Outbound Prospecting is the process of finding potential leads that may turn into paying customers. Typically, this is done by your sales development reps and team, or you can outsource it to specialists
They are given an ideal customer profile
, and then find potential customers that fit the parameters in that profile. These leads may be found via social media, conference lists, membership lists, or elsewhere - cold outreach
strategies and lead prospecting tools are varied.
Prospecting efforts, if done correctly, are rewarded with responses agreeing to meetings or demos. Arriving at this part of the sales funnel
means your prospecting strategies have been successful, and your initial lead, while specific and targeted, did indeed convert into a potential customer.
Outbound prospecting is, therefore, very different from inbound prospecting. In inbound prospecting, the leads have come to you. Usually, they fill out a form on your website in which they have provided their information - anything from their email address to information about their company may be considered here.
Your inbound sales team must then qualify these leads
and see if they are worth going after. This may be done via research or an initial call. It is often the case that with these types of leads, the email is incorrect or non-existent, or one person has filled it out with multiple fake emails, and as such, your inbound team has to wade through several low-quality leads to arrive at the true opportunities.
With good quality leads, the inbound sales team takes a different approach than your outbound team. These prospects may be added to a nurturing sales cadence
, perhaps a weekly or monthly newsletter, to continue generating interest passively. Or they may have filled out a form with more specific details, so your inbound sales team can tailor an email specifically responding to the information they provided.
As such, the key difference between inbound vs outbound prospecting
is where the leads are coming from. All other parts of the chain are then dependent on this initial step. If you are providing the information to a tailored set of leads, based on an ideal customer profile, you have already qualified them somewhat, and any responses should be considered overwhelmingly positively and as actual possibilities of a sale.
Here the chief part of the process is ensuring that your customer profile is correct and that your following prospecting strategy and tools are in tip-top shape. You need to pay attention to both the quality and quantity of the approach you take here - to get the very best results.
In inbound prospecting, instead, the important, time-consuming step is the qualification of leads
. You may receive 50 to 100 interested leads every day, but if you add all of them to the sales funnel
without qualifying them, you will muddy the waters and the work for yourself and for your numbers at the end of the quarter.