Before the digital age and the insurgence of inbound marketing, businesses primarily gained new customers through outbound marketing — also referred to as outbound prospecting, outbound lead generation, and outbound sales.

The goal was to get in front of as many potential customers as possible and hope a considerable percentage of them converted into paying customers. While many companies have traded in these tactics for inbound marketing, 55% of B2B sales reps report using cold outreach as part of their company’s marketing strategy.

But the truth is, a good marketing strategy should include both inbound prospecting and outbound prospecting. While one might have more impact and generate more quality leads than the other, the two combined will offer significant opportunities to grow revenue.

A proactive approach to gaining new customers can increase conversion rates, which is why outbound lead generation should be part of your sales team’s strategy.

But, what is outbound prospecting?

Outbound Prospecting Defined

Outbound Prospecting Defined

Outbound prospecting is a technique many B2B businesses employ to reach out to their prospective customers rather than wait for leads to come to them as inbound leads. It can include cold calling, pay-per-click advertising, in-person networking events, social selling, cold emailing, and more.

There was a time when outbound marketing was more of a spray and pray technique — reach as many people as possible with tv and radio ads, billboards, and door-to-door sales, and hope some of them turned into qualified leads.

The good news is that outbound marketing is more refined than it once was. Now, companies take the time to do careful market research and put together well-defined buyer personas for focused and personalized outreach.

Steli Efti, author of The Ultimate Guide to Outbound Sales, says that outbound lead generation can be effective because it offers things inbound (usually) doesn’t, like:

  • Marketing and sales at your own pace
  • Very targeted outreach
  • Fast feedback and results
  • The ability to truly connect with leads

New technology like Datanyze can help a sales team accumulate high-quality leads and personalize outreach. And customer relations management software (CRM) can help with the automation of cold emailing, often the preferred method of outbound prospecting for quick revenue generation.

The Difference Between Inbound And Outbound Prospecting

The most significant difference between inbound lead generation and outbound prospecting is how contact is initiated.

Even though inbound sales and outbound sales are often presented in opposition to each other the truth is, it doesn’t need to be one or the other. In fact, as long as you have and can maintain sales reps actively seeking out new business, the two work very well together.

The Difference Between Inbound And Outbound Prospecting

Inbound marketing relies on a prospective customer finding your business while they’re seeking out a solution to a problem — like searching on Google. They may land on and read a blog post, sign up for email marketing in exchange for an ebook, and then convert after attending a webinar or a follow-up from someone in your company.

A customer acquired through inbound marketing is often a warm lead, familiar with your company, and more ready to buy. However, inbound marketing strategies like blogging and social media can take months to years to pay for their results. It relies heavily on prospects actively in the market for your solution to sift through a sea of information.

Essentially, inbound sales rely on a good content marketing strategy with multiple funnels that take your customers through the buyer’s journey.

But outbound prospecting is highly targeted. This strategy is considered disruptive and removes the guesswork about where your next lead will come from. With quality leads, a good sales strategy that includes customization and targeting, and salespeople who consistently follow up and close deals, outbound prospecting is a shorter sales process. Think Facebook ads, direct mail, social selling, and phone calls.

You can think of inbound prospecting as more passive while outbound prospecting is more active. This is why it’s a good idea to mesh these two strategies for optimum conversions and sales.  

Is Outbound Prospecting Right For Your Business?

B2B brands and smaller companies without a big budget for content marketing are good candidates for outbound prospecting. Most small businesses don’t always have the luxury of waiting for paid and organic traffic to send leads.

And some niche BTC services like real estate, life insurance, and financial services find outbound sales effective.

As with most things in business you won’t definitively know if something is right for your company without trying it first.

Four Types Of Outbound Sales Prospecting

The list of outbound sales strategies is long. To avoid decision fatigue, below are four proven outbound sales strategies to help you and your team get started.

Cold Calling

You’ll be most successful with cold calling when you show up prepared. Have your homework done on the company and, most importantly, know the basic information of the person you are calling.

The best part about cold calling is that you get to speak directly with decision-makers, and it’s a quick way to build rapport. Introduce yourself fully, lead with pain points and offer your solution. And always remember to end each call with a call to action (CTA).

Check out this cold calling guide for a deeper dive into using cold calling effectively.

Cold Emailing

Cold emailing is similar to cold calling in that the goal is to reach a decision-maker, build a relationship, and offer a call to action.

The advantage of cold emailing over cold calling is that you can reach many people all at once. Email automation allows a small sales team or single business owner to reach more people when time and money are scarce.

The most significant barrier with cold emailing is competing with a busy inbox. Build out an email sequence and test different subject lines until you see your open rates and replies increase.

Social Selling

You might assume social selling is the same as social media marketing, but it’s not! It’s a way for sales professionals to hone in on leads. It’s similar to in-person networking, just online.

LinkedIn is the most widely used platform for social selling. It’s no surprise considering over 50 million companies use it. Since LinkedIn is predicated on being social and relationship-building, unlike cold emailing and calling, it’s important you start slowly by engaging with your prospects before sliding into their DMs with your sales pitch.

Direct Mail

Direct mail might feel like an old-school method of reaching your customers, but when 70% of consumers say it’s more personable than online interactions, you may want to include it in your strategy.

It’s definitely one of the more costly ways to reach your target market. But if it’s within your budget, 90% open rates might be worth the investment.

Putting Together An Outbound Sales Strategy

It’s easy to stretch your company too thin, especially if your resources are limited. This is where picking a method like cold calling, or a combination of cold calling, emailing, and in-person networking will help you stay focused.

Also, decide if you will combine your outbound sales efforts with a content strategy to strengthen your credibility with potential leads. Social proof and educational articles that you can share with your new leads will help build their confidence in you.  

Putting Together An Outbound Sales Strategy

Identify Potential Customers And Compile A List Of Leads

Before compiling a list of high-quality leads, you must first define your target market. First, mapping out a customer persona will help you identify whom to target and then narrow it down.

Once you’ve identified your market, you can begin researching them online. A sales tool like Datanyze will come in handy when searching social channels like LinkedIn and cut down on time spent in research.

Begin Personalized Outreach

Once you’ve amassed a list of qualified leads, it’s time to begin outreach. It’s imperative that you take the time to personalize your outreach. If you’re using cold calling, make sure you’ve got any information you need to personalize the call.

If you’re sending emails, and especially if you’re using a CRM platform for email automation, take advantage of the personalizations and templates inside the tool.

Sell Your Solution

The great thing about outbound sales is that you can share the benefits of your solution directly with the decision-maker — because you took the time during the research phase to find this person.

Measure Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

First, determine which KPIs to track ahead of time: sales calls, demos, conversions, etc. Track these carefully to keep your sales team accountable and provide better direction if you need to pivot your strategy.

If you’ve chosen cold calling as your primary outreach and aren’t getting the results you want, social selling or cold emailing might be better. Tracking your metrics is the only way to know whether to keep doing what you’re doing to try another method.

A Sales Prospecting Tool Like Datanyze Can Help

When winning new customers is the goal, there’s nothing more harmful than reaching out to a new lead and learning you’ve got the wrong contact information. Or worse, you waste hours searching for the contact details of the decision-maker. Gathering accurate data on new leads will help you and your sales team experience more success with outreach.

Correct data is critical for relationship building, and the more information you can learn about your prospects from their social networks, the more it will help your sales reps close deals.

A tool like Datanyze, a B2B lead generation service, can help you quickly and accurately gather data for prospect list building. It can save your team hours building a prospect list — time that can be better used, like forming personal relationships with prospects.

Datanyze can make prospect list building seem less daunting. It automates the process of capturing critical information like phone numbers and emails directly from social profiles like LinkedIn.

With just a few clicks, the Datanyze Google extension can help you build a high-value prospect list. And it doesn’t stop there. Datanyze offers icebreakers that can help you start meaningful conversations with your new prospects.

Saving time and building relationships are what Datanyze is all about. Curious to learn how Datanyze can help your sales team? Book a demo or start your free trial today.