How to Refresh Your Sales Outreach Plan

February 3, 2021
Contributor: Rupal Bhandari

Ensure your sales messaging is as effective as possible. Assess your current outreach strategy to determine if your sales engagement plan needs a refresh.

When communicating with prospects, 99% of sales reps in the sales development process use email, 94% use voicemail and 92% use LinkedIn. With so much competition, businesses often struggle to get and retain the potential buyer's attention through the sales cycle.  

In the current digital marketing landscape, a potential customer is accustomed to coming in contact with a business multiple times and across a variety of channels before making a purchase decision. In such an environment, leaving a lone sales rep responsible for the messages they send out can lead to disjointed communication. 

Instead, businesses need to take a moment to determine whether a decentralized sales strategy provides the best possible results or whether it requires a refresh. If the current sales outreach plan leaves the messaging, outreach frequency, follow-up frequency and other variables such as these in the hands of the sales reps, it is time to craft an integrated sales plan. 

This new sales plan needs to account for multiple sales channels and touches (the number of times a potential buyer comes in contact with the business) and also ensure that sales and marketing messaging seamlessly complement each touch.

Assess current sales outreach

Assessing the current outreach strategy is the first step in understanding whether the business’s sales engagement plan needs a refresh. Some of the preliminary questions to ask include: Does the sales team follow a standardized outreach campaign for each prospect or an ad hoc one? How do they currently collect data to analyze and benchmark the effectiveness of sales engagement?

Track two essential metrics to further assess the sales outreach plan:

1. Review effectiveness of outreach channels

Email, voicemail, LinkedIn, power dial, social media, direct mail and chat are some commonly used outreach channels for sales; however, none of those channels should be reviewed in isolation. 

Sales leaders should understand that any plan involves a combination of multiple outreach channels. Instead of analyzing channels separately, analyze which combinations are more effective and yield a higher rate of sales qualified leads. The question to ask might look like: Does a phone, email and social media combination yield better outcomes than email and social media alone? 

2. Review the effectiveness of touch patterns

A touchpoint pattern or touch pattern shows the progression of messages sent by a business to a prospect. These are ideally distributed across multiple outreach channels over a set or recommended number of days. 

First, analyze whether the team currently follows a standardized touch pattern. Then, seek to understand which touch pattern seems to yield the best result in terms of prospect engagement. A helpful question to ask could be: Does sending an email every week work better than an email followed by a social post two days later?

Based on the result, highlight elements of the sales outreach plan that require an update. 

Document the refreshed, standardized sales outreach plan

Some businesses follow an undocumented outreach strategy when reaching out to prospects. Sales reps might share their patterns or best practices. However, before starting an official refresh, it is important to document and formalize a standardized plan to ensure multi-channel success. 

Include the recommended touch pattern for when and how often to reach out to specific types of prospects and leads. It should incorporate findings from the assessment stage and include proven strategies that work best for the business.

Example of Standardized Sales Outreach Plan - Touch Patterns.

With standardized sales outreach plans, the sales reps can ensure that all prospects and leads receive enough attention and none fall through the cracks. Sales reps can also be relieved of the responsibility of deciding which channels to use and how often and how many touches to execute within each channel. Instead, sales reps can focus on messaging with each touch, improving their chances of conversion.

Develop standardized templates for each touchpoint

A business can improve reps’ effectiveness and efficiency by providing standardized templates for crafting outreach messages. Templates ensure sales reps aren’t required to draft new messages every time they reach out to a prospect. Instead, they already have the key points to highlight in the message and can tailor those to the context of the prospect or lead being targeted. 

This approach requires more than one email template. It should include a series of templates for calls or voicemail messages, emails, social media outreach and others. The templates should ensure all subsequent campaign messages align with, and refer back to, the main message.

Example of a Strategic, Quick and Relevant Prospecting Message.

Keep in mind these additional best practices for messaging templates

  • Create a context in the message by stating clearly why the recipient should care about the message. Insert personal challenges and trigger events to highlight that context.
  • Describe how the business can help in a relevant way or provide value. Include examples or case stories that relate to the recipient’s industry challenges or role-based needs.
  • Establish clear next steps, such as a follow-up call or meeting. 
  • Ensure templates allow space to customize message points depending on the recipient’s needs or context. This is because emails are most effective when 20% of the message is customized.
  • Keep messages succinct and preview emails on mobile to ensure they don’t warrant extended scrolling. Remember, most prospects or leads do not have the time or inclination to read lengthy messages or emails.

Rupal Bhandari

Rupal Bhandari covers sales and account management markets. She received her master’s degree from the University of Delhi, India, and has created content for some of the world’s leading technology products and companies. Connect with Rupal on LinkedIn.

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