What is Outbound Sales?

What is outbound sales?

The Outbound sales is a process in which a seller or someone on behalf of the seller reaches out to the customer to engage. The “cold calls” initiates the first contact to leads. Contact details are usually acquired from a purchased phone directory and lead lists.

There are cases where customers might ask to be contacted and give their contact details in return through the interested-in-a-service forms like call- me form. It is called “warm calling.” Recently leads can also be generated by third-party firms.

In comparison to inbound sales where sales wait for prospects to fill the call-me-form or reach out directly and inquire about a product, outbound selling is comparatively aggressive. A lead likely has minimal knowledge about the product or the service. It is why outbound agents are trained and equipped with sales scripts for effectual cold calling and overcome objections.

Outbound sales is a velocity-driven sales; agents are trained and equipped with just enough knowledge about the product to answer the initial queries while still engendering interest.

Outbound sales vs Inbound sales

Inbound sales is a sales process that tries to understand and prioritize the needs, challenges, goals, and interests of each buyer. Inbound salespeople work on meeting consumers where they are and then consult and guide them through the decision-making process.

Analysis of a buyer’s behavior in various stages of the buyer’s journey is crucial. A smart inbound salesperson can craft a supportive and personalized sales pitch for each unique customer.

Ultimately, the added effort time and care you put into educating your prospects will increase your chances of conversion and transforming them into your product evangelist.

Thus, inbound has a stark difference with outbound sales. Inbound is more of what we call pull marketing/sales, whereas outbound is more of push marketing/sales.

What is the difference between Inbound and Outbound Sales?

Outbound sales is an approach that involves reaching out to the prospects directly through cold calls, trade shows, purchased contact lists, and other activities without determining if there is an actual need. In other words, outbound sales is a push activity where you “push” your message out to a very crowd who may or may not be interested in your product.

Whereas the inbound sales is a pull activity where you pull interested prospects to you through great content, and qualified based your buyer persona fit.

Cold calling a lead involves assuming prospects with specific profiles have an inherent need for your product or service. Inbound sales encourage buyers to give their information to you when they are interested without making any irrational assumptions.

How to make outbound sales better?

Outbound sales are tantamount to the act of prospecting. The act of sourcing leads is an outbound activity, whereas an inbound activity involves educating, doing follow-ups, and nurturing the leads.

1.  Outbound Sales Success is how well you understand the pain points and solving them with your product:

Present your product as a solution. Understand what the solution does and for what problem or pain point it addresses?

According to Jason Fried, Founder of Basecamp

“You don’t really sell “product” at the end of the day. You sell people a better version of themselves or their company.”

Convince prospects that your product is not only solving a critical issue but also making them better, which is impossible to confer unless you have a clear understanding of the problem.

2.  Does your product solve a critical issue, or is it good to have?

Answering the above question will let help you understand and crystallize your sales approach.

Important vs good to have in sales
Important vs Good to have

A product or service that solves a critical issue also has an ROI angle attached to it is a more significant trigger to purchase.  If your product is something of a good to have and you connect an ROI side, it does not create an urgency to buy right away.

It is the job of the salesperson to attach this sense of urgency. It impacts how you approach your sales.

3.  Current status and me-too products/services

How do the prospects handle their problems or pain points now?

You need to answer this and understand it as well very quickly as it’s one of the essential aspects of breaking the status quo, overcoming objections, and creating your niche.

Answering the below questions may help you understand the present circumstances: 

a.  Who are the competitors?

b.  Why are they using a specific product or service from a competitor?

c.  What differentiates you, or what innovation are you bringing to the table?

d.  Why are companies following their usual way of doing things?

Please do not make your product feel like an OKAY option to have than what they are currently using. Tell the story about what value are you adding like ROI, Time spent, shortening the process, and others. This value interests the chief decision-makers.

4.  Drill the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) into your brain

Having the right persona will help you understand your customers better. You know the customers’ pain points better than they know themselves.

Having the ideal customer persona helps
Having the right customer persona helps!

Ideal customer persona will help you focus and personalize your messages for a small group of prospects who are more likely to become our customer.

You achieve better ROI, lessen the risk, and have a more personalized focus of individual accounts.

5. Mold Your Sales Pitch and keep improving

Each customer has a different need, and the way the companies function will be different.

Understand them and their needs. Then, tailor the messages for how your solution would work to suit the best of their needs.

Be a consultant for their needs.

Do not hard sell your product or forcefully fit the product.

Don't hard sell your product
Don’t hard sell your product

6.  How well you handle objections?

Please keep a record of the objections faced during every call, email, and product demos ever done in a document and share it among your colleagues.

Over time, categorize them into groups based on functions, pricing, and others.

To your surprise, the objections repeat themselves a lot!

Handling objections in sales
Learn to handle objections

Revisit the monthly or quarterly and craft how to approach them, what will be the messages, and how your sales team will/can answer them. It will help you avoid the most common objections you are most likely to hear.

7.  The cumulative price of selling & persona-based segmentation

What price are you willing to pay to complete a sale? What is the time limit to complete each process? What are the maximum numbers of F2F interview with a prospect?

The effort required depends on product type, target segment, the type of niche the product is serving, and the industry-wide buying cycle; however, understand this! Keep costs in check.

Analyze the target market
Analyze the target market

Ideally, segment your customers based on your ICP (ideal customer profile) into three segments and define a go-to-market strategy for those three segments.

It is ideal segmenting them based on customers’ first interaction basis.

8.  What to do when you have a Sales Qualified Lead(SQL)?

Most SaaS B2B companies directly ask for a sales demo; however, there are other avenues to driving the prospects further down the sales funnel. It includes workshops, webinars, the second round of calls with the key decision-makers, sending them educative collaterals like eBook/white paper, and brochures can also drive prospects further down the funnel.

Have a plan and have confidence in your next step so that the buyer prospect finds you as a thought leader or educator. Be the person who is there to consult, understand the pain points, and guide the opportunities in the right direction.

Find out at what stage of the sales process your prospect is after your series of communication.

Some prospects need to be further educated more on the severity of the problem (white paper, Case Studies). They can also be already in the PoC, trial, commercial proposal stage.

9.  Social Media to your rescue

The limitations of varied geographical locations no longer bind buyers firmly. Even though time zone, language, and rules and regulations may differ. They don’t affect the sales process as much as before the social media era.

Buying emails in a lot is no longer a feasible way of getting leads. The contact information like emails, direct dials has become a piece of capricious data. More and more people across the globe prefer working remotely and switch jobs frequently. The only thing that remains constant is the social media profiles.

LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have become the single source of truth for understanding your customers, competitors, and finding out what they feel about you.

Customers are very vocal about their opinions on social media platforms.

Therefore, Social Media Insights provide a great deal of information about your prospects’ intent and their activities. The insights will help you understand your customers better and create a better sales pitch with more probability of success.

Takeaway

Outbound sales not dead yet. The channels of communication have changed or increased instead. The style is changed. It’s no more shooting in the dark (spray and pray). It is a more personalized and more calculated approach than what it was a decade and a half ago.

The evolution has been drastic due to emerging and evolving channels like social media, email, and various online communities. The insights available, the kind of product or service you are selling, and your buyer persona’s preferred channel determine your communication mix.

Prospects have more authority and control over what they want to see. The type of experience (number of emails you send, what value you provide, how decent are your customer reviews and others) you provide determines if you will be in their good books.   It is all about the experience you provide at various stages of the sales funnel.