Recently I wrote that cold-calling is best suited for new businesses that need to ramp their sales more quickly than inbound marketing will allow.
Oops. Not so fast.
I just finished reading an article by Peter O’Donoghue that challenged my conclusion. For B2B companies that sell to a well defined market, Peter argues that an outbound prospecting system is more effective than inbound marketing.
Most executive prospects for a B2B solution are satisfied with their current situation. But just because they aren’t looking for a solution doesn’t mean they won’t be open to new ideas and new strategies. And, since executives are responsible for defining strategy, Peter recommends that these are the very people that B2B companies should pursue.
However, Peter does not suggest that you just start calling executives on your prospect list and hope for the best. He has developed a highly scripted method for pursuing early-stage prospecting. His method relies on an initial email to attract the interest of executives and only then does he tell the sales development rep to make a phone call. The initial short phone call has one purpose: to encourage the buyer to schedule a discovery call with a sales person. You can learn more about his system on the sales prospecting system website and in his training modules.
Each element of his prospecting system adds value to the buyer and also furthers the goals of the seller. Instead of the sales person asking for a customer meeting simply to extract value from the customer, the company schedules a discovery call that will add value to the buyer.
When you look at the figure below from Sales Process Excellence, you can see that Peter’s method has all components of a stage in a sales production system.
Peter defines the characteristics of prospects at each stage of the process including the Ideal Prospect Profile.
He explains specific standard work sequences with his Straight Line Theory of communications from the initial email to the prospecting phone calls.
He shows how to measure your results using his reports and dashboards to track inputs and results.
And finally, his system supports problem solving and continuous process improvement so that your work, your CRM software tools, and your plan consistently strengthen your long term pipeline.
Peter O’Donoghue makes a strong case for outbound prospecting in B2B companies, not simply because he has learned how to make it work, but because his method supports a constantly improving sales production system.