2022 was a horrible year for sales effectiveness.
The volume of outbound outreach ramped up significantly but the results were terrible.
The response to all of that poor outreach showed up with most reps (close to 70%) failing to meet quota.
2023 is going to be a year where there are significant economic headwinds and an AI emergence that could signal the end of many entry-level sales roles.
So what can you do to not only improve your skills but also to drive results?
The steps discussed in this episode provides an actionable framework for reps to use.
Music Credit: Music Credit: Maarten Schellekens - Riviera
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Improving Sales Outreach for 2023
[00:00:00] Dr. Jim: welcome to today's episode of Cascading Leadership. I am your friendly neighborhood talent strategy nerd, Dr. Jim. And today we're gonna talk about five ways you can improve your sales outreach next year. In an earlier episode, we talked about some of the things that you can do differently to get better results.
[00:00:16] Dr. Jim: In this conversation, we're gonna focus on some of the things that you can do to be much. Effective in your outreach. And it's gonna be a pretty tactical conversation that we're gonna have to set some context. You're looking at some pretty stark numbers for 2022. As a year wraps up, we're looking at overall outreach across all channels having increased.
[00:00:36] Dr. Jim: But with that being said, the reply rates have all declined through most standard channels. So phones, emails, that sort of stuff. When you look at quota attainment for most sales reps, almost 70% of reps are missing quota. And you're also looking at a scenario where most sales organizations are gonna increase quotas in 2023.
[00:00:58] Dr. Jim: That in and of itself is gonna be pretty [00:01:00] interesting considering the economic headwinds that we're heading into. And what that means for sellers is that sellers are gonna need to be much more strategic. And focused in how they're going to market. So when you're looking at 2023, You'll see that continuing trend of outreach going increasing reply rates are gonna continue to decrease.
[00:01:19] Dr. Jim: And then the wildcard in all of this is that AI is going to accelerate into the marketplace, which will have an impact on the volume of outreach, but it also, depending on. How it's deployed can have some pretty significant impact on sellers as a whole. So if you're looking at some of the more tactical aspects of selling things that are very task oriented I would argue.
[00:01:46] Dr. Jim: That the expansion of ai into the selling world could have some pretty significant impact in terms of the elimination of jobs at some of the lower levels of sales. Think in terms of SDRs and the volume of [00:02:00] calls and emails and outreach they're doing, that could all be done using ai.
[00:02:04] Dr. Jim: And that's one of the trends that we wanna be watching in 2023. So the question becomes how do you rise above all of the noise that exists? So here's what we're gonna talk about, and that's the gist of this conversation, is how can you improve your outreach? And we can, we're gonna talk about five things that you can do.
[00:02:20] Dr. Jim: So one is, instead of what's typical in the world of sales, which is just spray and pray and try to just spam your entire prospect universe. Use a little bit of focus, and one of the, things that I always recommend is to niche down how you are focusing in your territory. And there's a great model that is a full funnel model that I picked up from the guys over at Full Funnel io.
[00:02:45] Dr. Jim: And it's called the 1 11 10 model. And basically you focus on one industry, one function, one persona, and 10 accounts. And with that degree of focus, you are able to work and create a level of critical mass [00:03:00] within those categories and get more traction versus just. Trying to spam the universe and get some low hanging fruit.
[00:03:07] Dr. Jim: This allows you to become a subject matter expert within that industry or function. And it also allows you to be much more tailored and disciplined in terms of how you're driving that outreach. Step two is to tailor your messaging. By and large the, status quo in the world of sales is to have sequencers that send out fairly generic messaging to your entire universe.
[00:03:29] Dr. Jim: This is who we are, this is what we do, this is who I am. And the net of all of that sort of messaging is that it's too long and nobody really cared. So if you wanna grab the attention of a potential prospect, you need to be tailored and tailored at a level that demonstrates that you have the ability to add value to their business.
[00:03:48] Dr. Jim: So what does that look like? Again, that 1, 1, 1 10 model approach can be deployed to drive your research. That research will allow you to better tailor your outreach and. Through that research, you're gonna [00:04:00] understand the goals and objectives of the personas that you're trying to reach out to, which will actually position you in a way that you can engage the curiosity of the person that you're talking to and get them to look at you differently than the spam bots that are just throwing a lot of generic outreach out into the selling world.
[00:04:20] Dr. Jim: Step three, is to engage with your buyers where they are. And this is critically important as For sellers. In a lot of situations sellers don't understand how buyers buy. By and large, sellers are still operating in a lot of ways as if we have a monopoly on the information about our product services, landscape, marketplace, all of that sort of stuff.
[00:04:44] Dr. Jim: And that's simply not true. In fact when you look at recent research and data that's come. Most buyers, when they are starting to potentially evaluate getting into a buy cycle, the first step that they're gonna do, they're gonna take is research on their [00:05:00] own. And then they're gonna ask their network.
[00:05:01] Dr. Jim: And that can happen out in the open on places like LinkedIn or or YouTube or those sort of social channels. Or they can happen in private Slack communities networking events, that sort of stuff. As a seller, it becomes critically important for you to be in those places where your buyers are before they enter a buy cycle.
[00:05:23] Dr. Jim: And what that allows you to do is that it allows you to build rapport, trust, and credibility before There's actually a buying motion that's even in, in place. So folks get to know you through your expertise versus the sales cycle where you're constantly pitching. So it's gonna be important for you to adopt those multi-channel.
[00:05:46] Dr. Jim: Approach is to connect with your buyer and as much as you can, you want to identify what is the primary channel that, or what are the primary channels that your buyers utilize, and then develop a presence on those [00:06:00] channels. Step four is you're gonna need to be in the habit of experimenting. And as a seller when it comes to experimentation and outreach, everything should be on the table.
[00:06:10] Dr. Jim: You should be testing your subject lines, your message format. How that content is delivered. Is it long form written? Is it is it email? Is it calls? Is it video? There's so many different ways that you can tackle the question of outreach and you should be constantly testing to see what works and what doesn't based on what your strengths are.
[00:06:30] Dr. Jim: Step five and this is gonna be really important. It's you need to b be in a habit where you're building a system for follow up and nurturing.
[00:06:40] Dr. Jim: And that's critically important because 97% of your buying universe is not looking to buy right now. So your ability to drive value to them, to educate them, to inspire them is a function of follow up and nurturing. And if you're not nurturing your prospect universe as part of your territory management [00:07:00] plan, you're gonna have problems.
[00:07:02] Dr. Jim: You have to play the long game in terms of your selling strategy and. Take that view to, to the market. That's how you actually shift from being a transactional or commoditized seller to being an advisor. So if you're constantly driving out value driving out different ways of thinking for your buyer, that's gonna establish you in a position of strength when they actually get into your deal cycle.
[00:07:31] Dr. Jim: So to recap, when you're looking at how can you improve, Your sales outreach step. , you need to focus your outreach. So the 1 11 10 model is a good way to do that. Step two, you need to tailor your messaging. Step three, you need to engage with your buyers where they are. Step four, you need to be constantly experimenting in a experimenting with your outreach across many different factors.
[00:07:54] Dr. Jim: So you always should be testing how that outreach is performing. And then step five, [00:08:00] you should be building out a follow up and nurture sequence or. That is focused on driving value and educating your buyer on industry trends and any number of other factors that help you position yourself as an expert and also a trusted advisor versus a commoditized vendor relationship.
[00:08:21] Dr. Jim: So hopefully these five steps that I mention. Help you be more effective when it comes to selling outreach. I'd be curious to see or hear what you think and what you would add to that list.
[00:08:31] Dr. Jim: Thanks for joining us on this episode of Cascading Leadership. We appreciate you listening on this quick episode on how you can actually improve your sales outreach. If you like the show make sure you follow us on all of your major podcast platforms. You can find us on YouTube, TikTok, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter.
[00:08:48] Dr. Jim: We're not on Instagram because that's for food picks. If you like the episode, tell a friend and have them do all of the things that we just talked about. We'd appreciate you leaving a review. And until next time, looking forward [00:09:00] to having more great conversations on cascading leadership, where we are helping you drive your career further faster.