Sales Outreach Management: Strategies, Tools, Tips
Successful salespeople know that being proactive can give them a real edge over their less-driven competition.
Proactively making contact with prospects and customers is known as sales outreach. This term describes the ways in which sales reps intentionally engage with prospects and customers.
Sales outreach management, therefore, refers to the process of organizing, executing, and analyzing sales outreach attempts.
In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about sales outreach management, including why it’s so critical in today’s sales world, and some best practices to optimize the process.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- What Is Sales Outreach?
- Sales Outreach Strategies
- Why Is Successful Outreach Management Important?
- Sales Outreach Management Tools
- Sales Outreach Management Tips
What Is Sales Outreach?
Although many sales reps believe that sales is a numbers game, there’s actually a lot more nuance involved than simply collecting the maximum number of leads possible.
Of course, having a sales pipeline that’s packed with leads is great — if they’re the right kinds of leads.
A sales pipeline that’s full of poor-fit leads is about as useful as one with no leads at all. In fact, most salespeople report that their biggest impediment to successful and robust sales performance is a lack of well-qualified leads.
That’s where sales outreach comes in. Sales outreach refers to the ways in which sellers engage — whether directly (i.e., phone or email) or indirectly (i.e., a published blog post or case study) with prospects and customers.
Your sales outreach strategy plays a huge role in the kinds of leads your team ultimately attracts to your sales funnel.
It’s no secret that the sales landscape has changed dramatically with the rise of digital and content marketing. Buyers today have access to more buying information than ever before.
In fact, some reports show that 70% of the buyer’s journey is completed independently, before ever making contact with a sales team. But more information doesn’t always translate to a better buying experience. In fact, many buyers are overwhelmed and even annoyed by the amount of extraneous, non-relevant, and invaluable marketing efforts thrown their way.
Skilled sales reps can use strategic sales outreach to help cut through all of that noise and accelerate the buyer’s journey in a way that’s accommodating and helpful to them.
Specific sales outreach strategies can help salespeople determine how and when to best reach out, which content or talking points are most likely to resonate with a given lead, and which tactics work best based on your offering and sales process.Trackable outreach at scaleAutomated email campaigns that you can track, monitor, and improve
Sales Outreach Strategies
There are a number of effective sales outreach strategies that salespeople can rely on to connect with prospects. The strategies most likely to be successful for your team will depend on your specific offering, your sales process, the makeup of your sales team, and the unique pain points and desires of your target audience.
Following are some of the most popular and successful sales outreach strategies for your team to consider.
Inbound outreach certainly sounds paradoxical, but it’s actually a common strategy in the sales world.
With inbound sales, the prospect initiates the first point of engagement with your brand. The “outreach” on the sales side consists of marketers and salespeople strategically placing content and other sales collateral at specific points within the buyer’s journey. Many sellers prefer inbound outreach because it usually creates a warmer lead. Inbound outreach strategies include email campaigns, content marketing, and SEO optimization.
Outbound sales outreach, on the other hand, relies on sales reps to make first contact with leads and prospects. This doesn’t necessarily always mean “cold” outreach. Although cold calls and cold emails both play a large role in outbound outreach, salespeople might also leverage LinkedIn or other connections to generate some buy-in.
Internal and External Buying Signals
Many sales teams rely on specific buyer behavior to determine their sales outreach strategy. Internal signals — like a turnover in leadership, for example — can provide great opportunities to open or reignite the sales process.
External buying signals, like a lead visiting your product page or downloading a whitepaper, also play into the sales outreach strategy in many sales teams.
Frameworks for Buyer Personas
Hopefully, your sales and marketing teams have collaborated to develop your ideal customer profile (ICP) and buyer personas. We’ll cover more on these two concepts in the next section.
Many sales teams find success in their sales outreach plan by carefully and specifically segmenting their buyer personas. When each buyer persona has a uniquely defined set of characteristics, sales reps can craft highly specific outreach campaigns for each one.
Many sales software platforms offer users real-time alerts on buyer behavior. They notify salespeople when emails and attachments are opened, when a prospect engages with their website, or when content is downloaded — among many others.
This immediate notification system can give salespeople a huge edge in their sales outreach strategy. Research consistently shows that sales reps who respond fastest are most likely to qualify the lead.
Although some of these strategies may work better for some companies than others, the reality is that most organizations rely on a combination of all of the above outreach strategies (and others, too). The key is finding the right combination and cadence of the various tools at your disposal.
Why Is Successful Outreach Management Important?
A clearly defined sales outreach strategy is crucial to the long-term success of your business.
That being said, it’s no easy feat. Digital marketing has allowed many businesses to reach far more leads than they once dreamed possible.
But, as mentioned earlier, an increase in leads doesn’t necessarily translate to an increase in conversions.
In fact, too many leads can spell trouble for a lot of sales organizations.
That’s where sales outreach management comes in. Sales outreach management is the process of organizing and prioritizing how leads receive outreach from sales reps.
When executed correctly, sales outreach management can provide a number of tangible benefits to your sales team.
Grows Your Lead List
By now it’s clear that too many leads without a plan can be problematic.
Thoughtful sales outreach management is the antidote to that. Not only does a good sales outreach strategy help define which leads to target with outreach, but it will also help sales reps determine how to best approach them.
In other words, sales outreach management allows salespeople and marketers to grow their lead list in a controlled, predictable, and productive manner.
Sales outreach management also helps sales professionals determine which leads to reach out to, and when.
Prioritizing leads boosts sales on both ends of the spectrum. It helps hot leads move through the sales pipeline more quickly. And it allows salespeople to target warm leads who may otherwise fall through the cracks without a targeted sales outreach strategy.
Sales outreach management allows sellers to track the many moving pieces of nurturing prospects at every stage of readiness within the pipeline.
Today’s buyer demands a seller that is knowledgeable, accommodating, and — above all — helpful. Sales outreach management can help salespeople put their best foot forward in all three of those domains.
Sales outreach management helps salespeople pinpoint the exact sales collateral that resonates most with each type of buyer. By proactively providing prospects with content that speaks to their pain points, salespeople can position themselves as trusted advisors and problem-solvers.
All of these benefits, of course, lead to the biggest one that comes from sales outreach management: increased conversions and profitability.
Successful sales outreach management is what helps salespeople close more deals. It is essential to the long-term scalability and profitability of any business.
Tip: Grab proven cold email templates below for your sales outreach.10 Cold Email Formulas That Just Plain WorkSee how B2B sales professionals are using these cold email templates to engage more prospects, fill the top of their funnel and build more sales pipeline faster.
Sales Outreach Management Tools
There are many tools available on the market today that help sales reps and marketers perform sales outreach at scale with ease.
Some of these tools focus on a single feature, like building email lists, while others are more comprehensive platforms that include a suite of various tools and capabilities.
Here are a few of the most effective sales outreach management tools and platforms available for teams today.
Email personalization is one of the most important parts of sales outreach.
Today’s B2B buyer fully expects customized personalization in all marketing efforts directed their way, and they are willing to shop around until they find it.
Email personalization tools help sales and marketing teams add the kind of high-caliber personalization that buyers are looking for, without the time or complexity it would require if sales reps did so manually.
Tools like Yesware can add email personalization with touches like first and last names, business names, custom links, and more to multichannel email campaigns.
Bulk Email Scheduling
Bulk email scheduling gives email senders the ability to dispatch messages to multiple email lists at a designated time. This allows teams to contact each of your segments at times that they’re most likely to be responsive.
According to Yesware data, the best time to send emails (in general) is on either end of lunchtime — 1pm and 11am.
But your team’s unique buyers most likely have their own preferred time to engage with their email. In addition to scheduling and dispatching timely email campaigns, bulk email scheduling tools can also offer insight into open rates according to time of day, location, customer segment, etc.
Email List Builder
An email list builder is a software platform that helps sales and marketing teams grow their email subscriber list.
Email list builder tools can include many different features, including optimized strategies for attracting leads, capturing their contact information, and organizing the data in a streamlined and actionable manner.
Email list builders can also help teams create features like:
- Opt-in forms
- Lead magnets
- Landing pages
Many email list builder tools also include email tracking and analytics features, so you can see how your email recipients are engaging with your email content.
For example, Yesware’s Prospector tool gives you access to a dataset of 100+ million business profiles. You can use advanced search filters to find your ideal leads.
Automated Email Follow-Ups
Did you know that most sales require five follow-up emails before they close? A tool that sends automated email follow-ups helps sales reps stay on top of the contact required to nurture deals to close.
Sales reps work with many different prospects simultaneously, all of whom are in different stages of the sales pipeline at any given time.
An automated follow-up tool helps reps juggle the many moving pieces of keeping up with leads in different stages and with different needs.
Here’s how Yesware automates your follow-ups with email campaigns. Users can set custom times and cadence for each touch and the tool will automatically remove recipients who reply or book a meeting.
CRM Integration – Sync Sales Rep Activity and Lead Data
CRM integration that syncs sales rep activity alongside lead data is another important sales outreach management tool. This feature allows reps to log their interactions with and/or outreach attempts to leads so that relationship highlights are immediately visible within the CRM. Having this information so readily available helps ensure that each contact between a sales rep and prospect can build productively off of the previous ones.
Sales templates allow sales reps to save their most effective sales scripts (i.e., cold calls, cold emails, sales demos, etc.) and use them at a moment’s notice.
Many template tools also track the effectiveness of each template, so users can continually optimize their template library. Yesware’s email engagement tools track email templates’ open and reply rates.
A lead enrichment tool gathers data from third-party sources to make lead profiles more thorough and complete.
With many prospects reluctant to provide more than name and email address on opt-in forms, lead enrichment tools can give sales reps and marketers a big leg up when it comes time to reach out.
Phone, Email, and Social Media Outreach Synchronization
With so many different channels available to sales and marketing teams today, it can get complex in a hurry if efforts aren’t made to keep all methods of communication streamlined and working together.
Fortunately, there are tools available on the market today that can help users sync their phone, email, and social media outreach.
Looking at Yesware’s campaign tool, you can schedule and synchronize calls, voicemails, LinkedIn Mail, and email.
When users check their outreach tool, they can easily see the last method of contact and what’s coming next, so they can ensure balanced and timely outreach.
Subject Line Generator
More than half of email recipients decide what to do with an email based on its subject line alone — yet less than half of marketers consider this component when they draft their messages.
A subject line generator does exactly what it sounds like it would: it drafts catchy, compelling subject lines based on the content of your email (or even as little as a single keyword).
Tools like these will also perform A/B testing for subject lines and themes that will learn the preferences of your email lists over time, so you can continuously optimize this part of your messaging.
Sales Outreach Management Tips
Although there is a good bit of legwork involved in building a sales outreach management plan, the effort is well worth it.
Follow these tips to ensure you design your sales outreach management process in a way that’s productive and built to last.
Align Sales and Marketing
As with most everything else in sales in the 21st century, a successful sales outreach management plan hinges on close collaboration and cooperation between sales and marketing.
One of the most important joint tasks in sales outreach management is the creation of detailed ICPs and buyer personas. These will act as your North Star when it comes to outreach. Keep in mind that these profiles are working documents, meaning they should be analyzed, tweaked, and optimized over time.
Sales outreach management will be most effective when it’s measured against your team’s sales goals.
The SMART goal framework allows sales teams to create tangible goals that can be measured and improved upon over time. For best results, use the SMART goal framework to create both big-picture goals and smaller benchmark ones for each stage of the sales funnel.
When it comes to outreach, numbers are only one part of the picture.
Successful outreach needs to be targeted and personalized. Leverage your ICP and buyer personas with your LinkedIn and social media connections to create tailored outreach plans for each of your prospects.
Half the battle of a sales outreach management plan is staying organized. Leverage the power of tools to help you stay on top tasks and activities.
The most important factor in successful sales outreach management is that it’s monitored and executed on a routine, predictable schedule.
Does your team have a sales outreach plan? How well does your sales outreach management process work right now? How can you improve it?
This guide was updated on November 8, 2023.
Hit your number every monthGet Yesware for free
Works on Outlook or Gmail (+ many more integrations)
Sales, deal management, and communication tips for your inbox