We work closely with the sales and marketing teams of successful SaaS, enterprise, and tech companies on a daily basis. We see organizations unknowingly sabotage their outbound sales when they make the mistakes that I’m about to mention in this article.

You’ll be surprised at how a little planning can not only help you avoid these mistakes, but actually improve lead quality and increase closed sales by at least 3x. The good thing is that most of these mistakes can be avoided easily as long as you acknowledge them.

Let’s get started!

#1 Building a list of leads without defining a correct target

What most people say: “We just need a list of emails with their names so that we can mass email them. It’s about the quantity here.”

Before your team starts prospecting it’s a good idea to define a solid criteria and target for the leads that you are going for initially.

It seems obvious but you’d be surprised how many sales teams just dive in without specific sourcing criteria. It’s is a recipe for failure that can waste an incredible amount of time in the long run.

You can also reverse engineer this by coming up with a list of targets that aren’t a good fit.

This is the most common mistake and problem with companies that have a HUGE target market. For example, your product might be in the workflow management space. That is a huge market. You could target product managers, marketers, operation managers, the list goes on…

This is where you should start by defining a target that won’t be a good fit for your tool. If you think anyone can use your tool, then narrow it down to the type of customers that are willing to pay you the most and understands the need of your product.

The easiest way to get started is to research your current and past clients. Search through Linkedin, Crunchbase, etc. and get their specifics (industry, company size, funding, etc.). Then use that criteria as a starting point. Looking at this data will give you new prospecting ideas that you never thought to explore.

When we implement this for our clients we increase conversions from lead to opportunity by 10–25% and save each SDR around 5 hours per week, because they waste less time on leads that are unlikely to convert.

Work with your team and ask them in team meetings, what they think is the ideal target.

#2 Sending random cold emails without a goal or selling point

Cold emails work, we live by it, but it doesn’t work when you’re sending random crap.

Before your team starts prospecting you need to set measurable, realistic goals.

If you want to just see how things turn out, you’ll likely end up getting low response rates and no interest emails.

Here’s an example of how you can track pipeline stats on a weekly basis and make them available to the entire sales team.

# of new contacts reached out to
# of interested responses
# of meetings booked
# of leads converted to opportunities

With this in mind your team will know what to focus on when it comes to improving the sales funnel. Where are the leads dropping off the most? Work around it and find a solution.

Your goal should be to always move them down the funnel.

In addition to that, your team must have a strong selling point. Ask yourself:

  • How can this software benefit them?
  • What will happen if they start using our software?
  • How can we increase the LTV of them in the long run?
  • How does this software help their team achieve the goals?
  • How does this software make their life easier?

With these in mind, it’ll make your pitch much more effective.

#3 Only emailing with name and email and not personalized data

Yes I know, researching takes a ton of time, but that’s what will make your company stand out when it comes to prospecting. SDRs do need to spend at least 3–4 hours a day researching and coming up with personalized data.

Not just first name and emails.

If you don’t have time to do all the research or your team is currently lacking the resources to do it, then outsource it to something like GrowthOK.

We’ll help you find all the custom data you need to take your prospecting game to the next level.

If you’re only loading names and email addresses into your CRM it’s difficult to understand what is and isn’t working from a prospecting and outreach perspective.

The more details you load before sending, the more you can slice and dice the data to clearly see what makes a good prospect and what makes a bad prospect.

Ask yourself, would you respond to an email that looks extremely generic or would you respond to an email where the person mentioned that they listened to one of your recent podcast interviews?

I’m sure I’ll be responding to the 2nd one.

Have a strong and updated lead list. You don’t want outdated data because you’ll end up sending emails with wrong and old information. That doesn’t help…

If you need a lead enrichment solution, check out our data enrichment service at GrowthOK

#4 Not segmenting your list of prospects

Remember, cold email is all about personalization, so segment your list to make things more personalized.

Every industry has their own value prop and their own needs. A cleaning company won’t have the same need as an ecommerce company.

You really are hurting your conversion rates by not tailoring your message to each type of recipient.

A company with 10 employees, for example, has a different mindset to a company with 100 employees. The former might be heads-down on product development, while the latter may be focused on optimizing their sales process.

The ideal target is different as well…

On top of that, each persona within the company you’re targeting will have different needs and pain points. A end user might want to know how much easier you can make their day, while a CEO might want to know how you’ll impact profit. Product buyers will not necessarily react to the same messaging as team leaders or company owners or end users.

If you’re going to interrupt someone’s busy day, you’ll get a better response if you show them that you understand what their particular needs are right now, by tailoring your messaging.

You can’t know what’s going on in the head of each individual recipient, but you can find patterns within prospect segments and personas, and use them to your advantage.

#5 Not having a good source of leads

In order for your SDRs to put in good work, you must have high-quality leads. If you buy a list of 1000 leads and 100 of them bounce, then you’re already dumping 10% of your lead spent down the drain.

The last thing you want is your SDR to spend time putting together a personalized email just to have a bounced email.

You need to have a good source of consistent leads coming in. You can’t always wait on inbound leads and referrals. Those work together with lead sourcing.

There are two main ways to obtain leads manually.

  1. Manual list building — Takes 4–6 hours along with research everyday for about 100 good leads.
  2. Outsource it — Using a list building solution like GrowthOK , you can build a list of highly accurate and targeted leads with custom data for a fraction of a SDR’s salary and time.

Regardless on the method that you pick, make sure you have consistent leads coming in every week.

That way you’ll be able to keep the pipeline filled up on an ongoing basis.

Remember, prospecting isn’t a one time thing. It’s an on-going thing while the revenue builds up, so have a good source of lead.

There you have it folks. The top 5 deadly sins of outbound sales. Don’t make these mistakes!

If you’re looking for highly qualified and targeted sales leads or data enrichment for old databases, check out GrowthOK

Author: Wilson

Wilson is a 3x entrepreneur and founder of GrowthOK. He loves and breathe entrepreneurship, growth, sales, and has a strong passion for crypto and blockchain related topics. You can follow him on Twitter @itswilson8

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