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Sales & Marketing

5 Common Pitfalls When Building a Data-based Sales Outreach Strategy

August 2, 2021

15 minutes
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It’s no secret that sales is a numbers game. If you want to succeed, you need to come to terms with being rejected by your prospects over and over again, day after day.

What if we don't have to look at business growth that way anymore?

Trying to tip the scales in their favor, many companies have been trying to use the power of data to build laser-focused sales outreach strategies that target the right people, at the right time, with the right message, and turn more of those noes into yeses.

But, few of them actually managed to harness this approach, as only 24.3% of salespeople exceeded their quota last year, according to research from Sales Insights Lab.

To help you become an outlier, we’ll cover the five most common mistakes organizations make when building a data-based sales strategy, and how you can avoid these pitfalls.

Mistake #1: Over Reliance on Buyer Personas to Find Your "Perfect" Customer

The first step of any sales strategy is crafting your buyer personas. The problem is, most people don't know who their ideal customer really is. When most businesses create what they think is their buyer, they end up creating an "ideal" buyer, who ends up not being anyone in reality.

Manufactured personas fail because sales teams typically build them based on averages, which greatly skews the data they rely on and causes them to miss the mark when trying to understand their target audience.

Those “SaaS Rachaels” and “CTO Charlies” can do more harm than good if they are not based on accurate data and exhaustive research. 

This common scenario may dramatically lower the effectiveness of your sales efforts across the board as everything stems from buyer persona - from how you segment your target audience to the criteria that make a lead qualified or unqualified.

Instead of relying on fictitious buyer personas, use real people singled out from your customer base who are a perfect fit for your business as a sounding board for all of your content and sales strategies.

When customers are happy with their experience with your brand, their feedback around everything you do is absolute gold when crafting your approach to winning more customers just like them.

Mistake #2: Excessive Dependence on Sales Automation Tools

The sales team is your main weapon to close deals, and sales automation tools are simply an extension to help them get the job done faster and more efficiently. But, thinking of sales automation tools as a replacement for salespeople to find and connect with prospects will backfire most of the time, since creating authentic connections and trust (the foundation of successful sales in any industry) is an insurmountable task, even for the most advanced AI.

Utilizing sales tools to leverage data and make your team's lives easier is great, but sales tools are no replacement for human sales representatives.hey should be the ones in charge of executing your outreach strategy.Combined with the fact that most customers prefer humans to chatbots, the need for talented sales professionals won’t be declining anytime soon.

The best data-based sales strategies use automation software as a way to increase the pool of prospects, get accurate data to target them more efficiently, and help get a foot in the door, while relying on human intuition to build a strong rapport with prospects, and eventually, close deals.

Among our top-recommended tools are:

Mistake #3: Ignoring The Potential of Video Prospecting

In a post-COVID-19 world, video is no longer optional when crafting a sales outreach strategy. Not only does it allow sales reps to easily connect with prospects, but it also helps sales teams sell more. Teams that use video in their outreach campaigns get a 16 percent increase in email open rates and a 26 percent increase in replies on average.

With new tools like LoomSnagit, and Soapbox, creating personalized videos for your prospects has become faster and easier than ever before, even to the point where it takes a lot less effort to quickly record a brief video pitch than craft an email or LinkedIn message.

On top of that, video content is the most shared form of marketing on social media right now, according to Social Media Today.

LinkedIn users are much more likely to share a video than any other type of content. In the case of selling to the Pinterest audience, you boost your conversion rates on the platform by 260% if you decide to rely on video content to promote your product.

In a world where the competition for the attention of your target audience has been getting more intense every year, you want to do anything you can to get noticed and cut through the noise. 

Mistake #4: Sales and Marketing Misalignment

Sales and marketing alignment has been preached for decades, but it still remains one of the most overlooked areas of improvement that stops many companies from taking their sales outreach strategy to the next level.

Only recent Forrester research found that just 8% of organizations have aligned their sales and marketing departments in a way that helps them get more potential customers across the finish line. A sales strategy that does not consider marketing will fail to provide the resources and support your sales team needs to close deals.

When your sales team has no idea what their prospects are seeing, experiencing, or thinking about when they come across your company's marketing materials, they won't be able to deliver an effective sales pitch that resonates with your target audience.

In contrast, when sales and marketing work closely together on a common goal, companies are 67 percent better at winning paying customers according to joint research from Marketo and Reachforce. .

Mistake #5: Over-personalizing Outreach Messages

There is a lot to be said about why personalization is critical when crafting an outreach strategy, but going overboard can easily backfire.The most important part of sales is understanding your prospect's needs and providing them with a solution to their problems. 

But, when sales messages are too personal, they can often come across as intrusive, or can be seen as selling the customer on a product they don't need. When a message is obviously meant for a large audience, a personalized touch may bring out skepticism or doubt among your prospects.This, in turn, may portray your brand as inauthentic, and that may be tied to all of your messages moving forward.

Instead, stay professional by continuing to provide relevant content that solves common challenges in your industry and let your sales reps focus on connecting with prospects in a personalized way.

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No matter what some sales gurus may tell you, there's no definitive formula for what makes an ideal sales outreach strategy. However, being aware of the most common pitfalls will help you avoid making costly mistakes that can hurt your business.

At People Data Labs, we provide data solutions for sales teams to supercharge their outreach campaigns. Reach out to our team today to schedule a free consultation.

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PDL Team

Founded in 2015 by Henry Nevue and Sean Thorne, People Data Labs helps thousands of engineering, data science, product, and other technical teams to build compliant, innovative, people data based software solutions. Our sole focus is on building the best data available by integrating thousands of compliantly-sourced datasets into a single, developer-friendly source of truth.