How to Prepare your outbound B2B sales campaign
*Preparing your B2B sales campaign is an article that is part of the “How to set up your Startup B2B Sales Process in 3 weeks” series.
OK! We’re done researching the market and researching our competitors. All that is left before we actually start talking with customers is to prepare our target lists (who we want to talk with) and cadence (what do we want to say to them). BUT we forgot about our IDEAL CUSTOMER PROFILE.
I realize the above paragraph may be a bit dramatic and confusing but I thought it worth trying to illustrate a common mistake that salespeople make which is forgetting about or at least not detailing their Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).
But what is the ICP and how do you create one?
You can think of it as the types of businesses you will spend money, effort, and time to attract as your customers. When you think about it this way the ICP is basically your target group. When it comes to a B2B sales campaign – it allows you to focus your resources on those that are most likely to buy your services. As salespeople the more focused we are the better results we can bring.
What are the components of an ICP?
The ICP is much more than just a few criteria such as Geography, Industry, and title. It is a way to put yourself in the shoes of your buyer and outline their full experience at work. Here are a couple of questions you need to answer when creating your detailed ICP.
First, you need to clarify the types of people in your ICP:
- Who’s the economic buyer? – here you need to identify the person or department that will ultimately pay the bill for working with you.
- Who’s the user? – here you need to outline the person who will be using your service or product and will experience the benefits of it. Often the buyer and the users are completely different people or departments.
- Who’s the champion? – that would be the person who will be fighting in your corner in internal discussions to get you a contract with their company. It may also be a buyer or user but is often a completely separate figure on the board.
Once you have your types (buyer, user, champion) you then need to ask yourself the following questions for each type:
- What are their goals & objectives at work? – could be business goals like increasing revenue, strategic goals like expanding on new markets, or operational ones like decreasing costs and others.
- How does each type hear about your business? – could be personal network, referrals, inbound marketing or outbound sales, and others.
- What is their path to purchase? – here you need to think about what could stimulate them to buy from you and what specific steps they need to take to do so. For example, they may decide to work with you due to your niche expertise. In order for them to purchase your product or service, they will need to have an initial conversation with you, then you will name a couple of businesses you’ve already helped that they can speak with, send them example use cases, etc.
- Now that you know why and how a customer would buy your product you need to think the other way around. What could hold them back from purchasing? This can be anything from your lack of experience in the said industry to inadequate communication or lack of budget, time, or priority.
- And last but not least their profile: Geography, Title, Size, Revenue, Typical focuses at work and how does their day-to-day look like.
Once you have the above questions answered you’re not done.
We usually advise founders to double down on the account and persona level of the following topics on the company level:
- Firmographics/Demographics (Who they are) – industry, size, annual revenue (should already be available from previous questions
- Psychographics (How they think) – culture, growth orientation, technology adoption profile
- Behavioral (How they act) – engagement and buying process
- Environmental (Their situation) – tech landscape, location
And on the persona level (make sure you do it for the buyer, user, and champion).
- Customer Profile: Title, Company, Name
- Demographics (Who they are) – age, income, work experience,
- Psychographics (How they think) – education, decision-making process, Likes & Dislikes
- Behavioral (How they act) – Media consumption, Habits & skills, Research process
- Environmental (Their situation) – Tech landscape, buying power, influence on others
You can read more about the ICP in the article How to Identify the Ideal Customer Profile for B2B?
Build your targeted lists
If you’ve done your homework right, the next step would be to go online and start looking for the prospects that fit your ICP. The lists you compile will be the ones you use in your campaign. When it comes to B2B sales campaigns these lists must contain at a minimum the following information:
- First Name,
- Last Name,
- Title, Email,
- Linkedin Profile,
- Company Website,
- Company Linkedin,
- Phone (if applicable)
These are a few basic things you need to know, but if you want to be even more specific I suggest creating a couple of other columns for your spreadsheet like these:
- The person you both know and you could use to name drop
- Partner or other company they could know and you’ve worked with
- Interests (something they’ve liked or commented)
- The content they’ve authored
- Events they’ve attended
There are numerous tools you could use to automate that process. Let us know if you like to hear about our top picks!
Create your targeted sales cadence
In an outbound B2B sales campaign, cadence is a sequence of activities that a salesperson follows to move leads through the pipeline. A more detailed definition of a sales cadence is “a specific workflow” that reps use to contact new leads and get them into the sales pipeline. This could include touchpoints in different channels such as phone, email, SMS, or social. The goal of a sales cadence is to build a solid connection with a lead and set it up for a future sale.
When we talk about building a sales cadence there are typically two types – the relevance-based approach and the personalized approach.
It is typically described as a must-have in all outbound sales communication. It is all about making your emails, LinkedIn messages, phone scripts, and SMS relevant for your prospects.
As we like to say, sales is a conversation about how a problem can be solved. In order to be relevant to our prospects, we need to
- put ourselves in their shoes,
- talk about their problems,
- understand how they can solve them
- and what results they can expect when they do.
Relevance is a must-have for any salesperson who knows what he or she is doing. In order to one-up everyone else another approach emerged – the personalized one emerged. It is all about showing our prospects that we’ve dedicated time and effort to them to learn about them as individuals. Not many salespeople use that approach because it often takes a lot of time. If not done right it can eat up a lot of our time without generating much of a result.
With that being said we are not against a personalized approach and it is important to not think about whether your approach should be a relevance-based one or a personalized one. It’s about blending the two together in such a way that will make your prospects like you and want to talk with you because you paid attention to them (personalization) and showed them that you understand their problem and can provide opportunities to solve them (relevance).
As a general rule in any sales cadence, we advise our customers to use at least 2 channels making their approach diversified. The most commonly used channels in an outbound organization are Email, Social Media (Linkedin primarily), Phone, and SMS.
Each channel has its own characteristics and best practices. We will cover some of them in the following articles
- 10 DOs and DON’Ts of using Email as a sales channel
- LinkedIn as a sales channel
- Cold Calling as a startup prospecting channel
- Using SMS for your tech sales process
In order to prepare for your outbound sales campaign, jump to our previous article to understand How to do B2B market research. If you wish to continue reading, find out which are the DOs and DON’Ts when writing an email in the next part.
Boris Georgiev is one of the co-founders of Out2Bound. As such he has worked with over 50 B2B founders helping them realize their go-to-market strategies. He is acknowledged by Forbes with the prestigious award 30 Under 30. On a daily basis, Boris tracks trends and best practices in B2B Tech sales.