Cyber security sales can be a slow and effort-consuming process, especially for early-stage companies that are yet to create a brand name in the market. Selling cyber security to get leads will require constant engagement and nurturing (especially in the case of B2B cyber security) before they can be convinced to make a purchase.
Sales can sometimes feel like…
Sales outreach is the process of reaching out to prospects (potential customers), past leads that went cold, and existing customers (for renewals, up-sells, or cross-sells) via phone calls, email templates, messaging, and social media to make a sale.
Sales Outreach (or Outbound Sales) vs. Inbound Sales
Sales outreach (or outbound sales) differs from inbound sales. In inbound sales:
- The prospect approaches the business/sales team for more information or a solution.
- They find the business through mediums like search engine searches, published blogs, webinars, etc.
- The prospect requests a sales touchpoint by submitting personal information like an email address or phone number.
- Prospects usually approach the business after realizing they can find a solution and hence are lower in the sales funnel than prospects being reached via outbound sales.
Sales outreach involves:
- A sales member reaching out to a prospect to create awareness towards a service or a product.
- In most cases, the outreach call, text, or email is the first correspondence between the business and the lead.
- Prospects are usually higher up in the sales funnel – they have little to no awareness about the brand and are more challenging to convert.
How to win at Cyber Security Sales Outreach?
Knowing sales outreach will be a slow endeavor, how do you ensure your sales teams focus on the right prospects and invest their time and efforts on interested and potential buyers rather than dead-ends?
The answer is by using a set of tried and tested marketing/sales strategies that ensure that the leads being generated right from the first step fit a niche audience relevant to your brand, product, and/or service.
This requires knowing your brand, knowing your product/service, knowing the market, knowing the ideal customer, and knowing modern tools and technologies that you can use.
How to best shape your Cyber Security Sales outreach program?
1. Phone calls for outreach
- A report by Gong.io that analyzed over 100,000 connected outreach calls found that successful salespeople talk for 54% of the call, while unsuccessful salespeople spent only 42% of their time speaking.
2. Emails for outreach
- Recipients open only 23.9% of sales emails.
- Personalized emails increase the open rates by as much as 26%.
- 80% of recipients prefer to be contacted via email.
- 35% of recipients decide whether or not to open an email based on the subject line alone.
3. Using Video for outreach
- 90% of sales reps report that video is important to qualify leads, engage prospects, or influence deals.
- 82% of companies believe videos are an effective part of their sales process, with 79% finding videos more enjoyable than reading long-form content.
4. CRM for outreach
- 65% of sales professionals use a CRM, and 97% consider sales technology “very important” or “important.”
- 61% of overperforming leaders use their CRM to automate parts of their sales process, vs. 46% of underperforming leaders.
We have created a list of 11 strategies that will help you in your sales outreach campaigns and give you the tools to engage leads in the right way to convert them into loyal customers.
What are the top Sales Outreach Strategies to Win Prospect Engagement?
1. Generate and collect customer data and insights
Reaching out to prospects with no prior profiling can be frustrating.
To ensure that your marketing and sales campaigns generate maximum ROI and engagement, you must build your strategies around data and insights. You have more chances of engaging and converting a lead that fits your ideal customer profile than talking to one who doesn’t.
You can run a campaign to target every potential consumer irrespective of their demographic or geography (basically with no filters) if you have an unlimited budget, but that is neither smart nor realistic.
So you do the next best thing – you narrow your audience into a niche group, a target audience who need what you are selling, who will be receptive to your product or service, and are most likely to make a purchase. And the only way to do this is through data and insights.
Targeting a specific audience group will help you get the best returns for your campaign spending. It’s not just about sales ROI; marketing platforms also are sensitive to this factor.
One key parameter for setting the CPC for ads on all platforms – Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., is relevance. The more relevant your ad and your filters are to your business, the lesser they charge you per click.
Generating customer data and insights should be the first step in the marketing/sales campaign.
There are many ways to go about this-
- Run focus groups to understand what your prospective customers look like.
- Talk to industry experts to get an idea of who your ideal customers may be.
- Use tools like Google Analytics, Facebook Analytics, etc., to understand who is showing interest in your brand.
- Talk to the founders of the company to understand who they had in mind when creating the products/service.
The customer data and insights you generate in this step will be used in all the strategies we list going forward, so this step is critical.
2. Define your TG through user personas and market segmentation
With the data and insights you generated in step one, create one or more customer personas. Before we tell you how, let’s understand the use of an ideal customer persona.
The content and design team will be able to create copies and graphics for both organic and paid campaigns to suit your ideal customer. The language, tone, style scapes, typography, etc., can be selected to resonate with your customer base to increase engagement across all facets of your brand.
Knowing who is the ideal customer will help the marketing team create campaigns to reach exactly those users. This will help you lower your CPC (cost-per-click), narrow your reach to interested consumers, so you increase CTR (click-through-rate which indicates interest and engagement), and increase the ROI for your campaign budget.
The sales team can engage leads with some prior information at hand. If they know who is being targeted and their interests, they can tailor their sales pitch to engage the lead better.
Creating user personas should be done before engaging in any organic or paid marketing/sales activity.
Creating a user persona involves defining the ideal customer’s age, gender, geography, lifestyle, job, title, payscale, behavior, interests, dislikes, etc. You have to get as specific as you can – the profile must be exhaustive. You can create multiple personas to fit these features (if applicable to your products/service).
Once you have the ideal customer(s) profile created, brief all your teams to tailor their activities around these personas.
3. Determine the best outreach channel
Outreach on the wrong channel can feel like:
Once you know your ideal customers and which market you want to target, you should select the channels you want to focus on.
Depending on factors like their age, job, geography, etc., people will be more receptive and present on certain channels than on others.
LinkedIn, for example, hosts a more professional audience, and the conversations that happen on LinkedIn are largely formal and concerning one’s career, profession, or business. If you were selling an Applicant Tracking Software (ATS), your TG would probably be HRs present on LinkedIn. Your approach to sales would also have to be tailored to the channel. You will need to approach HRs with a more formal tone and highlight the features of your product that will help solve their pain points.
Instagram, on the other hand, is popular for visual content and is used mainly for entertainment. People active on Instagram have a short attention span and log in to relax and be entertained. The chances of someone responding and engaging to your campaign or sales pitch about an ATS on Instagram are very low. If you were in the retail business, on the other hand, Instagram would be a better platform.
If you were selling a B2B security vendor product and you wanted to engage with CISO (Chief Information Security Officer), IT Directors, and founders, social media might not be a good channel at all. Email marketing would be a more suitable mode of conversation, and you would be more likely to engage and continue a sales pitch via email.
Not all channels are going to be lucrative for your brand and service/product.
Selecting the right one is important to ensure your sales and marketing programs are working efficiently. Once you have a TG defined, analyze which channels they would be most active on and on which channels they would be most receptive to a sales conversation.
4. Personalize your messaging
Once you know WHO you’re targeting (defined TG) and WHERE you will engage them (defined channels), you need to define WHAT you are going to say. This will depend on both the audience and the channel.
Content will be what hooks and engages prospects to turn into leads and leads to turn into customers. The success rates of both the marketing and the sales teams will hinge on the content they have to run for their campaigns.
The key to creating highly engaging content – text, images, and videos, is relevance. If you can answer the questions – what copy, image, or video is relevant to my ideal user, you will create content that will attract them, engage them, and enforce action like a form fill-up.
People have very short attention spans today. They will only give your search ad heading, display banner, or email subject a few seconds of attention before they decide whether it is something to want to invest time on or not.
To be relevant, you must research two key aspects –
- their pain points and
- what solutions you can provide.
If your content covers one or both of these, you will be able to engage them.
The second important aspect is personalization.
Creating personal content, either by using information specific to them like their name or by addressing a specific need, can increase engagement and sales.
Personalized videos are one of the best tools to increase sales. We cover video strategies for both marketing and sales in a subsequent point.
5. Constantly follow-up
Once you have captured a lead and started the nurturing process, you will need to stay in touch constantly to nudge the user through the sales funnel. Very rarely does a sale happen on the first try, especially for a B2B business.
Sales is a slow and constant process. Leads tend to forget about their commitments and previous engagements with your brand, and it is your responsibility to reinforce your brand indirectly through retargeting campaigns and directly through emails, texts, and calls.
Use tools like a CRM that helps your sales team have information about prospects and their position in the sales funnel ready, so they know when to interact to maintain constant touch. Also, use automation to automate conversations so your sales team can be freed up to focus on hot leads while other leads are still nurtured and engaged.
6. Use a CRM to record all lead/customer information
A CRM is a sales team’s best friend. As we highlighted in the previous section, sales is a constant process, and your sales team will have to nurture a lead over time (especially for a B2B business) before converting them.
As your marketing campaigns (both organic and inorganic) run, you will attract prospects and collect leads. The number of new leads you collect will increase, and the bucket for leads to nurture by the sales team will keep growing.
The numbers could get overwhelming, leads could slip from the cracks, sales personnel could miss a follow-up, and other such incidents could occur that will cost your customers.
A CRM will tie up all your business departments, track, store, and monitor all lead data, and monitor all sales processes so that you don’t lose any potential customers due to manual or human errors.
The CRM will track all lead information and also indicate their position in the sales funnel. With this information, the sales team can make quick and better judgments and better serve leads to convert them into customers. It will also serve as a data repository for future marketing and sales campaigns.
7. Align marketing and sales
Most businesses today have identified the need for aligning, and in some cases, also combining their marketing and sales teams. Both teams essentially have the same end goal – to increase customers and revenue.
The only difference is in the timing for customer engagement. The marketing team generates awareness and leads and engages first, and the sales team nurtures these leads, converts them, and engages second. Because their goals are similar, it only makes sense for the two teams to work hand-in-hand.
It’s important to understand that the method used by both teams is more or less the same –
- understand the customer
- identify their needs and pain points
- highlight why and how your product or service will solve this pain point
Marketers use this information to generate leads, and sales use this information to convert leads into customers.
When the two teams work hand-in-hand, they relay information that each can use to improve their processes and increase output for both teams.
The marketing team can give the sales team information about which campaigns and content are getting the most engagement, and the sales team can use this information to tailor their pitch and make it more attractive. The sales team can tell the marketing team what features or services lead to conversions, and the marketing team can use this to make their campaigns more engaging.
8. Automate, Automate, Automate
Any task that is repetitive, redundant, or can be automated, should be automated. Automation will save all your teams huge amounts of time and effort and drastically bring down errors in processes.
Technology has made massive advancements today. With AI and ML-enabled tools, you can greatly improve your marketing and sales campaigns (through real-time calibration based on interaction), improve process efficiency, and increase sales.
CRMs, for example, can be used to automate the first email sent to leads and then segment them based on their interaction – unopened, opened, and interacted. Users who have not opened the email can be sent a follow-up with different messaging automatically, and users who have opened the email but not interacted can be sent a separate email. Users who showed intent by interacting with a link in the email can be contacted by a sales member via call. This ensures that all leads are being constantly nurtured while your sales team is using their time only focusing on hot leads.
9. Ask for referrals
Referrals are a great outreach strategy, especially for B2B businesses. The B2B marketing and sales process are often long, and it takes time for a prospect to believe in your product/service and implement it. When they do, it’s because you have proven that your product/service is viable to them and will solve a pain point that they have.
Asking for a referral immediately after a sale will help you get a lead and shorten this process for that lead because they trust their referrer. Thus the time and effort spent on nurturing your customer will transfer over to the new lead.
It is also important to stay in touch with your customers, even after a sale has been made, because you can still reach out to them for referrals long after the sale.
Being active on social media is important for two reasons – one is that you can find leads and sell directly on social platforms, and two is because most consumers (B2C and B2B) tend to vet the brand on social media and look for proof of trust and quality.
Your social reputation will often precede your sales call or pitch. A potential customer would have already researched your brand and even you on platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook.
Ensuring that your brand and your team members have an active and positive social presence through content, engagement, and reviews/comments will help you build a positive brand reputation that will add to your sales activities.
Once you have built a big enough social presence, either as a brand or as an individual, you can use it to engage customers, generate leads and sell products/services directly through the platform.
11. Use personalized video for cyber security marketing and sales
Video is by far the most consumed form of content. It beats both text and images. Here are a few stats that prove this –
- 7 in 10 B2B buyers admit that they watch a video at some point in their buying process.
- 60% of B2B buyers said that they consider YouTube and Vimeo as very or somewhat important when buying an object or service.
- 96% of consumers find videos helpful when making purchase decisions online.
- Prospects who watch a video of a product are 85% more likely to buy it.
That being said, how you use video is important. The obvious strategies are to create product explainer videos, how-to-use videos, and customer testimonials. But videos can be used for more than that.
Technology makes it possible for you to create videos personalized to individual customers and send them via email.
This works great for sales – it sends a personal message in a format that users like to consume.While this may seem like a time and effort-consuming process for your sales teams, it actually isn’t.