Outbound Prospecting Matters and It Works
Having the ability to use Case Studies when outbound prospecting can be a game-changer for your organization. If your reps can achieve this, it’ll feel like creating money out of thin air!
Of course, nothing this sweet comes easily. Developing opportunities through outbound prospecting is extremely difficult to execute.
When a sales rep proactively reaches out to someone who wasn’t already looking for a solution, the prospect’s guard is likely to be super high. Even as the prospect technically hears the words the sales rep is saying, the prospect may be more focused on the uncertainty of whether to have the conversation at all. This changes everything.
Your sales rep’s goal and job is to get prospects to let their guard down long enough to imagine how your company might be able to make their lives easier. Once the sales rep creates that initial spark, the dynamic will change so that your company has a chance to persuade the prospect. But how can your sales reps create that spark?
Enter the Case Study.
Why Using Case Studies in Outbound Prospecting is So Effective
Case Studies describe the problems that your company has solved and the results you’ve achieved for your clients, and they’re one of the most powerful tools possible for facilitating outbound prospecting. Real-life examples of similar customers solving similar challenges are hugely effective ways to grab your prospect’s attention because your prospect is always paying attention to what other people in the same roles are doing.
Furthermore, Case Studies have the unique power of allowing your prospects to experience the value of your solution from the perspective of your client. When you develop an approach to consistently get that narrative in front of them, you’ll develop more opportunities.
The following is a guide for your sales team to put Case Studies to work in outbound prospecting. It explains how to conduct outbound prospecting in a way that’s authentic, effective, and repeatable, and takes you through three key areas that’ll help determine your success (Figure 1).
You’ll find that with a little creativity and a lot of hustle and persistence, your team can create their own opportunities!
Step 1: Build a Segmented List of Outbound Prospects
The first step to outbound prospecting with Case Studies is to build a list of prospects around a characteristic of one of your best Case Studies.
Focus on the strengths of the Case Study. Maybe it represents a specific industry well, or perhaps it showcases a particular problem you solve or a certain situation for which you can achieve massive results. The person quoted in the Case Study may have a certain job title.
Hone in on these specifics and build lists around similar attributes. See Figure 2 for a few examples of some different segments around which to build lists.
Pro tip: Work with sales operations or marketing on developing this list. They should have a good understanding of the strong elements of the Case Study. They also should be able to pull strong lists based on those items.
Step 2: Convert Prospects on a Live Call Using Case Studies
Once your segmented prospect list is ready, it’s time to grab your Case Study, pick up the phone, and create some engagement. Follow this simple template to successfully navigate this call in a way that demonstrates value and generates interest.
Reframe the objective of the call
Instead of setting out to make a sale, remind yourself that you aren’t forcing anyone to do or buy anything. The true purpose of the call is to find someone who wants to learn more about your solution.
Open the call with confidence
The very beginning of the call is important but very simple. The goal is to just sound like a normal person. You don’t have to hide that you’re calling to sell something. You also don’t have to be ashamed or embarrassed to be doing so. Think of how you would call your friend, your doctor, or a restaurant—that’s how you want to sound.
Example: “Hello, Patricia.”
Yep, that’s it! Wait for them to greet you back just like you would in any other encounter.
Request a short amount of time
You don’t want to start pitching until your prospect gives you permission. Otherwise, your prospect isn’t likely to listen and will just be thinking about how to get you off the phone.
Instead, ask for 30 or 60 seconds of your prospect’s time. This approach shows that you respect his or her schedule, and it piques curiosity. If you phrase this query correctly and have a solid angle, it’s likely your prospect will actually want to hear what you have to say. Taking less than a minute to explain how you can solve someone’s problems is compelling when done right, and you’ll be surprised how many people will hear you out.
Example: “Sorry to catch you off guard. I saw you’re in charge of technology integrations. Do you have 30 seconds for me to explain why I thought you might want to learn about our new universal integration technology?”
Use the Case Study to deliver a compelling, concise explanation concerning the reason you reached out
Once you have your prospect’s permission, it’s time for your “pitch,” or your “reason to reach out.” Regardless of the terminology you prefer, focus on demonstrating some real value in a short amount of time. Remember that your goal isn’t to sell your product, it’s to get the prospect interested in learning more, and a customer Case Study is the absolute best way to do this.
Example: “Earlier this year, my client, ABC Corporation, decided to focus on integrating their accounting software with their CRM because they told us they were sick of not having up-to-date data. They tried doing this a few times internally, but it continuously failed. In February, they finally brought us in, and we were able to complete the integration with no unwanted changes to the platforms, according to their VP of Operations. Also, the entire project was completed within four days.”
Ask for the meeting
Much like handling the opening of the call, get out of your own way and keep this part simple. There’s no amount of convincing you need to do—just ask your prospect if he or she would like to know more.
Example: “I would be happy to show you more details from the Case Study to see if we might be able to accomplish the same for you. Would you like to set up a time when you’re in front of your computer to explore further?”
Step 3: Create a Specific Follow-Up Cadence
When conducting outbound prospecting using Case Studies, anticipate that the vast majority of your prospects won’t answer your first cold call or set up a meeting on the phone. However, you’ve already crafted a compelling message for these prospects, so you don’t want to give up right away. The trick is to follow up with these prospects without coming across as overly aggressive or annoying. You also don’t want to spend too much time trying to get a hold of prospects before knowing much about them.
The best way to handle this situation is to create a specific follow-up cadence. The messaging may need to be tailored to each prospect. However, the way in which you reach out doesn’t need to vary. Following the cadence shouldn’t require much thought on a day-to-day basis.
In my experience, a cadence should involve four to 10 “touches” over the course of a few weeks. Of course, this can be different based on your industry. Also, different prospects respond best to different channels. Therefore, use at least two or three different avenues, such as email or LinkedIn.
Figure 3 shows a sample cadence you can follow.
Notice that the cadence starts heavy on the calling. The reason for this is that actually speaking to prospects gives you the best possible chance of converting them. After a few attempts, try other methods. It’s less likely you’ll start off speaking with the prospect over the phone.
If you have great clients and have invested in creating Case Studies or other high-quality content proving your success with those clients, you can leverage this content to find more people just like them. (Click here to learn how to use Case Studies in marketing.)
Conducting outbound prospecting with Case Studies is a powerful method. That’s because it requires no investment and little planning and coordination—just effort. It works because you’re not blindly pitching a product. Instead, you’re starting with a situation where you know your offering really helped someone. Now, you’re simply looking for similar people to help in the same way.
Starting with a real Case Study, asking for permission, focusing on finding out if your prospect has the same problem, and then asking if he or she would like to learn more is the most effective and authentic possible way to do this thing we call outbound sales.