An outbound sales campaign is not always the solution for your empty pipeline issues. That sounds weird from someone whose job it is to sell outbound sales campaigns, don’t you think?
Well, let me phrase it this way; I am a big fan of outbound sales campaigns but there are cases where you should approach your prospects without focusing solely on sales.
Sales campaigns can help you to have a clear product-market fit, achieve organic growth for a while, establish a steady client base, etc. However, there are several situations where you may need to do some sort of outbound campaigns but a direct sales approach is not suitable. Such typical examples are:
- When you launch a new product in a new market
- When you enter a new country for the first time
- When you are a start-up and haven’t built yet brand awareness
- When you offer very complex or innovative products or services
If your company deals with one of the above examples, you must know that the gap between prospecting and scheduling a business meeting is hard to cross without a step in between. In this crucial step, you should get in touch and start a conversation with your potential customer first.
Luckily, there are plenty of alternative methods to apply at the initial stage rather than focus on new business meetings directly. For instance, “research” campaigns, “networking” campaigns, and “knowledge sharing” campaigns are some powerful techniques to approach your potential clients and can eventually make the business meetings a natural part of the communication process.
Example: You want to launch a new product/service in the market
When you launch a new product or service in a new market or enter a new country your target is to validate the feasibility first.
The “research” campaign’s purpose is to get in touch with experts in your field and ask them for their input for research purposes. This approach could be beneficial for your company as you get the opportunity to pitch your proposition and presume upon feedback from experts. Their opinion is of great value to your company. You can also offer them a stage to let them shine and share their knowledge. In this way, it’s easier for you to create awareness and build a strong engagement with them. Consequently, if there is a product-market fit, it often turns automatically into the next meeting.
Don’t forget to stick with the initial goal of the meeting which is mainly informative and don’t try to turn it into a sales meeting. You can follow up later or they will do it by themselves.
“Knowledge sharing” campaigns
Example: You are a scale-up without brand awareness
Sometimes it’s hard to stand out from the crowd in a well-established market. Using Call To Actions (CTA) for an introduction meeting often does not match the expectations of your prospects or even worse can also be annoying. Again the gap between the meeting and the first contact with your company is huge.
Thus, if you want to overcome this gap, you should change the purpose of the outbound campaigns. Specifically, at this initial stage, an effective tactic is to first expand your network through webinars, masterclasses, (online) client events, etc.
This tactic can be beneficial as the prospects stay anonymous to each other since they are part of a broader audience and simultaneously you can easily monitor which of them show interest in the topics that are presented. Then, you can use these insights in your next contact moment.
Example: You provide complex/innovative products or services
There are several innovative and complex products/services in the market. If your company deals with one of them, you may know how difficult it is to penetrate the market even if you have determined the right target audience. You have to educate them first.
For instance, we work with a company that builds metaverses that can improve the customer experience. The problem here is that the meaning of the metaverse itself is complicated and many people are not aware of it.
Thus, before starting thinking about sales campaigns, you have to explain what metaverse is, which is its use, and how they can benefit from such technology. An effective way to create awareness for your service is to invite them to an (online) breakfast session, relevant webinar, or share a related video. Keep in mind the customer journey and try to move them to the next stage in your sales process by highlighting your competitive edge or specialty.
To conclude, regardless of your industry and expertise, the most important learning is to find the balance between what you offer and your prospect’s needs in a timely manner. It’s a matter of patience to guide them through your funnel.
Be creative and experiment with your channels, contact moments, and CTA’s all the time.