Mastering Outbound Lead Generation: Strategies for Outreach

by | Oct 24, 2021 | Expert Advice, Lead Generation

What is Outbound Lead Generation?

Outbound lead generation is the proactive process of initiating contact with potential customers, typically through methods like cold calling, emailing, or direct messaging, to create sales opportunities.

Outbound lead generation might sound complex, but it’s really about reaching out to potential customers to boost sales. This article simplifies it for you. It breaks down what outbound lead generation is, shows what you might be missing, and explains how to mix it with your current ways of getting customers.

It’s all about making outbound lead generation a clear and useful part of your sales plan.

Also read: Top 6 Outbound Lead Generation Strategies

Ready to elevate your sales strategy with effective outbound lead generation?

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4 Basic Methods of Finding Leads

  1. Inbound marketing
  2. Outbound marketing
  1. Account-based marketing
  2. Outbound lead generation

Each type of lead generation has its unique characteristics. Below, we provide a brief overview of them, with the main focus of this paper being on Outbound Lead Generation, where we delve deeper into its mechanisms and strategic applications.

Inbound Marketing

This is where you publish content on the web or social media, and when the content gets seen and someone is interested in what you have put out, they will ideally reach out to you.

Examples of parts of this process are SEO, website management, content distribution, advertisement campaigns etc. As a side note, it is always run by marketing.

Account-based Marketing

This marketing approach thrives on the collaboration between Marketing and Sales, focusing on strategic targeting of specific accounts. It involves creating content, building a robust database, and directly engaging with prospects to enhance brand awareness and interact with companies.

Effective coordination between Marketing and Sales is crucial for success, while a lack of it can lead to failure.

Outbound Marketing

Outbound Marketing should not be confused with Outbound Lead Generation. Outbound Marketing is where you are sending out or initiating communication with a group of targeted people.

It is usually interruptive and can be through snail mail campaigns, e-mail campaigns, LinkedIn campaigns, LinkedIn Events. The critical differentiator is that you are reaching out in volume, to groups using a database of some sort.

Outbound Lead Generation

Reaching out to create prospects using personalised communication or interaction of some sort by the Salesperson.

It is ideally done in a human-to-human way, with the goal of building trust and converting the relationship into a meeting.

Introduction to Outbound Lead Generation

I love outbound lead generation. It’s the backbone of our business, and it’s what is allowing us to scale, keeping costs manageable and is much easier to develop and control through the ups and downs of our current world than other methods of Lead Generation.

What is the aim of Outbound Lead Generation?

In the sales process, its goal is to steer prospects that align with your target market and persona into your system, converting these into ‘introductory meetings’. This strategy primarily focuses on the 30% of prospects who have a need and are yet to recognize it, and the 7% who are aware of their need but haven’t found a solution yet.

The following diagram illustrates this concept. An effective outbound lead generation model is the key to tapping into the central 37%, as highlighted in the bottom diagram.

Where do I start?

Effective Lead Generation and Marketing strategies should always revolve around your target market. This involves examining market segmentation, differentiation, understanding your market, the product you offer, and assessing whether outbound lead generation is an effective method to penetrate your market.

Outbound Lead Generation is versatile, suitable for almost all products, except in cases with a very limited market scope. For example, if your product, like specialized mining equipment, targets a small number of potential buyers worldwide, an Account-Based Marketing model might be more effective than Outbound Lead Generation.

Which B2B Companies Should Prioritize Lead Generation?

My opinion is that the following industries should be using Outbound Lead Generation as one of their core methods and this should be clearly documented and managed through the CRM.

  1. Professional services
  2. Software sales
  3. Engineering
  1. Hardware products
  2. B2B Sales
  3. Financial services

In the following section, I will break down the process of building out your model, what should go into it and each of the stages in running a successful campaign.

9 Steps for a Successful Outbound Lead Generation Model

  1. Classifying & Evaluating Target Markets
  2. Setting Success Metrics & Targets
  3. Database Inspection & Construction
  4. Selecting Outbound Lead Generation Tactics
  5. Content Development Framework
  1. Technology Integration for Management
  2. Implementation & Skill Enhancement
  3. Role Assignment to Support the Model
  4. Weekly Progress & Metric Review

1. Classifying & Evaluating Target Markets

Without this, you cannot run a successful business development model. As I mentioned above, you will need to work through this part, define your target market, why they are your target market, your value proposition, and your differentiation, and eventually explore and understand your client buying journey. I cannot stress the importance of working through this area; you are running blind without this piece, and you will struggle without it. For more information on building this reach out.

2. Setting Success Metrics & Targets

I usually put goals first, but your Value Proposition and Differentiation will help you build a realistic set of goals when you know your segment. When you are planning out your goals, you should consider the following areas.

  1. Pinpointing Value and Distinction
  2. Setting Revenue Targets
  3. Determining Average Sale Size
  4. Working out Sales Ratios
  5. From Proposals to Sales
  1. Scheduling Demos
  2. Discovery to Demo/Proposal Ratio
  3. Introductory to Discovery Meetings
  4. Tracking New Prospects
  5. Counting New Contacts

These are some of the metrics that you need to look at, but not all of them. You will need to build out yours and start to understand what will make up your metrics. Ultimately, we need to remember the purpose of all lead generation and marketing. To drive leads into your business that allows you to do one thing; book a meeting. Nothing more complex than this. Without the introductory meetings, you cannot start your sales process.

3. Database Inspection & Construction

You now need to build and clean your database. Without a clean database, optimising your contacts and running a Lead Generation model will be clunky at best. Most companies we meet struggle with their databases and the following list are some of the challenges they face.  Ask yourself, is this you?

  1. Lots of uncategorised contacts that are useless in your CRM.
  2. Spread around in various spreadsheets, files, phones, business cards on desks and other places contacts hide.
  3. No method of managing the data that all understand.
  4. No process, discipline and guidelines for adding new contacts to the system
  5. Not reviewing the data and quality of the inputs regularly. Poor data leads to an infective CRM

Your database is at the heart of your success. A good, well-categorised database is the start point of building out your model. Some of the categories of contacts in CRM should consist of the following:

  1. Existing clients
  2. Old prospects
  3. Current pipeline
  4. Existing prospects
  5. Generic contacts are broken into qualification groups. I.e., Industry, Sector, Region, Role, potential etc.
  1. Partners
  2. Influencers
  3. Email database
  4. Fields to be able to search
  5. LinkedIn database in Navigator

Building a database with these 10 core areas, shows you have a healthy database, there are others, but having these will be a great start.

Selecting Outbound Lead Generation Tactics

Now we get to the nitty-gritty and explore the kinds of Outbound Lead Generation methods you should be considering. I will give you a rough breakdown of each of the processes that sit within each.

The 6 Main Methods of Outbound Lead Generation

  1. Networking
  2. Referrals
  3. Existing clients
  1. Partners
  2. LinkedIn
  3. Cold calling

The common theme here is that they all involve human to human relationships, where you are directly creating some form of communication and relationship with a single person. Which then ideally can over the right amount of time be converted into a meeting.

It’s important before you step into the types of Lead Generation we can follow to think through the natural flow of a contact converting to a prospect and then a meeting, the following breaks this down:

  1. Contact creation
  2. Initial engagement
  3. Nurture
  1. Meaningful interaction
  2. Convert to prospect
  3. Book a meeting

With any of the methods we source, meet or communicate with contacts, we are now on their radar. We nurture this over time and have further interactions, from sharing content, inviting to webinars, to chatting on LinkedIn. Our goal then is to have a meaningful interaction, this could be they attend a webinar, you could have a longer conversation or they read a paper.  The relationship is now at a point where you can ask for a first meeting, This is the meaningful interaction stage in the process, which allows you to convert from contact to prospect and reach out and attempt to book a meeting. Which is the goal of all Lead Generation.

5. Building the Right Content for Outbound Lead Generation

To make any of these Outbound Lead Generation models work, we need to create the right content to engage the contact as we nurture them. This is the marketing and Senior Management responsibility. It often gets missed, but it’s not enough to just meet people or chat with them and leave it to sales. We need to support our Salespeople by building content to engage their contacts to help them nurture the relationships. Clients want to deal with people they like, trust and that they know are good at what they do. The only way to demonstrate this is through your content or delivering a great product. At this stage, the latter will not work. The following methods are important and should be considered:

  1. Webinars
  2. White papers
  3. Posts
  4. Infographics
  1. Articles
  2. Videos
  3. Thought leadership sessions

6. Technology Backbone of Your Sales Strategy

Very simple, you will need LinkedIn Navigator and a working CRM system.

Navigator gives you insights and allows salespeople to engage consistently with contacts, and the CRM manages them through their journey.

LinkedIn Navigator provides valuable insights and equips your sales team to regularly interact with leads. CRM, on the other hand, charts their journey. Both are vital and serve distinct roles. For more details on using Navigator, check out my previous article.

Your CRM should be designed around a sturdy process – continuously ingesting new contacts and accounts, nurturing them, engaging consistently, and moving a lead to a prospect status upon a significant event, leading up to a meeting. All these stages are monitored in CRM, which should be mirrored in your dashboard.

Three golden rules for CRM: First, it should simplify a salesperson’s work and be user-friendly. Second, yes, you guessed it, it should make the salesperson’s job easier and be intuitive to use. And third, it should (no surprises here) make the salesperson’s life easier and be easy to navigate.

7. Implementation of Model and Training

As you can see in your teams, you probably have no data, your CRM is not really working as well as it should, salespeople are not going to networking events and the flow of Referrals is inconsistent at best. Once you have built out your model, after assessing what you have, how do you step into implementation? There are two key areas to consider:

  1. Initial training around the model, helping them build out the skills to be able to execute whichever methods you will use
  2. Coaching to fine-tune their skills and keep them on track.

Without either of these, your model will fail. Think about the logic of riding a bike, it seems easy, but it’s not until you ride it and realise it’s tough that you then know you need help. My daughter learned with mummy holding her as she rode across the grass in case she fell. She then had to practice by herself until she mastered it, then we went to the next level, how do you ride on-road and pavement, etc. There is a process, we needed to help her, and you as managers need to do the same with your teams. This critically means ‘you need to be able to follow the model, you need to know what is good and what’s not, and you should practice what you preach.

8. Roles to support Outbound Lead Generation and who does what

Ordinarily, good quality outbound lead generation does not happen due to poor time management, no model and lack of resources. Having a team supporting this is the answer. If done well, outbound lead generation is relatively low cost and better for driving leads than any other method and is well worth getting it right. The tasks in the process that need to be done are as follows.

  1. Database management
  2. Appointment booking
  3. Networking event booking
  4. Networking event research
  5. Event/webinar coordination
  6. Content creation
  1. LinkedIn optimisation
  2. Database updating
  3. Referral management
  4. Partner management
  5. Lead nurturing

Not too many things to do when you look at it like this. Getting these all done the right way at the right time is a team effort coordinated and run by the following people is a little more challenging though. The roles that will be involved are as follows:

  1. Business Development support, BDA
  2. Business Development Manager, Sales
  3. Business Development Director, Sales Manager
  4. Marketing

Common sense tells you who does what, and I am not going to break down how this would look, but the premise is that anything the BDA can do, they own, allowing others can focus on their parts and not worry about the admin. Marketing creates content and collaborate with the BDA for event coordination, invites and confirmation etc. Sales and managers are responsible for the engagement and conversion to meetings.

This is the final piece in the model. Getting your team right, systemising it, using various resources to optimise the process and allocating time by the right people to make it work. There are many moving parts, and not enough time is the usual barrier in getting a solid working model.

9. Metrics and managing through the model.

To bring it all together, you must look at the numbers rotating around what makes this work, where the gaps are and coach and work with the teams to fix the issues.

Some examples of areas that cause challenges are:

  1. Not booking events leading to no events attended
  2. Not asking for referrals leads to no referrals
  3. Asking for referrals but getting none tells you there is an issue somewhere, and a 121 is required
  4. Low levels of prospects tell you the overall model not working

These are some simple examples that only by tracking the metrics will you pinpoint and support your teams.

Case Study on Outbound Lead Generation

How does our model work at a 1000Steps?

We use the following methods for Outbound Lead Generation. Note we also run Inbound, Outbound marketing, and Account-based marketing campaigns.

1. LinkedIn

We connect, chat and invite to a webinar and convert to a meeting.

2. Referrals

We have lists of Referrers. We meet them, ask them to introduce us, if they say yes, we get the referral, follow up with referral on LinkedIn, reach out to the referral to book a meeting and make sure to follow up with the person who referred them.

3. Networking

We attend two to three networking events per week. These generate 10 to 15 conversations per week. Post-event, we add to CRM, connect on LinkedIn and reach out and chat on LinkedIn or WhatsApp to the person from the event. Then once the conversation starts, we ask for a meeting.

As you can see, nothing complex, more just around being consistent, following the process and becoming better at the model over time. On a side note, referrals are our most significant revenue stream, accounting for 82 per cent of our revenue.

Summary

Outbound Lead Generation is surprisingly simple in principle. The challenge comes with setting up the model, the coaching, the discipline, the technology and how you coach, track and manage your teams.

Who We Are

Elevating businesses globally, 1000Steps offers expert sales and marketing consultancy services, empowering clients to reach further success. Our markets include Singapore, the United Kingdom, Australia, United States, Switzerland and Dubai.

What We Offer

  • Sales Strategy Consulting
  • Lead Generation Services
  • CRM Solutions
  • Sales Process Optimization
  • Business Development & Coaching
  • B2B Sales Consulting

About the author

Fraser Morrison

Fraser Morrison

As the CEO and co-founder of 1000Steps, I apply my 33+ years of sales experience to help professionals excel. Specializing in sales process optimization, I'm committed to driving client success and achieving outstanding outcomes.