One important role of marketing to create content to promote and position a business and the products/services they offer. Their focus here is to raise brand awareness and attract prospects to buy from the company. There’s a point in the promotion process when attracted prospects get handed off to sales, never to be seen again by marketing. Once picked up by the sales team, reps start to have conversations with those people to get them through the sales process until they purchase said product/service.
This can feel like an assembly line, marketing picking up the prospect and handing them off to sales to keep things moving along. The departments become siloed, marketing working on one thing, sales working on another, neither to be working towards the same thing. If you’re in marketing, you’ve more than likely felt the frustration when you’ve created content for sales to use in their conversations, only for them to never use it. You’ve probably asked yourself, “What’s the point?” Your position and the work you’re doing is actually extremely important, especially when it comes to outreach.
What is Outreach?
Outreach is bringing services or information to people where they are. It plays an important part in producing new leads and driving sales. When performing outreach, you’re seeking out and building relationships with potential customers. From a marketing perspective, you could think of this as sales outreach where reps are engaging with prospects/customers through email or a phone call.
That’s why outreach is considered to be a sales operation because marketing’s interaction with the prospect is seen as limited. The truth is, the role marketing plays in outreach is crucial. There are activities you as a marketer should always be focused on during the outreach process (which we’ll get into in just a minute).
Revisiting The DEALS Framework
The DEALS Framework works as a roadmap to combine all aspects of what your company does to find, win and retain high-valued customers. It unifies the different methodologies, strategies, and tactics that you’re already implementing.
Outreach is found in the Discover Stage and is the first step to the entire framework. The objective for this stage is simple, clearly identify the companies and people that you want to do business with. Internally, outreach is focused on the selling organization, but marketing is needed to determine the go-to-market strategy and execution plan. The goal here is to create clarity and focus that will drive the actions taken throughout the rest of the framework. Alone, outreach is pointless, but combined with the rest of the framework, it’s an important step. This is the start of the journey.
The Role Marketing Plays in the Outreach Process
Outreach should be just as important to marketing as it is to sales. During this process, the marketing team should be figuring out the strategy and foundation for the business. Specifically, they should be doing these three things in regards to strategy/foundation:
1. Defining ideal client profiles (ICPs) and personas. ICPs and personas are needed in order for salespeople to know who they’re looking for. These are the people who are the right fit for the company’s product/service. Having personas defined enables salespeople to more easily match those personas to current accounts so they can prioritize who to talk to, but it’s the marketer’s job to figure out what those personas look like, how they act, what they worry about and more.
2. Establishing messaging. You can’t get anywhere if you don’t have something written down about your product/service. The marketing team should be familiar with the product/service being offered to develop messaging that can be used on the site, in social posts, for the sales team to use in their emails/phone calls, and more. When it comes to messaging, everything should be aligned and should be focused around a strong point-of-view. If there’s too many different messages or too big of a gap in your messaging, prospects won’t stop to read.
3. Defining the game plan. What’s your plan of action? What are you going to do once target accounts have been contacted? How are you going to contact them and what are you going to say? This is all part of the strategy that marketing should help with because at the end of the day sales and marketing have to work together to get the job done properly and successfully.
3 Ongoing Actions Marketers Take During the Outreach Process
Once the strategy and foundation are set, marketing’s role isn’t done. There are three ongoing activities that you as a marketer should be doing.
1. Identifying target account issues. During the outreach process, target accounts are looking for answers to their questions. Marketers should make sure these issues are being identified and are either being answered by a salesperson or by content. You want to make sure you’re the one answering their questions, that way you’re at the forefront of their mind when it comes time for them to buy. Even though your customer isn’t looking for a solution just yet, if your content appears when they do have questions, you’re now on their radar.
2. Mapping value proposition. You should be asking yourself how the issues you’ve identified connect to the solution you’re offering. If there is a solid connection and you are able to differentiate from your competitors, you’ll stick out more to prospects. The question you need to ask is: Why would someone choose our product/service? If there’s no connection between their problem and your solution, and you’re answering their questions, you’ll end up as a stepping stone for your competitors. You’ll turn into the company with all the answers and no business.
3. Be where your prospects are. You want to be in front of your targets. It’s important that you identify and understand where and how your target accounts learn and seek information. You want to be present where they are whether it’s on social media, a forum, blogging, podcasting, etc. If you aren’t where they are, you’re talking to no one. There’s a saying that goes, if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it did it really fall? The same thing applies here. If you aren’t where your target accounts are, are you really saying anything meaningful?
Different positions, industries, and ages will go to different places to look for information. Someone who is younger will most likely go to social media while someone who is older will most likely go to a blog post. It all depends. As a marketer, you have to identify who those people are and where those locations are. You should also be looking for what types of content they view to see how you can fit that type of content into your plan. Any and all information you find should be written down and attached to your buyer personas.
Marketing has played and continues to play an important role in the outreach process. Take the time to work with the sales team to align what you’re doing with what they’re doing in the process. If both teams can do their parts and come together, you’ll get out of working in silos and become one team. Being on the same page will make your outreach efforts more successful. The next time you hear the term outreach, you should think sales AND marketing.