Best Practices of Outbound Sales for Contractors (and How To Educate Prospects)
Updated: Feb 2
Going out and getting new leads, new clients, and new contracts is the bane of every company’s existence.
No matter what you do for a living, what you sell, or the services you perform, companies of all sizes need to focus on sales.
As a contractor, this might be difficult. After all, you are (most likely) a one-person operation and therefore need to do all of the heavy lifting, including the accounting, on your own.
Marketing for your contracting firm is essential, and hopefully, you’ve already begun to do your research and map out what you need to do.
If you’ve never done marketing before, know that it can be straightforward so long as you have your strategy and goals lined up.
You also have the choice of outbound sales and inbound marketing. For now, we’re going to focus on outbound sales.
Here are some best practices to follow for outbound sales as a contractor:
Growing B2B and Account-based Marketing
Contractors primarily operate off of business-to-business (or B2B) relationships. This means that you are likely interacting with other businesses, and that is how you get revenue.
When working with other businesses, you should be able to offer certain services. For example, you wouldn’t want to invoice them for every little item. Instead, you’ll operate using an account-based approach.
Account-based marketing (ABM) is its type of marketing, but a key is a tiered approach: landing relationships, personalizing and engaging with your clientele, and identifying accounts.
This is different from lead generation marketing, which looks to a pool of potential leads and fishes for the right one.
With account-based marketing, you target specific companies, the decision-makers within that company, and growing a relationship.
Create Your Strategy
Every marketing campaign needs a strategy. Even if you think that your one-person show isn’t that big of a deal, you should at least put effort into some sort of plan.
Having a plan helps you map out your goals, hit targets, and ultimately get new clients. As annoying as it is to put a marketing campaign in place, it is a great place to start.
As a contractor, you want to focus on the types of goals you want to hit.
Do you want to get a higher quality client? Do you need to get more clients? Or perhaps you want long-term clients? No matter what the goal is, this will help you drive your strategy.
Identify Your Ideal Client
ABM requires that you strategically target a company or critical decision-maker. Therefore, identifying your ideal client is extremely important. As a contractor, you should have an “ideal” customer, someone you want to work with daily and the type of client you can best serve.
This should be a company that you are actively trying to work with.
From here, develop that company as a persona so that you can learn more about that company from the perspective of an ideal client. Focus on the types of problems specific to this client and that your company can solve.
Rate Sales Prospects
As you move through the pool of potential clients (or potential accounts), you will probably recognize that some just aren’t worth exploring.
This does not necessarily mean that those prospects are bad people or not worth your business, but sometimes you can tell that the prospect just isn’t interested or that they don’t fit your goals for clientele.
While we wouldn’t suggest declining prospects, we would suggest rating them so that you understand what each prospect is looking for and how your business can serve them.
Account-based Approach and Client Education
Once you’ve got your marketing strategy up and running, you might find that you are landing more and more clients. Well, part of this strategy includes client management. You don’t want to seal the deal and then neglect these clients.
ABM marketing is a more personalized approach to sales, so you won’t just want to land the client and then move on to the next. Work on educating the client and nurturing your B2B relationship.
Consider the following:
After you convert an account, be sure to continue to nurture the relationship, get to know them, and continue to provide value to them.
The process of landing an outbound sale isn’t always a one-and-done. You may make an early connection, and then that sale will take months to happen. This process involves nurturing and educating prospects.
There are several ways you can educate your prospects and current clients. You can email them, email them regularly as part of a DRIP campaign, call them, or send them to your website. No matter what, you want to be sure that you’re educating them on the problems your business solves.
The timeframe for education might be long, but it is usually worth the effort. Once landed, you will have clients that are more educated and prepared to work with you.
They will also be able to work on your behalf as they navigate their client base.
Landing clients will need a different kind of client management compared to those you have not yet managed.
Current clients will want regular meetings and structure around your relationship. Try to provide clear goals for your services (i.e., repair over replacement), timeframes (i.e., biannual preventative maintenance scheduling), and be sure to follow up with reports.
Partner With a B2B Business Growth Consultant
Outbound sales to other businesses as a contractor can be tiresome and confusing. Here is one time that you might want to seek support.
If you work with a business growth consultant or a digital marketing firm, know that they always have your best interest in mind.
You will not only be learning from some of the best minds in the industry, but you will be learning firsthand how B2B relationships work (as you have no entered one with the consultant or firm).
A digital marketing consultant will also help you identify the pools of potential leads (clients, companies, accounts) that you should be talking to.
Sometimes it can be simply hard to find your target market, but once you do, your business will start to take off.
TAKE AWAYS: By tapping into the strategic knowledge of a B2B partner for marketing, you can tap into industry expertise and scale your business. They will also offer software recommendations for project management, client management, and other business automation tools.
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