An Ultimate Guide to Outbound Sales in 2022

outbound sales
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Outbound sales are one of the longest-serving sales practices that continues to stay relevant in contemporary sales practice and discourse.

Contrary to the popular beliefs that outbound sales have become redundant and bounced out of the spotlight by inbound sales techniques, the use of outbound sales still gives you a chance at closing deals and increasing sales.

Regardless of the new trends and practices that sales teams use to achieve sales today, none of these can ever take the place of outbound sales techniques in sales generation.

You know as they say “old is gold,” you cannot take out the practice of sales calling, pitching, and follow-ups from the sales process. Outbound sales are built on the premise of proactiveness and relationship building – considering how sales reps have to take the first step to reach out to the customers.

 what is outbound sales

Even when you can increase your brand awareness and gain leads faster with inbound sales techniques, you still need to use outbound sales techniques to reach out to these leads, connect with them and build relationships with them.

If you have questions or doubts about how you can adopt outbound sales techniques to achieve sales in these present times, how to generate leads with outbound sales? And how to optimize the outbound sales process for maximum ROI?

Then we have created this guide for you. Keep reading!

Table of Content

  • What are Outbound sales?
  • Outbound sales vs. Inbound sales.
  • What are the benefits of Outbound sales to your sales team?
  • What is the Outbound sales process?
  • How to build an effective Outbound sales system?
  • Common Outbound sales techniques to adopt.
  • Essential Outbound sales tools
  • Best Practices for Outbound sales

What are Outbound sales?

Outbound sales are the process of reaching out to potential customers to build relationships with them, pitch business solutions, and close deals.

 outbound sales meaning

It takes a proactive approach to reach out to customers and build relationships with them to encourage sales and customer retention.

A distinct feature of outbound sales is that you are taking the first approach to reach out to people who have shown interest in your products or services to generate leads and maintain constant communication with them after this to convert them to customers.

Cold calling and emailing are the most popular examples of outbound sales. However, this has evolved into email marketing, social selling, and other communication channels to create an omnichannel approach. Find the difference between inside sales and outside sales.

Who conducts Outbound sales?

what are outbound sales

Depending on the type of company, the market, or the structure of the sales organization, Outbound sales can be performed by various sales professionals that fall into four main categories.

1. Sales Development Reps (SDRs)

Sales development reps are responsible for owning the outbound sales prospecting process by regularly making cold calls and sending cold emails to potential customers. They help screen and nurture prospects to create a list of sales-qualified leads for account executives.

2. Business Development Reps (BDRs)

Business development reps have responsibilities that are similar to that of the sales development reps. In some companies, BDRs serve as a link between sales and marketing teams to develop business opportunities with potential customers and refer them to the reps that are in charge of closing deals.

3. Lead Development Reps (LDRs)

Lead development reps are responsible for supporting inbound sales operations by contacting qualified sales prospects that have requested to be contacted by the sales teams. They mostly handle prospects that have visited their company’s website, downloaded content, or subscribed to the mailing list.

4. Account Executives (AEs)

Account executives are senior sales professionals that create sales presentations, conduct demos, send proposals, handle prospects’ control, and ultimately close deals. They support outbound and inbound sales operations. Check out the top difference between inbound vs outbound marketing.

What are the most important outbound sales metrics?

It is important to track and monitor the progress and result generated from using Outbound sales techniques. To do this, sales organizations use some of the many performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of the Outbound sales.

 outbound sales call script sample

Although the Outbound sales metrics can vary from one organization to another, there are some very important metrics that you must always measure to get the true performance of your sales operations. They include:

  1. Sales Cycle Time: This metric measures on average, how long it takes to move prospects through the sales cycle from lead to closed deal (customer).
  2. Calls to Close Ratio: This tracks the average number of calls that a sales rep needs to make to close a deal.
  3. Cost per Opportunity: This measures the calculated cost of generating a single sales opportunity.
  4. Lead Conversion Rate: This metric measures the number of qualified leads that convert to customers (make a purchase).
  5. The Average Deal Size: This metric calculates the average size of your sales deal to determine how much you will likely spend to generate a sales opportunity and still be profitable.

Outbound sales vs. Inbound sales

Inbound sales are the process of connecting and attracting leads with the use of content marketing SEO, content campaigns, and social media, while, Outbound sales involve reaching out to the leads via cold calling, cold emailing, etc., to get them to consider your brand.

The main difference between inbound and outbound sales is their approach to lead generation, which is very similar to the push and pull techniques.

The Inbound sales process involves developing compelling and engaging content to pull the customers toward them. The marketing team develops strategies to attract and grab the attention of potential customers with the use of social media, content marketing, etc.

While the Outbound sales process involves pushing a message or communication across to a broad audience, who sometimes might be uninterested in your product or service.

In inbound sales, customers find you and reach out to you while, in Outbound sales you find customers and reach out to them.

What are the benefits of Outbound sales to your sales team?

outbound sales strategies

As emphasized in the earlier section of this guide, Outbound sales use a highly targeted outreach to connect with qualified sales leads and drive sales.

In this section, we will identify some of the ways Outbound sales can benefit your sales teams.

1. Ability to target decision-makers

Outbound sales empower sales teams to aim directly at high qualified leads and decisions makers, who have the authority to influence the purchase decision.

During the research process, the Outbound sales team identifies the decision-makers in their list of leads and reaches out to them to achieve sales.

2. It gives room for feedback

When you make outbound sales calls, you can easily interact with your prospects and get their feedback directly without the long processes of inbound sales.

With Outbound sales, a yes or no answer to your calls or emails can help you formulate real-time feedback that you can use to improve your future calls, emails, and sales pitch.

3. It opens door to more opportunities

Outbound sales campaign allows you to connect with your prospects, interact with them and study some of their activities to identify new opportunities that you can explore.

When you communicate with your prospects and listen to their comments, displeasures, and likes, that way you can identify new challenges that you can solve with your products or services.

4. Generate leads with lesser costs

With the outbound sales process, you can develop working strategies that will help you generate leads without spending the extra costs or fees.

outbound sales representative

As compared to inbound sales, where you might have to outsource your content marketing, SEO, and social media promotion tasks to independent agencies at extra cost, in Outbound sales, your sales reps only have to develop and make use of in-house resources to reach your target audience.

5. It helps you control the pace of your sales cycle

Outbound sales allow you to gain control over your sales pipeline and determine how long you want to spend warming up a lead before selling to them.

Unlike inbound sales where you have no idea how long it will take for your prospects to contact you, you can make your own decisions with an outbound sales strategy.

What is the Outbound sales process?

The outbound sales process is a series of steps that a sales team or professional takes to turn a lead into a paying customer. It refers to the list of activities that a sales rep must perform to move prospects through the sales cycle.

 outbound sales strategy

Following a strong outbound sales process will enable you to close deals time after time to achieve sales success. 

The following are some of the proven frameworks that you should follow to attain success with your outbound sales strategies.

Step 1: Identify your leads

In this first stage, you should consider asking yourself important questions about the people (leads) that you will be reaching out to.

Ask questions like – Who are you selling to? What problems are they facing that make their prospects? And How can you help them?

Your answers to these questions will help you understand how best to frame your marketing and sales efforts and messages to convince your target audience to buy from you.

Step 2: Lead generation

Now that you have a clear understanding of your target audience, their challenges, interest, and goals, the next step is to develop a lead generation strategy to determine where and how you will get your leads.

Outbound lead generation involves updating your contact list to fill your pipeline. You can generate leads in the following ways;

  1. Using outbound sales software.
  2. Generate leads manually – by attending events to network and get their contact details or through online research.
  3. By outsourcing to an independent lead generation agency.
  4. Lastly, by buying a leads database.

Step 3: Sales outreach and qualification

The next line of action is where you begin the main task of the sales process. This is the time when your sales reps begin to contact your leads via cold calls, cold emails, social selling, or face-to-face conversations.

While doing this, your sales reps must also begin to qualify leads by separating qualified leads (leads that are more likely to make a purchase) from unqualified ones (those that won’t buy from you) to help you determine the leads to follow up with or set aside.

Step 4: Set up making sales calls and meetings

The fourth step is to get down to the real business. Now that you have a list of qualified prospects that have pain points, interests, and goals that your products or services can help them solve/achieve, it is time to start calling them to present your business offerings.

This might involve a live demo of your software, a meeting with the business executives, or simply a call to discuss the features and benefits of your product or service.

The length of time it takes to close the deal depends on your target audience and the industry.

Step 5: Closing the deal

If the sales meetings and calls are successful, you can officially seal the deal by getting their payment. That way you have successfully converted your lead into paying customers.

Although this is not the end as there are still a lot more activities that go on after you gain a new customer, for now, your outbound sales process has yielded a positive result.

How to build an effective Outbound sales system?

 outbound sales representatives

In the previous section, we took you through some of the important processes to follow to achieve success in your outbound sales success.

However, to successfully follow those processes, some things have to be in place to help your sales team perform to their capabilities. 

The following are the three important steps that will help you build a profitable outbound sales process.

1. Build the right sales team

The first step to attaining success with your sales techniques is by getting the right sets of people with the right skills working together to achieve the common goal.

You must consider hiring people who have the potential to be efficient outbound salespeople with the appropriate skills and attitude to work. Having these kinds of people on your team will help achieve your sales goals.

You should also consider hiring more than one outbound salesperson to give room for growth.

2. Create your buyer personas

Buyer personas are a fictional representations of your potential customers. It usually contains their demographic information – age, career, job title, educational background, race, gender, etc.- their pain points, interests, and goals.

It’s not enough to have an idea of your target audience, you must create a detailed description of who they are, what they need, their financial capacity to buy your products, and their authority to help your sales efforts.

3. Craft your value proposition

What is your brand promise and value to your customers? What do customers stand to gain from using your products or services? And How do you intend to live up to these promises?

The above questions are important for you to understand how you can connect with your customer and propose your values to them.

People are keen on results and values, if you plan to get their attention from outbound sales, you need to give them something they can’t reject.

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Common Outbound sales techniques to adopt

There are several ways to go about your outbound sales. In this section, we will be focusing on the three (3) main techniques to focus on to achieve sales.

1. Cold Calling

Cold calling is the process of making unsolicited calls to an ideal target customer to sell your products or services either by phone or in person.

It is an essential part of any outbound sales campaign. Although it has been highly criticized by sales professionals for its redundancy and obsoleteness

While some of this can be partially true in the sense that you might have to make cold calls to people who might not even be interested in your product and get ignored by them, if done right and paired with other inbound strategies, cold calling can help you generate surprising revenue.

Consider the following cold call tips;

  1. Don’t use monotone or overly scripted speech to avoid sounding like a robot.
  2. Choose your words correctly and act very intentionally about helping them solve a problem.
  3. Be easy, gentle, and act based on their moods – you don’t want to start selling to someone who’s sounding so sad or angry on the phone.

2. Cold emailing

Cold emailing is a less intrusive alternative to cold calling.

Since the business environment runs on emails, sales reps send cold emails to their target customers to generate leads and introduce your products or services to your clients with the hope of selling to them.

Considering some of the setbacks that sales reps face with sending cold emails like reduced feedback on the sales pitch, low open rate, etc., some organizations have adopted the cold calling + cold emailing approach to increase the chances of getting a response from the customers.

Here’s a sample;

  • Day 1: Cold call and leave a voicemail
  • Day 1: Cold email to request a follow-up
  • Day 3: Email follow-up
  • Day 5: Phone follow-up
  • Day 7: Email follow-up
  • Day 9: Quick call with the prospect
  • Day 9: Thank-you email with additional information

3. Social selling

 what is considered outbound sales

Social selling is the process of finding, connecting, and interacting with prospects and customers on social media networks.

Social media selling provides sales professionals with the opportunity to engage with their prospective customers directly on social media without having to make cold calls, send cold emails, or even create a buying list.

Essential Outbound sales tools

Outbound sales tools help your sales team save time and improve their performance. Although you can simply create a spreadsheet to start the process, your sales teams will be more productive when you choose and use the right outbound sales software.

While there are several tools available on the market for sales teams to choose from, the following five (5) tools are important to keep your sales team and process organized, monitor your progress and performance, and improve communication within your team.

1. Outbound Sales CRM

outbound sales calling

Considering the various process and the timeline required to carry out our Outbound sales, you must use a sales CRM tool to help you compile and manage your list of qualified contacts and connections to help you automate and monitor your activities.

Consider using CRM tools like Sloovi Outreach.

Sloovi Outreach is an all-in-one CRM platform that enables your sales teams to smash sales targets, reduce costs, and improve sales productivity by tracking your daily sales workflow, creating customized and intuitive reports, scheduling more meetings, and prioritizing leads with dynamic Smart Views.

2. Sales Intelligence tools

 sales outbound

Sales intelligence tools help you generate insights on your leads and help you make informed sales decisions.

After you generate leads, you can use sales intelligence tools to gather the information that will help you determine which of the leads are sales-qualified leads and are worth pursuing. These tools provide information on their companies, contact details, and their revenue.

Consider using tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator for B2B teams on LinkedIn, DiscoverOrg for companies that need detailed sales intelligence, etc.

3. Contact Information tool

 inbound and outbound sales

Contact information tools are specially designed to help you find and manage your contact list.

Consider tools like Hunter.io for teams looking to save money, RocketReach for companies in need of integrations, UpLead for businesses looking to improve their database functionality, and ReachHub for finding targeted leads on LinkedIn.

4. Sales Communication platforms

 outbound sales techniques

Sales communication platforms are used by sales teams to plan, control and manage their entire communication with their prospects and customers.

Considering the various form of communication that sales teams engage in with their prospects before converting them to paying customers, they must use a powerful communication platform with sales automation features.

Consider using platforms like Outreach for companies looking to improve sales engagement, and Prospect.io for sales teams looking for flexible pricing.

5. Social tools

 outbound sales definition

Considering how modern outbound sales teams have integrated social media selling into their outbound sales practices. It becomes necessary for them to use social tools to help them manage their social media activities.

Consider using tools like HootSuite to help you manage your content-sharing schedule across various social media platforms and Sproutsocial for complete social media management.

Best Practices for Outbound sales

Now that you have a good understanding of what outbound sales are and the techniques as well as processes required to make your outbound sales efforts successful, it is also important that you are aware of the several outbound sales best practices required for an efficient process:

1. Be helpful to your target customers

The key to achieving success in your outbound sales is by being helpful to your prospects. 

Ensure you offer value when communicating with your prospects as this will help you win them over.

2. Take advantage of referral sales

From the earliest days of marketing to date, word of mouth and referral sales remains relevant and helpful. 

After closing the deal with a customer, consider asking them to refer you to some of their connection that might need your products or services.

3. Use an omnichannel approach

An effective outbound sales strategy engages prospects from multiple channels. This way when you don’t get a response from them on one channel, you can use another channel to reach out to them.

4. Create call scripts or email templates

The sales process can be overwhelming. To simplify the process, create sales call scripts for your cold calls and email templates for your cold emails to guide you when interacting with your prospects.

5. Automate as much as possible

It can be a bit difficult to handle everything by yourself/manually. Consider using sales automation tools to automate some of the tasks to help you create time for other demanding tasks.

Final Thoughts

Outbound sales require a lot of work to develop and achieve success with an effective sales strategy.

You need to put so much in place – the right processes, a lot of information on your prospects, the structured system, and the right tools and techniques for your outbound sales strategies to yield the desired results.

While doing all this could seem like a lot of work, you stand to benefit so much when you do things the right way.