Run Outbound Like An Angel Investor Builds Their Portfolio

Full name
Matt Aird
5 min read

If you’re just starting outbound, you should build your program in the same way an angel investor builds their portfolio. Make a series of small bets against a few hypotheses, and double down when you’ve found something that shows promise. It can be tempting to copy and paste a playbook that someone has shared with you, or go all in on an approach that you’re convinced has the best chance of success But in the early days it’s more important to be agile. To gather data from a series of experiments and then put your foot on the gas when you’ve found something that works.  Today I’ll walk you through how to structure this in your business:

  1. How to develop a series of bets
  2. How to make the investments
  3. How to analyze the results

Let’s get into it.

How to develop a series of bets

Each bet you make on outbound should consist of two variables. A target and a message.The target is the people that you’re planning to reach out to and Ideal Client Profile if you will. The targets can be determined using filters such as:

  • Industry
  • Company Size
  • Location
  • Job Titles
  • Technographic information
  • Department headcount
  • Hiring for certain roles
  • Etc

Any combination of filters that allows you to define who it is you’re going to reach out to. You want this to be a subset of your total addressable market. Next we need to develop a message.

What are we going to say to these people that is compelling enough that they’ll want to spend some time with us to learn more about what we do?

This message should be centered around a problem that the people in our target group have that we think they will want to solve. It needs to be a problem that is specific enough that it resonates with them and large enough that they’ll be motivated to do something about it.  

Example Problems:

We know SDR teams struggle to get into live conversations with prospects - often working with a sub 5% connect rate on cold calls.

We know it’s difficult as a manager to codify what your best reps do everyday meaning performance levels across the team can vary widely.

Because entry level sales people are early in their careers it’s difficult to distinguish between candidates that will be top performers or flame out quickly.  

These problems become the basis for cold call scripts, email and linkedIn messages. You can learn about how to craft these in more detail here.

How to make the investments

Once we have bets we’re willing to make, we need to make the investments. This involves making the calls, sending the emails and reaching out to people on Linkedin.  You want to aim for around 40-50 data points on each message and target combination or total outreach to about 250 people. A data point is a cold call connect, an email reply or a linkedin connect.  

Make sure you’re tracking the “not interested” reasons. That is - if a prospect doesn’t want to continue the conversation with you - try and quantify why that’s the case. Here a few categories these reasons could fall under:

  • No Budget
  • Do it in-house
  • Use a competitor (find out who)
  • Not a priority
  • Other (collect reasons)
  • No reason given

How to Analyze the Results

There are a few key metrics you’ll want to understand to determine whether or not the bet was effective. Those are outlined below with target benchmarks to aim for:

If you’re able to hit these metrics on a test - then you probably have a campaign that is worth sticking with.

If you miss on a couple, think about slight tweaks to the messaging, sequence structure or target that might help you hit the goals.

Don’t forget to continue to run these tests even when you have an outbound motion that is humming. This will allow you to identify new market opportunities to exploit in the future.

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