generate your best initial conversations. Are you meeting your best prospects at networking events (in-person methods)? Are you having great initial conversations on the phone to set appointments (phone calls)? Is your best luck with conducting virtual sessions (social media/video)?
Once you’ve captured the best methods to use in contacting new prospects, capture the messaging that your salespeople find works best for generating initial conversations. Across each communication method, map out what you or your team normally says, asks, or shares with their prospects that qualifies decision makers, determines budgets, and reveals buying timeframes. The end-product of this exercise will be the outline of emails, social media messages, direct mail templates, and outreach scripts.
If you’re running a solo operation and mapping outreach methods on your own, it’s a good idea to look back on past clients that didn’t come in through warm referrals (i.e., the ones you developed on your own). Reconstruct the prospect’s journey in becoming a client, tracking the mediums used. For instance, was an email followed by a LinkedIn message followed by a phone call that generated the sales meeting? If you don’t have many sales under your belt or are standing up your first sales team, connect with your industry’s sales veterans and fuel their coffee habit by buying a round in exchange for learning what works best in establishing rapport with new prospects.
What pieces of information do we need from a prospect to move an account out of the current vertical and into the next one? In this case, how do we move from the ‘cold outreach’ vertical into either the decision-maker identified (where we know who a decision maker is) or preselect (we know a decision maker, budget and buying window)? If you or your salespeople determine that finding the decision maker justifies moving a prospect into a new campaign system, now you have a campaign goal for your cold outreach campaign. Every outreach campaign, whatever you call it, should have a goal that, when achieved, moves a prospect out of that campaign and drops them into a more ‘valuable’ stage and campaign system in your pipeline.
Are We on the Same Sheet of Music?
Ensure that you don’t leave your planning session without codifying at least the beta version of a cold outreach campaign system. The reason for this is that in order to create a Bulletproof sales system, salespeople have to be operating from the same sheet of music even if their key, notes, and pitch occasionally differ.
This beta version may look like a letter followed by a note card followed by a phone call followed by an email with a week’s gap in between each step, each with a template that can then be edited and customized by your salespeople for each prospect.
Don’t worry about your campaign systems being perfect out of the gate; more important is that what your team is doing is consistent, because that’s the only way it can be systematically improved.
What might an initial campaign system and cadence look like once it’s built? Each of your campaigns should be defined by their stage in your prospect’s sales cycle, the type of outreach, cadence in between contact points, and associated templates/scripts. Mapped into a linear format, it might appear like this:
Campaign System: Cold Outreach
Step 1 (day of launch): Ensure contact data is accurate and that we have a phone number or email address for likely decision makers in the account. Send LinkedIn invite message using invitation template.
Step 2 (2 days in): Phone call. If voicemail is left, use voicemail script.
Step 3 (7 days in): Email. Use Cold Outreach email template #1 and customize to account decision maker.
Step 4 (14 days in): Phone call. If voicemail is left, use voicemail script.
Step 5 (20 days in): Send Cold Outreach letter to business mailing address on account. Use Cold Outreach letter template.
With a Bulletproof selling system comprised of a standardized pipeline, campaigns, cadences, templates, and scripts, a sales manager’s role becomes more about managing, improving, and closing performance gaps than nudging salespeople to make more calls.
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