The Ultimate Guide to Sales Outreach Strategy

In Hollywood, sales floors are depicted with over-the-top managers instructing reps to win and win now. The ideas conveyed? Spray and pray! Fail faster! Dial for deals!

But in the real world, contemporary sales outreach strategies and plans don’t work that way.

What is Sales Outreach?

Sales outreach is the process of engaging with prospects, directly or indirectly, with the hopes of converting them to paying customers. 

Think of today’s B2B buyer. Every channel — email, phone, social media – within their world is busy and, well, noisey. Conversely, the modern B2B business development leader is faced with cutting through that noise in both an efficient and effective manner.

“What we’re finding from our customers is that they’re looking for us to get more and more specific and give their sales reps point and time intelligence to make sure that they have an absolutely relevant conversation with their prospect,” explained Ned Leutz, Senior Director of Sales at ZoomInfo.

For nearly a decade, Leutz has helped sales organizations use B2B intelligence to empower the people, processes, and technologies that are essential to executing successful go-to-market motions, namely sales outreach. 

Speaking of which, what are the best practices of sales outreach? Which channels are most effective and why? ZoomInfo’s latest infographic covers it all — and so much more. But before we get there, let’s explore what a sound strategy for sales outreach looks like. 

Skip to Our Sales Outreach Infographic

Effective Sales Outreach

An effective sales outreach plan needs meaningful input, or risk having your efforts thrown into the spam folder. Through campaigns and offerings, humanized messaging reduces the chances of your audience glossing over your brand and moving onto the next. 

Selling in the B2B realm makes sales outreach more challenging since you are not directly selling to a single product user. B2B companies have purchasing or procurement specialists, and sometimes a buying committee. A successful, lasting customer relationship with a B2B customer requires more careful planning.

How to Structure a Sales Outreach Strategy 

Account-based selling has made a roaring comeback in recent years. So much so that 41% of organizations have built dedicated account-based SDR teams. 

The reasons for the account-based everything renaissance make sense: sales leaders are focused on creating scalable, but tailored outreach by mapping account universes using company data that unlocks pain points, opportunities to display business value and more. 

Understand What Defines Your Best Customers

“So, let’s use ZoomInfo as a use case. We support B2B sales, marketing, and recruiting teams. That’s a wide net to cast. Of course, we can drill down into company size and industry, but that’s not enough. 

To parse things down further, we look at company specifics, like how many sales reps exist in the company? Or, how big is the HR team? Or, how many locations do they have?”

Use Buyer Personas to Develop an Outreach Messaging Framework

When it comes to B2B purchasing, an average of 6.8 people are involved in its decision-making. Understanding the roles of these buyers helps personalize your message — which can be more successful when done in a meaningful way.

These buyer personas include:

  • End Users: Individuals who consume products or services for their own use.
  • Influencers: Internal spokesperson who has influence over buying decisions.
  • Subject Matter Experts: Typically consultants that have years of expertise and knowledge in a particular area of product or service type. 
  • Procurement: Employees part of a purchasing team that specialize in communications and governance when dealing with vendors. 
  • Stakeholders: Part of the main executive team that has a final word in top-level decisions.
  • Decision Makers: Final executors of buying decisions with the support of purchasing teams.

Use Real-time B2B Intelligence to Stay Connected (and capitalize!)

Your addressable market may span far and wide. Asking reps to attack it all at once is a fool’s errand. A better approach is using buying signals to help pinpoint what accounts to focus on at any given time. 

Internal Buying Signals

When we get down to the rep, who is actually now tasked with execution, they should be coached to look for real-time intelligence within your account universe to enhance chances of success,” Leutz said. 

“An example could be executive turnover at a target account,” he continued. “Your reps should know who just left the company and what relevant hires have recently occurred. Another example could be around funding or product launches. 

The bottom line is that our customers are really focused on ensuring their business development strategy is equipped with dynamic intelligence, and that their reps are fully prepared to capitalize with timely outreach, almost as if they’re a member of this prospect’s team.”

External Buying Signals

Relevant news within your account universe is extremely valuable, but what are other ways to hone in on the right account, at the right time? 

Again, the B2B buyer is more empowered than ever before, with access to information about their needs, problems, or opportunities at their fingertips. And to be clear, 37% of B2B buyers say they do not get enough information from brands to make a direct purchase. 

Enter intent data.

We’ve covered everything intent data in this space before. To recap, B2B sales teams can uncover active buyers through intent data, which aggregates online activity and consumption patterns such as:

  • Content downloads from relevant web publications
  • Website visits
  • Product reviews
  • Time on website pages related to industry topics
  • Online newsletters and updates subscriptions
  • Views of infographics
  • Attendance of webinars
  • Spikes in content consumption on a given topic

Here, reps can take advantage by pairing accounts and persona segmentation previously discussed with messaging likely to align with what prospects are more likely to care about.

Ultimate Guide to Sales Outreach Infographic

Truly understanding your ideal customer profile. Engaging with the right people within accounts, in ways meaningful to their roles. And staying connected using real-time intelligence. All very important pillars to set up your sales outreach strategy. 

The mechanics and expectations of the above framework is often a heavy trial and error process. And while specific channels may be more effective than others for any given particular business, ZoomInfo’s latest infographic showcases a few key considerations and best practices regarding sales outreach that your team should keep in mind.

Key Takeaways of Sales Outreach

And there you have it— the definitive guide to sales outreach. If you keep this infographic in mind, you’ll be on the path to sales outreach success.

For more information about ZoomInfo, contact our sales team. Our B2B contact lists can supplement your overall strategy and drastically improve your results.