Have you given a thought that despite outbound prospecting being a significant part of the sales process why is it one of the most demotivating stages of the sales process? Yes, you guessed it right. It’s because no one likes getting rejected and ignored which is a big part of outbound prospecting. 

But, don’t you worry. We will make it simple and effortless for you so that you can use your time and effort by prospecting the right way by going after the right people and using the right approach at the right time. 

Outbound sales prospecting is the process of identifying the potential customer and approaching them in order to generate new business opportunities for your organization. Engagement with the qualified prospect can accelerate your sales process and optimize your sales engagement.

There are various ways in which sales representatives can engage with the prospect like cold emails, discovery calls, connecting with them on social media like LinkedIn and more. When a prospect matches your ideal customer profile or falls under your target demographic they can be considered as qualified prospects with the potential to convert into a paying client. 

 The Initial steps of prospecting are:

  • Create a Customer profile: When prospecting, the process of finding a potential client can be optimized if you approach it systematically. A customer profile is a detailed description of your current customer like purchasing behavior, pain points, psychographic data and demographic data. The ultimate goal of an ideal customer profile is to target similar customers in your sales and marketing campaign.
  • Rank your prospect via lead scoring: Once you have acquired a qualified prospect then rank them by giving a score to them. Here you can use the method of lead scoring.Lead scoring is giving numerical value to your prospect based on the information about them and how that information can be in favor of your business. 
  • Prepare your approach: An effective engagement with your prospect can be a key factor that can drive them further into the sales funnel or out of it. Make your approach personalized and educate them about your product or services so that they can make an informed decision.

Outbound sales prospecting 101

What is the difference between a lead and a prospect?

You must have often encountered these words lead and prospect when talking about any sales process. Therefore knowing their meaning is important.

  • Lead is a person who has shown some engagement with the marketing material like visiting your website, reading your blog, or opting for a demo that your company has provided.
  • Prospect is a qualified lead. A prospect is a good fit for your ideal customer profile and they can be pursued further whereas a lead may or may not be a potential customer.

Knowing the difference between a prospect and a lead is important as it helps you bifurcate your potential future clients. 

What is the difference between inbound and outbound sales?

Outbound sales prospecting is where a sales rep approaches potential prospects i.e. you are the one approaching the prospect as compared to the inbound sales where customers approach you.

  •  In outbound sales rep connect with potential prospects via cold calling, in trade shows, cold emails , over social media channels, through networking.
  •  In inbound sales you engage with prospect via content, white page, website, social media, demo videos, webinars whereas in outbound sales you engage with prospect via cold calling, cold emailing, approaching directly on the social media platform.

 It’s hard to say which approach is better as both have their merits and demerits. And every business sales process is different so I feel we cannot generalize on which method is good. Go with the method that works best for you.

Stages of Outbound prospecting

When a sales rep contacts a prospect via cold calling, cold emailing or cold texting he is unaware about the prospect interests, pain point and his whereabouts. Hence it takes minimum 7-8 follow-up for prospects to be receptive to the sales rep. 

Process of outbound sales process

  1. Prospecting 
  2. Outreach 
  3. Qualification
  4. Pitching 
  5. Handling of objection
  6. Closing the deal

First step of outbound sales starts by making a lead list. This list contains people who have high chances to convert into a paying client.

Second step is outreach where sales rep contact leads via cold calling or cold email. Here a sales rep should  emphasize on sales pitch which should be customer centric i.e knowing more about the customer. In case of cold emailing make a user persona to draft emails that will create curiosity among your customer. 

Qualification of leads is the third step of outbound sales where leads are segmented to find a good fit for your company and would potentially invest in your company. While qualifying your leads it’s important to keep in mind a factor that will your product/services really make a difference in prospects company,

After you have found your ideal customer profile, now it’s time to engage with them via multiple offers to find the right offer that will cater their needs and solve their problem.

No matter how much a prospect is interested in your offer he will have some objection or doubt that you would have to clear to convince him to purchase your product or solution that you’re providing.

Closing deals are the most rewarding part of the sales process but most reps stumble here as well by not asking for a close to prospects.

Why is outbound prospecting important for your business ?

In this new age of technology where sales and marketing has drastically evolved, outbound sales still stands strong to give consistent results and cost effective methods to boost your sales process and increase your conversion rate. Here are some reasons to opt for outbound sale prospecting.

  1. Quick review: When sales reps approach the prospect they can know how convinced the potential prospect is and what is the prospect’s perception of their product or solution that they are selling. In this way they can also know the customer perception of the product.
  2. Can catch big fish: When it comes to targeting big enterprise, especially in B2B business, outbound sales increases the probability of getting noticed by the authoritative person who has the current responsibility to make decisions of sales. Another case is if you are new to technology in the market then outbound can be a more effective sales tactic that you should go for.
  3. Handle objection: When you are one-to-one engage with the client, you are available in person to solve any doubt or objection that your prospect may have which will speed up your sales process and increase your chance of closing deals.
  4. Human touch: Now this is the big merit of outbound sales in my opinion as the ultimate goal of any marketing and sales endeavor is to give their market material a human touch which increases prospect engagement and makes your reach prospect more effective.
  5. Explore new opportunities: Outbound prospecting ensures the flow of new leads that will keep your sales pipeline filled with quality and new prospects which if dealt in a right way will generate good business.

Difference between B2B and B2C outbound prospecting

As the definition goes differs on the bases of the end users. In B2B as the name suggests is trade between two businesses and in B2C the trade is between businesses and customers. 

 So, in B2B the prospect is other businesses whereas in B2C the prospects are regular retail customers. Inbound sales works better in B2B when compared with B2C as getting to customers via social media is more convenient today then it ever was.

Who’s responsible for outbound prospecting ?

The role of sales rep varies according to the company size, budget and their requirement. In a large organization you have more specialization because of the magnitude and amount of work. Generally the sales process is divided into three: 

  1. Sales development representative: SDR task is majorly related with generating new leads via cold call, cold mailing and more. They ensure the regular flow of leads and explore the market thoroughly to find new opportunities.
  2. Business development representative: BDR are concerned with the inbound sale they engage with the prospect which come via social media, website, content blog basically they nurture leads that are generated via marketing efforts.    
  3. Account exclusive: AE brings closer to the sale process, they deal with the prospect, make sales presentations and conduct demos. The final stage of the sales process is to convert prospects into clients and AE’s are responsible for that.   

Some awesome outbound prospecting tips and tools

With all the knowledge about outbound prospecting and the basics about prospecting I will part with you giving you some tips on how to improve your outbound prospecting and tools that can help you with that.

Understanding how a prospect will perceive your product and services will help sales reps know to convenience their prospect and ways to cater their needs. When done in an organized manner can lead to good results. Here are some tips and tools you can use to optimize your sales engagement and to increase your sales.

Where can you find your prospect and how do you qualify them: The beginning of any sales process is prospecting. Two factors that matters the most here is 

  • Source your prospect
  • Find information about and approaching them  

Now, sourcing can be done by reaching out to them on multiple channels and contacting them via call, email, LinkedIn and more. Will your finding leads in multiple channels keep in  mind some key factors like:

  1. Is your solution a good fit for the solution they are looking for. Many times sales reps engage with prospects later to find out that their product or solution would not provide the solution that the prospect is looking for. This will be just putting your efforts down the drain. So, when you are finding leads, initially look for factors like size of their company, their current priority and how you will cater them.
  2.  Once you are through with the basic segmentation of your lead, quantify them before making them your potential prospect. Assign different scores to various criteria that are your priority and then give ranks to prospects on how your prospect can fit there. Doing this at scale is very time consuming here automation can help you. A sales engagement  software can help your rep by automated lead scoring.
  3.  When it comes to B2B business 89% marketers use LinkedIn for lead generation and 62% say that they generated leads two times more than the next-highest social channel. So, using social channels to generate leads will help you know about them like their career profile, company size and more. Automation can facilitate the multi- channel engagement so that you can reach your prospect where they are.

Approaching your prospect: One of the most crucial parts of sales engagement is approaching your client, on an average businesses lose 10 to 25 percent of its customer base per year so with this rate keeping prospects in the sales pipeline is important. Let explore how you can do so:

  1. When you contact your prospect via cold calling it is often looked down upon but even today 92% customer interaction happens over call and it is still a very feasible way to proceed your engagement.
  2.  Now the big question is:  How to use cold calling effectively ? The answer is easier than you think. Make it personalized and customer centric. Yes, 98% of marketers say personalization advances their relationships with prospects.
  3. So, engage with prospects and know their pain points, needs, budget and priority. I know what you are thinking it’s easier said than done but with consistent follow-up it can be achieved. Efficiently, making calls in a single click by integrating your CRM and booking meetings directly via sales engagement can help you with this.
  4. Attend networking events and before attending call, text or email your prospect so that this will increase the personal touch and strengthen your relationship. You can use this meeting as a reference to pitch your value proposition in future.
  5. Cold emailing is the next best option to approach your prospects. Use intriguing subject lines, CTA and links in your email to know what interests them and their behavior. Track your prospect by knowing the open rate, link click and replies to reach out the right way. You can approach your prospect at scale with email temples where you can customize placeholders and make engagement more personalize. Marketers say they see 760% upgrade in their email campaign after personalization and segmentation in email marketing.

I will leave with this thought that the more customer- centric your approach the better result you can expect.

Closing the deal: When your prospect finally reaches the end of the sales pipeline its time for the action. To successfully get your prospect to convert into a paying customer you should be ready to handle any objection from your prospect, present them with the offers that suits them and make sure to be available to them when they need you as all your hard work boils down to this very result. Some tips to keep in mind here are:

  • Don’t just abruptly end the conversion after sale. Give your client contact details to reach out to you in case they need you in future this will make a good impression and increase retention and lifetime of your client as well.
  • Analyze your journey with the client. Don’t roll your eyes on this one. It might require some extra effort but analyzing your performance will improve your performance in future. An efficient way to do so is by analyzing on the basis of data that automation of your sales engagement process can provide.
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In the end it’s your sales process. The above suggestion can help you with your sales but you are the one who has to decide which approach will suit the best. Automation can accelerate this process and optimize your sales engagement process. Send buzz is one such have we are a sales engagement software. We help you take your sales process to new highs and increase your conversion.