build an outbound strategy

…in 5 simple steps

Maria Cate

Maria Cate

Co-Founder & CBO | cooth

So – you have paying customers and product market fit. You know your offering helps people, and you’re eager to start knocking on doors to generate interest and awareness. Maybe you’ve recently hired a sales rep or you just had a panic attack about the state of your sales motion. Referrals and introductions flow in occasionally, but you’re nowhere near a state of projected or recurring revenue. You’ve dabbled in defining a sales strategy but haven’t solidified anything. You’re wearing a lot of hats, but you can’t afford to let securing new business fall to the wayside. How can you build a foundation for a repeatable, scalable outbound process while still juggling everything else you’re doing? 

Sales is all about adding value. Understanding a prospect’s pain points, their priorities, and how you fit in. It’s about being genuinely curious with a keen desire to help solve pressing problems. It’s a balance of listening, asking questions, and making an informed recommendation. Sales isn’t about you, it’s about helping your customer. 

Let’s break it down.

Build a rock solid value proposition

  1. There’s a lot of back and forth on whether you should start with your target audience or your value proposition. But how can you define who your ideal client is if you don’t know what problem your solution solves for them?
  2. The first step to an effective outbound motion is a well-articulated value proposition that sets you apart from the competition and clearly differentiates your offering. A solid value proposition can act as a constant gut check for your business to ensure you’re staying focused on adding value that matters most to your target audience. 
  3. Write down answers to the following as a place to start: Why do you exist? What value does your product or service bring to your customers or partners? What is the compelling reason that someone should consider your solution? How long does it take for people to understand what you offer? 

Research and define your target customer

Create an outbound swim lane.

I’m all for thinking big and hunting whales, but it’s important to keep the lights on on the way there and take the time to break down your ideal client profile (ICP) so you aren’t burning hot, wasting time on unqualified prospects. Define who you’re serving – who it is that makes the ultimate purchase decision? What is their persona? Are you selling business to business (B2B), business to consumer (B2C), or business to business to consumer (B2B2C)? 

  1. Spend time unpacking their characteristics. Get granular.
    • Geographic – where are they?
    • Demographic – what are they?
      • B2C: age, income, profession, gender
      • B2B: industry, size, job title
    • Psychographic – how do they think?
      • What are their personality characteristics? Dig deeper and define what they care about. What are they accountable for? What are they tasked with accomplishing? What is a key moment to look out for that would imply urgency or need for your offerings?

I’d recommend 3 swim lanes. Keep them simple and clear.

IDENTIFY YOUR ICPs PAIN POINTS

  1. Define something simple and relevant that your customers want and care about. Pare down their ambition to a single focus. Don’t waste your time targeting people who don’t think they have a problem worth solving. The craft of selling is intersectionality. Budget, authority, need, timeline. The perfect storm. Education can be a great demand generator – so use this exercise to make sure you’re hyper-focused on the specific pain-points your solution solves so you can 1) add value and 2) show expertise.
  2. Are you making them money? Are you saving them money? Are you building them a community? Are you saving them time? Are you mitigating risk? Why should they care?
  3. To an extent, you should know your customer’s pain points that your solution solves better than they do. This will arm you as a trusted advisor who understands how to help them versus coming across too pushy or salesy. These pain points will be the foundation for the development of your outbound copy.

BUILD A TARGET ACCOUNT + CONTACT LIST

Goal setting and accountability in your outbound sales process is key. Set a target number for how many companies you want to reach out to a week. I recommend starting with 12-15 companies per person with a goal of 24-30 contacts per week. This can be done through Linkedin Sales Nav, Zoominfo, Slintel, 6sense, or any contact database. Almost all have free trials, so I recommend trying each and seeing which you prefer. I personally recommend Linkedin Sales Nav if you’re sticking to solely Linkedin outreach. If you’re interested in going direct to inbox I’d recommend Zoominfo, Slintel, or 6sense.

Develop outbound messaging with a clear CTA

Cold outreach is cold for a reason. The person on the other end isn’t aware of you, or your solution. As you craft your messaging, consider how you would interpret if you were on the receiving end. The good news? You know your solution adds value, and you know you can offer a mutually beneficial proposition. But how can you get that point across authentically while making the experience seamless? With confidence, and a plan.

Use language the prospect is familiar with and clearly articulate how your solution solves their pain point. Be honest about what you’re offering and add value instantly – whether that’s a link to a resource, a free demo, or a consultation call. Your copy should be concise, relevant, and personable with one goal – to drive action from the person on the other end.

Depending on your organizational goals and available resources, the executional tactics of an outbound strategy can vary greatly. Whether you’re linking a link to a demo, driving traffic to your website, or booking a call, map out the sales journey from start to finish so you can begin to measure funnel metrics and success rates. Remember to come up for air every month and pulse check progress against goals. A/B testing, trial and error, and constant iteration is key to a successful outbound strategy. As you start to generate responses and book meetings, build resources for future sales reps to reference – talk tracks, frequently asked questions, and objection handling techniques.

Don’t know where to start? Want to dig into any step more? Need help pulse-checking what you’re doing now? Let’s talk and build that pipe.