What Is Outbound Prospecting and Opportunity Generation?

Editor’s note: This post is part of OpenView’s Out­bound Prospect­ing Series, which walks you through all the steps, nec­es­sary roles, and best practices you’ll need to establish and improve your company’s own high-performing outbound prospecting practice. You can also download our free eBook, Building Your Sales Funnel: How to Create an Outbound Prospecting Machine.

Outbound prospecting is an essential component of an effective overall marketing strategy for B2B companies as well as certain B2C companies.

Outbound prospecting is important in many ways, as it helps you:

•    Generate highly qualified prospects in critical target segments that other marketing channels may or may not be able to influence
•    Reduce your cost of acquiring customers
•    Better define your target customer segments
•    Better define the qualification criteria you use to determine what prospects to put sales time against
•    Better understand your targets’ needs (e.g., pain points), buyer roles, and buying process
•    Better understand the personas for each of the buyer roles
•    Discover how to best adjust your sales process to better align with your buyer roles and buying process, thereby minimizing the sales cycle and sales time
•    Discover what types of competitive-advantage messaging and content resonate with buyers so you can improve the materials you’re producing
•    Improve the way your team handles objections.

Outbound prospecting can be used in both direct-sales situations, where you sell directly to your end-customers, and in indirect sales situations, where you sell through channel partners. In the latter case, you can use outbound prospecting to help sign-up new channel partners, or to find leads to pass on to your partners to help them build their business.

While this practice seems very simple, it is exceptionally difficult to initiate, refine, and improve; most outbound prospecting attempts either fail completely or fail to improve to a “best practice” level. This series has been designed to help you maximize your chances for success.

Next week, I’ll provide a quick example illustrating one company’s success in implementing an outbound prospecting team.

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