Over the past decade, many businesses have turned to inbound sales as their go-to method for generating and closing new leads. Outbound sales, which involves a salesperson directly reaching out to potential customers, was once the driving force behind all sales departments. But many marketing and sales experts now deem it a second-rate (if not redundant) strategy for increasing revenue.

But is this the case? Is it not true that countless businesses, especially those with bootstrapped budgets, continue to depend on using a “push” sales strategy to land new customers?

Many financial experts often compare outbound sales to inbound sales through a push/pull comparison. In other words, they describe outbound sales as “pushing” a prospect towards a decision, while inbound sales are “pulling” them in with a smooth lead nurturing strategy that doesn’t create any pressure.

While this may be the case sometimes, the reality is that both methods can be effective when used correctly.

The key to success with both tactics is to understand the appropriate use of each. Outbound sales, like any other business strategy, can be used effectively. Outbound sales can create significant results. But it can’t be done without a clear understanding of what makes up a successful strategy.

Today, let's explore the most important things you need to know about outbound sales to create a good strategy.

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What are Outbound Sales?

The term “outbound sales” refers to a strategy that involves a salesperson reaching out to potential customers, either in person or over the phone, to pitch a product or service.

As the salesperson is directly reaching out to prospects, the process of outbound sales is also often referred to as “cold calling.” This stems from the fact that the salesperson is making contact with a prospect that is new to them. In this respect, it is usually an unfamiliar connection instead of an existing or previous customer.

The traditional method of outbound sales involves a salesperson contacting as many potential prospects as they can, in person or on the phone, to gain an appointment to meet with them face-to-face. From this one-on-one meeting, the salesperson hopes to achieve a sale.

The Sales Cycle

The typical outbound sales process typically involves four key steps. In almost every case, the steps are:

  1. Prospecting
  2. Qualifying
  3. Presenting
  4. Closing

To understand how outbound sales typically work, we must look at each stage.

The first step, sales prospecting, occurs when the salesperson calls or contacts a potential client to introduce themselves and begin to learn about their needs and desires. At this stage, the salesperson is attempting to uncover what the potential buyer is interested in and if there is an opportunity for them to work together.

The next step, qualifying, is when the salesperson uses a variety of questions to gauge whether or not the potential client is a good fit for their product or service. For example, this stage is when the salesperson might ask, “How long have you been in business?” to determine whether this is a viable client for them or not? Generate a list of qualifed leads using a leads scoring software.

In many cases, answering this question may be enough for the salesperson to determine that this is not a good fit client. A salesperson may decide to move on to the next potential client in some situations. In other cases, they may take the relationship one step further and begin to present the value of their product or service.

The third stage, presenting, occurs when the salesperson goes through the product or service as if they were presenting it to a client. This is where the salesperson gets into the product or service details and describes how it will positively affect the client.

The closing stage occurs when the salesperson can solidify the sale by convincing the client to purchase their product or service.

This last stage is the most critical for the success of outbound sales. The salesperson must be able to make a strong, clear argument presenting the benefits of their product or service that will be compelling enough to convince the potential client to purchase it.

Why do Outbound Sales Get a Bad Reputation?

Because the salesperson is directly contacting a prospect, it’s easy to see why outbound sales often get a bad reputation. Some people call it “pushy,” while others refer to it as “toxic” or “intrusive.”

The truth is that outbound sales can be among the most powerful ways to generate new leads—it’s just a matter of how you use it.

The major problem with outbound sales is when a salesperson uses a “cold calling” approach. When a salesperson begins by asking for a meeting by simply leaving their contact information and refusing to answer questions, it’s easy to see why the prospect will feel threatened. In this kind of situation, the prospects may feel that they are being attacked and are forced to either politely decline or disconnect.

While the traditional “cold-calling” approach to outbound sales can be a big turn-off for potential clients, the good news is. There are many other ways to use outbound sales to generate new leads.

Possible Approaches to Outbound Sales

Live Chat

While cold calling is one of the most traditional ways to use outbound sales, it's far from the only way to use it. One of the most effective methods for outbound sales is live chat.

Live chat is one of the most effective ways to reach out to potential clients because it’s an online medium that’s more informal. Instead of relying on a list of written questions, live chat is more of an open-ended conversation. By letting the conversation flow naturally, the salesperson can pick up on clues such as body language and responses to the questions they ask. These clues are crucial in determining whether or not this is a good match for your product or service.

On the other hand, if the prospect isn’t interested in your product or service, they can simply walk away. This is far easier to do in the online world than in the “real world", so that's something you must prepare for.

Social Media

The use of social media is one of the most effective tactics for outbound sales. There are many different platforms that you can use to reach out to potential customers.

The first step is to evaluate the platforms your target audience is most active on. While Facebook is the most popular platform, there are other platforms that your target audience might be using. Once you have chosen the platforms, you can engage with your target audience. You can ask questions, share information, or even ask for leads.

This stage aims to begin the conversation and determine if your product or service is a good fit for them. If so, you can continue the conversation and move on to the next stage.

tips-for-outbound-sales

Connect with Existing Customers and Get Referrals

Another effective way to use outbound sales is to reach out to current customers and get them to refer your business to their network. You may be able to get a new lead by reaching out to these customers and asking them to refer your company to someone they know.

There are two strategies you can use to do this. The first is to ask your customers directly to refer you to someone in their network. The second is to ask them if they know anyone that would be a good fit for your business.

While this may seem simple, you should be prepared for the possibility that your customers may not be willing to help out. There are many reasons why your current customers might not be able to refer you to someone.

Conduct Webinars

Another popular way to use outbound sales is to run webinars. Webinars are online seminars or conferences where you present to your target audience.

Webinars are a very effective way to deliver your message because you can directly pinpoint your potential customers. You can also use webinars to reach a much larger audience than a live chat.

Reach Out to Website Visitors

Another effective way to use outbound sales is to reach out to site visitors. If you are a web-based business, you simply need to set up a system that allows you to capture site visitors' contact information. This information allows you to reach out to these visitors with a sales message.

The goal of this approach is pretty straightforward: you are trying to convince visitors to your site to sign up for your product or service. However, it is not without its challenges.

The major challenge with this method of outbound sales is that you need to convince the visitor to take the action you are asking of them. Some people will purchase your product or service right away. Others will need more persuading before they are willing to purchase.

How to Create Your Strategy

You should take three steps to create an effective outbound sales strategy.

1. Identify Your Target Market

You cannot have an effective outbound sales strategy unless you know who you are trying to reach. In the business world, it is sometimes referred to as the “target market.”

The first step is, to be honest with yourself. You need to understand who your target market is—not what you think it is. Once you have identified your target market, you can move on to the next stage.

2. Determine Your Target Market’s Pain Points

The next step is to identify the pain points that your target market is experiencing. Once you have determined their pain points, you can develop a strategy to help them solve their problems.

3. Develop Your Strategy

When you’ve done the research and know what you need, it should be easy to find the best approach for your products and services. You can then develop a strategy for your outbound sales based on that.

The Bottom Line

There are many ways to use outbound sales to generate leads. Each strategy is effective, so it’s up to you to choose the approach that works best for you.

While you should use the appropriate strategy for your business, you should also choose the outbound sales strategy you are the most comfortable with. For some, live chat is an excellent way to conduct outbound sales. Others may be more comfortable working via email or phone.

If you’re looking for the best sales engagement platform, you’re in the right place! OutReachly is the best software to find, nurture, qualify & convert prospects into leads. We can help you get reliable information from various forms of social and build a strong list of prospects! Contact us today to learn more and get started!

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