How to Use Outbound Sales for Inbound Services
Even inbound agencies need to rely on outbound sales from time to time.
For our agency, there were two key moments where we relied heavily on our outbound sales system.
When Inbound Needs Outbound
- The first was at the beginning when we were just starting off and looking to attract our first few clients.
- The second was when we were branching into a new targeted vertical to service.
In both of these cases we relied on outbound sales to launch us because we did not have a strong enough influx of inbound leads yet to grow the agency. We as inbound agency people are trained to scoff at outbound methods, but honestly, sometimes we need to use them. The key is to execute outbound sales in an inbound way.
Let's start with a definition of outbound sales to make sure we are all on the same page.
For the sake of this post I am going to define it as, "A prospect who has not entered your database by any means other than you manually putting them there." Likely this prospect has never even heard of your agency.
Let's start with scenario number one.
You have recently launched your own agency, rented a space, got your shiny new business cards in, and are ready to take on the world. Maybe you are already ahead of the game and have a client or two. Then you realize, "Well dang, I need more than one or two clients to help grow this agency, but how?"
If this sounds like you then I would encourage you to spend your time in two key areas:
- Start writing targeted content toward the vertical you have decided to go after. This will take a while to see the results but the longer you wait, the longer you will regret it.
- Begin sourcing outbound leads to bring in revenue early.
Outbound leads are less predictable and reliable than a steady stream of inbound leads but we all know, you don't write three blog posts and have leads start pouring in the funnel. It takes time, so outbound leads are a great way to fill that gap.
Established Pivoting Agencies
At our agency, we didn't start with a strong enough focus in the beginning.
This meant that we needed to pivot and start targeting more specific verticals if we wanted to be successful. We decided on manufacturing and SaaS companies based on a couple of success stories we had in the manufacturing space and the fact that we started a SaaS company and we learning more about the space every day.
Guess how many of those types of leads we had coming in when we decided to make the transition? Very few.
So what do you do? Same thing as the newer agency. Start creating content like crazy targeted towards your new verticals, but in the mean time start using outbound sales to drum up some early business and success stories.
Sourcing Outbound Leads
Where do you go to get these outbound leads? Lets talk about a few options.
The first is friends, family, and referrals. When I say referrals I am not talking just about past customer referrals, I am actually talking about referrals within your personal network.
In my opinion, a persons personal network is one of the most under utilized assets when it comes to sales referrals. There is no better place to start that this. Previous relationships mean one thing, trust. What is the most important thing to have when selling? You guessed it ... Trust.
Tools to help source outbound leads:
- Sidekick - If you used the HubSpot CRM and don't use Sidekick you need to start.
- LinkedIn - Groups are an awesome way to have a list of prospects all in one place. DO NOT be the person who just goes in and starts spamming your services in the groups though, you need to be especially tactical when handling LinkedIn.
- Datanyze - Great for seeing which technology companies are using and sourcing email addresses.
Recipe for Success
Sourcing leads is a time consuming and wasteful activity if you cannot close the prospects you source. Execution is where outbound sales can breakdown.
Agencies need to use their inbound skills to help the close outbound prospects. Always be providing value to them from the very first phone call or email.
Don't "always be closing." Instead "always be value adding." That is the way to approach outbound sales.
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