Sales are the lifeblood of business — without a steady stream of money coming in, most organizations can kiss profitability (and their kiesters) goodbye.
Now, while a fair number of businesses rely heavily on innovative inbound sales techniques to keep the customers coming down the sales pipeline, the fact remains that simply waiting for customers to come a-knocking isn’t going to be an ideal strategy for every business. Enter outbound sales: the go-getter’s approach to bringing home the bacon.
Outbound Sales: Defined
Think of outbound sales as a sedulous approach to obtaining customers. Unlike inbound sales, which emphasize methods of bringing customers to you, outbound sales focuses on tracking down potential clients — who might not know about your product or service — and bringing it to them. Simply put, outbound sales is the “push” to inbound sales’ “pull.”
Cold calling is a central component to the outbound sales game, but it’s not the only mode of contact your outbound sales team might use. Specifically, you can employ a combination of cold calling, emailing, social media messaging, gifting, and even direct mail — anything that lets you reach out and engage with those prospects in a direct manner.
Why Outbound Hustling Still Matters
In a world where technology has enabled companies to kick back and bring hordes of customers to their proverbial gates, why is the hustle-focused approach of outbound sales still relevant, and who is it for? The answer to the former is simple — because building steady inbound sales takes time (months to years). Tracking down sales on your own, conversely, is a faster process with a shorter turnaround time.
This, in turn, answers our latter question. The inbound/outbound sales question isn’t a matter of which method is more effective overall, it’s all about which method will best meet the challenges of your specific situation. Outbound sales are particularly useful for companies that require quick results. Any organization or startup that needs to achieve sales velocity in a hurry, will find outbound sales to be a valuable part of their income-generation arsenal.
Even in cases where your company already has steady inbound, integrating outbound sales and adopting a hybrid strategy can help you scale up in a big way. If you ever find yourself thirsty for enough leads to take you to that next level or you’re trying to plan some strategic growth, outbound sales might be the strategy to get you over that hurdle.
Satisfying the Need for Leads
When it comes to B2B outbound sales, your team can’t perform any outreach if they don’t have any potential contacts. That’s why lead generation is part and parcel of every sound sales pipeline. In many cases, it helps to have an in-house lead generation team. They can perform the necessary research to compile your lead lists, based on the factors you deem pertinent in sculpting your customer profiles.
In-house lead generation isn’t the only method available to you, however. You might also decide to pay for a lead database compiled by a third-party, but should be forewarned that their quality and accuracy tends to vary. Lead generation companies are another external source you might turn to for help on leads, as they can provide valuable insights on your target market segments.
Tools of the Outbound Sales Trade
Success in the outbound sales world requires numbers, so the tools your team needs are geared toward casting a wide net around potential leads who are likely to want your products/services. At minimum, you’ll want software solutions to address four major areas:
- Lead Generation/Sales Intel — To gather contact info on prospects you’d like to contact and gather enough information to determine whether or not they’re worth pursuing.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) — These databases track your relationships with clients, the engagements you’ve had with them, etc. This way, you can get an overview of your progress and organize your outbound sales approaches.
- Sales Engagement — You’ll need a sales engagement platform to maximize your outreach efforts and increase the likelihood of getting those sales meetings with key players.
- Communications — A dedicated communications program allows you to step beyond the confines of mere email, with additional features like automation that can make the difference in your sales success.
You might use multiple sales tools to cover your bases, or you might instead opt for software with multi-functionality (which will let your team get trained more rapidly). Platforms exist to cover just about any approach you could think of, so be sure to explore your options and weigh the pros and cons before making your decision.
Meet Your Outbound Sales Team
Within the realm of outbound sales exist two types of reps that are indispensable: the sales development rep (SDR) and the lead response rep or account exec. Your sales development reps are doing the heavy lifting when it comes to outbound prospecting — managing lead lists and starting the process of cold calling or emailing leads. Instead of closing deals themselves, however, they’ll refer those interested leads to your top closers, who can now focus their efforts on the most likely sales.
Your lead response reps are responsible for reaching out the leads that have already demonstrated some demand (by filling out a survey, checking out a blog or one of your videos, etc.) Just like your sales development reps, they’re responsible for creating opportunities that your top account executives can then follow up on, increasing your likelihood of success.
And speaking of B2B sales opportunities, one surefire way to further enhance the efficacy of all your outbound sales efforts is by saving time on your research and removing guesswork from the equation. Data acquisition teams like Leadium can help supercharge your research efforts and lead generation, putting you in the perfect spot to reach out to the right prospects and close deals.