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Where To Start Building Sales When Launching a New Product or Service

Updated: Jul 3

B2B prospecting to increase ROI

How founders and startups can build successful prospecting programs

As founders, you are well aware of the importance of brand awareness and customer engagement. To hit your revenue goals, you must simultaneously create great marketing campaigns and consistent sales outreach. One concept gaining traction for sales and marketing is "mental availability." Mental availability refers to the extent to which a brand comes to mind in buying situations or when consumers are making decisions. It is about being present in the minds of your target audience, ensuring that your brand is top-of-mind when they are considering a purchase.

Specifically in B2B industries, building mental availability is crucial because of the way buyers now move. The sales process is slower than consumer (an average of four to six months) and requires much more nurturing. This can be daunting. In working with founders, I've seen many companies quit cold outreach or never even start because it's out of their comfort zone. But companies outreach, especially new ones, to build a presence in your buyer's mind. The goal is not to get a sale the minute you send an email (although we love when this happens). The goal of cold outreach is to show your personality, your style of work and your solutions so that when it comes to making a purchasing decision, your company is readily available with all the information they need.

Launching into a new market can seem unbelievably daunting, especially when you are focused on all aspects of the business (product research, hiring, funding, networking, the list goes on). By running a solid and automated system for your sales and marketing over an extended period of time, you will increase your leads and revenue without a massive burden on your time.

Let's break down the strategies you need to follow for impactful outreach when launching a new product or service.

Identifying the Right Targets

To find and build credible outreach lists, you must start with a clear ideal customer profile (ICP). This is often done at the beginning of your sales and marketing strategy and needs to be specific. Ideally, you would have a pool of at least 10,000 potential buyers in your market, but the wider net you cast with cold outreach, the better. You might uncover pockets of customers you didn’t know existed or product applications you never expected. If it’s too small, and you'll burn through target companies and contacts too quickly. The profile will vary depending on your service or product, but as a partner, I'm looking for companies that know their target and describe them in a few sentences.

You should have a list of your target's critical data points and characteristics. You'll use this information to sort through contact lists and pull the best ones for your campaign. Standard points include job title, industry, experience level, tools or tech stack and age. All of these inform the messaging, platform and solutions you need to craft a strategy. I also recommend having a solid understanding of who the target reports to. B2B sales often involve three to four decision-makers. While the HR director needs to know the ins and outs of your software, they also need average ROI to convince their VP that purchasing your platform is the best choice.

Make it easy for your target to sell you internally.

Include a photo from your prospecting platform like a product mockup.

Compelling Messaging

Building mental availability with outreach involves creating strong associations between your brand and relevant cues, such as product categories, key benefits, or memorable brand elements. This can be achieved through consistent messaging, compelling storytelling and strategic brand positioning. You should clearly highlight your value proposition early and often in cold outreach. It's tempting to want to share all the amazing aspects of your new product or service but get back to why you created your business. Simply focus on the problem that your potential customer is experiencing. One idea might be to start your first email with the story of how this product came to be. Are you disrupting an industry or improving based on customer feedback? Share the "why."

I often see brands make the mistake of writing an email with only lists of product features, service offerings or their story. You have to put the audience first - write about what's in it for them, how it will make their life easier and how you will help them make a purchase.

leveraging social channels to increase sales

Leverage Multiple Channels

In the book Fanactical Prospecting by Jeb Blount, he shares how it takes up to 40 touches with a cold prospect to build enough familiarity that they are more likely to take your call or reply to your email. That is way higher than what most CEOs and sales teams do, and you have to spread those out across a reasonable amount of time and channels. If you only send emails, you risk coming across as too salesy or, worse, ending up in the spam folder.

When considering the right outreach channels, go back to your target audience's preferences and consider the advantages of each platform. Email outreach is cost-effective and allows you to automate personalized messages. You can communicate your value proposition and provide links or resources. LinkedIn allows you to engage with prospects' content, learn more about their areas of expertise and find connections to leverage. Phone calls provide a personal touch and immediate interaction, making them valuable for follow-ups. Although less common in the digital age, direct mail can be impactful for standing out, mainly when targeting high-value prospects or industries where offline marketing is prevalent. Finally, other social media channels can give insight into a target audience's online behavior and engagement patterns.

We always recommend a healthy mix of platforms and continuously tracking platforms to optimize for the best results. Building mental availability comes when you diversify the places the target sees and hears you. And if gotten this far, you'll understand that cold outreach is not just a one-and-done deal. Follow-ups and nudges are necessary elements of awareness approaches.

Objectives and Measurement

Setting clear objectives and measuring the success of cold outreach campaigns are vital for optimizing results and ensuring a positive return on investment, especially if this is your first time running a program. Always define specific and achievable goals for your campaign, such as generating a certain number of qualified leads, setting up a specific number of meetings, or increasing sales revenue by a certain percentage. These objectives should align with your overall sales and business goals.

To measure the effectiveness of your cold outreach, track your KPIs. Some examples include:

  • Response Rates

  • Conversion Rates

  • Meetings Booked

  • Opportunities Created

  • Qualified Leads Generated

  • Revenue Generated

  • Sales Cycle Length

  • Sales and Marketing ROI, including your total costs of promotion, internal time spent on campaigns or contractors

We keep a pulse on the awareness, opens and shares for measuring mental availability. Use CRM systems and A/B testing to monitor the performance of each outreach channel and message variant to identify which approaches yield the best results. Additionally, read responses or gather feedback from your sales team to understand the quality and potential of the leads generated. Regularly review and analyze the data collected to identify trends, strengths, and areas for improvement. Based on these insights, make data-driven adjustments to your approach.

Stay Human

We've all received this email.

"Hi Sharon, I like the work you are doing. My solutions for recruiting are going to help you win.

Schedule a time with me here."

Don't be this person!

We've talked about personalized and specific messaging, but when it comes down to it, sales is all about connection. Remember to act and sound like a human! Even while using automations and systems, you have to put yourself in the target's shoes and speak to them in a memorable way. So often, I see founders try to emulate traditional “sales people” and do too much (nonstop cadence, in-your-face greetings) or not enough (see above).

Simple ways to be human include avoiding industry jargon or stereotypical business speak. There are better alternatives to "I hope this email finds you well" that will make the reader pause and show interest in you. Consider the send times - is every email in your three-cycle sequence sent at 8:30 a.m. on the dot? Easy giveaway that you are using a system. Be sure that when you include attachments or links, you have safe URLs and make it super simple for the reader to take the call to action.

Finally, remember to stay human after a rejection email. This is the part that many people get worried about. No matter the response, you should always reply by thanking them for their time and keep your message positive. It goes a long way.

Okay, So What is the Pass Along Effect?

B2B sales approaches have drastically changed. Gone are the days when sales teams could have a few calls with just one decision-maker. According to Gartner, in complex B2B purchases, there is an average of 6-10 decision-makers on each purchase.

Translation: Marketing and sales teams need to speak to multiple organizational stakeholders and encourage conversations among teams.

With the right calls to action and outreach strategy, we can achieve the Pass Along Effect - the act of one prospect forwarding an email or landing page to multiple coworkers and organically spreading your messaging. When your company is new, outbound campaigns are a cost-effective way to create mass awareness within key accounts. Check out how we achieved this exact objective for our healthcare client. LTO has a proprietary method for nurturing these pass-along effect prospects. We keep them aware and engaged until they become an MQL or SQL and are ready to make a purchasing decision.

In B2B sales and marketing, building mental availability through effective cold outreach is crucial for standing out in the minds of your target audience. By crafting compelling messaging, leveraging multiple outreach channels and staying human in your interactions, you can create strong associations between your brand and the needs of your prospects. Tell me⸺what other development strategies have you used when launching into a new market?

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