How to build a predictable revenue outbound sales system

This article is written by Nick Roberts, the Alliances and Partnership Manager at Cognism. It is based on a speech that Nick gave at B2B Marketing Expo on Wednesday 27th March 2019.

Selling more is the holy grail of business. Without revenue, a business can’t survive, let alone thrive. Cognism is a company that has seen rapid revenue growth since it started trading in 2016. Here are some of Cognism’s impressive recent growth stats:

  • During its first year, despite minimal resources, Cognism achieved 30% growth in month-on-month revenue.

  • In 2018, Cognism saw a 657% growth in overall revenue.

  • In the second quarter of 2018, the company achieved a 61% increase in monthly recurring revenue (MRR).

  • In just 18 months since startup, the company has built a base of over 200 clients, including an increasing number of global enterprise organisations as well as SMBs and mid-market companies.

  • This rapid growth has led to an increase in company headcount, with a projected doubling of the sales team in the next 12 months.

What has fuelled this extraordinary revenue growth for Cognism? The answer is simple: adopting a predictable revenue outbound sales system.

But what exactly defines an outbound sales system? And how can you make revenue predictable and apply it to your business? This article will show you how.

What is an outbound sales system?

Outbound sales is the process where the seller (usually represented by a sales agent or rep) initiates customer engagement. The benefit of outbound sales is that it offers an almost unlimited customer base to directly action and engage.

Typically the first engagement is done by telephoning leads, otherwise known as “cold calling”. It may sound outdated or inefficient, but many of today’s high performing sales teams utilise this alongside a number of tools and strategies. This can be followed by email and social sales steps.

3 steps to help you build an outbound sales system

In the past, sales reps had to trawl through telephone directories or scour through websites and social media to find their perfect leads. Advances in technology have revolutionised outbound sales. Here are some of the most useful modern strategies in outbound sales:

1. Use buyer personas

A buyer persona is a theoretical representation of your ideal customer, based on any information or insights you’ve gathered, along with your market research. They include details such as the customer’s industry, location, their job role, what technologies they use, and how they spend their time.

They will help you to better understand your prospects’ needs and interests, and adjust your product and sales pitches to meet those needs.

Buyer personas assist you in optimising your outbound sales system, so it is geared towards your prospects and customers.

2. Use sales triggers

A sales trigger is any event or occurrence that creates an opportunity for a sale. For example, if a company relocates to a new office in a new city, has received funding or if a prospect is promoted to an executive-level role.

The modern sales rep will use technology such as Cognism Prospector to identify these opportunities, so they can be approached at the optimal time.

3. Create a feedback loop

As you use buyer personas and sales triggers to drive targeted outreach and gather more customers, you will gather a lot of B2B data. Use this data to your advantage. What industries are buying from you more than others? Are there any geographies that are particularly interested in your product? Do your customers use similar technologies to one another?

Look for patterns in your customer data and use any insights to create a feedback loop. For example, if your sales data indicates that you are gaining a lot of Salesforce users working in London, then you know you should redouble your efforts to those people in that territory.

How to build a predictable revenue outbound sales system

Once your outbound sales system is up and running, the next step is to improve it to the extent it becomes predictable. You know what inputs lead to what outputs. You have to keep improving and refining it. Here are three things your B2B sales team can do to make your outbound sales system even more successful, as below:

1. Be consistent

The most useful thing you can do to ensure consistency in sales is to create a sales playbook. A sales playbook will be your bible - a master document detailing all the steps, processes and functions your outbound sales system needs. It should include information and best practice relating to:

  • Pricing - how your product is priced for different industries or verticals.

  • Demonstrations - how your product demos should be structured and delivered.

  • Template messages - for sales proposals and pitches.

  • Weekly work routines for all team members - how the team should use its time most effectively.

  • Training and promotion - what kind of training programmes are available, and the promotion process for all roles in the sale team.

Start off your sales playbook by arranging a weekly meeting with all sales team members. Discuss the elements that your playbook should include and then designate a team member to start writing it.

2. Build a specialised sales team

Highly effective B2B sales teams, such as Cognism’s, are also highly specialised. Look to split your sales team into two distinct functions:

  • Business Development Representatives (BDRs): these team members will solely focus on outbound lead prospecting. They will generate leads, cold call prospects and follow up with emails and other engagements. Their targets are to book demonstrations and meetings with prospects.

  • Business Development Managers (BDMs): once the BDR has booked in a demo with the prospect, then the account is handed over to the BDM. It’s the BDM’s job to conduct the demo, negotiate the sale and close business.

Creating a team of specialised sales roles is the best way to establish efficiency, as the two halves of your team will be focused on different, but equally important, areas of the business.

3. Develop predictable lead generation

To power your outbound sales system with consistent revenue, you need to develop a predictable lead generation pipeline. How best to do this?

First of all, identify companies who you feel would be a good market fit for your product or service. Then build lists of decision makers inside those companies - again, solutions such as Cognism can help you to do this. Once you have your list, can start outreaching to them - making sure your messages are perfectly pitched according to each buyer persona.

As you launch your outbound campaigns, remember to track conversion rates. This will help you to identify which campaigns are producing the best results, and will help you to optimise your campaigns over time.

Conclusion

Building a predictable outbound sales system doesn’t have to be difficult - follow the advice outlined in this article and you should see a B2B sales operation that is better run, more efficient, and produces more revenue for your business.

If you’re looking to increase your outbound sales and revenue growth, then talk to Cognism! Our sales acceleration and lead generation solutions are tailor-made for sales teams who want to improve the quality of their B2B leads and scale up fast. Register now for your free demo or alternatively, call us on +44 203 858 0822.