Everything You Need To Know About Outbound Lead Generation


Are you looking to generate more leads for your business? But don’t know where to start?

Outbound lead generation is one of the most effective ways to find new customers, and in this post we will discuss all the basics that you need to know.

We will cover topics such as what outbound lead generation is, the ins-and-outs of outbound lead generation, why it’s important, how you can do it right. Plus, we will provide some tips on how to avoid doing it wrong - because many people do. So if you're ready to learn more, keep reading!

What is Lead Generation?

First thing’s first: what is lead generation, anyway?

Lead generation is the process of attracting and converting strangers into leads, typically through a variety of marketing efforts. Once a lead is generated, it can be passed on to a sales team for further follow-up and conversion into a customer.

In other words, you are making people aware of – and hopefully interested in – what you have to offer. And your goal is to take them through the sales funnel, so that potential customers become customers and their interest becomes sales. 

The farther up the sales funnel, the “colder” a lead is. As a lead moves down the sales funnel (by interacting with your content, getting a free demo, etc.), they become “hotter” because they are more likely to buy.

What is the Difference Between Outbound and Inbound Lead Generation?

There are two main types of lead generation: inbound and outbound. Inbound lead generation relies on the prospect coming to you, for example through your website or blog. This is usually achieved through providing helpful, informative content that speaks to the needs of your target audience. 

Outbound lead generation, on the other hand, relies on you going to the prospect. This is usually achieved through more activities such as cold-calling, attending networking events, or sending cold emails.

There are many differences between outbound and inbound lead generation, but there are also lots of similarities between the two. This is why some people confuse between them, and why some forms of lead generation, like social media ads and Google ads, are actually borderline cases (in other words - they can be thought of as being outbound and inbound at the same time). 

Here’s the main difference which you can use to confidently tell them apart: with outbound lead generation, the marketer chooses when and where the prospects interact with the message. With inbound lead generation, the marketer isn’t in control.

We’ll discuss many examples of outbound lead gen later on in this post. But to make sure you understand what is not outbound lead generation, here are a few examples of inbound lead gen:

  • Social media content: posting on LinkedIn, for example, so that your content can spark people's interest.
  • SEO: publishing relevant content on your website so that it appears in Google search results. 

You’ll get a clearer idea of the difference between inbound and outbound when you contrast these inbound methods with the examples of outbound methods, which we’ll list below. But first, we’ll discuss the benefits of outbound lead generation.

The Benefits of Outbound Lead Generation

Outbound lead generation has many benefits. Here are just some of them:

  1. Speed: outbound lead generation usually gets results much faster than inbound strategies and shortens your sales cycle. That’s because outbound lead generation allows you to hyper-target leads that are ready to make a purchase decision.
  2. Gets you ahead of the competition: there’s no doubt that outbound lead generation is more active than inbound lead gen. Instead of passively waiting for customers to come to you, you can get ahead of the curve and go to them.
  3. Control: outbound lead generation gives you full control. You get control over the pace of your lead generation process (which can be very helpful if you have specific targets in mind or can only take on a limited amount of customers). And you get control over your targeting parameters: who, how, when, etc.
  4. Build brand awareness: you can use outbound tactics to boost brand visibility. For example, cold email can be used seamlessly for a wider audience, and if done right, generate loads of high-quality leads.
  5. Simplified testing: this is an added benefit of having so much control over your lead generation. Outbound tactics allow you to get your business in front of new markets that might not be aware of what you have to offer. 
  6. Personalization: outbound lead generation can be highly personalized. We can’t stress enough how important personalization is to outbound lead generation. It can make the difference between a potential customer not even opening your email, to actually opening it, replying to it, and scheduling a call.
  7. Automation: with the right help and software tools, outbound lead generation can be automated, streamlined, and optimized. 

Popular Outbound Lead Generation Strategies

Let’s dive into some of the most popular outbound lead generation strategies. It goes without saying that using a mix of these is highly recommended. And if you’re not doing any outbound lead generation at all, then pick at least one and start today because you are missing out!

  1. Cold Emailing:

59% of B2B marketers say email is their best channel for generating revenue. It’s actually so effective, that many companies use cold email as their primary marketing source for acquiring leads.

Why? Simply because, if done correctly, you’ll get an overload of high-quality leads.

With cold emailing, you can start generating high-quality leads that are worth every investment in it, and you can rely on it to grow and scale your business.

However, many people think that cold emailing is dead – and there’s some truth to that. You see, cold emailing itself is extremely effective, but there are so many ways to get it wrong, which is why businesses often fail at benefiting from it – because they are not doing it right.

Don’t worry, we got you covered. Read on to learn more about the most common mistakes in outbound lead generation in general, and cold emailing in specific.

  1. Social Selling:

Social selling means that sales reps engage with leads via social media as part of the sales process to grow their brands.

The best place to get started with social selling is LinkedIn. It’s very business-focused (much more than other social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram), which makes it great for outreach. According to LinkedIn, there are 4 pillars for social selling – the right way:

  • Create a professional brand: This shows you’re a leader in your industry and leads to more inquiries and responses from prospects.
  • Focus on the right prospects: With social selling, you can easily find prospects that meet your established criteria—so you can reach out to the people who are more likely to be interested.
  • Engage with insights: Social selling allows you to position yourself as an industry leader by sharing relevant content, engaging with news alerts, and building your brand.
  • Build trusted relationships: Share relevant information and share your perspectives to build trust and have genuine conversations with prospects. This means focusing on what the prospect needs before selling.

  1. Cold Calling:

Cold calling basically means making unsolicited phone calls to people in an attempt to sell goods or services. 

For certain businesses, cold calling is very relevant. On the plus side: it is positively personal, which, to some buyers, can be like a breath of fresh air if the person making the cold call is not being “spammy” and is actually giving value. 

However, cold calling does have its setbacks. Unlike cold emailing (which also can be personalized), cold calling can’t be automated and is not very scalable. It also requires more time and resources.

  1. Online Communities:

Niche Facebook groups, Subreddits, and online forums are all great places to find prospective customers if you already have a good idea of who your customers are and where they spend their online time. 

Just like with cold emailing, this form of outbound lead generation is underrated because a lot of people do it the wrong way. A marketer would find a great community, and jump right in there, trying to reach sales targets by posting offers and promotions. 

Please don’t do that. Instead, after joining a community, look to provide value and establish yourself as a member of said community before trying to sell. 

  1. Cold Approaching:

Think of cold approaching as a mix between cold calling and online communities, but done offline. It basically involves going up to someone – but not just anyone! It has to be within a specific context like a networking event, hence this method’s resemblance to online communities – and marketing your business.

Don’t go all-in straight away. Try to establish rapport with people, and put yourself in their shoes. Not many people would openly welcome a salesman suddenly showing up in front of them and talking about his product’s features. Instead, use it the way it’s supposed to be used – as a lead generation method, not a standalone sales generation method. Do that by having great and memorable moments with people, gaining their contact info, and using that later on to follow-up.

  1. Multichannel Outreach:

As stated earlier, using a mix of methods is the way to go. Multichannel outreach is all about mixing and matching different lead generation tactics like the ones mentioned here in order to generate and nurture high quality leads.

Be careful, though, you want to stay consistent across channels. The best way to do so is through an integrated communication approach like content syndication: sending the same message but using different forms of content (presentations, infographics, blogs, etc.) for different channels.

7 Common Mistakes in Outbound Lead Generation

This is likely the most important section of this blog. Avoid these common mistakes and you’re already far ahead of the curve.

  1. Wrong Ideal Customer Profile:

Creating accurate buyer personas is essential to the success of any lead generation campaign. It can help you target and reach the right people with the content they want to receive.

Even when you can easily reach large audiences with a method like cold emailing, you should still have a good idea of which market segments you want to target. Otherwise, you’d be wasting valuable resources by reaching out to people who do not want or need whatever you are offering.

  1. Using The Wrong Tools:

This is a big one. If you ask the strongest person on earth to undo a screw, they can break all their nails and teeth without finding success. Tell a small child to do so but using a screwdriver, and they’ll do it in seconds. Why? Because tools matter. A lot.

When considering which tools and which softwares to use, keep the following in mind:

  • Usability (Is it intuitive and user-friendly, allowing you to get your campaigns up and running efficiently?)
  • Integration (Does it integrate with other marketing tools in your tech stack?)
  • Pricing
  • Features

  1. Long Messages:

 This one is most applicable to cold emails and social selling.

Internet users today, and this applies to B2B buyers too, have little time and short attention spans. If your message is too long, there’s a very good chance it will not be read.

From our experience, we’ve found a simple heuristic: keep it short and hit it right on the snout with every word you use. Some of our best performing emails were only 3 sentences in total, but those 3 sentences hit the pain-points, benefits and relevancy all at once.

  1. Not Providing Value:

The most successful forms of outbound messages are those that benefit prospects. Besides being a great way to connect with a potential customer and get your message through, providing value is so important because it is very rarely done. So if you can do it effectively, it’ll definitely set you apart from everyone else competing for your customer’s attention and money.

Try to keep the focus of your outbound lead generation content on the recipient, their wants and needs, and how you can satisfy them. Avoid talking extensively about your own company or brand, or about what you’ve done in the past.

  1. Not Pushing Hard Enough:

You should always pair your outbound lead generation strategies with some sort of inbound demand strategy so that you have a solid sales funnel in place.

With cold emails, for example, one of the most common mistakes we see is people sending out emails and going completely silent. You should be ready to follow up and guide potential customers down your funnel to maximize effectiveness.

  1. Pushing Too Hard:

Remember, you’re looking for a match. If someone is clearly uninterested – say you’ve already sent several emails and they haven’t replied or they expressly said they’re not interested, the best you can do is move on and spend your effort and resources on other leads. Just like with dating, there are plenty of fish in the sea.

On that note: A great benefit of many outbound lead generation tactics, is the fact that they allow you to cast a wide net. If some fish slip through, there are plenty more to be caught.

  1. Not Making Your Communication Personalized:

One of the biggest mistakes we see is marketers addressing other humans like robots. They expect to send them loads of information and have them accept it with a smile. The opposite usually happens, and stale communication gets disregarded. Therefore, make sure you always personalize your cold outreach.

Final Thoughts

In order to be successful in outbound lead generation, it's important to know which techniques work best for your audience and how to use them.

This blog practically covers everything you need to know about outbound lead generation, and it’s rather packed. If you were to only take away one thing from it, we hope it’s the following piece of advice: start doing outbound lead gen, and do it the right way.

Do you need help with your outbound lead generation? ColdAgency can be your direct sales growth partner. Just book a quick chat with us to see how we can help you!

Implement our systems to scale