Outbound Sales: Definition, Strategies, and Tips for 2021

Outbound sales have been a popular way to generate leads for many years. Although inbound sales methods are now extremely common as well, when you consider that 89% of marketers say that email is their primary channel for lead generation, it’s clear that outbound sales, and cold emailing specifically, are far from dead.

But what exactly is outbound sales, and what are the best tips for generating more leads and sales?

Read on to find out.

What Is Outbound Sales?

Outbound sales is essentially the equivalent of push marketing: when a business actively goes out and initiates contact with potential customers to sell their product or service.

This is the opposite of inbound sales, which is a process whereby prospects initiate contact  with a business, either by engaging with its content or marketing materials, or by directly inquiring about its offerings.

When it comes to outbound sales, the most common methods are cold calls made by sales reps as well as cold emails sent out to potential leads.

Sales development reps in particular are generally tasked with outbound sales. They will often work from a list of contacts and cold call their way through them. They create the connections that the salespeople later pick up and close.

Lead response reps, on the other hand, are responsible for inbound leads. They may make a lot of outgoing calls or send follow-up emails, but they fall under the umbrella of inbound sales as they only come into play once a prospect has already shown interest. This could take the form of signing up for a newsletter, downloading a white-paper, or attending a webinar, just to name a few examples.

In sum, outbound sales refers to any outgoing sales activity that is not prompted by a prospect’s action and which aims to get them interested in a business’s offering to ultimately close a sale.

What Are the Most Effective Outbound Sales Strategies?

Without a clearly defined sales strategy, your outbound sales initiatives are bound to fail. Although it may sound counterintuitive, being too results-oriented in sales can be detrimental.

If you focus solely on your sales goals and don’t take the time to understand your prospects, you risk losing sales by coming across as too pushy, and you’ll end up wasting everyone’s time. Instead, it’s more effective to work on being process-oriented.

You’re never going to make every sale, but by developing a solid outbound sales strategy, you can build a process that will make more sales than not over the long run. Here are a few ways you can do that:

  • Qualify your leads. Not taking the time to properly qualify your leads prior to reaching out to them is one of the biggest sales mistakes you can make. It may take a bit more work upfront, but making sure that your leads are good candidates for your cold calls or emails will ensure that you don’t waste precious time down the line trying to sell to people who will never convert to sales.
  • Have a clear outreach plan. This is one of the most effective outbound sales strategies that you can have in your arsenal. Have a plan and stick to it. Know when you are going to email or call – and know exactly where you want the conversation to start. Make sure your email drip campaigns are well thought out and plan for multiple possible outcomes.
  • Leverage social media. These days, social media can be an incredible sales tool if used properly. LinkedIn, in particular, is an extremely valuable resource for lead gen and outbound sales. Continuously work to build relationships with qualified prospects, and ensure that you keep detailed notes on your contacts and the conversations you have with them for later reference.

What Are the Best Tips for Improving Outbound Sales?

Growing your outbound sales program is a process that must be constantly refined and polished. Here are a few tips to improve your efforts:

  • Work on your tone. In any sales interaction, you need to strike a careful balance – you should sound confident and knowledgeable, but not arrogant. Be confident in what you’re selling and the business you work for, but be sure to listen to your prospects carefully and focus on being as helpful as possible.
  • Prepare to be rejected. During any outbound sales campaign, you will inevitably face rejection. This is to be expected. – it’s how you deal with that rejection that matters. Don’t take it personally, and don’t let it affect your performance moving forward.
  • Use a potential customer’s name and repeat their words back to them. Even though you’re trying to close as many sales as possible, it’s crucial to personalize every interaction and make your prospects feel heard. Use their name and repeat back their questions and/or concerns (but don’t overdo it) to build rapport and make sure they feel like you care.
  • Listen and don’t assume. Active listening is one of the best skills you can have in outbound sales. Listen to the potential customer’s pain points and show how you can fix them. Address their concerns. Whatever you do, let them take the lead on this one and don’t put words into their mouth.
  • Keep your data clean. Always keep your data clean and up to date. Make notes about the calls that you make. Share emails with your team. The cleaner the data, the easier it is to keep in contact with potential clients or customers. After all, over 80% of sales occur only after 5 follow-up calls.

Outbound sales is not for everyone, but these tips will help get you on your way. Happy prospecting and cold calling!


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