This article was originally published in Sales&Marketing Management on Sept 7 2020.
For marketers, obsessing over outbound strategies isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Intense, self-driven passion promotes innovation, creativity, and motivation. However, focusing on the wrong elements can leave a campaign stalled by the side of the road.
Marketers obsess too much over three things when it comes to creating and perfecting outbound campaigns: early performance metrics (like opens, clicks, and replies), their story and language (instead of the customers’), and their image and ego (such as when prospects unsubscribe or show disinterest). Professionals tend to obsess over their personal interests and experiences, which can lead to incorrect optimization.
How can you tell if any or all of these obsessions are waylaying your outbound operations? You may notice that your campaigns move too quickly or slowly, indicating that your marketing team has become distracted. Yes, speed can be important, but rapid, erratic pivoting can lead to confusing messaging and conflicting verbiage.
On the other hand, worrying that you’ll say the wrong thing can cause analysis paralysis. If you’re grinding everything to a halt because you’re obsessed with pushing out only “perfect” buzzworthy content – or if you’re pushing out untested messaging because you want to save time – you’re setting yourself up for subpar campaign results.
Switch Out Your Obsessions
If you’re going to obsess over B2B outbound marketing strategies, try fixating on the right ones. They can be summed up in one line: Create conversations focused on persistently helping your buyers. Here’s the breakdown:
Stay away from vanity metrics. They are often meaningless, inflated numbers that tell you little about your campaign’s ROI. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t measure everything you can; it just means that you have a responsibility to evaluate each metric objectively. High numbers of opens and replies are valuable to a certain extent, but they’re irrelevant if you’re not closing deals. Avoid zeroing in on anything that doesn’t provide an acceptable ROI.
Instead, start tracking the number of new conversations you have during your next campaign. Getting 10,000 opens may sound more exciting than having 100 conversations, but conversations will convert more reliably. Obsessing over this campaign element will help you scale your approach to hit your number (while being more human).
How well do you know your buyers? Has it been a while since you revamped and outlined your target markets? Start obsessing over this aspect of your outbound marketing campaigns. Pull together profiles of your ideal clients to granularly understand your key audiences. The closer you can get to knowing your preferred buyers’ habits and needs, the easier it will be to align yourself with them. You’ll make fewer excuses and understand the realities you have to work in.
When we don’t understand the buyer well enough, we rely on tactics and value propositions that may not be a good fit. For instance, your buyer may never answer a cold call, but they will click on marketing emails. Once you learn where they are, you can engage them on the right channel. This small shift can make a huge difference, allowing you to work smarter, not harder. Tailor your outbound tactics for each persona so you can successfully boost conversion rates after your campaign drops.
According to a 2019 Edelman survey, 56% of individuals trust brands. This means slightly more than half the people you encounter will be curious about your offerings, not skeptical. Leverage this by helping them identify and address gaps they might not have known they had. Don’t force them toward a solution. Have real conversations about their pain points and make professional recommendations so that they can solve their own problems.
By addressing a buyer’s true needs instead of trying to win a sale and make money, you position yourself as a trusted partner. The more honest discussions you have with prospects and clients, the more opportunities you’ll have to build meaningful relationships (which can turn into unsolicited referrals and positive online reviews). And as you collect powerful testimonials based on making clients feel like winners, new audiences will be intrigued by your customer-centric approach.
While there are many areas to focus on, these three areas sum up the highest ambition of sales development and the value of doing business. Concentrate your energy on what really matters, and you’ll reap increasingly successful results.
If you’d like additional resources on crafting data-driven messaging and how to focus on the metrics that matter for your outbound sales and marketing sequences check out our awesome How to Optimize Your Outbound Marketing Campaign eBook.