Is outbound dead yet? AMA with Morgan Ingram
Morgan J Ingram is the director of Sales execution and evolution at JB Sales training. He also coaches sales teams to use modern-sales techniques. Morgan was LinkedIn Top Sales Voice consecutively for two years in 2018 and 2019, and Top 25 Sales Development Thought Leader. He is the host of the podcast and YouTube Channel called The SDR Chronicles, with over 100 sales motivational and tactical videos for SDRs. He is also a published author on Forbes, Sales Hacker, the Hubspot blog, and the Harvard Business Review.
First and foremost, with the situation right now, people are worried about the present and future situation. Salespeople should focus on right now on getting emotional about the sales process and not about the outcome. And when you get focused on the process, that’s where the results come in. You should focus on the sales intro; the questions you need to ask, are some of the crucial things. For example, right now, the most important thing is to be creative and innovative through your process. The questions you need to ask yourself are:
- So do you know how to send videos?
- Do you know how to leverage social media?
- Are you doing the right?
- Are the subject lines you are using right now are impactful?
- Can you help everyone right now across the board?
If people say, outbound is dead. No! It’s not. It just now requires more research more creativity and innovativeness across the board more than ever before. So these are the key things that need focusing on right now from an outbound perspective.
Everyone is still using outbound. It is not dead yet. However, there is a drastic change in the way it was done in the past. Here are the four things that you need focusing on
- Have a process
- Focus on the process
- Don’t be too emotional about the outcomes
- Be creative and innovative
Being creative and innovative means right now is what something different is
that you can do. So, how can you interrupt patterns? What could you be doing differently is videos, can be sending direct mail (digital mail instead of physical mail) right because people may be afraid of doing it. These are things that are extremely helpful for right now, and people have seen great results. With so think about what is something that you can do that’s creative, innovative everyone.
Understand your buyer’s situation
Understand what your buyers are currently going through. Do a client roundtable. You will get many insights about what the clients are going through. Now I can have personalized messages around that, and now I can have questions around that. I’m right now not only way more creative, but also, I’m talking directly in the buyers’ language. It is what matters the most right now.
Write it all down in a spreadsheet or a sticky note. You now know and understand what the buyers are going through right now. That’s a way to do outbound still because you have to speak their language at this point.
Also, the critical factor is ICP’s ICP. So what that means is the people that you’re targeting right now are their buyers still making money. Because if your customers’ customer is not making money, then your buyer is not going to buy whatever you’re selling. So think about the ICP’s ICP.
The next thing is “Binge growth, not Netflix.” Morgan says, “I’ve been saying this a lot lately, all right. It is time to be focusing on upgrading your skills. There’s now a separation of the average sales rep and the prodigious sales reps. If you were just going with the motions, this is not a time for you. Right now, you have to be diligent in your process; otherwise, you’re just going to get passed by other people who have been diligent on that process.”
Lastly, the thing you have to say at the end of the day is, if you can prospect through this you can get through anything. Your resume becomes bulletproof.
AMA with Morgan Ingram
The following is excerpts from the AMA session with Morgan.
What is your favorite set sales channel for outbound sales?
Video, that’s where I would bet right now. I’d be all over the video. I’d be all over the LinkedIn video. Clients I have been working with have been annihilating that right now. So, that is where I would go.
What is the right point of entry for a sales rep in a customer buyer journey?
It depends on your company. Everyone’s going to be different. Usually, the sales are up to when there’s a handover from the SDR to AE. Also, it depends on how your product stands up. Because most prospects do their qualification on their own first before they hand it off to the sales rep, depending on the organization, but you should make sure that you have rules of the engagement process.
How will the outbound team look like in two to five years?
An outbound team is going to look different. There will only be one HQ for sales organizations, and then everyone else who’s not in that city is all going to work remotely. So this is a great time to understand how to work from home. Outbound activities will focus on critical factors like cold calling, social selling, video selling, email, and various other factors. That’s where a lot of the folks are going to be, and eventually getting stronger in a virtual world. So I think the outbound team is going to change a lot.
There’s too much noise with sales and marketing trying to use every channel to reach out. Are we at the point where an outbound strategy is not effective anymore?
No, I don’t believe that at all. It’s just you got to go about it differently. You can’t do the batch and blasts. You can’t do the spam cannons that have been working. So it’s more so about contextualizing your messaging instead of sending out messaging as like marketing would from a Content perspective. We have to take a deeper dive into which industries we are going after that are profitable. There are many reports out there that talk about which sectors are still growing throughout this time. Also, they should reach out to the relevant persona. It’s a lot harder, but you just got to be more creative, and you have to think about what are the different ways you can talk to that persona right now. That’s what I would be doing.
Which is that one niche where, according to you, where outbound just does not work?
Well, right now, where it would not work if I understand this question correctly, would be the service industry. That’s probably one industry you wouldn’t reach out to you right now. So, if I understand that question correctly, that’s what I would do now.
How to become more creative?
So I’ve said it a lot here. Video is a great way to go about it. So from a tactical standpoint, make your videos less than 90 seconds. Make sure that you smile in your videos. You can also use videos to showcase a website, a product, case studies, and various other things. That’s where you get creative. We’ve been working with the internal team is creating memes around the prospect. Thus, making it funny and engaging. You can be creative with direct mail as in like digital mail so you could send someone a video. For example, they don’t watch a video, you could send them a digital mail right and in that digital mail say “Hey, It looks like you haven’t got a chance to check out the video. I know times are pretty crazy right now. However, here is an Uber eats card or a lunch card that you can now have and watch this video I sent you.” So it’s just thinking outside of the box, being different, and ultimately seeing what everyone else is doing. Then doing it differently, and that’s where it creates even e-commerce comes into play.
About the video, how have you been using it over LinkedIn? Have you been doing anything here, LinkedIn messenger? What would you recommend there?
LinkedIn messenger has been the best for us. In the LinkedIn messenger, sales reps have to be first degree connected. We’ve tasted success doing less than 90 seconds videos and by following a simple formula. My video is based on a trigger that I found on the website or a problem that the prospects are currently going through. Here’s a solution that helps with that trigger and then a collaborative call action like open to learning more, or open for more in-depth dialogue. To make sure people respond to that video, follow-up two days later and say hi. For example, Sally reacted to my video. Here is how I would approach, “Hi Sally, any feedback on my video.” If you haven’t been using LinkedIn video as we’re having this conversation and I highly encourage it, my response rate is 40%. I know some people are at 20%, so that’s where I would be at right now if I were anybody.
How to get replies on LinkedIn (besides sending very personalized messages)?
In terms of the connection requests, this is when you’re on LinkedIn’s central platform. To get more replies, if you are targeting Data, IT Security personas send a blank note. The white draft is literally with nothing in it. That’s how you’ll get higher acceptance rates if you are not targeting those personas. A way to personalize for persona you are reaching out is HR, sales, marketing, and other personas, it is critical that you are direct. So an example of a direct note would be
“Hi Sally, we give sales ops training that’s focused on cold calling and overcoming objections. If we were to connect, then my goal would be with you to chat with you in those areas.”
So a way to get people to connect with you is directly telling them this is why you want the connection, and by being direct, it will increase your meeting conversions when you go to pitch from a tactical level. That’s how we get more acceptance rates.
With so much focus on opt-in data and privacy, how will outbound teams get intelligence on prospects?
Depends on where you’re targeting. Because we got people from different places right now. There are GDPR policies, so obviously, the data is going to change continuously. I would say in terms of AI, and there’s a lot of tools out there. It’s hard to answer what’s going to happen and to be honest with you, and I don’t think we all know that answer on how the data is going to change. But I will say as long as there’s LinkedIn Sales Navigator and other data tools, they will continuously give you that data. We have places where you can get phone numbers, emails, and additional relevant information because it’s just where we live.
When it comes to video outbound specifically on LinkedIn, what are some thumb rules you follow? For example, the length of the video or level of customization in b2b sales.
Just like I said before, videos should be or should have
- Less than 90 seconds
- The reason for the call or the trigger or the problem
- The solution you are offering
- Have a call to action
Keep your process super simple because then you can do that at scale. The personalization where that comes into play is your research. So right now, from a b2b sales standpoint, take 15 to 20 minutes to do research. Go to a website go to LinkedIn to figure out what your themes are of triggers (merger and acquisitions, funding multiple locations). That’s the best way to go about it.
How you identify customers’ problems in the B2B service industry?
Have a conversation with your customers. Do a panel as I talked about earlier speak to the customer. A successful way to figure out what people are going through is directly talking to them. It’s just like when you have a problem with your wife/husband. You speak to them. So make it super simple to ask your team, or you can just do a client panel and talk about the problems you are going through. Gather that data and then create your questions.
How do you go about selling high ticket products during the recession without coming across as sales-focused?
What I would do is talk to all the people who have bought the high ticket solution. Ask them why they purchased a high ticket solution. Get those people on videos to speak as a testimonial. Because the only reason, the only way you’re going to sell a high ticket is through emotions and telling stories. Then speak their language of why they bought it and sell to the stories and so they’re not looking at the price.
Which is that one niche, according to you, where outbound just does not work?
Right now, I would say it doesn’t work for the service industry. It’s probably something you wouldn’t do right now. I think in every business, as you look at it at some point, have to go outbound to achieve revenue goals. You can only be inbound for a certain amount of time. So I would say right now though if we’re looking at the climate, it’d be the service industry.
What is the difference between the reason for the videos versus the problem trigger?
When I say the reason for the video is, you just don’t want to hop in a video and be like, ” Hi, this is who I am.” No one cares about that. So you should say “Hi Sally, the reason for my video is…” When you say the reason for my video, there’s just a 2.1 percent increase in conversion, then when you don’t state the reason why you’re contacting someone. When I talk to executives, they’re just going to be like what’s the purpose of you contacting me. So you want to make sure that you’re stating a reason, so the prospect in the client feels more open to having a conversation with you. That’s why you say the right idea. And once you state the reason, then you add the trigger of the problem.
Are there any tools that you recommend to create LinkedIn videos?
I would recommend the Drift video. It has direct integration with LinkedIn. If you want to keep it super simple, pick your mobile phone, and create videos. I have uploaded them directly through there.
What will be the ideal social media platform for b2b sales as far as outbound is concerned?
It depends on what your buyers’ persona is. Because I don’t know where your customers are most active, if your buyers are on Pinterest, then you should be outbound on Pinterest. If your buyers are on tick-tock, you should be on tick-tock. If your buyers are on LinkedIn, which is what I’m talking a lot about right now. Most of which probably actually have, then you should be on LinkedIn. You should be where the money is. The money is where your buyers are.
What do you think about the event Industry in the future?
In the future, I honestly think mid-2021 is when we’re going to see an event happen again. It’s my personal belief I hope that changes. But based on what’s happening, I just don’t think events are going to happen. So now the difference is how you replace the event prospecting. Will the event sales die? Honestly, I don’t think anyone has the answer to that question just yet. And we’re all trying to figure that out. But I think this is just where marketing teams are going to have to get creative and figure out how to create a virtual event experience. I don’t think anyone has figured that out yet.
Have you exported data from Sales Navigator ever?
Yes. I mean there are tons of tools out there that do that like Lead IQ, and there’s prospector from Salesforce. At some point, so you can easily pull contacts put them in campaigns, and there are tons of tools.
I am in cybersecurity; during this Covid-19, what are the best marketing strategies?
The best marketing strategy is to make your brand more human. Everyone right now is talking about here’s what they’re doing for Covid-19. To be honest, I’ve seen the same email every marketing team on what they’re going to do for Covid-19. You are going to wash your hands, stay at home, and stay safe. So people want to see who is behind the brand. Therefore, you need to create more of a human element. It could be having fun games with your clients. Be constructive here. There needs to be more human interaction within the marketing perspective. In Cybersecurity, get your clients to talk about what’s going on. We need to see humans behind what’s happening, not just the company saying this is what we’re doing.