Outreach Optimization

I was hired to organize business technology and improve responses from outbound sales activities. I built a team of salespeople, implemented a CRM, and orchestrated an outbound sales campaign.

Cover image for Outreach Optimization
Bob Kerby's Longhorn Studio, Inc.

Previously, to get customers the company sent out direct mail pieces and got a response. But, the old ways of getting customers stopped working.

Main Offering

At first, we assumed the offering was their product a promotional calendar, but after closer inspection, customers chose them for their concierge-style service.

They work closely to create ads where other vendors force the customers to make ads themselves and submit them through a web portal.

This was a big selling point, the customers didn't want to do it themselves. They appreciated someone respecting them enough to take care of it and ensure a nice ad.

Changing Perspective

We had to deliver the best part of being a customer before they became a customer. If they felt the level of service and respect we provided we'd earn their business.

So we needed to give the best part of our business away for free to get people interested in paying us. We needed a lead magnet.

Lead Magnet

It came to me, but no one seemed to like my idea.

Let's give away free samples to people that might buy calendars.

Free samples in the calendar world are nothing new, on the bottom it says, "Your Ad Here." People hang them up on their walls and suppliers never get a return on samples.

I wanted to do it differently, I wanted people to experience a level of value that made them want to become customers instead of giving away something that neither of us cared about.

I said,

Not only are we going to give out samples, but I'm going to make an ad for every lead.

Again they worried. In their perspective, the calendar and the ad were their main offering. So they put a lot of work in and it was an intense process.

After some back and forth we agreed to give it a go. We'd test it on four hundred leads and see what happened. I designed a system to automate ad creation, forecasted the potential results, and time-boxed the test to three months.

Sales Process

On day one we called sixty people and asked if they wanted a free sample. Seven people said yes. We were optimistic and more importantly, people were pleasantly surprised and looked forward to getting the calendar.

A week later the numbers averaged 33% of people agreeing to receive the calendar. We averaged a 25% close rate to a paid customer in the first month. The numbers matched my forecast and we were ready to move into phase two, growth.

Expanding Growth

My forecast included three options each with fallback plans.

  1. We have problems
  2. Not ready for growth
  3. Ready for growth

'Ready for growth' being our current state included an option for hiring salespeople and an office manager to take over the ad creation/calendar mailing.

This incoming business fueled growth so I hired, trained, and supported the team as we finished the test. Ultimately we grew the yearly recurring business by 20% by the end of the third month.

Lessons Learned

  1. Take time to understand your main offering.
  2. Give away a minor offering so that people will buy your main offering.
  3. If more people buy your main offering, you make more profit.
  4. People decide your reputation by what you give away for free.
  5. Reputation fuels referrals.