Outbound sales is an approach in which someone, typically a salesperson, proactively reaches out to a potential customer with the ultimate goal of closing a sale. To put this into contrast, inbound sales is the opposite, most often defined as the prospect reaching out to the service provider first. However, there seem to be a variety of interpretations to the concept and depending on the definition the two approaches are typically combined. Nevertheless, this post will proceed dealing with the concept of outbound sales.

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The characteristics

There are several ways to which you could approach a potential customer. Most people can probably recognize themselves having been subject to a sales phone call, a direct or marketed email, or maybe received a message on a social media platform. Of course, outbound sales could also be as analog as being approached by a person at a physical event or even having someone knocking at your door. The common denominator is usually that the potential customer has not expressed any prior interest in the service provided.

Important aspects of outbound sales

Given the fact that the person most likely has not expressed any desire to buy the service beforehand, it will be up to the sales rep to catch enough interest to convince the person to set time aside in order to explore the offer. Most often this requires timing, careful targeting, and a well-polished and tailored sales pitch. Remember, you are borrowing someone else's time and asking for more of it, let alone putting in your own time and effort.

The amount of time between the first outreach and closing the deal varies immensely and there are several factors such as industry, service provided, timing, as well as the sales reps own capabilities that come into play. The sales rep is typically acting within a frame guided by a sales process, and hence, there are multiple factors beside the outreach itself affecting the sale, but giving a good first impression can set the tone for the remaining steps taken towards a close.