Let’s face it—your business needs more customers.
When you get more customers, you generate more revenue, accelerate internal growth, and get the opportunity to pave a path to help you achieve all your other business goals.
However, these customers aren’t going to come up out of thin air. If you want them, you’re going to have to get them, and that’s where outbound lead generation comes into play.
Through a combination of different outbound lead generation strategies and tactics, you can reach potential buyers in your target market who have the opportunity to close business with your company. First, you must build brand familiarity and trust. And for a percentage of those prospects who learn to trust what your business has to offer, you can eventually convert them into customers.
In this blog, we’ll cover the following topics:
- What Is Outbound Lead Generation?
- Why Is Outbound Lead Generation Important?
- What Are the Different Outbound Lead Generation Strategies?
- Who’s Involved in an Outbound Lead Generation Team?
- What Does an Outbound Lead Generation Sales Process Look Like?
- Ways to Improve Your Outbound Lead Generation Strategy
What Is Outbound Lead Generation?
Outbound lead generation is a business growth approach where companies actively reach out to potential buyers in their target market and pitch their product or service offerings. More often than not, these potential buyers may or may not know your brand exists, and they may or may not be familiar with the products and services you’re offering. However, they should fit your target demographics and be in a position where closing a sale and securing revenue is possible.
Throughout the outbound lead generation process, sale development representative (SDR) teams can strategically prospect potential sales opportunities, qualify leads to ensure they meet your ideal customer profile, nurture relationships with qualified prospects who aren’t ready to buy yet, and secure sales meetings with decision-makers who are ready to take the next steps in their buyer’s journey.
Why Is Outbound Lead Generation Important?
Outbound lead generation is an important component to a company’s approach to business growth because it:
Maximizes Potential Lead Volume
For starters, SDR teams love outbound lead generation because of its potential lead volume. The only limits are how much time and money you’re willing to spend on your outbound lead generation efforts. If you have the budget and additional time to put towards it, you could reach thousands of decision-makers and, ideally, convert them into long-term, loyal customers.
Reduces the Amount of Time a Lead Spends in the Sales Cycle
B2B companies that practice outbound lead generation often note the opportunities to shorten a lead’s time in the sales cycle. If you spend a significant amount of your time qualifying and nurturing your leads, they’ll be much more likely to close the deal compared to leads that haven’t been contacted in months.
Increases Brand Awareness
Outbound lead generation can be valuable for building brand awareness and familiarity to your business. Even if some prospects don’t interact with your brand or SDRs directly, they can become familiar with your brand and start learning about the products and services you have to offer through email marketing campaign efforts.
Allows You to Gather Research About Your Target Market
Many SDR teams appreciate outbound lead generation for the opportunity to learn more about potential buyers in their target market. For example, if you have five different ideas for how to start a call with a prospect, you can try each of those approaches with hundreds or even thousands of prospects to see what you get the most impact from. Then, you can gather performance data associated with those groups and discover which approach is best, accelerating the outcomes from your outbound lead generation approach.
Empowers You to See What Opportunities Are on the Horizon
Outbound lead generation tends to be more consistent than an inbound lead generation approach. Outbound lead generation gives you and your sales development teams more control over all the variables and you’ll never run out of people you can reach.
What Are the Different Outbound Lead Generation Strategies?
Cold calling may seem like a relic of a strategy for many business owners, it’s still an incredibly effective business growth approach for many industries and target markets. One of the biggest appeals of cold calling is that each call typically takes a small amount of time, but could have a huge impact if it eventually leads to a sale. While a lot of time and work may need to be put towards cold calling, you can get a significant ROI for your business growth efforts.
While cold emailing is similar to making cold calls, it’s often cheaper and much easier to do. With cold emailing, you can reach decision-makers that use email as their primary form of communication. Additionally, you can send sales emails to follow up with prospects who didn’t interact with your initial messages, enrolling them in an automated drip campaign that keeps your brand top of mind. Therefore, if a prospect gains a want, need, or interest in your product or service offerings, your company will be the first solution they think of.
Social Media Outreach
Some outbound SDR teams prefer social outreach as their lead generation strategy of choice. The idea here is to find and reach out to people on social media, identifying prospects that are most likely to purchase from your brand. This is often done through LinkedIn because it’s a professional networking platform designed to connect like-minded individuals with similar wants, needs, and interests.
An Omnichannel Approach
And last but not least, there’s the omnichannel approach, which emcompasses a variation of the outbound lead generation strategies above. Many B2B companies use an omnichannel approach for their outbound lead generation efforts because it can help reach various buyer personas within your target market. However, it’s important to consistently keep your target market top of mind so you can always reach them through the appropriate channels.
Who’s Involved in an Outbound Lead Generation Team?
If you’re building an internal outbound lead generation team, you’ll need to identify people who can serve specific roles. These are some of the most important positions you’ll have in your outbound lead generation department:
- Email marketing specialists: These individuals are responsible for crafting and delivering sales emails that are sent to prospects in your sales pipeline.
- Content creators: These creative experts are tasked with developing eye-catching sales and marketing assets that pique the interest of potential buyers.
- Data and operation analysts: These data specialists create and segment prospect lists for SDRs to reach out to and pitch a company’s product or service.
- Sales development representatives: Sales reps serve on the frontline and are tasked with connecting and building relationships with prospects in the sales pipeline.
- Sales managers: These professionals are in charge of making sure the SDR teams are staying on track with hitting their sales goals and brainstorming new ways to help SDRs get the most impact from their efforts.
Many small to medium-sized businesses don’t have the time, money, or resources to obtain an internal SDR team, so they often look for help from outsourced sales and marketing teams.
What Does an Outbound Lead Generation Sales Process Look Like?
Every business has their own unique approach to outbound lead generation. However, for the most part, every company’s strategy has a similar approach to this:
1. Market Research
Before diving into your lead generation approach, you need to have a better understanding of your target audience; therefore you have to perform market research. This phase of market research and high-level strategy helps you understand which types of people are most likely to buy your products, what your sales funnel looks like, and which channels are going to best accomplish your goals. Once you gain a better understanding of your market, you can begin initial lead generation and finding prospects to fill in your sales pipelines.
Once your business has a preferred approach in mind based on the buyer personas of your target market, it’s time to start prospecting. The prospecting stage of the sales development process is when SDR teams find prospects to fill their sales pipelines. SDR teams can find prospects through various avenues such as purchasing lists from third-party sales prospecting tools, asking for client referrals, or gather contact information from decision-makers at local networking events.
3. Lead Qualification
Once you’ve gathered more information, you can begin lead qualification and lead scoring. When you get lists from sales prospecting software, SDRs can segment the leads you want based on your predetermined ideal customer profile (ICP), such as amount of annual revenue generated, number of full-time employees. However, it’s important that SDRs still follow up with prospects to verify their lead qualifying information.
During initial conversations with prospects, SDRs should take the time to learn about the prospect and what they may be looking for in a product or service provider. This can help SDRs better score the lead and know what products or services to pitch and what they can provide for their business. If a prospect isn’t sales qualified for your company’s offerings, then SDRs can remove them from the sales funnel so they can focus on leads who have an opportunity to close
4. Lead Nurturing
Just because a qualified sales lead isn’t interested today doesn’t mean they’re not going to be interested in the future, making lead nurturing an essential part of the sales development process. Lead nurturing includes making warm phone calls and sending follow up sales emails to build the relationship with the prospect and consistently add value to your business, encouraging the prospect to secure a sales meeting with your business.
5. Setting Sales Appointments
The final stage of the sales development process is to schedule sales appointments between a qualified prospect and a member of your internal sales team. During this sales appointment, the sales executive can present a more targeted pitch to the prospect, encouraging them to close business with your company.
Ways to Improve Your Outbound Lead Generation Strategy
There’s no such thing as a perfect outbound lead generation strategy. However, there are various ways that you can improve it to get more results. If you want to improve your approach to outbound lead generation, it’s important that you apply the following:
Adopt an Omnichannel Approach
For many businesses, the omnichannel approach to lead generation provides the best results. The idea of the omnichannel approach is to integrate the best features of several different outbound lead generation strategies. Rather than spending all your time and money on just cold calling or email, you can use a mix of these strategies for maximum effect.
Seeing and hearing about your brand in multiple different contexts can warm people up to the idea of working with you. On top of that, if you reach out to customers through many different channels, you’ll maximize your impact, ultimately reaching more decision-makers interested in your company.
Focus on Quality Over Quantity
We just emphasized how good it was to reach more people, and to be fair, higher quantity is a good thing with all other factors being equal. However, it’s important to be wary of a common trap that new outbound lead generators fall into: quantity isn’t everything.
Too often, outbound lead generation campaigns fail because the people in charge keep pushing for higher volume without regard for any other variables associated with the campaign. In general, it’s better to emphasize quality over quantity. For example, you’re much more likely to win customers from a pool of 10 highly qualified, highly relevant leads than from a pool of 100 poorly qualified, barely relevant leads. Once you optimize your campaign for more appropriate target demographics, you can scale up your efforts and increase quantity—but quality must come first.
Know Your Target Market Inside and Out
In line with this, your outbound lead generation strategy is only going to be effective if you know your target market well. You can’t reach out to them with overly generic, mass-marketed messaging, or else they’re going to start deleting your emails and blocking your calls. Instead, you need to get inside their heads. What are their biggest priorities? What goals are they trying to accomplish? What are their values and perspectives?
When you better understand these fundamental questions, you can create messages and novel approaches that are better suited to these specific people. Not only will your messaging be more relevant and less likely to end up in a trash can, but you’ll also start the relationship on a warmer note.
Experiment With Different Outbound Lead Generation Approaches
What’s the best possible subject line to put into a cold email? How should you open a cold phone call? There isn’t one right answer. It’s impossible to make overly generic assessments because every brand and every situation is different.
We know some of the fundamentals of how to make outbound lead generation strategies work, but to maximize our impact, we need to experiment. That means trying many different channels and many different strategic messaging variations to figure out what works in a given context. Then, with objective data to measure and analyze, we can make better choices for the campaign in the future.
Consistently Evolve Your Outbound Sales Development Strategy
Outbound lead generation campaigns that remain stagnant for too long are doomed to failure. If you want to keep pace with your top competitors, and if you want to keep increasing your cost efficiency, you need to evolve. That means changing your tactics, investing in new technologies, and eliminating anything that doesn’t add value to your outbound approach.
Collaborate With an Outsourced Lead Generation Company
For starters, work with professionals if you can. It’s entirely possible to build an outbound lead generation and sales team internally, but you’ll need to recruit and hire with care to make sure you have the most skilled and experienced people on your side.
For many businesses, the best approach is to hire an external marketing firm. Marketing firms have access to specialized personnel, vast resources, and collective industry experience, so they can help you plan and execute an outbound lead generation strategy that fundamentally works.
Outbound lead generation is simple—but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It requires a lot of time, money, and sales development expertise to build and sustain a process that yields significant results. Luckily, there are many outsourced sales and marketing firms out there to lend a hand and act as an extension of your internal team.
At Abstrakt Marketing Group, we’ve helped countless B2B companies like yours brainstorm, assemble, and execute outbound lead generation campaigns that result in new sales opportunities. If you’re looking to optimize your current outbound lead generation strategy, or if you’re wanting to build a new sales and marketing approach from the ground up, contact the business growth experts at Abstrakt!
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