To make a sale, you must first start a conversation. Outbound lead generation is an excellent way to get in touch with the right people and start talking!
If you’ve been in the sales game for any amount of time, I’m sure you’ve heard a hot take or two about how outbound doesn’t work anymore. Every few months, there seems to be a new article about how this sales tactic is dead or that sales strategy is tired. Though there are undoubtedly sales strategies that aren’t effective in the modern era, with the right mindset and the right approach, outbound lead generation can still help you fill your pipeline and increase sales volume.
This post will walk you through three top strategies for outbound lead generation. For each strategy, I’ll provide you with a real-world example you can use with your team today.
Does Outbound Lead Generation Work?
Before we can dig into the details of outbound lead generation, we must first discuss the topic in general. What is outbound lead generation? This method is a proactive approach that relies on a sales professional to engage with prospects through outreach strategies like scheduling a meeting to discuss how they might improve their results.
Now, for the loaded question: Does outbound lead generation actually work?
The answer is, it does if you do. Cold outreach is a numbers game. Most people will say no. But it's not about the nos it's about the yeses.
Yeses = revenue.
RELATED READ: The Critical Importance of Outbound Cold Calling
Revenue is the only sales metric by which you can accurately measure outbound lead generation. Anyone believing cold outreach isn’t effective should look at the percentage of revenue these outbound lead gen efforts ultimately produce.
Does cold calling still work? Businesses that stopped cold calling in recent years showed 42% less growth than the ones that kept dialing those phones.
Armed with the understanding that outbound lead generation is alive and well—and essential for your business’s bottom line—you now have all the information you need to dive into the top three outbound lead gen strategies you should be using with your team.
If you’ve been in sales for any time, chances are you are familiar with cold calling. For any unfamiliar readers, cold calling refers to any call a salesperson makes to someone who isn’t expecting their call.
Sales professionals often use a cold call to schedule a meeting with a prospective client. However, cold calling can also be used to engage that prospect in conversation over the phone.
Is cold calling dead? Every year it seems there’s another thinkpiece published declaring cold calling has gone the way of the dinosaurs and the Nokia brick phone. Those opposed to the strategy of cold calling lean on arguments about prospects not enjoying receiving cold calls, or arguments that salespeople don’t like making these kinds of calls.
Cold calling is very much alive, however. You just need to know how to use this strategy effectively. The trick to cold calling, besides volume and discipline, is offering a value proposition worthy of your contact’s time. You can find the trading value rule in my book The Lost Art of Closing: Winning the 10 Commitments That Drive Sales.
Why is cold calling still a winning strategy? Because you don’t have the luxury of waiting for prospects to come to you. Growth-minded sales teams generate new deals using outbound strategies like cold calling every day.
Example Cold Calling Script:
“Good morning. This is Anthony Iannarino with XYZ Widgets. I am calling you today to ask you for a twenty-minute meeting where I can share with you an executive briefing about four trends that will have the most significant impact on manufacturers in the next eighteen to twenty-four months.
I’ll also provide you with the questions we are asking and answering with our clients so that you can share them with your management team. Even if there is no next step, you’ll know what you might start exploring and what you might need your team to start putting in place.”
The next outbound lead generation strategy you may want to explore is outbound email. Does outbound email still work? The average worker receives over one hundred emails a day and sends forty. Most salespeople send self-oriented emails that pitch their contact to respond or schedule a meeting. These approaches now fail at a very high percentage.
With so many emails coming in, you run the risk of your sales prospecting email getting pushed down so far in the inbox that your prospect never sees it. Or, worse: They do see it only to delete it.
How can you overcome the challenges of outbound email and use this strategy effectively? The key to successful outbound emails is to ensure one of two things is true for every email you send:
- Your email provides a valuable insight without asking anything in return
- Your email alerts your contact you plan to attempt to call them back
When done properly, outbound emails can keep you top of mind and position you as a person who has your clients’ best interests at heart. It’s also best to use outbound email in tandem with cold calling, as a follow-up to a missed call, for example.
Example Outbound Email Script:
Good Afternoon [PROSPECT],
I am sorry I missed you today. I will call you tomorrow to ask you for a 25-minute executive briefing.
The Sales Blog
Social Media Outreach
The last outbound lead generation strategy you might choose to use is social media outreach. So, what does social media outreach entail?
For years, social outreach promised that prospecting would become a thing of the past. As anyone in sales knows, this hasn’t come to pass. Connecting on social media is a strong strategy for content creators and thought leaders. As of yet, it has been less effective for salespeople.
Social media is often associated with B2C plays, but can this strategy also work in B2B sales? To an extent, it can. LinkedIn is the best social tool available for B2B sales professionals. The bad news is that the platform has been overrun by automation and salespeople using a “spray and pray” approach to outreach.
The largest advantage of social outreach is that it enables you to bypass gatekeepers and speak directly to decision-makers at your target organizations.
RELATED READ: How To Use LinkedIn For Prospecting
You can best use LinkedIn to build trust and give away valuable content for free. LinkedIn—and social outreach in general—work best when used as a part of a larger outreach sequence. Used alone, you’ll be hard-pressed to get any wins. But used in combination with email and cold calling, you may be able to move the needle.
Examples of Social Media Outreach
You might use social media outreach in the following ways:
- Engaging with comments or by leaving comments on other users’ posts
- Targeting possible contacts and reaching out to them directly via direct messaging
Maximizing the Success of Your Outbound Lead Generation Efforts
These three tried-and-true outbound lead generation strategies can help you get ahead of the competition quickly by allowing you to target specific prospects and start building valuable relationships.
However, to get the most out of these outbound lead gen methods, you must have prospects to reach out to in the first place. You can learn more about how to find dream clients, book meetings, and make a compelling case for change with my Prospecting Playbook.