Lead generation refers to capturing and nurturing a potential customer’s interest in your product or service.
Companies frequently deploy inbound and outbound lead generation strategies in order to generate new leads, but outbound lead generation offers the most direct pathway to new customers.
Inbound VS Outbound Lead Generation
Inbound lead generation is a strategy that tries to make your company easy to find. The fundamental practice of inbound lead generation is creating valuable content that anticipates the needs of your buyer at various stages in their purchase journey.
Inbound leads generate responses in a variety of ways, such as filling out a survey or downloading an ebook. Different types of interactions will attract leads with varying chances of becoming paying customers.
Inbound strategies are effective, but they require consistent effort over long periods of time to bring qualified leads down the sales funnel.
Outbound Lead Generation
Outbound lead generation is a more traditional approach that targets specific prospects. Outbound leads are generated through cold prospecting and advertising.
Outbound prospecting is faster, more focused, and more direct. It has unique advantages for lead generation:
- Shortens your sales cycle: Outbound lead generation is more direct and doesn’t require a prospect to consume content before making a purchase decision. Personalization that provides immediate solutions to prospects’ pain points shortens and further accelerates this process.
- Expands your business to new markets: Your sales team generates real-time analytics by making daily calls, allowing you to test new markets and become more visible.
Your business strategy can include inbound and outbound lead generation strategies, but one of these methods may be more effective than the other. Choosing the best option for your company will positively impact your ROI (return on investment).
To find out what your primary strategy should be, consider these aspects:
- Your sales volume: Your average deal size specifies how cost-effective and affordable a lead generation effort is for your business.. Generating many ‘small’ deals favors inbound prospecting, while ‘big’ deals support an outbound strategy.
- Your target customer: Identify the ideal customer profile (the company that would be a great fit for your offerings) and buyer personas (the decision makers who evaluate and purchase your solution). A broad ICP refers to inbound, while a niche market stands for outbound prospecting.
- Your team’s capability: Inbound mainly includes content creation and SEO practices, in which a small team can function. Outbound strategies require several sales and business development reps, meaning more resources, people, effort, and money.
Outbound Prospecting: In-house Vs. Outsourced
You can build your outbound function in two ways:
Option #1: Build an in-house SDR team
Businesses can set up their own SDR teams to specialize in outbound lead generation activities. Besides benefits such as seamless communication and constant control, an in-house SDR team contains three main disadvantages:
- Cost: Businesses must set aside a budget for SDR salary and benefits, software, and hidden expenditures such as training and HR. When your team expands, your cost multiplies.
- Recruitment: Finding top talents for recruitment is challenging, specifically for businesses not located in big cities.
- Training: SDRs need long-term training to nurture their skills, which means businesses need to invest time and money in them.
Companies that don’t have the skill set to build an outbound lead generation team can greatly benefit from outsourcing the SDR function from a reliable third party.
Option #2: Outsource your lead gen team
Businesses struggling with budget limitations, expansion to new marketers, or excessive workload can partner with a sales provider to simplify outbound prospecting.
There are several service options available for your business.
- Appointment Setting is a strategy in which specialized SDRs conduct your outbound prospecting by scheduling discovery calls with potential customers.
Tip: The most crucial factor for outsourcing your sales function is to find a reliable provider to eliminate commitment, data privacy, and communication risks. Take capability at the top consideration over the cost.
- List Building is data collection of your potential prospects. This service is useful for businesses with an in-house team that needs an up-to-date contact list.
Tip: Choose a provider that builds its list through one-to-one communication and steadfast data sources instead of one that offers cheap lists formed by spammy practices and automation.
- Lead qualification delivers valuable prospect data for businesses with in-house sales teams. Outsourced SDRs do not set appointments in this type of service; they instead uncover critical info by conducting surveys with your prospects via cold calling.
Reps ask questions to your potential customers about their pain points, challenges, solutions, and decision-makers. Your sales team gets the provided answers to craft personalized messaging in their outreach.
It’s a great service for businesses that aim to accelerate time to close with detailed intel.
Outbound Prospecting: Best Practices
Businesses must apply the right practices to fill their sales pipeline with outbound leads. Consider setting up your strategies based on these six components:
Best Practice #1) Align your teams
Successful outbound lead generation includes solid communication between your sales and marketing teams. While salespeople deeply understand customer needs, marketing professionals create valuable content to support outreach.
Align your sales and marketing teams to build a thriving outbound strategy.
Best Practice #2) Identify your market
Segmenting your market into customer groups helps you to personalize your offer not only by role or industry but also by target customers’ needs and challenges.
There are three main segmentation approaches.
- Firmographic segmentation categorizes B2B customers based on organization attributes. It generates excellent business insights.
- Need-based segmentation analyzes and identifies customer groups based on their needs and interests.
- Value-based segmentation evaluates groups of customers based on their economic value to determine the most profitable segment.
For each segment, businesses should create different customer profiles.
Best Practice #3) Develop personas for every segment
Defining your target market avoids wasted resources on companies not interested in your offers. A well-structured ICP included firmographic details such as company size and tech stack.
Creating personas takes this a step further by including individual attributes of the buyers at your target companies. The result is a complete profile of your ideal prospect.
Defining your ideal prospect can help you drive long-term growth by identifying the needs of your most profitable segments. Attributes you’ll define over time include:
- The best customers to work with
- The customers who place the highest value
- The customers who have maintained the longest loyalty
Best Practice #4) Build customer data
Clearly defined ICPs for each market segment help businesses to build target lists. The best practice is to start with a small list including 20 to 40 accounts and gather as much information as possible.
You can keep this data in a customer relationship management (CRM) tool like HubSpot or Salesforce.
Best Practice #5) Use multichannel outreach
Outbound lead generation requires touching a large number of prospects to generate a wider audience. Multichannel outreach spreads brand awareness, creates a seamless customer experience, and increases retention rates.
There’re four leading practices for outbound prospecting:
It is the method of calling qualified leads that fit your ICP. This traditional approach is one of the most effective strategies to fill your sales pipeline.
82% of buyers say they have accepted meetings with salespeople after a series of contacts beginning with sales cold calls.
An effectual cold calling must
- Show you’ve done your research
- Make it clear you know your prospect well
- Ensure your offerings solve your prospect’s pain points
A well-structured cold calling strategy helps SDRs reach out to the right people. Your contact list must be up-to-date and full of prospects likely to become paying customers.
Email campaigns are immediate solution offers that you can customize and personalize. Starting from your subject line, your cold email has seconds to make an impression on your prospect.
A successful cold emailing strategy creates highly personalized sales outreach instead of sending emails to thousands of prospects in your contact list.
Clear and concise messaging stands you out from other sales pitches. There are three elements of a convincing cold email:
- Relevance: Include a case study or reference in your email copy to highlight your business’ capability to solve your prospects’ pain points.
- Reward: Delivering value before you ask for something in return often wins sales. Include a tip sheet, webinar recording, blog post, or white paper relevant to your prospects in your email.
- Request: Sales emails often don’t get results because there is no clear call-to-action for readers to act upon. Instead of demanding a meeting directly, open the door for discussions.
Tip: Cold email functions best as an integrated pillar of your outbound lead generation strategy. It should be combined with cold calling for optimal results.
Social media outreach
It’s a method for generating outbound leads through social media platforms. Social media outreach takes place primarily on LinkedIn. There are four pillars to rock your volume through this strategy:
- Create a professional brand with value
- Build relationships with the right prospects
- Stay informed and consistent with insights
- Be authentic: build trusted relationships
Cold advertising can include search marketing or sponsored social campaigns.. You can target each customer group based on their qualification with paid campaigns.
It can be costly for small businesses and requires in-depth research and expertise for keywords, targeting, landing pages, conversion points, etc.
Best Practice #6) Create personalized messaging
Personalize your content by industry and buyer persona. Prospecting messaging includes call scripts, social media outreach templates, and email copy. Get help from the marketing team to create content that your prospects can’t ignore.
Personalization highlights the value of your offer and improves customer satisfaction.
A successful outbound prospecting strategy allows your business to land deals faster by getting you ahead of the competition.
The Best Outbound Lead Generation Tools
Artificial intelligence grows and allows companies to get help from tools to generate leads more smoothly. There are different tools for landing pages, webinars, WordPress, customer analytics, etc.
This is the list of best tools for outbound prospecting:
- Outreach.io is an email engagement platform to track detailed analytics about your cold email outreach campaigns.
- VanillaSoft is a sales engagement platform where your team can engage with leads faster and turn them into opportunities.
- Prospect.io is a sales development and prospecting automation platform with which you can easily increase your outbound sales team’s productivity.
- ActiveCampaign is cloud software for small-to-mid-sized businesses. It integrates sales software, email marketing, automation, and CRM platforms.
- Datanyze allows sales & marketing professionals to find and connect with B2B prospects. It provides contact info including email addresses, mobile numbers, and company websites.
Businesses can combine inbound and outbound methods to fill their sales pipelines, but it’s recommended to set one of them as the primary prospecting strategy.
Outbound requires more resources and expertise than inbound, but it’s an effective way to close big deals. You can set up an in-house team or outsource your sales function to perform outbound practices such as cold calling, emailing, paid ad campaigns, or social media outreach.