Outbound Sales Strategies: The Key to Closing More Deals in 2023
Most people hate getting interrupted in their workdays. They couldn’t care less about sales reps cold calling them or receiving an email about their common interests. Or at least most of these folks would like you to believe so. The truth is outbound sales strategies work like a charm—when done right.
In fact, 57 percent of B2B C-level and VP-level executives prefer to connect with sellers over the phone. Moreover, inbound sales may slow down with the economic downturn in 2023. To tap into this potential, mastering a variety of outbound sales tools becomes imperative.
Let’s look at the basics of outbound sales and go through a list of 13 effective outbound strategies you can use to close more deals. If you prefer a video breakdown of the top strategies, here’s one by James Urie, our Senior Partnerships manager:
What Is Outbound Sales?
The main advantage of outbound is it’s fast-paced. You can directly go to market, get immediate feedback on your sales pitches, and grow your revenue.
What Is the Difference Between Inbound Sales and Outbound Sales?
The key difference between the two types of sales strategies lies in who you’re trying to sell to. Outbound involves sales development representatives (SDRs) contacting potential buyers—generally via phone call or email—who may be unaware of your brand.
In inbound, you attract a prospect using inbound marketing tactics such as search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing. They engage with your content, attend one of your webinars, download your eBooks, or just fill up a form on your website expressing an interest in buying from you.
The first point of contact dictates the specific steps your team needs to execute. An outbound sales process generally runs through the five stages below.
For inbound leads, sales teams may run them through the following four steps:
While lead generation, qualification, pitching, and closing deals are a part of both processes, outbound sales techniques require extra effort toward market segmentation. You need to identify your audience better to pursue targeted outreach campaigns. Learn more about the differences between inbound and outbound here.
Seeking ways to optimize your content marketing? Discover AI's role in our article.
Who Should Use Outbound Sales?
You should use outbound sales if your startup lacks brand awareness and wants immediate results. It’s also a valuable strategy if you sell to enterprise companies and have a LONG sales cycle. Finally, outbound is a suitable strategy for B2B service providers or businesses with a well-defined niche audience of your ideal customers.
Use outbound when you want to offer a personalized, one-on-one buying experience with a human touch from your sales team.
Now that you understand the basics of outbound sales, let’s look at some specific techniques.
Seeking expert advice on lead generation? Our article on real estate prospecting is a click away.
13 Outbound Sales Strategies to Close More Deals in 2023
Once you have an ideal customer profile (ICP), you can use the following 13 outbound strategies to maximize your win rate. If you prefer a video breakdown, watch James interview Harris Kenny of Intro CRM on creating a foolproof outbound strategy for 2023:
1. Develop Your Outbound Prospecting Skills
In 2023, choosing the right sales stack can drastically enhance your outbound sales team’s productivity. Yet even with access to revolutionary tech, sales professionals must craft relevant and high-quality messages.
Ultimately, reps make the deals happen, so polish your skillset—don’t let your pitches feel templated. Are you funny or articulate? Can you quickly create relatable anecdotes? Make your pitches sound like you.
Here’s how James puts it, “Using your superpowers as a salesperson and keeping it human is going to give you a competitive advantage. Think about what am I good at? Why? Why am I in sales? What is my competitive advantage as a salesperson?”
2. Verify Your Data
In 2023, the markets are volatile. People are frequently changing jobs. The data quality on leads is much lower compared with the last few years—even for the most expensive data providers. Whether working on leads within your CRM or using a provider, integrating data validation tools in your workflow is at table stakes.
Here’s Harris sharing his experience, “I don't care who you're getting data from. This is all the way up to like the most expensive data providers that charge $20,000 a year in up for access. I'm seeing people reporting like very high error rates and very high bounce rates, so it's not enough to just check a box."
“So testing if an email address is deliverable is table stakes. Ideally you're verifying addresses as close as possible to when you're interacting.”
Kenny also suggests multi-point list building. It calls for paring your initial list of leads with heuristics, such as, “If a company doesn’t have a LinkedIn page, I’ll cut it out of my list as they are probably not big enough.” The LinkedIn Sales Navigator offers a bunch of advanced filters you can use:
Need more clients? Explore these proven LinkedIn lead generation strategies.
3. Make Email Deliverability a Priority
You write an amazing personalized email, but what if it doesn't reach your prospect? Alongside low data quality comes the problem of deliverability.
For starters, if your domain is not appropriately prepped, your messages may largely land in the spam folder. You can use a tool such as Allegrow for better inbox placement. But consider the additional steps from our guide on email warm-up.
Also, remember all these BIG companies—Google, Microsoft, and Zoho—are constantly battling each other. They treat their email providers differently. For instance, a Gmail email domain has a better chance of landing in another Gmail domain than Outlook. So you may need to use multiple providers to give yourself the best chance to avoid the spam folder.
Kenny further puts weight on using omnichannel tools that can also support phone and SMS. “Adding different channels to your mix is also a really good way to get around this deliverability problem. That way, if you do have an issue with one channel, you're not all of a sudden hung out to dry.”
4. Use Account Based Marketing
Want another tactic to tackle low-quality data? Aim to build relationships with a company instead of an individual. Once you have a list of qualified leads, navigate to LinkedIn, find a couple more contacts from the same organization, and add them to your campaign. You can also create an account map to connect with multiple decision-makers if you're dealing with a big enterprise.
5. Keep ’em Plain Text
Once you've integrated sales tools in your workflow to land in people’s inboxes, don’t overcomplicate that cold email. People are short of time. Keep your messages plain text and punchy without attachments or a bunch of links.
James argues plain text emails FTW. “It's really easy to sniff out a sales email versus just reading a quick plain text email and see if there's value within it.”
Also, make them easy to read. The below image shows the difference a little formatting can make:
6. Forget Personalization—be Relevant!
Personalization in sales emails can often become predictable or time-consuming. A better way to engage your prospects is by focusing on relevance. It calls for segmenting your target market and sharing a joke related to their job title or commenting on the broader events in your industry.
“Rather than being like, Hey, I saw, you know, on LinkedIn that your cat's name is Fluffy or whatever. Speak to what's happening within an industry or what's happening within their job function,” quips Harris.
Craft a relevant text message in a couple of sentences to capture the attention of your prospects. Then share how you can address one of their pain points to start a conversation. Harris recommends a tool like Lavender to workshop your message until it sounds persuasive.
7. Cold Email the Right People at the Right Time
While trying to be relevant to your prospects, get in their shoes to understand the rhythm of their typical workdays. This will help you understand the best time for them to receive or reply to the email you’re about to send.
As per Yesware’s data from 2020, sales emails have an open rate of 75 percent within the first hour. Choosing a relatively less busy time to land in your prospect’s inbox is important so you don’t fight for attention with other tasks during their workday.
Want to improve your email outreach without breaking a sweat? Our AI-based cold email generator tool is not only completely free, but it can also help you streamline your outreach efforts in a snap!
In case you need email templates specifically designed for B2B, we've got you covered! Check out our article on 12 B2B Cold Email Templates and use them completely free!
8. Hone Your Cold Calling Skills
One of the quickest ways to gauge the interest of your leads is cold calling. It’s a staple sales tactic that’s effective irrespective of the size and stature of your company. So where do you begin? Map the structure of your sales calls, use proven sales script templates to create yours, and just start dialing those phone numbers.
Then invest in sales call software that can record your calls, let you leave pre-recorded voicemails, and take care of the admin stuff to improve your call volume.
9. Build Automated Outreach Workflows to Follow Up
Next, let’s discuss an underrated tactic elite deal closers rely on: following up relentlessly. If your campaign sees any kind of interaction from decision-makers, follow up until you get a response. Even if you don’t see engagement, you should follow up a few more times.
With automation tools such as Close, the outreach process becomes super efficient. You can set up email workflows that send emails on your chosen schedule. Or create multi-channel workflows with other cold calling and SMS steps.
You can identify the outreach steps you need to optimize from your Close dashboard and have your workflows mirror your most successful frequency.
10. Incorporate Social Selling into Your Outbound Strategy
Are your prospects active on LinkedIn or another social media platform? Then you’ve got to get on these platforms and set up professional-looking profiles. In Harris’ words, “Doing some extra stuff like setting up your LinkedIn profile and doing social selling and being active there is a great way to distinguish yourself.”
Next, try to engage with the posts by your prospects regularly—but don’t try to sell anything yet. You want to warm them up and get them curious about you.
When you send them a pitch, they will already have context about you, which will increase your chances of getting a response. Why? Well, you stand out among hundreds of similar cold outreach messages.
11. Use Video Messaging to Stand Out
Remember how I talked about showing off your personality as a sales rep? Well, in B2B sales, video prospecting remains underutilized. So if you’re charismatic or funny or have emotional intelligence, recording a Loom (or Vidyard) can help you stand out.
James elaborates, “If you are charismatic, funny, or have some element of emotional intelligence, use those superpowers as a salesperson to convey that in a video message. Then send it in, embed it in your email, send it in a LinkedIn message.”
With video, you can not only share who you’re as a salesperson but also share your screen—displaying your prospect’s website or LinkedIn page. Who wouldn’t like seeing a hyper-relevant video showing their business?
Video platforms like Loom also track click-throughs, so your reps can follow up with a prospect when they see engagement on the video.
Learn how to tailor your videos to different customer segments effectively.
12. Track Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for Your Outbound Sales
How do you know if your outbound strategy is working? Depending on your goals, you can choose from our list of sales KPIs. Broadly, there are three types of metrics you can consider tracking:
- Sales activity tracking: The number of outbound calls and emails you or your team sends.
- Pipeline management: How many calls and emails (or sales activity) are needed to get a qualified lead? What is the conversion rate of your leads into customers?
- Sales results: What’s your average revenue per user (ARPU)? Are your customers happy with your product and sending referrals your way?
As a sales manager, you want to monitor your team’s performance. Identify the top-performing quota crushers and support the ones on your team that are falling back. Close comes with customizable CRM reporting that can provide a holistic view of your KPIs.
13. Regularly Educate Your Leadership Team on the State of Outbound
As a sales rep, your leadership team will be concerned if you don’t hit your sales quotas. Your job is to educate them on the prevailing conditions in outbound sales and the extra human effort you need to put on top of the tech you use.
James breaks it down, “If you are not tackling the data quality and the deliverability issue, your results may be very bad and your leadership team might be like, well, what's going on here? You need to educate them on this. Data quality and deliverability. These are two major hurdles that I'm experiencing as a sales rep doing outbound sales.”
Psst... Wanna know the game-changing strategy? We're talking about the Challenger Sales Model.
The Sales Landscape Is Transforming in 2023… Are You?
If your email campaigns get a low response rate, your messages probably aren’t reaching enough inboxes. You need to adapt new sales tactics to stay competitive. Among other methods—research your prospects, segment your audience, and use sales tech as required. But be ready to put manual effort into improving the quality of your lead contact information. Remember, your goal is getting in front of the right people with the right messaging.