Outbound lead generation: you’ll hear it called old-fashioned, outdated, all kinds of slanderous names. But it still has a pivotal place in the marketing mix. And we’re going to tell you how.

There are many digital reasons why outbound lead generation still matters.

What’s more, you can mix outbound with inbound lead generation, support both with creative demand generation strategies and deliver better content experiences for outbound tactics when you personalize your sales content.

Read on for our 9 outbound lead strategies for success, what not to do, and our top tips for getting it right the first time.

What’s outbound lead generation?

Outbound lead generation is about engaging with potential customers who might not even know you exist (yet). There are different tactics you can use to get noticed by your ideal customers, such as phone calls, emails, social selling, or print. Whatever method you pick,  the important bit is catching their attention – and keeping it. Usually, your marketing and sales teams will work in harmony together to make your outbound lead generation process slick and successful.

Marketing team

This is probably your area. You might be content marketers, campaign managers, and marketing execs. You create the content, including lead magnets, pick and manage the channels, and run and report on the performance of the campaign.

Sales team

The faces of your outbound lead generation campaign. They’ll be the ones on the phone, meeting your customers, giving product demos, and closing the sale.

What’s an outbound lead?

When your outbound tactics start to work, you’ll get outbound leads. They’re officially interested in you but haven’t made a purchase yet.

There are two types:

Marketing qualified lead (MQL)

As an early engager, they may have engaged with some of your social posts, wanted to book a follow-up call from a cold call or email, or have given their details via a lead generation form.

Sales qualified lead (SQL)

MQLs are passed onto sales teams to see if they’re the right fit. They’ll need to tick certain boxes (e.g. suitable industries, sufficient seniority) to make the cut. If they do, an MQL metamorphoses into an SQL. Once they’ve been earmarked by your sales team, they’re likely almost ready to make the purchase.

How does outbound lead generation work?

Outbound takes more traditional marketing methods to advertise to your potential customers. Your sales team is crucial to its success, so marketing and sales teams need to work closely.

Your outbound lead generation campaign needs to include these steps

Identify your ideal customer profile

Create a contact list

Choose your outreach channels

Create your content,sales collateral, messaging, and assets

Make your campaign live online and set your sales team in motion

Sales team manages customer relationships and nurtures leads

Qualify and close leads

Analyze, report, and optimize.

Inbound vs outbound lead generation

You’ll get the gist quite quickly. But, put simply, inbound lead generation brings potential leads in without any intervention, and outbound lead generation reaches out to potential leads.

Examples of inbound lead generation strategy include your web content such as:

When potential customers come across your inbound content marketing efforts, they make the first move, whether that’s following a call to action, filling out forms, or downloading content.

How can marketers create standout sales content that truly helps close more deals? For answers to this, and much more, take a look at ‘A guide for marketers on sales enablement’

Click to read Empowering Sales Enablement for your company | Turtl Guide

Outbound takes a more direct approach. By targeting decision-makers who could be your future customers, you generate leads by actively showing how your business or product benefits them. Outbound can take longer to generate conversions. You start with cold leads. But with inbound generation, you’re ahead, because your target audience is researching and looking into your services.

The similarities? Well, both approaches generate leads. And they both need a strong ICP understanding before you begin so your targeting is effective.

Strategies for outbound lead generation success

1. Cold calling

Cheap and effective, cold calling is always high on the list of outbound strategies. To do it well, you need:

  • An up-to-date, highly relevant list of targets
  • Expert knowledge to confidently pitch your product or service
  • To know the best time to call. You can keep it internal within your sales team, or outsource it to specialist agencies
  • To secure a follow-up, whether that’s another call, a meeting, a free trial, or product demo

But get it right and the leads will come streaming in. You’ll be the Belfort of the ball.

Cold calling Wolf of Wall Street still

2. Email

Another cheap option, many B2B companies use it as a main channel for outbound marketing. Twin it with a decent CRM and automation software and you can create email workflows that’ll boost lead nurturing efforts. Start with messages that encourage engagement and outline how your product or service can add value.

3. Pay-per-click (PPC)

It’ll take a lot of research, time, and budget, but PPC ads will add real value to your outbound lead gen strategy. Research popular keywords your target audiences are searching for. And it’ll need careful set-up to make sure your ads appear in the right places to catch attention of the right people. Beyond that, you need to make sure your call to action leads to something that’s going to keep attention, such as landing pages.

4. Social selling

Enter LinkedIn. The ideal social platform for sales reps to connect with and nurture leads. To make the most of LinkedIn:

  • Make your profile your professional brand – show your expertise in the industry
  • Connect with potential leads
  • Use DMs to send personalized messages to prospects and start conversations
  • Post or share useful content that’ll get you noticed and build engagement.

5. Referrals

A word-of-mouth marketing strategy, use your existing customers in referral marketing. An outbound referral is when someone gives you a name to make contact with. Each customer has a  network of friends, family, and colleagues – and who knows, they could be your next customers. Referral bonuses incentivize existing customers to introduce you to their network. Sure, you might need to put a bit of budget behind referrals in the form of vouchers or deals, but the ROI could be much larger.

6. Direct mail, print, and branded merch

A dependable lead gen strategy – who doesn’t love receiving free stuff unexpectedly? If you’ve got a list of acquisition targets and a reasonable budget, a physical, tangible lead magnet gets you noticed. Branded merch could direct your targets to a landing page or to an unmissable call to action such as booking a meeting or demo. Whatever you send, personalize it as much as you can – and make sure your targets are clear on what they need to do next to get that conversation started.

7. Content syndication

Content syndication is one way to do a bit of everything using the content that already exists. Basically, it involves republishing existing content (or pieces of content) on different channels. The best lead generation content types are whitepapers, infographics, blogs, presentations, and case studies. The content that shows you know your stuff. The best ways to get it out there are email or online communities and forums. Repurpose for maximum reach and to save on vital resources.

8. Multichannel outreach

It can take up to 8 touchpoints to convert a customer. So a multichannel approach will get you there quicker. Once you know what channels get the most engagement from your audiences, you can push your most attention-grabbing, lead-luring content. It’s a way of merging inbound methods (content) with outbound channels, targeting those customers who didn’t know about you before.

9. Networking

Your mind might go straight to door-to-door sales, but we promise, cold approaching can be much more effective than that. Make connections in person – at conferences and events. Already that’s a more personalized approach than any digital marketing lead generation tactics. Combine this with gifting through your branded merch and you’ve got a great conversation starter or an easier follow-up meeting.

Common outbound lead gen mistakes to avoid

Not knowing your ICP

If you haven’t researched who your target customers are before starting campaign activity, you’ll risk wasting money and gaining nothing. To be able to target them with the right message at the right time, you need to understand their:

  • Company size
  • Industry
  • Most active channels
  • Problems and pain points

Turtl ICP template

Your teams and processes aren’t on the same page

You won’t get too far if your sales and marketing teams aren’t working together on your outbound strategy. Make the most of the knowledge and experience of both teams. Sales can lean into their customer knowledge to help pitch your products and services more effectively. And your marketing team are the experts at executing the strategy, finding the right channels and messages, and building content for sales pipeline acceleration.

Outbound is your only strategy

Outbound lead generation isn’t the only way to get new customers, so don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Pairing it with a demand generation strategy means you’ll always have targets at different stages of the buying funnel, and the content to meet their needs. If your focus is only on cold outreach, you’ll never get to nurture and educate those leads into paying customers.

Not personalizing

You won’t be the only one competing for your customers’ business. Personalized content helps you stand out from the crowd, so look at personalizing with your targets’ names, business, and interests and tailor content to them. Tools like Turtl’s Personalization Engine help you create personalized content at scale so you can speak directly to thousands of potential customers with ease.

personalised content lifts engagement and attention 84%

Be genuine

Your potential customers are busy. And they’re savvy. They’re marketed at left, right, and center. Outbound lead generation won’t work for you if your list of prospects is huge and you just sift your way through them. Make sure what you’re offering has a benefit to them and will genuinely help solve their problems.

How does data impact outbound lead generation?

Speaking of a huge list of prospects, this is where a lead scoring model and solid data come in. A data-driven marketing approach makes sure your list of contacts is accurate, worthwhile, and has the potential to deliver ROI.

Other ways you can use data in your outbound strategy

Segmenting your audiences

Finding out the best contact times

Finding the best channels

Keeping on top of their buying journey

Reporting and analyzing results

Data is the difference between making empowered marketing decisions and having to guess your way to success. What channels are working the best? Who’s reading my content repeatedly? What messaging is having the most impact? These insights help you steer your outbound lead generation efforts in the right direction.

Turtl Analytics unveils intent data that puts power back into your hands. Find out what topics resonate the most with leads and use interactive polls to get a better understanding of their common concerns and greatest pain points. This information is invaluable for sales teams and enables them to have meaningful, impactful conversations that lead to more conversions.

Turtl Analytics Dashboard

Turtl takeaway

So there you have it, your one-stop shop for kick-starting your outbound lead generation campaign. It’s over to you now, but we’ll leave you with our main takeaways.

Research, research, research. Don’t waste your time with customers that don’t fit your ICP and use all the lead generation tools at your disposal to find out as much as you can about your targets.

Educate and inform. Beyond catching their attention, you need to follow up with useful content for your leads. Think about how you can position your product to solve their problems and how you can stand out from the competition.

Align your teams. Establish processes between your marketing and sales teams so you use everyone’s expertise and keep customers moving through the funnel once you’ve established a relationship.

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