Outbound sales is a sales tactic where sales representatives reach out to potential customers through calling and other sales channels.
This means a seller is engaging potential customers to see if they are interested in their product or service. This is the opposite of inbound sales, where sales reps are tasked with engaging prospects who have already expressed interest by filling out a website form or even signing up.
Who Performs Outbound Sales?
Sales Development Reps (SDRs)
Sales development reps, sometimes referred to as business development reps or appointment setters, are tasked with booking meetings. They are generally working a list of accounts with the goal of getting them on a call and eventually, into a meeting.
Account Executives (Closers)
Many early stage companies even have account executives running their own outbound sales process. In this case, account executives are tasked with booking meetings and closing potential customers.
This is a less efficient process because your team isn’t specialized in specific steps of the sales funnel. If you have a smaller sales team, having account executives run both sides of the funnel can be a great place to start and you can always transition into a more specialized sales process down the road.
Outbound Sales: B2B vs B2C
You don’t necessarily have to sell to businesses to run outbound sales. There are many B2C outbound sales processes, although there are some big differences.
Outbound Sales for B2B
Outbound sales for business to business (B2B) companies generally consists of SDRs working a list of companies or accounts with the goal of getting in touch with a decision maker.
Getting in touch with decision makers at large corporations is a difficult task. To make up for this, the vast majority of outbound sales teams are selling expensive packages. In many cases, the low end can be anywhere from $10k - $30K, while the high end can be in the seven or eight figures.
Outbound Sales for B2C
Sales reps working for business to consumer (B2C) companies are generally different in 2 major ways: deal size and deal volume. A few examples are insurance policies, solar panels, and timeshares.
These all have smaller deal sizes than most B2B products so it requires more output from the sales team, meaning more calls per day.
Outbound Sales Channels
Cold calling is the most well known outbound sales tactic but there are a whole host of tactics that you can implement to booked meetings. Here are some of the most common:
You likely don’t need an explanation here but just in case you are new to this, cold calling is the process of reaching out to cold prospects by phone. It’s a challenging task but for the teams who implement it well, it can be an amazing way to market and scale your business.
Similar to cold calling, cold email includes the cold outreach to prospects but in this case it's through email. Unlike cold calling, cold email is more technical. There are all kinds of tactics and practices that go into getting a response from a cold email, many of which take time to master.
If you’d like to learn more, we recommend checking out our cold email checklist here.
Social Selling (LinkedIn & Twitter)
LinkedIn and other social networks, like Twitter, have become extremely popular among outbound sales teams. Instead of a call or email, you simply send a direct message (DM). Unfortunately, most social networks have engagement limits so you’ll be forced to engage at a lower volume. This is why it’s best to use social networks as a last resort.
Tools for Outbound Sales
Data & Prospecting Software
Just like all sales, outbound sales starts with data. If you don’t have a list of leads or you don’t have their contact information, you won’t be able to run sales at all.
This is why behind every successful outbound sales team is a world class prospecting software like LeadLoft.
Prospecting software allows your SDRs to uncover contact information, build targeted lists of prospects, qualify leads, and even prioritized accounts.
Sales Engagement Platform (SEP)
Outbound sales relies on rapid execution of actions like calls, emails, and more. This is why a new category has emerged in sales known as Sales Engagement. Unlike CRMs, Sales Engagement Platforms are focused on helping your team to execute rapidly and drive results. Some even replace CRMs altogether allowing your team to approach sales more holistically under a unified set of tools.
If you’re actively looking to implement a sales engagement process, you can learn how sales engagement works here.
Activity Tracking Software
The last piece of your outbound sales software stack is activity tracking software. This can sometimes be a CRM or a Sales Engagement Platform but the goal is to know who you’ve engaged and to automatically track all communication. This allows management to get a clear overview of their team, their team's activity, and can even help with sales training.
Activity tracking software is important because it helps you to diagnose problems within your sales funnel. Are you missing your weekly goal for meetings booked? Check if your SDR hit their call and email metrics. If they're short, this could be why you're short on meetings.
Features You Need for Outbound Sales
Outbound sales can be as complex or as simple as you’d like but at the end of the day, there is a clear set of features that your team will need to be successful. We cover them below.
Daily dials are an extremely common tactic for sales teams and automated dialers are an easy way to ensure your team can meet quotas. Some of this automation includes features like click to call, dialing automation, and other advanced dialing tools.
It’s also important to ensure your team can get an overview of who they're calling. If you use a tool like LeadLoft, you’ll get an overview of the contact and company you are calling every step of the way.
Manually sending emails is an exhausting process so many teams turned to email automation software. This allows your team to track open rates, response rate, and even bounce rate. You can also use them to automatically follow up with prospects who did not respond to your initial email.
Automated Email Personalization
Sending “Hi there” or even “Hello,” is a terrible way to introduce yourself in a cold email. You want to be sure you’re opening with saying their first name at the very least. Tools like MailShake and LeadLoft can personalize the first name in bulk using automated personalization. This means that every email that goes out, feels personal to the individual who receives it. You can even take this a step further by personalizing company names and even referencing a unique location or industry.
Leaving voicemail messages during outbound sales can be an extremely time-consuming task. If we do some back of the envelope math and assume your SDR is leaving 80 voicemails in a day, 2 minutes per voicemail, that's a little more than two and a half hours per day of just leaving voicemails! If you are looking to accelerate this, you can use software that features voicemail drop capabilities like DialPad.
With voicemail drops, you are able to leave a long voicemail message with a single click, saving your team hours every day.
Hopefully by now you have a great understanding of what outbound sales is all about. There’s no arguing about the effectiveness and there are a ton of tools you can use to scale outreach and automation. Just be sure to balance personalization and automation. Remember, prospects are always more likely to respond when a message or voicemail feels unique to them. Sometimes, just spending another 2 minutes to research a prospect can make all the difference.
If you are setting up an outbound sales process, feel free to get in touch with our team here. We’ll be sure to get your team set up so you can hit the ground running with a world-class sales engine.