How to Avoid Failure When Working With an Outbound Sales Agency

By: Jack Reamer |
 June 18, 2021 |

There are many businesses out there that want to use an outbound agency to generate qualified leads. Maybe you don’t have enough time to do prospecting yourself, or you don’t enjoy the process.

Whatever your reasons are, there is definitely one thing that you don’t want. 

What’s that, you may ask?

Well, the risk of failure. 

Unfortunately, failure is a real possibility if you’re working with the wrong kind of outbound marketing agency. So you want to work with the best sales prospecting agency that will get you high-quality leads that convert.

But how do you do this? How do you find the right sales outreach company and reduce the risk of failure?

This article with dive into this topic and help you figure out some steps to consider before partnering with a lead generation agency. 

(If you are looking to partner up with a done-for-you lead generation service, check out some of our case studies to see how we helped even super tough industries find daily qualified leads.)

Before we continue… What do we mean by risk?

When defining risk in any business, we need first to figure out what that means. Well, simply put, it would mean anything that has a bad return on investment. Whether it’s time you’re losing money or even opportunities; If your ROI is bad, then that’s a problem. 

For many founders, the word “risk” could mean losing money and time on failed campaigns when they could have spent their time and money on a winning marketing campaign. 

Here is how you can reduce those risks.

1. Go after your “low-hanging fruit.”

Fact: Some prospects close faster than others.

(At SalesBread, we call these prospects “Low Hanging Fruit.”)

The trick is 

1.)Identifying the prospects with the shortest sales cycles

2.)Targeting them via outbound first

If you can do this, it’s a surefire way to reduce your risk.

But how can you find your low-hanging fruit? 

Here are a few ideas:

Idea 1:

Do you have a list of leads that have contacted you already but then went “cold”?
If so, circle back with them using email + Linkedin + phone follow-ups.

There’s typically a sale or two waiting for you in your “dead lead” pile inside your CRM.

Sometimes it’s not always about finding new clients and creating new lists, instead, go after those who already show interest in your product. 

If you have used social media marketing, content marketing, or pay-per-click advertising, you might see that people come to you. (This is where search engine optimization may also help, for example, with blogging. )

Idea: Just adding an inbound strategy along with outbound can bring in serious results.

Idea 2:

Can you find prospects that are using an inferior competing product or service? 

(Hint: Use builtwith.com or check client testimonials.)

If so, target them with a message explaining the single greatest benefit of switching. They’re “red hot” because they’re already spending money on a problem you can help them with… 

AND they don’t have a great solution.

Idea 3: 

Are people complaining about a problem you can help them with on social media

Have a look at this tweet:

See how hard it is to find good content writers? So, target people who have a specific problem already that you can solve.

Why?

These people are signalling to you that they need your help. They are by far more likely to convert than a run-of-the-mill prospect.

2. Define your target audience

One of the biggest problems in marketing efforts is that founders don’t have the right target audience.

If your target audience is wrong, then this will affect your entire outbound campaign. 

By targeting the wrong people, you won’t find prospects who are interested in what you have to sell. Therefore you are wasting your efforts and money on the wrong kind of people. 

So the first and most important way to reduce risk when working with an outbound agency is to have a list of the right kind of prospects. 

The correct list of prospects will lead to more replies, leading to higher conversion rates. 

(This also applies to Linkedin outreach and email marketing.)

When clients say that they target, for example, automotive companies, they might have a problem because their list is not super defined, which it should be. 

Here are some ways in which you can build the perfect list before approaching a b2b sales agency.

Build a list of potential customers based on which businesses have been paying for your services. (This is the first thing we ask new clients when we are busy with their onboarding process.) 

You can do this by looking at the last 6 months of paying customers, and the critical thing to do is find patterns. Once you find recurring patterns, it’s easier to hit the right target market and find your ideal buyer persona by building a look-a-like list.

For example, ask yourself:

  • What similarities do these customers have?
  • What is your ideal customer profile?
  • What kind of buyers are these? 
  • Are they all located in a similar area? All US based? Or 10 miles from Texas?
  • Are they all in a specific industry? Healthcare? SEO? E-commerce? SaaS?
  • Are they all serving similar kinds of clients? 
  • Are they all funded? 
  • Are most of them using a particular technology? Like a specific automation tool?
  • Are most of them at a certain growth point? Startups?
  • Are most of them hiring for a certain role when they engage with you?
  • Are most of them buyers with a specific job title? If this is the case, try and narrow that down to five job titles or less to go after. Remember to always keep it simple at first.

Once you have found patterns, we suggest narrowing this list down to one or two segments initially.

(Tip: To make it easier to build a list, there are certain prospecting tools that you will need to use. For a detailed list, click here.)

3. Go after more than one segment.

Once you have built your list, you might realize that there is more than one type of buyer persona or ideal customer. As mentioned above, if you are new to outbound sales, don’t target too many segments initially.

But if you are using outbound marketing services, they should target more than one type of person. 

The old saying goes, “Don’t keep all your eggs in one basket.” If you go after one segment, you’re assuming that this group will pay you the most; or be reachable via email and that this group will resonate with your copy. But this is not always the case. 

(Maybe you miss out on the messaging side, but the copy is easier to fix than going after the wrong target audience.)

Therefore if you go after 2 different segments, you will divide the risk.

So which segments should you go after: 

The group of prospects that are paying you the most for your services. 

You can also go after the second most common pattern you see in your list.

Example:

We often have clients who come to us with 2 different products. For example, one product might be more expensive than the other. We then run two separate campaigns targeting people who are interested in the product, but: 

A.) We go after a group that can afford the more expensive product

B.) Go after the other group that wants the cheaper option.

In this way, you are still going after the right people but targeting two different segments. 

So, when it comes to choosing an outbound agency, ask them about their marketing strategy. 

Ask if they will go after two different segments for you, or just send hundreds of impersonal messages to people.

4. Know your closing rate and your LTV (Lifetime value)

Knowing basic maths when working with an outbound agency is extremely valuable. If you know your close rate and the lifetime value per segment, this will reduce your risk of failure. 

Why? Because you will be able to put a value on each segment. 

How do you do this? By looking at the data that each campaign brings in. 

You can ask yourself how much profit will you make in the lifetime of a specific client. Also, know your close rate per campaign. 

If you know these two numbers, you will then need to multiply them together, and this will give you an indication of how much money you are making. 

So if the agency gave you 10 leads, for example, you should be able to calculate how much money you will make from that. 

This is an essential question to ask yourself because if the money you are making is really little per lead, then outbound won’t be worth it.

Outbound requires a lot of one-on-one selling, and if you’re making less than $1000 per new deal, then it’s hard to justify spending money on hiring an outbound agency. 

(You might want to start with inbound marketing and create a brand following, and then move on to outbound sales strategy.)

If your close rate is also over 10%, this is a good sign, as it shows that you have a predictable sales process in place. 

This means that you have data and a track record that you can give to the outbound agency, which will show them that you might not have a mature product, BUT if you throw in a bunch of leads, it will spit out revenue over time. Which means success 🙂 

(NOTE: If you don’t know your closing rate, run a few tests and campaigns over 2-6 months and see what the data says. It doesn’t mean that you will never be ready to use an outbound agency, but rather that the time is just not right yet, and it’s too risky to take on an agency in case you lose money. )

5. Don’t burn through your leads too quickly.

Even if you have an extensive list, you don’t want to burn through that list in one go. (That’s the outbound marketing equivalent of “putting all your eggs in one basket.”) 

Do this instead: 

Take a small number of prospects, whether it’s 200 or 500, and do a test on them to see if your product sells and what responses you get.

Verify first if your service or product works before sending a campaign out to thousands of people. 

This will also indicate if your copy is off or if you have the wrong target audience. 

Test the waters first beforehand. 

You could also tell the outbound agency to contact only a few prospects at a time so they don’t burn through your list within a few weeks. 

6. Try to go after referrals first.

If you don’t have a new list of prospects just yet, you could ask existing clients to introduce you to referrals. They might know people who could be interested in your product. This would be an easy way to start a campaign and minimize the risk of failure. 

7. Make use of partnership campaigns.

We have also found that many partnership campaigns have been quite fruitful. What is a partnership campaign?

It’s when you reach out to people that are almost like VIPs, those who have access to a group of people who would be interested in what you have to offer. 

These people don’t necessarily have to be influencers but rather provide a sister service (something that doesn’t compete with you), and their clients could use your service as well. 

Even better would be if one service helps out another service. And what we have seen is that it’s really easy to get a reply with partnership campaigns. 

Especially if your message says that you can also offer them referrals, we have seen this work, and it reduces the risk of failure. 

In conclusion

By following the above tips when working along with an outbound agency, you can reduce the risk of failure and find success.

Remember to discuss all of the above beforehand with a sales team who have the know-how.

By doing this, you can decide how much risk is involved and if it’s worth it.

Salesbread offers 20 + qualified prospects per month guaranteed, or your money back. Hop on a free 15-minute strategy call and let us help you find new business

 

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