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Outbound sales is not outdated. It is often labeled as a forceful and brash method, but the statistics don’t lie. 

According to Harvard Business Review, businesses that effectively integrate outbound sales strategies into their sales approach tend to experience a 16.4% higher revenue growth than those that depend solely on inbound strategies.

If you want to know what steps and tips you need to keep in mind before you run your outbound sales process - you have come to the right place. Here's a complete outbound sales guide. 

What is Outbound Sales? 

Outbound sales is a process where sales reps directly reach potential customers. This is to initiate conversations and ultimately drive conversions. Sales reps identify their ideal customer profiles (or ICPs) and conduct targeted outreach to create interest and help them identify their pain points. 

Outbound sales aim to attract prospects using multiple channels such as Email, Call, SMS, Social Media, etc., nurture them over time, and finally convert their interest into a purchase. 

While outbound sales is proactive, inbound sales is reactive. Sometimes, inbound leads might not qualify as your SQL (sales-qualified lead). You still need to vet the leads and qualify them for a demo. As a growing company, there are fewer chances of someone coming across your brand. This is when outbound is more important, allowing you to initiate more conversations. You can expand your customer base faster this way. 

What’s the Importance of Outbound Sales?

Outbound sales allows you to be in control of your vehicle. It requires more research and effort, but it pays off. Here's why it's essential. 

  1. Perfect ICPs: With Outbound, deep prospecting efforts will help you reach your exact TAM and ICP. Hence, there will be no lapses and minimal errors. You’ll reach out to prospects you know have a problem to solve, giving you a reasonable success rate. Whenever you’re low on leads, you can create a plan to reach out to your ICPs. 
  2. Control and change: You get to have a good grip over your reachouts and sequences, and if something isn’t working, you can toss it or tweak it till it starts showing better results. 
  3. Personalize and automate: You don’t want to waste your time on admin work. With many tools that allow you to automate your sequences from end-to-end, you can save time and use it to actually speak to prospects while your outbound sequences run in the back.
  4. Speed to success: By reaching out to prospects on channels they are most active on and continuously engaging with them, you increase your chances of hearing back from them and you can quickly understand what’s working and what isn’t. 

Read: How to flip the funnel with account-based prospecting

What Channels Do You Need for Your Outbound Strategy? 

These are some of the channels that come under your outbound sales activities. In most cases, sales reps use a compilation of all of these channels - creating a multi-channel sequence strategy.  

1. Cold calling

Cold calling is the approach of contacting a prospect with whom you have not had any prior contact. Here, your success heavily depends on your research skills as well as your ability to move through the conversation - overcoming objections. 

You need to acknowledge their pain points and present your product/service as a solution to their problems. On average, it takes about eight calls to reach a prospect. (Source: Brevetgroup)

To make sure cold calling fits perfectly into your outbound sales strategy, focus on your research, polish your communication skills, and be prepared to face any objections while on the call. Reaching out to the right decision-makers and ICPs will solve half your troubles of hearing a positive response from the prospect. 

Listen to real-life cold call recordings here!

2. Cold emailing

Just as cold calling is, cold emailing refers to reaching out to prospects you have never spoken to. You need to create an interest in your product/service over a series of emails or a sales sequence. For that, you need to identify their problems and help them identify why the problem must be solved ASAP. 

Once you have a list of the correct ICPs, your next focus should be on the subject line, email content, CTA, and follow-up emails to move the needle and hear a strong yes from your prospect. 

Cold emails that include personalized message bodies have 32.7% higher effectiveness compared to emails that lack personalization in their messages. (Source: Backlinko)

3. Thought leadership

Establish yourself as a thought leader and attend webinars, podcasts, etc. You can give a slight nudge toward your product during conversations to spark interest. 

You can also invite guests in a similar field for your webinars or podcasts and conduct a relevant discussion covering your product niche. 

4. Events and shows

Sales events and gatherings allow you to connect with people in your industry or with prospects who would need your product. You can enhance your brand awareness and strike a chord with potential customers. 

​​5. Social selling

Social platforms are where you can form a relationship with your prospect. This relationship can eventually lead to an interest in a demo. 

You can interact with their posts, share relevant content, and emerge as a solution provider for your prospect's problems. You can introduce your product once you build something out of your interaction. 

Read: 10 unique LinkedIn templates for social selling

What Does the Outbound Sales Process Look Like?

1. Identify the target audience

Look at your TAM (Total Addressable Market) and ICPs. TAM helps you understand the total market for your product - everyone in the world who could buy your product. ICPs help you further classify your customers and pinpoint the characteristics you should look for to validate them.

Contacting the right people is the most critical aspect of starting outbound sales process. You can always divide your total market into smaller buckets and customize your messaging. 

2. Prospecting

Once you identify your ICPs, you need contact details and lists of prospects to contact. You can generate leads using prospecting tools like Hunter, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, etc. You’ll have a full and happy pipeline of prospects by constantly generating leads. 

3. Lead qualification

Not all leads can turn into your customers. Researching your lead lists will help you further qualify them and move them down the funnel.  

But sometimes, even research cannot help you uncover everything. This is when a conversation with the lead (while posing qualifying questions) would help determine if they fit your customer profile. If they don't, you will have to drop the lead. Some qualifying questions examples: 

  • What problem are you hoping to solve?
  • Do you have a solution provider? 
  • What's your budget to solve this issue? 

4. Cold outreach

You can use an amalgamation of all the channels above (Email, Call, Social Media, Trade Shows, SMS or use a dominant channel - based on where your prospect is the most active. 

5. Sales pitches and demos

Your convincing game cannot be turned off even if the prospect agrees to a demo. They have shown interest, but you must conduct a few demos for their team members, answer their questions, negotiate, or beat further objections. If the account has more decision-makers, it will lead to more calls and demos, thus a lengthier sales cycle. 

6. Seal the deal

Finally, you can hear the victory bells! You get to sign the contract here and conduct a few more final formalities before the cycle ends.

Read: Outbound Prospecting 101 

outbound sales process

Tools to Accelerate Outbound Sales

Here are some tools you can use to find success while performing outbound sales:

1. SEPs (Sales Engagement Platforms)

One email or call won’t cut it. To keep the momentum going, you need a platform that helps you keep the engagement on track and bring in more customers. 

With a SEP, you can automate your multi-channel outreach, use a lead conversion tool, track real-time results, and enhance your conversations (with AI). All of this can be done with a tool like Outplay. Other SEPs - Outreach, Salesloft,, Klenty, etc. 

2. CRM

Sales CRMs keep track of your leads and help you host all the prospect and account details in one place - ensuring everyone in the org stays updated and teams don’t work in silos—for example, Pipedrive, Salesforce, Hubspot, and Zoho.

3. Prospecting tools

You must source and organize your data based on various parameters, such as budget, revenue, timeline, etc. You need these to help with lead qualification. Don’t be too vague or specific while filtering the lead lists. You can use tools like Lusha, Hunter, Zoominfo, Owler, and LinkedIn Sales Navigator.

4. Social media management

Track your metrics on social, automate your posts, and get insights to refurbish your social media account. You want to spark interest among your prospects and build a connection with them. For example, Buffer, Hootsuite, and SproutSocial. 

14 Outbound Sales KPIs to Keep in Mind 

​​Reviewing these metrics will help you make data-driven decisions, refine your outbound sales strategy, and ultimately drive better results.

1. Conversion Rate: This is the percentage of leads that convert into actual sales.

2. Response Rate: The percentage of outreach attempts (Calls, Emails, SMS) that receive a response.

3. Qualified Leads Generated: Measure the number of leads that meet your predefined criteria and are likely to become customers.

4. Pipeline Value: The total value of potential deals in your sales pipeline.

5. Contact Rate: The percentage of attempted contacts that successfully reach a decision-maker or key contact.

6. Follow-Up Engagement: Measure the number of follow-up interactions required before closing a deal. 

7. Time to Close: The average amount of time it takes to close a deal from the first outreach. 

8. Deal Velocity: How quickly deals move through your sales pipeline. To identify bottlenecks. 

9. Win Rate: The percentage of deals that you win compared to the total number of deals closed

10. Average Deal Size: The average value of your closed deals

11. Dial to connect: Dials taken to connect with a prospect. 

12. Sales Cycle Length: The amount of time it takes to close a deal. The shorter, the better. 

13. Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): The predicted revenue a customer will generate over the course of their engagement with your business

14. Churn Rate: The rate at which customers cancel or stop using your product or service. 


Best Practices to Ace Your Outbound Sales Process 

1. Keep your call scripts handy

Don’t shy away from writing some of your call scripts in advance. Have scripts ready for different situations and objections - that way, you know what to say without faltering and aren’t surprised. 

2. Do not skip research

Stepping into your outreach without research is a fool’s game. You need to get a vetted list of your ICPs, understand their pain points, and have enough information on the prospect and the company to take the conversation forward. Why would they even need our product? Answer this before you reach out. 

3. Templatize your best emails

Once you start A/B testing your emails and have run a batch of sequences across prospects - identify which kind of email gives you a stronger success rate and try to use that as inspiration for your next email. Have a repository of your best emails. 

4. Multi-channel sequences to cover all bases

Conducting outreach on a single platform won’t yield any results. Instead, you must span out and create an outbound sequence with a mixture of different channels. That way, you increase your chances of getting a response. 

5. Keep churning referrals

Once your new customers are onboarded, ask them if they can refer any other business. Referrals can help you keep your pipeline full. 

6. Celebrate wins

No win is too big or too small, especially in sales. If you booked a meeting, received appreciation during your outreach, or anything else, share your wins within the team and learn from each other. Staying positive despite the uncertainties is vital. 

7. Keep an eye on your metrics

Check for the metrics mentioned in the above section to know if and when your sequence is underperforming and if any changes will be made. 

8. Build rapport

Develop a genuine connection with prospects. Show empathy and build a relationship based on trust and understanding.

Read: 9 questions to build rapport with your prospects

Accelerate Outbound Sales with Outplay

Outbound sales is a strategy that will keep on giving. Understanding the how, why, when, and where before you devise your outbound sales strategy is important. 

With a sequence library (with actual sequences), the power of conversational intelligence tools, end-to-end metrics, multi-channel outreach, etc. Outplay can help you craft your next outbound sales strategy and set you up for success.

If you’re interested in learning more, you can request a demo.

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