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A Cheat Sheet To Structuring A Sales Outreach Strategy For Startups

April 20, 2023

Happy customers are the heart of any successful business, and outstanding experiences keep customers—or leads if you’re a B2B—coming back to help the company grow. 



But startups tend to crank out strategies to get customers and generate leads fast without addressing prospects’ unique needs in ways that drive business and are realistic for the company. Startups wind up making just enough sales to get by, but they don’t meet their business goals to grow. 



There’s no one-size-fits-all outreach plan, but structuring a sales outreach strategy tailored to your startup is crucial to reach prospects, get more leads, increase profits, and achieve long-term success.



In this article, we explain why sales outreach is essential for startups to grow, plus 6 steps to boost business using the lauded cold email strategy. Use this article to guide creating an effective sales strategy from square one.



What Is a Sales Outreach Strategy?


Startups typically have limited customer bases and want to acquire more customers quickly—that’s what makes sales outreach a great way to bring customers to the heart of the business to make it grow. After all, there is no business if there are no customers.



Sales outreach can help startups expand business in several ways:


  • Establish brand recognition
  • Attract potential customers
  • Increase bottom line profits
  • Strengthen relationships (both B2B and B2C)


If your  B2B or B2C isn’t getting these benefits, then your sales strategy needs tweaking (or an overhaul). 



Your brand name should be known across your target market, your reputation should solidify new customers and drive new prospects, and your profits should steadily increase. Lastly, the wheel will keep turning with the fourth win: strengthened customer relationships for business stability.



In other words, your sales outreach strategy is golden if it generates repeat business and maximizes returns. And if it doesn’t, well, continue reading for the steps to do so!



How to Structure a Sales Outreach Strategy


Below, you’ll find our step-by-step guide to creating an effective sales outreach strategy so you can get your startup’s energy flowing, build the business, and increase its sales. 



While there are multiple ways you can do sales outreach, we’ll focus mostly on cold email sales outreach simply because cold emailing is proven to effectively and inexpensively help growing companies generate leads and expand business reach, and it’s an easy strategy to scale along with your business’s growth.



Step 1: Create a Detailed Buyer Persona


Before diving into any sales or marketing campaign, know who you’re targeting by creating your business’ buyer persona.



Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your target audience based on data and research. An ideal buyer persona (or several, depending on your audience’s size) helps you focus your time and effort on qualified prospects, tailor your product development to suit their needs, and align your overall strategies—from marketing to sales to service.



To create your buyer persona, determine five distinct qualifying factors of your audience. These factors identify the types of people you need to reach and how they should be contacted. If your prospect doesn’t qualify in all five elements, they likely aren’t the best match for your service or products, so replace them with a persona that fits.



Here’s a list of criteria to define your ideal B2B customer profile:


  • Company size (e.g., have at least 300 employees)
  • Annual revenue size (e.g., more than $150 million in sales)
  • Organization’s employee structure (e.g., they must have an in-house accounting department)
  • Type of products or service (e.g., a distributor)
  • Mutual goals (e.g., the distributor that wants to increase brand awareness)



Step 2: Outline Your Goals


Once you know who you’re targeting, set goals to clarify what success looks like for your team and how that translates into tangible results. Goals help you measure how well the strategy works. If you’re not familiar with creating such goals, use the acronym SMART to create them, where SMART stands for:


  • Specific: Defines a desired outcome
  • Measurable: Defines a quantifiable objective
  • Achievable: Realistic
  • Relevant: Aligned with your company’s objective
  • Timely: Has a definite deadline


Creating goals that align with the SMART criteria is a good way to monitor what you’re doing well and where you need to improve. For example, a SMART goal for a business selling a product or service could be to develop a cold emailing strategy to use every quarter to generate 100 leads per quarter. 



Here’s how our sample goal meets the SMART criteria:


  • Specific: This goal is about using cold emails as an outreach strategy to increase lead generation.
  • Measurable: A clear number (100) is given in this goal. You know that your current sales strategy is generating 70 leads per quarter, and you know you need to take steps to increase this by 30.
  • Achievable: This goal is achievable because cold emailing is a proven sales outreach strategy for startups to grow and make sales.
  • Relevant: This goal is aligned with your company’s objective to grow and increase sales because increasing lead generation increases sales, which increases investment in the company.
  • Timely: A three-month target is given for this goal.



Step 3: Choose Your Communication Channel


Not all outreach channels are created equal because not everyone is on every social media. So it’s vital to identify which channel your prospects use most—What’s your prospect’s preferred platform? Where would they go to purchase whatever you’re offering? Where do they get information about your industry?



For example, if your prospects are most active on LinkedIn, see if you can initiate contact over the platform by sending a cold message with InMail. Or, if your prospects are already on your email list and regularly read your emails, take advantage of the active channel by sending outreach emails.



Other digital and traditional outreach channels you can consider are the following:


  • Email campaigns
  • Networking events
  • Cold calls
  • Webinars
  • Social media advertisements
  • LinkedIn Outreach


Once you’ve determined your ideal communication channels, scale your sales strategy accordingly to meet your customers and maximize your returns on investment (ROI). The last thing you want is to spread your budget too thin across all platforms and invest time and money into a platform your target audiences aren’t even on.



Step 4: Personalize Your Content


According to Forbes, the best startups are led by people who make authenticity the center of their business and develop trust in their B2B and B2C relationships. Sean Manning, a thought leader in the financial field, identified several areas of doing business where trust leads to the greatest success:


  • Trust your employees
  • Trust others’ opinions
  • Trust your vision
  • Trust yourself


Trust should be cultivated in sales outreach, just as in every other area of business. Create trust with business leads and clients by making marketing content that speaks directly to your prospects. Outreach content should be relevant to your prospects and address their needs. 



For example, you can ensure outreach content is relevant to your prospects and addresses their needs by  creating cold emails with interesting subject lines. Use the subject line to mention a specific pain point, follow it up with a relevant message body, then end it with a valuable call to action for the recipient to take control. Doing so, you’ll not only get more leads, but your recipient will feel special, hand-picked, and excited about the opportunity to do business with you.



Moreover, since not everybody operates or thinks the same way, segment your audience before crafting different messages for them. For example, if you’re targeting businesses in the same industry in Singapore and the United States, ensure that the pain points you highlight are relevant to each country. This way, you can ensure that your content is tailored to the specific needs of each recipient.



Step 5: Prepare for Follow-Up Messages


Follow-up messages are just as important as initial contacts in the sales process. Most people who try their hand at sales don’t realize this. And even if they do send another email, half of all salespeople give up after one follow-up, whereas 80% of sales require 5 follow-ups.



If most businesspeople cross leads off their lists who don’t respond after the first contact, but it’s proven that the majority of sales are successful only after five follow-ups, then why don’t we focus on keeping the conversation going? 



Follow-up messages come in multiple forms. For example, in social media marketing, follow-ups may mean re-targeting your ads to the same audience. In contrast, with cold email outreach, follow-ups are literally the messages you’ll send to remind the recipient of your initial email.



Whatever outreach strategy you follow, you’ll need to craft follow-up communication. You might not have the time to write every single one of them (God knows you have enough on your plate!). So use follow-up templates to help you respond quickly, maintain good relationships with prospects, and keep them interested in your offer. 



Here’s an example you can follow for cold email follow-ups:



Hi Meghan,


I hope everything’s good. I haven’t heard from you since I reached out on July 26. I wanted to reach out again and see your interest in our service to help improve your business growth in the digital space.


Let me know if you have any concerns or questions. I’ll be more than happy to answer all of them.




Jonathan Smith,

VP of Sales at Mint Growth



Moreover, ensure that your follow-up messages don’t sound aggressive or pushy. Instead, remember to be polite and informative and give your prospects the time they need. Give them the space to respond.



Step 6: Track, Analyze, and Refine


Implementing your sales outreach strategy doesn’t stop after you’ve put it into action. Once you’ve got the wheel turning, you’ll move on to maintenance—tracking, analyzing, and refining the data for efficacy, efficiency, and continuous improvement for upcoming campaigns.



The key metrics differ from one outreach strategy to another, so you’ll have to be keen on having the right assessment. For example, if you’re doing a cold email outreach, you’ll have to monitor:


  • Open rates: How many recipients open your email?
  • Advertisement click-through rates: How many of them click through your CTAs?
  • Outreach response rates: How many engage and respond to you?
  • Conversion rates: How many convert from lead to customer?
  • Return on investment (ROI): Are you getting your money’s worth from the outreach?


Data tells a story. You just have to figure out what it’s trying to say. The goal is to have a grasp of what’s happening, what’s working, and what could’ve been better. You should go the extra mile as well, using analytics tools to determine the most successful outreach messages and identify patterns of behavior that your prospects exhibit during their buying journeys.



By analyzing the data, you can make tweaks and optimize your outreach efforts to achieve better results in the future. Refreshing and refining your outreach strategy regularly significantly increases your success rate in converting prospects into paying customers—ultimately scaling your startup.



A Strategy to Grow Your Business and Become a Success


What will you get from investing in a sales strategy? Long-term success. And startups have a long way to go in establishing themselves as stable, profitable companies.



Having a strong sales outreach strategy puts you on the right track, building a foundation for your startup to continue its course. You’ll attract high-quality leads, convert them into buyers, convince them to stay and repurchase, and even get them to advocate on your brand’s behalf. 



Follow our steps, and you’ll be on your way to boosting sales and growing your small business.



Alternatively, ask us to do it for you. We have the resources, sales expertise, and marketing knowledge your startup desperately needs. At ScaleUpSales, you’ll get access to high-performance marketing strategies and proven sales tactics without sacrificing your precious resources.



Start scaling through sales. Contact us today!