Growth is extremely important in SaaS companies. But it’s hard. 

Very hard. Especially outbound. 

How do we get our heads wrapped around a 10X outbound growth engine? 

Before we get to outbound lead generation, let’s understand painkiller and vitamin businesses.

There are 2 types of businesses – Painkiller (High Demand, commoditized) and Vitamins (Good to have, niche market)

For Painkiller business (Eg: CRM), the go-to-market strategy revolves around “capturing the demand”. CRM keyword alone has 1 Million monthly searches on Google! (US, EU)

For Vitamin business (Eg: Loyalty software), the go-to-market strategy revolves around “creating the demand”. Loyalty Software has hardly 500 monthly searches on Google! (US, EU)

Be it Vitamin or Painkiller business, outbound is a proven, scalable, cost-effective growth strategy. 

Before we jump into the framework, the most important aspect is to set an objective or end result. The two outcomes that can be achieved with outbound are lead generation/pipeline generation, and revenue generation (end to end selling). 

In this blog, I will shed light on lead/pipeline generation. 

How do you build a scalable and predictable outbound engine?

Let’s use a simple framework called 4R. 

Step 1: Right Audience

Defining an ICP – Ideal Customer Profile – is the first step. 

Let’s understand the different dimensions for defining the Ideal Customer Profile segment through an example – an eCommerce platform company that wants to sell a technology platform 

Firmographics: Revenue, Employees, Number of Users, Geography, Industry

Technographics: Install-base (Eg: Magento / Shopify), Date of contract expiry

Stage of the Maturity curve: You have to define the maturity curve for your industry.

The maturity curve for companies targeted by eCommerce platform company can be bucketed into 3 stages

Basic: Brands with an active website and social media presence

Intermediate: Brands with a basic eCommerce site, digital catalog and clocking less than 1000 orders a month

Advanced: Brands that offer omnichannel commerce options (web, app, etc) with more than 1000 orders a month.

Intent data: Platforms like Bombora offer intent data for accounts. If folks from specific accounts are reading articles related to “eCommerce / Digital transformation”, intent data platforms tag the keywords for the specific accounts and personas.

An example Ideal Customer Profile for the eCommerce platform company can be the following:

Lifestyle/Apparel companies in the United States, that have $20-$500 Million in revenue, are in the intermediate/advanced stage (refer above), use Magento or Demandware platforms, and are willing to spend at least $10,000 for an eCommerce platform

Once you have the ICP, spend time to double down on personas – who is your buyer, influencer, buyer. 

Building the most comprehensive database

Having the most comprehensive database of personas of your ICP is a real deal. It’s the foundation for all the outreach activities.

How does one build the most comprehensive DB?

If you are starting up, buy a tool such as Adapt.io.

If you are at a growth stage, start with Adapt.io. Dedup the records on zoominfo. 

Why? 

Zoominfo is expensive. Download records, which are not present on Zoominfo.

With this you can build records, which is mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive.

How about the companies targeting APAC?

Its very hard to find a tool, which gives you exhaustive Database for APAC region (irrespective of the industry and persona)/

At Capillary, we built the largest retailer DB in Asia. 

How? 

We had an army of Inhouse data team + regional vendors. We evaluated 15+ vendors and got 2 good vendors who completed our in-house team work. 

DB building is all about focus and execution.

Step 2: Right Message

JTBD (Jobs To Be Done) is the best framework to use for all messaging.

In a nutshell, the framework helps you to lead all the messaging around the pain point OR the job.

▪A “job” is a problem a person is trying to solve.

▪Customers don’t really buy products; they “hire” them to get a job done

▪Products and technology come and go, but “jobs” persist over time

 I would urge you to go and spend time on it and MASTER it.

Personalize. Personalize. Personalize.

Knowing your prospect is a real superpower.

Now tools can help you find a lot. I have consolidated some key data points, which will help you in prospecting. 

There are tools such as B2Brain which will help you find account insights at the right time and place.

Slintel / Builtwith helps you find technographics. LinkedIn helps you find insights about individuals. There are tools like warmer.ai, which help you build individual intro blurbs. 

Step 2: Right Channel

A lot of the folks ask me – does email work? Does the calling work?, Is LinkedIn a good channel?

The answer is omnichannel. 

A prospect typically takes 5-6 touchpoints to respond. You are a conductor of the orchestra. Here is an example of a 3-week campaign. 

Here are some email best practices –

  • Write as if you are emailing your friend. Its business to business human to human  
  • Less than 150 words email. No fancy html stuff
  • Real people sending :). No fake names
  • Personalize. Personalize. Personalize (we discussed it above)
  • Let marketing folks write email templates. Let sales team customize it
  • Validate emails with Never Bounce once in every 4 weeks
  • Use emails.domain.com (subdomain.domain.com) for sending all cold emails (After warming up the domain) 

Ok, here is a sure shot framework for the first email

Break the ice:

Write a personalized intro. Congratulating the person if something positive happened (awards, great quarter results, launch etc) is one example. 

Problem:

Talk exactly what problem do you want to solve. 

Solution:

Talk about how do you solve it in on 2/two sentences. 

Reasons to believe:

Show the proof with outcomes and customer names. 

CTA:

Ask for a time / send you calendar link. 

Let me show an example for the first outbound email you can send

Then comes to follow up emails, which can generally be automated using a sales engagement platform

After 3 OR 4 emails, it’s time to send a breakup email 🙂  

What is the tech stack for rockstar SDRs?

▪Sales Engagement Platform: Salesgear (email + call + linkedin)

▪Linkedin: Sales navigator, LinkedHelper / Phantom buster

▪Database: Adapt.io / Apollo / Zoominfo

▪Account intelligence: B2Brain

▪Technographics: Slintel, Builtwith

What are the metrics that matter?

This is the typical funnel and the metrics.

The lead score helps SDRs to pick the right leads to follow up / call

I have mentioned the ANT score. It’s not BANT. Mostly, prospects don’t talk about B (Budget), so make the score simple. ANT (Authority, Need and Time)

It’s not about SQLs but about the quality SQLs, which can become an opportunity. Measure that per SDR. The benchmark for SQL to Opportunity >50%. If SQLs are highly qualified, then >75% of them can convert to opportunity. 

It’s so critical to measure how different the SDR is. How? 

Find out the number of breakthroughs one has made. The number of attempts, the depth of the problem solving, and creativity are important. 

Measure it and give a pat on the back

What is the benchmark number of SQLs / SDR / month?

US / EU: – 6-8

APAC / India: 10-12

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