Episode TwoHundredFortyFour

How to Reverse Engineer Your Outbound

Guest: Bryan Elsesser, Senior Director, Sales Development at Aircall

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About This Episode

With inbound, the prospect is already about 80% sure they’re going to buy from you.

But with outbound, they’re starting from a perspective of “Why should I care?”

Recently on the Sales Engagement podcast, I had a chance to talk with Bryan Elsesser, Senior Director, Sales Development at Aircall, about reverse engineering your outbound.

Bryan made his way to sales via Boy Scouts candy selling, opera singing, and volunteer firefighting. “If you’re not passionate about what you do,” he said, “you’re doing it wrong.”

That adrenaline when he hung up after his very first cold call? Bryan recognized that from stage performance and knew how to handle it. “Oh, I know how to overcome this feeling. I made 100 calls that day,” he said.

Let’s dive into Bryan’s outstanding outbound technique.

Reverse engineering outbound

The inbound buyer politely raises a hand and asks how to buy.

With outbound, they may never have even heard of you. “One of the things that makes outbound sales so much harder, your conversion rates are typically lower,” said Bryan. 

Here’s a truth about outbound: Nobody really knows what an outbound team will produce when they first implement (even if they think they know).

Instead, ask these questions:

  1. Where is outbound trying to go?
  2. How many deals will it take to get to top of funnel?
  3. What will those deal sizes look like?
  4. What’s the ICP?

This is what Bryan means by “working backwards” — from the bottom up.

After determining what it will take to get from bottom to top, then you begin to have a realistic concept about how long it will take to close a deal. (Hint: It won’t be a 30-day sensation, and please don’t start comparing outbound to inbound.)

You’ll also need completely different tracks for average deal cycle for inbound and average deal cycle for outbound.

An outbound deal takes extra time. Because it’s outbound, it just does.

“It’s so completely, wildly different. You’re starting from scratch — they don’t know that they should trust you or that they need you,” Bryan said.

Outbound SDRs & AEs

Um, in case you haven’t noticed, inbound is easier. It’s a quicker target, so it gets you to goal faster.

In order to develop an outbound team, you have to take away the opportunity for inbound. You have to redefine the goal for that team completely separately from any inbound deals.

Let’s be honest. Salespeople are money motivated and logically will make their money by the path of least resistance, right?

Strip away their ability to have inbound, and be amazed. “Are your salespeople going to get to goal? Damn right, they are, because that’s the only way they make money,” Bryan said.

Harder job, same target? Sounds like a promotion role to me.

“Not only have we implemented it in Aircall, but we were at 126% of goal in Q3,” he said.

Troubleshooting your outbound program

If your outbound program doesn’t seem to be working, take a hard look at where your people are spending their time. That’s one.

Another is that you just might not be ready for an outbound program yet.

That has nothing to do with average deal size, by the way. It’s all about team investment. How many deals do you have to sell to pay for your outbound program? How much does it cost for investment in the team?

You need to take a hard look at your data. “If you’re running a good outbound program, you need data, you need numbers, you need titles, people, contacts, companies. And so you need these providers,” Bryan said.

This can cost a lot of money but doesn’t have to. Maybe it’s actually more cost effective to make your latte at home for $1.75 instead of buying the exact same thing at Starbucks for $7. Something to think about, right?

Finally, use a fine toothed comb on the deals you lose. Bryan said a key part of working backwards is knowing both why you win and deal and why you lose one.

“When you’re a young company, knowing why you’re losing deals is everything. If you can’t figure that out, you’re not going to win, your business can’t grow,” Bryan pointed out.

Listen to everyone when you review a lost deal. “You’ve got to be willing to be a little bit spry and loose and get into the dirt of the deals to understand why you’re losing them so that you can win more,” Bryan said.

Bryan’s 3 takeaways

  1. Work backwards. Start at the end to figure out how to begin.
  2. Engage everyone, meaning talk to every member of every team.
  3. Be yourself on purpose. Bring that candor to all of your conversations to conquer your fears about being vocal.

Get in touch with Bryan about reverse engineering outbound on LinkedIn

For more engaging sales conversations, subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or on our website.

About The Podcast

The Sales Engagement podcast is the #1 podcast focused on engaging your customers and prospects in the modern sales era. This show features real-life stories and best practices from revenue leaders doing the job day in and day out, in a casual, radio-like talk show.

Each episode features modern tactics, strategies, hacks, and tips to get the most out of your sales engagement strategy and help you navigate the next generation of sales. You’ll find energetic talks that will provide you with real actionable value around building meaningful connections and creating a better selling experience through authentic conversations that you can measure.

The Sales Engagement podcast is here to help B2B sales leaders, customer success leaders, and marketing leaders innovate and usher in the next era of modern sales by building pipeline, up-selling customers, and ultimately generating more revenue with more efficiency.

Hosted by Joe Vignolo, Senior Content Managing Editor at Outreach, and Mark Kosoglow, Vice President of Sales at Outreach.

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