How to Build an Outbound Sales Strategy for B2B

Outbound sales have fallen out of favor in recent years with the emergence of inbound as the strategy of choice. Inbound tactics like SEO and content marketing are touted for their ability to create strong brand awareness and generate passive leads. At the same time, outbound is often referred to as an outdated method, irrelevant now that technology tools exist to pull customers to you.

Here’s the thing: inbound strategies are effective. Companies need to be using them to stay competitive and relevant.

But outbound sales? They’re not dead. In fact, they provide a critical means for pursuing the leads you want, not just the ones that happen to make their way to you. Outbound sales make your sales teams more proactive, empower you to go after high-profile and high-potential customers, and yield faster results.

In short: your company still needs an outbound sales strategy. In this article, we’ll cover how to build one.

Quick Takeaways

  • Knowing your ideal customer profile is a critical first step to ensure you target the right prospective customers.
  • Inbound content strategies can drive successful outbound efforts by engaging new prospects for potential follow-up.
  • You can significantly increase your cold email reply rates by sending longer email sequences.
  • Evaluating the success of your outbound strategies is critical for continued process refinement and performance improvement.

How to build your B2B outbound sales strategy

Identify your ICP

Who is your ideal customer? It’s one of the first questions you should ask when you begin building your outbound sales strategy. Quantity does play a role in outbound sales — generally, the more leads you pursue, the more you’ll convert — but only if you’re intentional about it. Building your ideal customer profile (ICP) ensures you don’t waste critical time going after leads that will never convert.

You can build your ICP by asking yourself questions like:

  • What problems do we solve and who needs them?
  • What size organizations are we able to serve?
  • What budget does the company need to afford our solution?
  • What kind of company culture fits with our products and services?
  • Which industries are our solutions relevant for?
components of an ICP

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Find customers who fit the profile

Once you deliver a clear picture of your ICP, it’s time to build your list of potential customers who fit that mold. You can start by using social media tools to find companies that fall under your target profile. LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Facebook ads are two great options for finding leads in an ongoing, automated way. Manual searches are effective, too, and allow you to drill down using filters and targeted search terms.

Other ways to find new customers: crawling search engines, attending conferences and trade shows, hiring a third-party lead generation service, or purchasing a leads database.

Grow your online presence

This is one place where your inbound and outbound sales strategies connect. Once you start outbound sales outreach, your potential customers will look online to learn more about you. Growing your online presence with content is a way to build community with these prospects and expose them to your content over time.

Maintaining a great blog, sharing your content on social media, and implementing SEO tactics to rank high on search engine results pages are all ways you can support the claims you make in your outbound outreach efforts and increase trust in your brand.

You can also use online activity to continue building a bigger prospect list. While content itself may be considered an inbound strategy, you can turn it into an outbound effort by following up with engaged commenters, going through follower lists to find new lead opportunities, and using social media as an additional touchpoint with current prospects.

Perfect your cold email outreach message

Cold email outreach is a critical component of any good outbound sales strategy. It allows you to communicate directly with prospects, share your value proposition, and provide a strong call to action that encourages prospects to take the next step. In a recent survey by Chief Marketer, B2B professionals rated email as the outreach strategy with the highest ROI.

All that said, getting noticed via email is no small task. Professionals today — especially B2B decision makers — are inundated with emails. To stand out, your message needs to be attention grabbing, personalized, and authentic.

And believe it or not, cold email outreach is a long game. It typically takes several messages before you’ll get a response — in fact, sending a 4-7 email sequence vs. 1-3 can triple your response rate. This means you don’t have to fit every message into your first email. Consider how you can build momentum with intentional, thought-out messaging across several emails.

follow up emails triple reply rate

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Evaluate your performance with KPIs

Once you’ve implemented your outbound sales strategy and started generating sales, you might be tempted to settle in and let your well-oiled machine go to work. But this approach will quickly set you back. There are two important reasons to continually evaluate your performance and refine your internal processes accordingly.

First, you don’t actually know if your outbound efforts are working unless you measure them. This starts with setting goals that can actually be measured. We recommend using the SMART goal framework to set goals that are detailed and easily measurable with predefined KPIs.

Second, the world — and just about every business landscape — are evolving more quickly than ever. Preferred communication tactics, the right message, market trends, customer pain points and a number of other factors all change over time. It’s important to also evaluate your performance against these external factors and refine your strategies accordingly in order to stay relevant and resonate with potential customers.

Our outbound email software and lead generation services are custom-built for startups, consultancies, marketing agencies, and other B2B organizations. Schedule a quick call with us and find out how we can help you win more clients.