Best Practices of Outbound Lead Generation for B2B
Date : August 31, 2021 By
What is outbound lead generation?
Lead generation online can be inbound and outbound. Inbound online lead generation attracts potential customers to your website where the target action happens. It can be a trial or demo request, whitepaper or ebook download or something else — the key here is that visitors themselves have the intent for actions. Outbound lead generation is completely opposite, this sales tactic aims at identifying and reaching out to potential customers or leads who have not yet expressed interest in a product or service. In contrast to inbound lead generation, which focuses on attracting prospects through content marketing, SEO, and other methods where leads come to you, outbound lead generation involves proactively seeking out and initiating contact with potential customers.
Key 5 methods of outbound lead generation typically include:
1. Cold Calling
This involves reaching out to potential customers via phone calls without any prior interaction. Sales representatives or telemarketers contact prospects to introduce products or services and gauge their interest.
2. Email Marketing
Sending cold emails or email campaigns to a list of potential leads. These emails usually contain information about the company’s offerings and an invitation to engage in further discussions.
3. Direct Mail
Sending physical mail, such as brochures, catalogs, or promotional materials, to potential leads through postal services.
4. Social Media Outreach
Actively engaging with prospects on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook, either through direct messages or public interactions.
5. Networking Events and Trade Shows
Attending industry-specific events, conferences, or trade shows to connect with potential customers and generate leads through in-person interactions.
Outbound lead generation can be an effective method for businesses, particularly when they have a clear target audience and need to reach potential customers who may not be actively searching for their products or services. However, it’s essential to approach outbound lead generation ethically and respectfully to avoid spamming or annoying potential customers.
The main challengers of outbound lead generation for B2B
The most important thing in outbound lead generation is focus. Since B2B market is very big and contains lots of segments, it is not easy to find the «sweetspot»: your target clients and their contact details. But even if you have this information from the various prospecting tools available for marketers and sales teams, the outbound lead generation can be unsuccessful because there may be no specific intent to research or buy the product you are offering by a specific person you’re talking to. The main question here is: «How to focus the outbound lead generation efforts on the prospects that are actively looking for your or similar product?» And if we talk about huge companies, the second question is: «How to make sure I am talking to the right person in the account which is interested in my product?» In the current martech environment there is an answer to this question — B2B website visitor tracking software, such as ZoomInfo, LeadFeeder or similar tools.
These tools allow marketers or sales teams to understand in what companies are their website visitors working. This is done using an IP-matching technology and works only in markets where companies tend to have their own IP address sets. From my experience it is definitely working in Western and Eastern Europe, Americas and Australia — these are the regions where I was able to precisely identify the company names based on IP-matching. Additionally, these tools usually place a code snippet on your website pages and with this they can show you the whole customer journey on your website and the referring website. It is also possible to parse the exact search keyword which was used by the visitor to find the website in search engines.
Outbound lead generation case study
Company data discovery with LeadFeeder
Now I will describe the process of the outbound lead generation service for one of my clients — Cipherpoint, an IT security software company.
Here is what we see in LeadFeeder which is used by this client to perform outbound lead generation — all the companies from which networks there were visits during the selected time period. I created several custom feeds according to our target personas:
The main feed is called «Latest HQ enterprise leads».We are looking at enterprise clients with a minimum of 201 employees (seats) with the high quality of contact data; those who visited the website for more than several seconds and did not go into the «Investor relations» section (this company is public, listed on ASX and investors are not our target audience). Additionally, there are several other feeds that break down this generic one by geography: APAC, Benelux and France, DACH and others. This allows our sales team members to navigate quickly between target regions.
Let’s take one of the companies from the previous screenshot to see what LeadFeeder offers:
LeadFeeder gives us sufficient company information: location, website URL, industry and size. The activity tab demonstrates all the visits from this company to our website, incl. source, medium and visited pages with the time spent on them. This gives us information about the interests of the prospect which can be corresponding to the pages that were visited. This solution answers to the question that I have listed above: «How to focus the outbound lead generation services on the prospects that are actively looking for our product?» Based on the visited pages and time spent on them you can make assumptions on the level of interest from this particular prospect and reach out only to those who demonstrate high level of engagement.
Looking for the proper point of contact
In order to find the proper contact, LeadFeeder allows users to search by role. In case of Cipherpoint our target persona is the IT security analyst, manager or CISO. Additionally, we are also targeting compliance executives. LeadFeeder parses the information from LinkedIn and several other sources, incl. job titles, which allows us to filter employees and find the relevant ones. The picture above demonstrates 5 relevant employees that were found by LeadFeeder. It is better to check their LinkedIn profiles in order to make sure they still work for the prospected company. The icon near the name highlights the email which is collected by LeadFeeder from various sources.
Follow up with an outbound lead
We have developed a special email template which we use to intiate the communication. It allows to maximize open and reply rates while minimizing the resources.
Subject: «Looking for the relevant contacts at %company_name% in regards to SharePoint security»
«SharePoint security» can be changed to «data classification» or any other product or service which was looked by the prospect during the website journey.
Text: Hello Mr./Ms. %last_name%,
I have noticed you are %job_title% at %company_name% on LinkedIn.
Recently we’ve detected a high level of interest in the attached white paper from %company_name%, I’ve seen a number of your employees spending some time reviewing information regarding our SharePoint security best practices.
I’ve looked through LinkedIn and didn’t find any person who might be directly responsible for these areas in %company_name%. Can I ask, if you have a thought about whom can I contact in regard to this topic?
We have deep experience in assisting companies by helping them find, classify and protect their most sensitive information which is under any compliance regulation. Alternatively, I’d be delighted to discuss with you on a call at your earliest convenience.
Please let me know if you could help me to find the right contact. Many thanks for looking through the message.
It is possible to make this template even better by adding more customized approach to the prospect. You can check the prospect’s social media or just google him to look for any content written by the prospect. Quoting part of this content or providing your opinion could also help to engage and get a reply.
LeadFeeder shows that after sending these messages users regularly interact with our website:
The more emails we send, the more visits we have. Not only the visits but also the meaningful responses come to our mailbox:
This response fits exactly in the expected outcome — it gives us more information about where to look for the relevant people as a next step. Additionally, when contacting the next person in the company it is easier to get a response because the contact was referred by the colleague.
This method of outbound lead generation is useful not only for B2B, but also for enterprise software companies and SaaS. Tools like LeadFeeder make the process of locating relevant companies for outbound lead generation and finding the relevant contacts in these companies relatively easy and fast. This is one of the hugest benefits of such an approach — it allows to focus on those accounts which have a specific interest in your product, and thus improve reply rates and overall leadgen efforts.