Best Practices for Prospecting in 2024

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Prospecting
Image courtesy of ValueSelling Associates

Between Christmas and New Year’s Day, I have a little tradition. I go through my inbox and unsubscribe from all the irrelevant marketing lists I’ve wound up on over the year. Sure, that 15% off coupon was tempting back in May, but eight months and more than 40 emails later, I’m over it.

I suspect I’m not alone in this viewpoint. It’s one of many reasons why I was not particularly flustered when Google and Yahoo announced the changes for bulk email senders in November. Don’t get me wrong: It’s a significant shift. I still remember how quickly my LinkedIn feed was flooded with proclamations about the death of outbound. To this day, there’s still a good deal of anxiety around the upcoming changes – and the crux of the issue has not changed.

It comes down to one hard truth: Chasing sales efficiency won’t make you more effective. In fact, I’ll argue that the changes to bulk email sending are beneficial to sales and marketing. Untargeted outreach can be detrimental to brand credibility and sales performance: A study by Lusha found that 49% of B2B sellers believe poorly targeted outreach damages a company’s reputation, and 52% of sellers believe it leads to ongoing missed sales.

How can you ensure your marketing and sales outreach efforts are targeted, compliant and primed for success in 2024? Build your strategy around two pillars: sales/marketing alignment and strategic, multi-channel prospecting cadences.

Sales and Marketing Alignment: A Strategic Imperative

The business case for sales and marketing alignment is crystal clear: Aligned sales and marketing functions see 36% higher customer retention rates and 38% higher win rates (MarketingProfs). It’s even more vital with an issue like the change to bulk email sending looming on the horizon. Since this shift will apply to all emails sent by an organization using a particular domain, sales and marketing must ensure they’re on the same page.

This is an excellent opportunity to reach out to your marketing or sales counterparts and get the conversation going. Now’s the time to:

● Work together on agile account-based plays

● Ensure your lists are hyper-segmented and your messaging hyper-personalized

● Explore opportunities to expand your company’s sphere of influence

● Leverage marketing/sales analytics to identify potential needs and send the right message at the right time

More than anything, it’s time to ensure your marketing and product teams leverage the same methodology as sales. After all, your sales methodology provides the common language, framework and toolset that facilitate a revenue team’s ability to understand buyers’ needs/preferences and continuously improve its approach to outreach.

Personalized, Multi-channel Cadences

Over the past three years, sales tech usage exploded. This has enabled us to automate and amplify outreach like never before – and there’s a hidden trap here. It’s tempting to fall prey to thinking: If 200 emails translate to seven meetings, then 800 emails will translate to 28 meetings, and 2000 emails will translate to…

That approach never worked, and now there could be serious consequences if your spam rate creeps to 0.30% or higher. To deliver the right tailored messages at the right time, you have to put in the work and do the research. Tech solutions like LinkedIn’s Deep Sales and ZoomInfo can help you identify potential buyers, better understand likely buying committee makeup and get the timing right thanks to intent data.

From there, it’s a matter of reaching out to different buying committee members in their preferred mode with tailored messaging. Here’s the twist: you don’t know your buyer’s favorite communication style yet – and you don’t want to spam them with email outreach. Hence, a strategically choreographed, multi-channel approach is vital.

You must blend a concoction of phone calls, social media interactions, InMail messages, emails and voicemails. Remember: the secret ingredient is always value – initial communications should emphasize thought leadership and valuable content sharing. As you build these engagement sequences, let your research and analytics be your guide to ensure you’re offering valuable insight for someone in their industry, company and role, and tailor it to the content they find intriguing. The key is respectful persistence and personalized messaging to each prospect that opens the door to high-value business conversations.

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While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to transform your outbound results, you can ensure your 2024 marketing and sales outreach efforts are compelling and compliant. When leaders come together on a proactive approach for aligning sales/marketing, establishing feedback loops across the revenue engine and adopting a strategic, multi-channel approach to sales prospecting, the results are impactful and sustainable.

This article was originally published on ValueSelling Associates’ Voice of Value blog.

Julie Thomas
Julie Thomas, President and CEO of ValueSelling Associates, is a noted speaker, author, and consultant. ValueSelling Associates delivers sales training and coaching that helps sales organizations compete confidently on value, not price. The company has been selected as a Top Sales Training provider by Training Industry and Selling Power, and the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Sales Training Service Providers. Get in touch at [email protected].

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