On Wednesday 7th August 2019, we were delighted to host our first live webinar: B2B outbound: how to create a scalable and repeatable engine. It was an hour-long discussion about the outbound sales process and the different strategies that B2B sales leaders can use to optimise and improve performance.
As one of the fastest-growing tech companies in the UK, this is an area that we have considerable knowledge of. It was a pleasure to invite other industry peers to join our webinar and share our combined expertise.
The participants were:
1. Build an engine for human interaction
One question that’s regularly asked in the B2B sector is: what’s the difference between inbound and outbound?
Neil Ryland shared a useful analogy. The inbound model is like fishing with a net. It requires huge volumes and isn’t targeted. You can pick up anything with a net, not just the things you’re actually fishing for. Whereas outbound is like fishing with a rod. It’s targeted and you have a much greater chance of catching exactly the fish that you want.
The next questions then are: what powers outbound? How can you ensure that you’re fishing with a rod, not a net?
The panel agreed that cold calling is the main driver of a successful outbound engine. Even with all the sales acceleration tech that is available nowadays, the phone is still the best way of engaging and interacting with people.
However, that doesn’t mean that you should be calling hundreds of people at random. Use the phone like a fishing rod and zero in on the prospects you really want to capture. Before you start calling, Nazma Qurban’s tip is to define your target audience. Develop detailed buyer personas of your ideal customers and use the insights you’ll gain to find others just like them.
This is not so much “cold calling” as “warm calling”. It’s about locating the right people for your message and reaching out to them in a human and individual way.
So, to create a scalable and repeatable sales engine, warm calling must be at the heart of your outbound lead generation strategy. First of all, identify the key contacts and decision-makers in your territory or industry. Then use the phone to influence, persuade and engage with them. Remember that people buy people, not products; especially so in the B2B sector where competition is fierce and so many products are available.
2. Build an engine that can be measured and tracked
The participants highlighted the importance of setting sales KPIs. Once you’ve got your warm calling operation set up and running, you have to track metrics. It’s the only way you can know what’s working and what isn’t.
Nazma had some advice for scaling companies. If you’re scaling up, it’s no good tracking KPIs on a monthly basis. You have to track them weekly. That way, you can be agile and make adjustments quickly.
When you’ve got your metrics in place, and you’re tracking them frequently, you will generate a significant amount of B2B data. You can use this data to help you make better, data-driven decisions.
The decisions you make don’t have to be big in order to produce great results. For example, at Cognism, we found that our weekly attended meeting rate was dropping. A simple change of having our SDRs call the prospect before 9:15 am on the day of their demo increased the weekly attended meeting rate by 15%.
Tracking and measuring KPIs is also made much easier with technology. Build a tech stack around your B2B outbound engine that supports and informs it. Nazma identified G2 as an excellent resource for making tech-based buying decisions.
3. Build a culture that supports the engine
For the speakers, no matter the process or technology you put in place, in the end, it all comes down to the people. Your outbound engine needs people to steer and maintain it. Hiring is critical. If you want to create a sales team that’s fit for scaling, you’ll need to hire highly-motivated people (at Cognism, we have a policy of hiring recent graduates for our sales roles).
Leadership is a very important area to focus on. Salespeople continually deal with rejection. James shared his thoughts on the matter: good sales leaders have to provide inspiration and motivation for their teams, day in, day out.
For Neil, leadership is all about inspiring belief around a common goal. Successes should always be celebrated and hard work should always be recognised. The structure of your sales team and the results you aim to achieve are not separate issues - they are connected. Having a great company culture will lead to even greater outcomes.
Within that, Nazma stated that there should always be room for people to experiment. At Cognism, 80% of an SDR’s time makes up their quota. The remaining 20% is for people to get creative and try new ideas and techniques.
Those were the key takeaways from Cognism’s first live webinar. You haven’t heard the last of us, though! We will be hosting more live events as 2019 progresses. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram for more news and information.