Cold Outbound Isn’t Dead. Here’s What Sales Leaders Say are the Most Cost-Effective Sales Strategies in 2023.

Cold Outbound Isn’t Dead. Here’s What Sales Leaders Say are the Most Cost-Effective Sales Strategies in 2023.

Olivia Ramirez 8 min

By Olivia Ramirez

November 14, 2023


If your sales team is struggling to hit its Q4 target, you’re not alone. More than half of sales teams are falling short of their targets for Q4 2023. Win rates are down, sales cycles are longer, and ACVs are lower


Through the eye of the storm, 89% of sales teams are changing up their strategy to “do more with less”. But smart leaders aren’t asking their reps to make more calls in a day; they’re asking them to be strategic.  


Don’t… Increase your sales team’s activities. More cold calls  more closed-won opportunities.


Do… Diversify your sales approach, and adopt the top four most cost-effective sales strategies of 2023, according to more than 400 revenue leaders*: 

  • #1: Inbound

  • #2: Customer referrals

  • #3: Ecosystem-Led Growth (or co-selling with partners) 

  • #4: Cold Outbound 


You’re likely already using tactics #1, #2, and #4, but what about #3? Ecosystem-Led Growth (ELG) is the #1 strategy revenue leaders are investing in right now, and the data shows it’s here to stay; ELG deals are 53% more likely to close and close 46% faster. ELG doesn’t replace any of your existing sales strategies; it makes them better. 


which sales strategies has your company been focusing more on over the past year
Data from the upcoming Future of Revenue Report. Subscribe to get the report as soon as it’s live on Thursday, Nov. 16th.


Ecosystem-Led Growth is a go-to-market motion that focuses on partner ecosystems as the primary way to attract, convert, and grow customer relationships. 


Today, buyers prefer less contact with direct sellers and more contact with trusted relationships in their existing networks. Buyers look to their existing tech vendors and consultants for guidance around what tools to buy and how to implement them. Your tech and channel partners who are already working with your prospects can help advocate for your product, share relevant use cases and success stories, and help close the deal. 


Below, we’ll share how to use ELG to bolster your inbound, customer referrals, and cold outbound efforts. Using ELG, you can improve all of these sales strategies to generate higher quality leads that close and have high growth potential.  


*Data from the upcoming Future of Revenue Report by Pavilion & Crossbeam. Sign up for Crossbeam Insider to receive the report when it’s ready by hitting the “subscribe” button in the top-right corner of this page or by signing up here


Using ELG to Improve Your Inbound Sales Strategy 

You know the rush. You get an inbound lead, and now it’s time to route it to a sales rep. In 2023, sales teams are generating leads through events, website personalization, and word-of-mouth referrals — all in an effort to generate higher quality leads. 


However, a “lack of high-quality leads” is the number one reason revenue leaders say they’re falling short of hitting their targets. ELG is the #1 strategy that sales teams are investing more in to ensure their sales reps are spending time on the opportunities with the highest likelihood of closing. 


why do you think your sales strategy is generally not successful
Data from the upcoming Future of Revenue Report. Subscribe to get the report as soon as it’s live on Thursday, Nov. 16th.


Your tech partners who are already working with your prospects know your prospect’s current challenges, business goals, and tech stack. They can identify when and how your partner could use your product and make a thoughtful recommendation for implementation. If you have an integration with your tech partner, your partner can sell your integration on your behalf, help improve your activation rates, and increase your renewal rates. A win-win-win for any sales rep interested in converting a high-value account and growing the account later on. 


Alternatively, if your agency or channel partners are working with your prospect, they can help educate your prospect about your product, make a recommendation around how to implement your product, and help them achieve value throughout the customer lifecycle. 


Using ELG, you can increase the number of inbound leads your sales team gets and ensure they’re higher quality leads who are interested in purchasing your product. An inbound strategy using ELG could look like: 

  • Your partner making warm intros between prospects and your sales team

  • Prospects learning about your product and connecting with your sales team through a partner marketplace 

  • Your partner co-selling your product with your sales team’s support or selling your integration resulting in a net new deal 


An example from TalentPop: 


At TalentPop, leads from partners are nearly 40% more likely to book a meeting than cold leads and have a 26% higher close rate. 

Data courtesy of TalentPop



Data courtesy of TalentPop


Just one sales rep at TalentPop receives 15 leads per month from an individual partner. The partner has already vetted the lead and matches them to the sales rep at TalentPop if they meet certain criteria. 


Image courtesy of TalentPop 

Using ELG to Improve Your Customer Referrals Strategy 

Putting your customer’s voice where your prospects spend time will help close the gap between you and your prospects. This includes review sites like G2 and the vendors your prospects are already working with. 


Your tech and channel partners have insight into how their customers use your product and achieve value. A partner case study is a great resource for your sales reps to showcase how similar customers use your product and integrations with the tools they already use in their tech stacks.  


An example from Spectrm:


Below: a partner case study that Spectrm published with their partner Meta to showcase how their mutual customer increased conversions by 30%. By showcasing this story, Spectrm was able to target more customers with similar pain points to replicate this success across regions and markets with Meta. 


Case study courtesy of Spectrm


Don’t just rely on your customers to proactively make referrals. Identify how customers are using your product successfully within particular verticals and markets. Plus, work with your product marketing team to create resources your sales team and customers can use to advocate for your product to similar target customers. 


Using ELG to Improve Your Cold Outbound Sales Strategy

Using the Crossbeam Salesforce Widget, you can identify which of your partners’ products your prospects are using in their tech stacks. This gives you visibility into which integrations or product use cases your prospects may be interested in. 


The Crossbeam Salesforce Widget showing which of your prospects overlap with your partners’ customers, prospects, and open opportunities lists 


A close-up of the Crossbeam Salesforce Widget 


Mention tech stack insights in your cold outbound sequences to speak directly about the tools your prospects use every day. 


“Normal outbound is noisy and everyone gets a ton of it. Leveraging partner ecosystem data to understand a prospect’s tech stack and custom tailor your pitch accordingly gives your reps a huge advantage,” says Rob Simmons, VP of Sales at LeanData. 


He adds, “I’m a big believer in this play for SDRs. I think about how much outreach I personally get, and the stuff that catches my eye is either highly personalized and/or it mentions a tool that I’m already using.”


An example from Census: 


Census uses Crossbeam to identify exactly when their prospect becomes a customer of their partner. They then uses this intel to “fast follow” and reach out to their prospect immediately after they’ve adopted their partner’s product. By doing so, they’ve increased their annual contract value (ACV) by 34%. 


An example of an email Census’s sales rep sends a prospect: 


Hey Jane,


Noticed from Linkedin that you lead data engineering for ACME Corporation, and it looks like the product team there is on Holver — I’m reaching out from the Census team, who is a Holver partner.


Are there user and company attributes living in the data warehouse that teams want in Holver to do deeper analysis? 


For example, if a ‘power user’ is defined in the warehouse and synced to enrich the user profile in Holver, Product and Marketing can now understand how conversion funnels differ between power and non-power users.


Census is a reverse ETL tool that syncs your data warehouse with Holver and other business applications, without requiring engineering code.


Here’s a short clip on how – would love to hear your thoughts.



Census’ SDR Name



There’s been a lot of discussion about whether or not “outbound is dead”. Crossbeam’s CMO Alex Poulos, Pavilion’s SVP of Marketing and Growth Kathleen Booth, and FullStory’s SVP of Alliances and Partnerships Will Schnabel discussed the topic in front of ~600 revenue leaders at Connector Summit in October. Watch the talk here

Olivia Ramirez 8 min

Cold Outbound Isn’t Dead. Here’s What Sales Leaders Say are the Most Cost-Effective Sales Strategies in 2023.

This just in: the most cost-effective sales strategies in 2023 are inbound, customer referrals, Ecosystem-Led Growth, and cold outbound. But why choose just one? ELG can help you generate higher quality leads that close for all of the above.

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