What are Outbound Sales: definition and stages

As opposed to inbound sales, where sales agents expect leads to initiate interest and ask about a service or product, outbound sales are more proactive. It’s presumed that a prospect has no information about the product or has barely heard of it. The outbound sales reps’ job is to present the potential client with a solution they have not considered yet.

What are outbound sales?

Outbound sales are a sales process in which a sales assistant starts communication with a potential customer from their end. The primary contact is usually established by arranging cold calls or sending cold emails to potential clients (commonly referred to as prospects or leads in sales). Contact details are usually taken from a phone directory or prospect lists created with tools like an email finder.

inbound vs. outbound
Source: Waypost Marketing

Now that we’re done with the outbound sales definition let’s consider the steps it consists of. They are:

1. Outbound prospecting (lead generation)

Lead generation, also known as prospecting, is a method of accumulating contact data of potential new customers. Before diving into it, it’s essential to have a clear view of your target audience. Find answers to these questions: What types of businesses are you targeting? Who makes decisions about your service or product in these organizations? Do you have a buyer persona

Leads can be generated in several ways: 

Any additional data collected (especially in the case of outbound prospecting from LinkedIn) can be used to filter leads and personalize your emails and offers.

2. Cold outreach

Outbound sales calling is a classic example of cold outreach methods. But these days, cold emails are a more popular outbound sales strategy. When composing them, you should try to make your letters short, consistent, personalized, and relevant to your leads’ needs and pain points.

Outbound sales reps often follow up with their prospects half a dozen times when cold emailing (a sequence that can be automated without losing the human feel). It’s vital to introduce one clear call to action (CTA) in every letter. Power words are also a common method to improve open and reply rates for cold emails.

As we’ve mentioned, any additional data, most commonly collected on social media, can be used to boost the chances of converting a cold lead. Outbound sales representatives can even go as far as to use these details for creating tailored sales scripts and marketing offers. 

In some situations, business offers can be made in real-time without the need for a sales assistant. For instance, a user publishes a post on social media that they need a last-minute dress reservation for a night out. They can be targeted by a business on the next street simply by responding to the post in real-time with a bonus or a discount offer. If this cold lead turns into a buying customer, then the outbound sale turns into a closed deal.

3. Lead qualification, demos

You turn a cold lead into a prospect when, having received a message about your service or product, they take interest and agree to accept a sales call. This is a standard stage of many sales funnels in which outbound sales representatives perform a product presentation. 

sales funnel and lead's journey
A typical sales funnel

The first sales call is often the first live communication with the lead. So it’s essential to be equipped with relevant information about them and have a flawless demo for that prospect type. 

Discovering more about the lead and their business as they advance through the sales funnel can help salespeople offer a more tailor-made proposal and enhance the probability of closing the deal. Ask about their pains and difficulties and why they chose to communicate with you. Let them speak out and try to understand what it would take for them to become your client. It’s necessary to distinctly outline the next steps at the end of the outbound sales call.

4. Closing the deal

This step refers to any late-stage actions that follow as a deal comes to a close, and you are about to turn a lead into a new client. It varies from business to business and may involve preparing a quote, discussions of the offer, upgrading from Freemium to Premium, etc. Eliminate any choice difficulties in this stage. Give a special offer and make it easy for leads to sign a new agreement or upgrade their account. Be determined to acquire them as clients. 

5. Reaching customer success

At this point, you have succeeded in landing a new customer. Now it’s your turn to fulfill your promises, give your new clients the best imaginable experience, and support them. Once you have pleased your customers, ask them if they have colleagues or partners that may be interested in your services as well. Have your client refer new leads to you, as this helps find new business opportunities.

Wrapping it up

These are the essential stages of an outbound sales funnel. Observe, measure, and take advantage of any progress at every stage. Small advances in one part of the funnel can have a powerful impact on the number of new deals you close every month. 

Having a clearly outlined, dynamic, repeatable, and scalable outbound sales funnel is one of the main keys to success.

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