See "The State of Outbound Prospecting" infographic below for an update on the latest trends.

Let’s be honest, outbound prospecting is hard work.

Yet some organizations generate new business so effectively from outbound efforts, we’re left wondering: What’s in the water over there?

I want to share four areas that are the pillars of outbound success.

#1 CRM Doesn’t Stand for Crazy, Riddled Mess

The best outbound prospecting teams don’t work for their CRM. Their CRM works for them. Here’s what I mean. Have emails that are used over and over again? Template them out to save copying and pasting. Expect your reps to follow a consistent process? Engineer some automation. Have repetitive tasks? Build some buttons. Good outbound prospecting requires a regimented call plan and effective messaging. Great outbound effort requires all of that plus a CRM that enables, not encumbers, the team on the phones.

Reps should be rewarded for passing a lead, not punished with 5 or even 10 minutes of filling fields, checking checkboxes, and duplication of documentation. That’s not us, you say? Ask one of your reps to walk you through your process for passing a lead. You might be shocked at what you learn.


#2 Managers Who Coach, Not Ghost

I heard this analogy once and it absolutely rings true. Imagine taking a lesson from a golf pro. After watching a few swings, he offers this coaching: "Well, you've got an open club face, you're coming over the top, you're rising up at impact, and you've got a flying right elbow. Just work on those for next time."

Now honestly, how helpful is that? Yet that's exactly what too many Sales Managers do in their coaching sessions. They pile on mound after mound of feedback that leaves reps heads spinning.  The best outbound prospecting teams are coached differently. They tailor their coaching to the individual rep and focus on one skill at a time. They coach to that specific skill and then measure improvement. Mark Roberge, SVP of Sales & Services at HubSpot, recently shared how he is creating a culture of metrics-driven coaching.  

#3 They Build on a Foundation of Great Data

Prospecting with bad data is like sprinting with a parachute on. You are facing major resistance and drag. Think of it this way. Spending significant time navigating who to call? Drag. Dealing with inaccurate email addresses and no direct dials? Huge drag. Stuck with hunt & peck pre-call research? Drag, drag, drag.

Great data is the oil that keeps outbound prospecting engines running smoothly. Every minute spent correcting, cleaning, and gathering contact and account data is a minute that can’t be spent tailoring messages and having sales conversations. Kyle Porter from SalesLoft shared some thoughts around automating sales research that is well worth the read. 

#4 They Struggle & Succeed Out In the Open

I was talking with a Business Development Resource (BDR) recently. It was Friday, end of month, end of quarter. He was sitting at third on the leaderboard and he knew that comp plan calculus said he should sandbag a few leads for the next month. I asked him as much and he replied, "Money-wise I should probably hold back. But honestly, I just want to be #1."

The best outbound prospecting teams tap into this competitive nature. Their dashboards give visibility across the entire team. While their best reps duke it out for the top spots, they make sure that the top 10-20% show up in a "Penthouse Club" and are given visibility as well. Similarly, they expose underperformers too. Their team dashboards make it public if low-performing reps aren’t putting in the activity levels that will lead to success. Some even call them out publicly in a "Doghouse Gang." Social pressure is a powerful thing.

Do all of that and you’ll be at the top of the outbound game. What kind of results should you expect? I recently finished a research project in answer to a similar question:

If my Outbound Prospectors target 1000 accounts this quarter, how
many opportunities will they put into my Sales organization's pipeline?

The infographic below gives you the highlights:


Matt Bertuzzi is B2B marketer at The Bridge Group Inc., Inside Sales thinker & MVP