Outbound Sales Prospecting 101

Monika Jahnavi

By 

Monika Jahnavi

Published 

June 15, 2022

Outbound Sales Prospecting 101
"You need to be a true believer. You need to have great values. Buyers aren’t stupid. If you aren’t all in on what you are doing, people will really sense that. You need to be passionate about the difference you can make in customers lives with that solution you go and take to market."

                                                                                                                                                   -     Tony Hughes

Every sales guy out there would agree that prospecting is highly challenging yet a critical step for creating a successful business in 2022! But even before you start selling, outbound sales prospecting — the first step in the sales process — stares right into your eyes and challenges you to discover customers interested in your brand.

It's a hard truth for every sales guy, but they should not forget it ever- If you are not doing outbound sales prospecting correctly, you are not making money.

Who is this mystery person we are talking to? It's you, the salesperson!

Many salespeople agree that prospecting is the most difficult part of the job -  40% say this is the most challenging part of the sales process, followed by closing (36%) and qualifying (22%).

The article delves into the importance of prospecting, its importance, and how outbound sales prospecting can be a game-changer for business if done right, followed by practical tools and tips to get highly qualified prospects for your business.

What is sales prospecting or prospecting for sales?

Sales prospecting is the first step of communication between a sales development representative (SDR) and a prospective customer using direct email, cold calling, social media, or video calls. 

Why sales prospecting is important for your business?

Have you ever driven on a rocky & bumpy road? Well! sales prospecting is exactly like that. 

We know that finding potential customers for any business takes tremendous time and effort. But even if you are doing it consistently, it still does not guarantee outstanding results.

What could be the exact reasons for it?

It may be related to poor onboarding of salespeople or lack of essential skillsets to build an instant connection with the new customer.

Check out some essential reasons why sales prospecting is vital for your business.

A) Avoids sales dry-up and faltering of sales function

Any business function can falter without the supply of regular prospects. The unified efforts of a sales development representative (SDR) team help solicit potential customers, facilitates sales, and connect these customers with the right salesperson.

B) Verify the quality of collected customer data

A salesperson like you get their hands on customer data daily but is unaware of its integrity. You can check the authenticity and effectiveness of the data only if it helps you connect and engage with the right segment of target customers.

C) Discover new customers daily

How excited would you be to welcome a new customer every day?

We are already feeling your positive vibes!

As 10%-25% of a customer base is lost due to churn, the sales prospecting process helps you find qualified contacts and ensures you get consistent leads with the highest potential to become paying customers.

D) Unlock tremendous business opportunities

You will be excited to hear that using the proper sales prospecting process can unlock infinite business opportunities.

We are not saying this to make you happy. Well, this is what the below research has to say.

We have found that 72% of companies with less than 50 new opportunities per month didn't achieve their revenue goals, compared to 15% with 51 to 100 new sales opportunities per month. 

Types of sales prospecting  

1) Outbound sales prospecting

If you love hitting the bull's eye in the dark, you are an excellent fit for outbound sales prospecting.

The traditional sales approach is about searching, identifying, and reaching out to prospects unfamiliar with your product and getting them interested in what you offer.

 2) Inbound sales prospecting

Would you like to date your customers? In inbound sales prospecting, you look for customers who show interest in your brand and then slowly gain their trust.

The sales prospecting process is more about meeting customers wherever they are and engaging them by taking an active interest in solving their problems without forcing the customer to listen to the brand's offerings. 

Difference Between Outbound & Inbound Sales Prospecting

How do salespeople & target customers connect?

In outbound sales prospecting, the salesperson directly reaches out to the customer, while in inbound sales prospecting, the customer initiates contact with the business.

Types of channels used

Outbound uses cold calling, cold texting, email prospecting, social selling, sales prospecting cadences, and networking.

While inbound uses a business website, blog, SEO, Podcast, Landing Pages, social media posts, digital advertising, and exhibitions.

Customer awareness level

Customer awareness levels of an outbound prospect are shallow, while an inbound prospect is highly aware of the brand's presence.

Customer engagement level

Outbound sales engagement levels are at an all-time low while inbound sales prospects are highly engaged.

Who does Outbound sales prospecting, and what are their roles?

If you think you'd be an excellent fit for the role of outbound sales prospecting, here's what you'll do:

Sales Development Representatives (SDR)

Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) are a company's front line of sales. They represent the company to the customers, identify leads, qualify them, and create new business opportunities for the sales team.

Account Executives (AE)

Account executives help manage, grow, and renew existing business accounts and acquire new accounts. When SDRs sell a product or service to any client, they pass on the newly acquired business information to account executives who take care of the customer's needs.

The Importance of outbound sales prospecting

Are you a startup with a brilliant sales team that works extra hours to find and convert interested customers? You seem to have tried everything in the book to get more conversions but are still falling behind.

Outbound sales prospecting is highly effective at this stage, even with the growth of new technologies and trends. It quickly identifies & connects new potential customers who may be looking for specific business solutions but are unaware of your company's products and services.

Outbound sales prospecting is vital for every business as it helps:

A) Quick access to qualified prospects

You can quickly go from identifying prospects to qualifying them in no time.

Identify prospects > Generate prospects > Qualifying prospects

 B) Build a pipeline of qualified leads

Build your own sales pipeline and never run out of qualified leads. Generate more deals and sales to keep your business running.

 C) Adds personalization

Are you aware that 33% of marketers in the US & UK were devoting more than half of their budgets to personalization?

Outbound sales prospecting is more personal as it allows salespeople to reach out to prospective customers for an open discussion with an experienced expert.

 D) Lower marketing costs

If an outbound sales representative earns $25 per hour, look at these hour-on-hour call rates on the different channels they use. Telephone sales calls are $5 for five calls per hour. Face-to-face (F2F) sales calls include a half-day, local travel, and $100 for 4 hours.

While inbound sales prospecting needs heavy investment, to begin with: Business website: $200 - $1000 to build a new website; Blogs & Video: Blog writing is $50 - $1000, while a professionally shot video can cost anywhere from $2000 to $7000 and Chatbots: Costs anywhere between $20000 to $80000. While the average cost for digital marketing services in 2022 ranges from $2500 to $12,000 per month for small-to-midsized businesses.

When comparing the marketing costs of doing outbound sales prospecting, it's clear that outbound sales beat inbound sales.

E) Increased market share

Getting new business accounts can be challenging. So, how do you go about making sales to potential clients? You can use this tested approach, practiced by affluent salesmen - to cast a wider net and reach out to new prospects in unexplored target markets with untouched customer demographics.

How to do outbound sales prospecting the right way?

Are you that sales development representative (SDR) that often dives into unknown territories without a good plan? Such a daily routine wastes valuable business time and resources by contacting the wrong people or trying to sell to people who are not ready to buy.

Don't worry. We have a future-proof plan!

Follow some of these practical tips for doing outbound sales prospecting the right way and you will get fantastic results in no time.

1) Identify the traits of your ideal customer

Are you out on a sales hunt but do not care to identify the ideal customer that needs your products?

We insist you should!

Check out these specific questions to identify the traits of an ideal customer:

1. Have they identified a need to buy your product?

2. How keen are the customers to buy your product?

3. Do they have the financial resources to buy your product?

4. Are they skilled enough to make successful use of the product?

5. Are they planning to expand so the sales team can see upsell and renewal potential?

6. Are they well networked to act as a brand ambassador for your product & talk to other potential buyers?

If the answer to these questions is a big "Yes," you have an ideal customer for your business.

2) Research your target market to find high-value customers

If you have identified the customers, you can use these easy steps to find high-value customers in the market.

Step 1: Identify the customers on social media and send a connection request.

Step 2: Follow their posts and try to connect with and engage them through your comments.

Step 3: Introduce yourself & try seeking any of their contact details – email ID & mobile number.

Step 4: If you get these details, either draft an email explaining how it can help the client, or if you get an appointment for a video call, you can record these exact points for online discussion.

Step 5: Once you have a good discussion with the customer, shower some gratitude by gifting them your free service for a few months or a gift card.

Once done, you can carefully guide the customers through decision-making to close your sales positively. 

Top tool for outbound sales prospecting

With the current market trends, we know outbound sales prospecting can be extremely tough as every salesperson has been doing it the same way for years.

Even prospects sense these repeated ways when businesses try to reach them. There is a need for a unique yet powerful tool to thrill, surprise, & connect them.  

But identifying that one high-performance tool for your company's sales process can be pretty tricky. 

So, we have worked upon these detailed lists of questions to select the right tool and boost your sales prospecting process.

1. Does the tool specialize in outbound sales and support outbound structures?

2. Does the tool offer a robust sequencing structure to fill the top of the sales pipeline?

3. Does it save your team from countless hours of manual work?

4. Does it offer excellent support and outstanding customer service without any friction?

5. Does it warm up your leads with multi-channel sales cadences (calls, LinkedIn, emails)?

6. Does it let you book more meetings & close more deals?

7. Does the tool offer plug-and-play features?

Outplay is a new-age sales engagement platform that ticks all the right boxes and helps sales teams increase their pipeline while providing insights that can drive their business. The product perfectly combines automation and genuine conversations to optimize outreach across email, phone, social media, text, and chat.

Outbound sales prospecting tips to get assured results for your businesses

1. Research and personalize your outreach to businesses

Outbound sales prospecting isn't about starting your new day by emailing or picking up your phone and dialing the client number on your calling list.

Aren't you bored by this daily routine? It's the same ongoing process followed by every salesperson.

But does it give you satisfaction and guaranteed results at the end of the day?

Absolutely not!

You can expect good results only if you research the customer profile on social media channels and find their interests through the online content. This way, you can tweak & personalize your communication to understand the wants and needs of every prospect for your successful outreach efforts. It takes some time, but it is worth trying to get outstanding results.

2. Explore new mediums or channels to reach them

Does your sales team use cold calls, email, and marketing automation tools to bolster their outreach to customers but still does not get great results?

It's time to cheer up!

We have found an impactful trending channel – a personalized sales video that can give wings to your sales team. It can be one of the biggest deal-breakers for customers bored with regular sales calls or redundant business emails flooding their smartphone inboxes.

You can use the video in your webinar or embed it in an email to connect with your prospects.

The below research statistics reveal why we are cheering for you to include a personalized sales video in your outreach strategy.

By curating relevant video content for your prospects, you:

Boost conversion rates: 93% of companies using personalized video content experience an increase in conversion rates.

Get highly engaged customers: Videos tailored to each individual have a higher click-to-open rate and a 4.5X higher unique click-through rate.

Improve customer relationships: More than 98% of marketers say personalization improves customer relationships.

3. Track how your prospects respond when you send messages to them

Sending outreach messages to bulk customers and waiting for their action is inefficient and a waste of time. If SDRs raise questions about the sales campaign performance, there can be multiple reasons, as discussed below.

Some customers may not read these messages, let alone open them, while some messages are marked as spam or directly moved to the trash without reading them. But in between, the KPIs of the outbound sales campaign are pushed to an all-time low.

Would you like to know about a practical solution - Outplay, a plug-and-play tool that lets you stay up-to-date on any action the prospect takes?

Track your sent message: Get notified when your prospect opens your email or clicks on any of your links. Send your follow-ups on time and get closer to booking that meeting. 

Trigger live response: Detect replies from prospects and trigger an immediate response to keep the conversation alive.

Monitor visit to your website: Know when your prospects visited it and its related pages. Keep an eye on their areas of interest and use the data to personalize your interactions.

Greet your customers on-site using Magic Chat: Get informed as soon as your prospects appear on your business website. Track their visit to your website and hold personalized conversations with them to get more meetings booked. 

Check more about the Outplay tool's outstanding features and sign up for free to track and engage the right prospects at the right time on the proper channels.

Wrapping Up

Outbound sales prospecting is a great way to find new customers and fast-track business growth. The article provides a detailed overview of sales prospecting, the importance of outbound sales prospecting, and the top tool for doing it effectively.

At Outplay, we believe in the power of outbound sales prospecting. We want to ensure that the salespeople we work with use the latest and best tools to help them be as successful as they can be in their business.

If you are interested in learning more, request a demo. We would be happy to show you how Outplay, the powerful outbound sales prospecting tool, can help you find new customers and grow your business.

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