Outbound sales is the process where a seller, usually represented by a sales agent, initiates customer engagement from its end. Initial contact is traditionally done by placing “cold calls” to potential buyers (more commonly referred to as “leads” in sales). Contact numbers are usually taken from a phone directory and lead lists.
In some cases, customers might request to be contacted and give their phone numbers via interested-in-a-service forms (i.e. tourist signing up for future discounts in other tour packages, etc.). This is referred to as “warm calling”. In recent times, leads can even be generated by third-party firms and bought en masse as a lumpsum or as a subscription.
Compared to inbound selling where sales representatives wait for prospects to call and inquire about a product, outbound selling is more aggressive. It is highly probable that a lead has no knowledge of the product itself or has hardly heard of it. This is why outbound agents are trained and provided with sales scripts while making their call.
Due to the nature of outbound selling as a velocity-driven sales methodology, agents often know just enough about their product to be able to answer initial questions while still generating interest. Sales executed this way are often finished in a few—if not a single—steps.
Outbound Sales and Social Media
As mentioned earlier, outbound sales rely heavily on having leads to contact. The more leads there are, the better the chances a sales agent is able to meet his sales quota. However, outbound selling has a lot of end-user factors to consider like the prospect’s time zone (if the call is interstate, which is often rare) or schedule, their buying capacity, whether they already have the product or not, and so on. Consequently, it has become necessary for sellers to acquire more meaningful leads and to acquire them in the soonest possible time.
Because buying leads is not always refined and can be expensive to maintain, sales agents can now use social media to identify potential clients and make targeted sales. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter give a huge insight into the activities of potential leads.
Sales agents can even go as far as use these insights into generating tailored sales scripts and offers. In some cases, sales offers can even be done in real time without the need for a sales agent. For example, a user who tweets that she needs a quick dress selection for a party can be targeted by an office manager a block away by replying to her tweet in real time with a discount offer. If the user becomes a buying customer, then the outbound sale is considered a closed deal.