What is outbound lead generation?

Not all outbound lead generation strategies are built equally. While some are effective within a short time, others require a compound investment.

This post distills the best outbound lead generation strategies and how to execute them to get lasting results fast. We’ll cover:

  • Outbound lead generation and how it works
  • Methods you can use to generate leads
  • The benefits of outbound lead generation 
  • And more

Without much ado, let’s dive right in.


What is outbound lead generation?

Outbound lead generation is a sales and marketing strategy used to build pipeline by reaching out directly to prospects—and often to people who may not know your company or the solution you offer. It’s a way to open new opportunities and expand your customer base.

Outbound lead gen is a critical strategy for many B2B companies and can take many forms: cold calling, email and social selling. At the end of the day, it’s about reaching out and engaging with potential future customers. And, in order for it to be effective, you and your team need to be strategic about who you target in the first place and how you reach out to them.


Inbound vs. outbound

Simply put, inbound lead generation is about attracting people to your business through content and outbound lead generation focuses on actively searching for and reaching out to potential customers.

The benefit of inbound is that people often find you as they’re actively looking for a solution to a problem they’re facing. The content you created—with no strings attached—caught their attention, guided them in solving their problem and helped build trust with your brand. These folks found your company organically, which means you didn’t have to risk annoying or bombarding them with calls or emails. You simply served valuable content that was relevant to their interests.

Outbound, on the other hand, has a reputation for being a little more aggressive. The upside of outbound is that its active nature has the potential to bring in more qualified, people—and customers—grow your bottom line. 

With outbound, you’re often targeting net-new accounts targeting accounts, so there’s a lot of growth potential. And today, there are many aspects of outbound lead generation that can be automated, making it a less time-consuming process.

So, which method is best for you? That depends on your business and your goals. Many B2B organizations use both. But in general, outbound lead generation can be more effective—especially if you’re looking to reach a specific target market.


What are the benefits of outbound lead generation?

There are several benefits to outbound lead generation. They include:

1. Increase brand awareness

By reaching out to potential customers, you’re putting your company in front of people who may not have heard of you. And that can be a great way to increase mind share,  market share and grow your business.


2. Hyper-target lead

If you take a very thoughtful approach with your outbound efforts, you can tailor your communications to reach and resonate with people who are great fits for your product/service—and have a high propensity to engage. Doing this allows you to save time, money and increases the speed by which these leads move from prospect to closed-won.


3. Speed

And speaking of speed, outbound lead generation also allows you to reach new prospects faster. No need to passively wait for them to stumble upon your blog post or infographic. Since you are sending an email directly to someone who fits your ICP—and at the exegraphic level, you’re already increasing your chances of a response.


4. Automation

Many steps within your outbound lead generation strategy can be automated so you don’t have to spend time manually contacting leads one-by-one every day. It also allows for more consistent sales activity over time. 


5. Reach new markets

Outbound lead generation helps you reach potential customers on a larger scale. This expands your customer base and builds brand awareness for your business in a more active way than inbound marketing allows.


Outbound lead generation strategies

When it comes to outbound lead generation, you need to think beyond the basics. You can’t just pick up the phone and start dialing or send an email without putting any thought into it. Well, you can, but it won’t be fruitful.

Instead, create a strategy that targets the right people and engages them in the right conversation. But, how do you do that effectively? There are several things you can do.


Cold calling

Even though it often gets a bad wrap, cold calling is a great way to generate outbound leads and build your sales pipeline. 

Start by researching the best times to call and know how to pitch your company’s products. Make sure you have a prioritized target account list so you know exactly whom to contact…and whom to contact next. Understand what makes these accounts a good fit for your product/service, so you can guide the conversation in the most effective way possible—and even follow-up the conversation with a piece of collateral that can help your prospects solve their problem, whether or not they decide to purchase from you. This is a great way to build trust with them and demonstrate that you have their best interest in mind.


Outbound email

A cold, outbound email is another way for you to get in front of a prospect that hasn’t yet heard of you. With email, you can build relationships with prospects, build trust with them and educate them about your product or service.

A word of caution: Spam filters are a big barrier to success for this tactic. If you slap in a bunch of keywords and send a “buy our stuff” message to your database, your email will end up in your prospect’s spam folder and not their inbox. 

So, how do you avoid this? First, personalize your message and make it conversational. Even if you rely on automation to send your outreach sequences, make sure you add the human touch to your message to minimize the chances of your email getting filtered out.


Social selling

Social media. What can we say about it besides everyone is on it? So, why not get in front of new prospects there?

Social selling allows you to use social media channels to find new prospects, build connections with them and generate more leads. For the B2B world, LinkedIn is a great platform to use. But, depending on your ICP, you might also want to consider using Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter. 


Multi-channel outreach

Teams used to rely on one or two channels to generate leads. That’s no longer the case—and that’s where multi-channel outreach becomes essential. 

Buyers today don’t just read one magazine, listen to one podcast or use one social media platform. They’re much more complex than that—which means you need to stay top of mind for them. With the right outbound strategy, you can do just that.

That may mean that your outreach plans include cold calling, a follow-up email, a message on LinkedIn and other forms of direct communication. Find the balance that works best for your ICP and lean into it.


Who makes up the outbound team?

When you’re putting together an outbound team, there are a few key positions you need to fill, which include; 

1. Sales development representatives

Sales development reps (SDRs) are the frontline of many outbound lead gen strategies. They’re the ones cold calling prospects and sending emails—day after day after day. They’re the ones tasked with initially pitching your product/service to the prospects, and getting a commitment from the prospect to learn more.


2. Account executives

Account executives take the warm lead from the SDRs and move them (if all goes well) through to closed-won. An effective account executive will always act in the best interest of the lead—and the company—by clearly communicating the value of the product/service they’re selling. Just like SDRs, they’re intimately familiar with your company’s ICP so they know exactly how to speak to the value the prospect can expect and will receive.


3. Content marketers

Content marketers are often associated with inbound marketing, but don’t take that to mean they don’t play a critical role in outbound lead gen. In fact, great content marketers can arm your SDRs with content to include in their emails. These could be exciting articles about your industry or products, or they could be short videos, infographics and ebooks that help you explain how your product works in a fun way.


Final thoughts

Now that you’re familiar with outbound lead generation—the process of reaching out to potential customers who don’t know you exist yet—you can decide if it’s the best strategy for your organization. While outbound lead gen can be a great way to get more leads and grow your business, it can also be a lot of work. So, make sure you set yourself up for success.

At Rev, we believe outbound success starts at the very beginning, by targeting the right accounts—the ones that fit the characteristics you care about most. We’re not just talking about firmographic details. We believe it’s important to understand how your ideal customers run their business. And with the help of AI, you don’t need to guess. Our Sales Development Platform can tell you exactly what your ideal customer profile is—and it can build you a prioritized list of other accounts that look just like them.

Want a free list of customers that match your ideal customer profile? Contact us.