“Do more with less” is the theme of the year if you’re in B2B Sales or Marketing. In this new era of efficient growth, B2B companies are looking to meet pipeline and revenue goals with smaller budgets and headcounts.
In this post, we take a look at what drives waste in the outbound sales process and what teams can do to drive effectiveness while being lean and efficient.
Sources of Waste in the Outbound Sales Process
The amount of waste in their outbound process can vary depending on several factors, such as the size of the sales team, the complexity of the sales cycle, and the effectiveness of the sales process. However, studies have shown that Sellers can waste a significant amount of time on unproductive activities. For example:
- Inefficient Prospecting: According to a study by InsideSales.com, sales reps spend an average of 8 hours per week on prospecting, and only 17% of that time is spent on actual prospecting activities. The rest of the time is spent on tasks like data entry and research, which can be time-consuming and unproductive.
- Poor Qualification: Another study by InsideSales.com found that 50% of B2B leads are not a good fit for the product or service being offered. This means that SDRs can waste a significant amount of time on leads that are unlikely to convert.
- Ineffective Outreach: According to a study by HubSpot, personalized email outreach has an open rate of 25%, compared to a 14% open rate for non-personalized emails. This suggests that Sellers who do not personalize their outreach may waste time on ineffective activities.
- Manual Data Entry: Manual data entry can be time-consuming and error-prone. According to a study by RingLead, sales reps spend an average of 4.5 hours per week on manual data entry. This can be a significant source of waste in the outbound process.
These studies suggest that Sellers can waste a significant amount of time in their outbound process, particularly on inefficient prospecting, poor lead qualification, ineffective outreach, and manual data entry.
It’s not just waste, of course, these inefficiencies also have an impact on Sales effectiveness and Sales productivity. Let’s look at what teams can do to tackle these issues.
Reducing Waste and Increasing Effectiveness in Your Outbound Process
To improve efficiency and productivity, companies can invest in tools and processes that automate routine tasks, improve lead qualification, and personalize outreach to prospects. Let’s take a deeper look.
- Focus on Accounts, Personas, and Messaging in that Order: Sales teams often spend a lot of time and energy nailing down their email messaging. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how good your messaging is if you’re reaching out to irrelevant personas at accounts that are not a good fit for your solution. Teams should first focus on their account targeting and persona strategy before spending time on the messaging details. This will ensure that your teams are not wasting time chasing the wrong accounts or contacts.
- Define Your Ideal Customer Profile: One of the most important things you can do to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your outbound process is to clearly define your ideal customer profile. This will help you target the right prospects and avoid wasting time on accounts that are unlikely to convert. In defining your ICP, it’s important to go beyond firmographic details to bring in measures of Buyer Readiness. Companies with a high buyer readiness score are those that have active pains, needs, or initiatives where your solution could help the most right now. This approach will help your team focus on the highest-value accounts.
- Prioritize Accounts using Buyer Readiness and Intent: Pairing Buyer Readiness and Intent data together can give you good pipeline generation results. Here’s a 2×2 that breaks down how you can combine Buyer Readiness and Intent data to prioritize accounts. A word of caution: Accounts with high Intent but low Buyer Readiness can be a major source of waste. We often hear from frustrated sales teams that have prioritized accounts purely on the basis of Intent, who after investing a lot of energy realize that the buyers are not really interested in “buying” their product. Be sure to prioritize these accounts last!
- Focus on the Right Personas: Teams often waste their time sequencing personas that are not relevant to their solution. To avoid this, partner with your Product Marketing teams and analyze closed won deals and open opportunities to create a prioritized list of personas and matching titles. It helps to have a target of a certain number of contacts by persona in an account so you have coverage and the entire buying committee represented. Your outbound team should only target personas that are on this list.
- Develop a Strong Value Proposition by Persona: Develop a clear and compelling value proposition that communicates the benefits of your product or service and why it is better than your competitors. This will help your team engage and convert buyers. A good way to develop this value proposition is by analyzing your pipeline and closed won deals to identify why your buyers made the purchasing decision. Collect the data and categorize it by company size, industry, segment, and persona to identify the top reasons companies make a decision to purchase. This should form the core of your persona, content, and messaging strategy.
- Personalize for Relevance: Personalized outreach is more effective than generic messaging. In personalizing messages, leading with relevance tends to outperform simple personalization techniques such as using the prospect’s name, company name, or industry. This is where Buyer Readiness signals can be particularly impactful. Developing an understanding of these signals gives you critical information about the “why” of a prospective company. It is this context that you can then use to develop targeted outbound messages to increase your chances of success.
- Monitor and Analyze Performance: Monitoring and analyzing your outbound process is crucial to improving its effectiveness. Use metrics such as response rates, conversion rates, and pipeline value to track performance and identify areas for improvement. Ultimately, revenue is your best way to measure your success – make sure you put the process and attribution in place before you scale your outbound efforts to ensure you can.
- Continuously Experiment and Improve: The outbound process is not a one-time effort. Continuously experiment with new tactics and approaches to identify what works best for your business and optimize your process over time. Turn to your SDRs to get feedback on messaging, campaigns, and sequences. Create the content committee as early as possible to have a team of SMEs to continuously improve your efforts.
By implementing these strategies, you can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your B2B outbound process and drive more pipeline and revenue for your business.
Interested in learning more? Check out these interviews with Outbound leaders at Carrot, Esper, and Deep Instinct where they share best practices and lessons learned in driving pipeline growth.