How to Build a Solid Outbound Sales Strategy
Outbound sales is a strategic approach to winning more business and dominating markets. It’s a highly efficient strategy if you want to spark the interest of your ideal clients and persuade them to purchase your offers.
For sales outreach to be effective, you need a solid plan with clear objectives and innovative strategies.
In this guide, we’ll take you through a step-by-step process to build a compelling outbound sales plan that’s uniquely tailored to your business.
Let’s get started!
What Is Outbound Sales?
Outbound sales is a set of outreach practices where a sales representative initiates conversations with targeted prospects to try and convert them into buyers. In B2B, this proactive approach involves a variety of strategies and mediums — including cold calling, cold emailing, LinkedIn outreach, paid advertising, and more.
One important thing to note is that target clients in outbound sales don’t have any previous contact with the company. They don’t know what it’s offering and which solutions it’s helping others solve. That’s why choosing leads that fall within a company’s identified target market and conveying the value proposition clearly to them is crucial.
Inbound Sales vs. Outbound Sales
Although both inbound and outbound sales aim to attract qualified leads and increase sales, there are quite a few dissimilarities between the two strategies both in execution and results.
The main difference is that in outbound sales, the sales rep will be the one initiating contact. On the flip side, inbound leads often come after consuming a valuable piece of content and deciding to contact the company.
Here are a few other differences:
Outbound sales attracts prospects that haven’t had any prior contact with the company. This means these targeted clients may not always be interested in the offer and aren’t always of the highest quality.
Because leads will be the ones doing the outreach, inbound sales usually pulls better prospects that have a higher chance of converting if well-engaged throughout the sales cycle.
Marketing and Sales Channels
Outbound sales leverages mediums where initiating contact with identified prospects is possible. For example, cold emailing, cold calling, LinkedIn InMail messages, or direct mail.
Inbound sales uses mediums to attract the largest amount of targeted leads to the sales funnel. That includes SEO and organic search, website blogs, social media marketing, etc.
Cost and Timing
Outbound sales can cost more or less depending on the competitiveness of the industry. On average, outbound strategies will be more expensive for your company — however, you’ll see tangible results much faster.
An inbound sales strategy will take a lot of time and effort to start attracting leads. Businesses need to create a lot of valuable content and promote it across different channels to start seeing new leads. So even though the cost may be lower, the duration it takes to get your first deal with an inbound strategy is far from ideal.
4 Undeniable Benefits of Outbound Sales
Companies have been leveraging outbound sales for decades due to the outstanding benefits it has to offer. This strategy has been a guaranteed way for any business to make a name for itself in the market and keep up with the competition.
Here are four undeniable benefits of outbound sales:
Better Lead Quality
Outbound sales tactics are an excellent way to attract high-value prospects. By developing an accurate ICP for the company, sales reps can be more selective about who to reach out to and through which channel.
This can ultimately result in better sales performance including a higher engagement rate and more conversion rates — as well as a more efficient use of resources.
Shorter Sales Cycle
Because outbound sales involves actively reaching out to specific prospects, the whole sales cycle tends to be shorter. You won’t be waiting for potential customers to stumble upon your sales message. Instead, you’ll promote your products and services as the perfect solution to their challenges.
All of that is going to help you guarantee a shorter timeline for the sales journey. Outbound sales gives you control over the duration of the sales cycle and will help you hit your sales targets more consistently.
Flexible Growth and Scalability
This one is pretty straightforward — outbound sales strategies offer more opportunities for growth and scalability.
With the right tools and resources, your SDRs can reach out to a high volume of prospects within a short period of time. As your business continues to expand, you can scale up your outbound efforts accordingly to serve more clients. For example, you can increase the size of your sales team through hiring or outsourcing — or you may leverage advanced AI tools for outreach automation.
Process Optimization and Analytics
There’s no better way to enhance performance in any field than insights and analytics. And you won’t find a more effective method for understanding your target clients than to interact directly with them. Due to the nature of outbound sales strategies, you’ll be able to do both to refine your sales strategies and boost sales.
Since outbound sales is all about direct communication with potential buyers, it will provide you with immediate and valuable feedback. You’ll be able to identify what interests your prospects and why, how you can best place your offers to appeal to them, and how to handle all objections throughout the sales process.
How to Build an Outbound Sales Team
An outbound sales strategy can only work if you have the right sales team. Here are four important tips to help you build one:
1. Recruit the Right Talent
Before you even think about how you want to approach outbound sales and what strategies you’re going to use, you must have the right people working by your side.
In addition to general sales knowledge, outbound sales require consistent communication with prospects, patience, positivity, and a growth mindset. You want your SDRs to be able to handle rejection and persist through it on a day-to-day basis. Any other core or technical skills they can be trained for and learn on the job.
2. Train Your Sales Team
Continuous, comprehensive training for your salespeople is the biggest determining factor for their sales performance when working at your company. Many experienced SDRs have a difficult start when they don’t know a product or service or when they don’t fully understand a specific audience.
Sales reps who have a growth mindset are convinced that they can improve through training and development. All they need is some structured, deliberate practice on sales-specific skills to increase their confidence and feel more prepared.
3. Set Sales Objectives
It’s crucial to establish clear goals for your sales team before each outbound sales campaign. Otherwise, you won’t be able to evaluate your progress and improve on it. Those key performance indicators (KPIs) could be related to the number of calls made, emails sent, meetings booked, or deals closed.
Having clear, tangible goals from the start enables you to track performance and make sure your team is efficiently working towards your business objectives. However, you should always be revisiting your KPIs to ensure that you’re actually monitoring the right metrics.
You must also provide regular meaningful feedback and support to help your team members meet their goals. This might involve tweaking sales scripts that aren’t performing, changing follow-up strategies that aren’t working, or investing in additional tools or resources.
4. Leverage the Right Outreach Tools
With the rise of AI in today’s technology-driven world, there are lots of tools that can take your sales performance to another level. With all the options there are today, enhancing your sales efforts has never been easier.
Outreach software is also meant to increase your sales team’s productivity and help them achieve more in less time. To give you a few examples, many prospecting tools will help you find new leads with their contact details. There is automation software that can reach out to hundreds of prospects and follow up with them. And CRMs that track and score leads based on their interactions are endless.
How to Develop an Outbound Sales Strategy: The 5-Step Process
Here are a few simple steps to elevate your outbound sales approach:
1. What’s Your Target Market?
Your target market includes any individuals or companies that are likely to be interested in what you’re offering and buy from you. A well-defined target market will guide your entire outbound strategy and ensure your efforts are focused and effective.
To develop an ICP, a good place to start is to analyze your current customer base and study your competitors. Both practices can help you get a better understanding of who you’re after. Some of the characteristics you can use for this include industry, company size, job title, and location.
2. What Are Your Main Outreach Channels?
The next important step is to decide on which marketing and sales channels you want to use for outreach. This partly depends on your target industry and the type of leads you’re chasing.
The most popular outbound sales channels are email, phone calls, social media messages, direct mail, and local events. You want to determine the surest way to connect with your ideal prospects based on how easy it is to reach them. For example, a C-level executive might prefer a direct call on the phone, whereas a marketing manager is more likely to respond if you send them an email.
3. What Is Your Sales Message About?
Now that you’ve identified your target prospects and chosen some outreach channels, it’s time to craft a captivating elevator pitch. Your sales message is the way to communicate the unique value your product or service offers.
It should be focused on prominent benefits rather than simple features. You also want it to be concise and relatable to the prospects’ needs and desires. Based on the ICP you developed earlier, you can write an impactful sales pitch that demonstrates the true power of your solution.
As a rule of thumb, your sales pitch should be brief, respectful, and non-spammy. You want to be able to enhance trust and build genuine connections at first sight. And once your sales message is ready, it’s time to launch your outbound outreach campaign!
4. What Is Your Follow-up Strategy?
Following up with target prospects is a critical part of any outbound sales strategy. For instance, 80% of sales require five phone calls or more before the prospect has any interest in finalizing the deal.
There are a million reasons for a prospective buyer not to respond to your initial message — the most popular being they’re simply too busy with their day. Cold prospects are also less likely to respond to people they don’t know considering the amount of irrelevant offers they get every day.
To make your outbound strategy more impactful, you should develop an outreach plan for following up across all channels. Ongoing engagement can turn any cold lead into a loyal, long-term customer for your company.
5. How Will You Measure and Analyze Success?
Getting your outbound sales campaign up and running is only the start. Because chances are, there’s a lot about your sales efforts that you can optimize and improve to make them more impactful.
It’s essential to measure your sales performance on a regular basis while taking into account metrics such as response rate, meeting set rate, and conversion rate. Such data will help you optimize your sales strategy and make informed decisions.
How to Improve Outbound Sales
There are quite a few tactics you can implement to accelerate your outbound sales and increase conversions. The process typically involves incorporating personalization in your outreach, optimizing follow-up practices, implementing A/B testing, and more.
There’s a fine line between annoying prospective buyers and closing deals with them. Personalization is paramount for any outbound sales process as it indicates a deep understanding on your part of the prospect’s needs — which eventually makes your message more appealing. Instead of using generic sales pitches, you want to tailor your delivery to each prospect based on who they are.
Persistence is another crucial element. You must follow up consistently and politely — especially if you don’t get any positive initial responses. However, you should make it clear to every lead that you’re reaching out with good intentions and that you respect their privacy.
Finally, A/B testing is an underrated strategy for enhancing your sales approach and closing better deals. Your sales team will improve by a substantial margin if you make one small change at a time, track your sales funnel, and then refine your sales strategy accordingly.