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Cold Calling Vs. Outbound Calling

Cold Calling Vs. Outbound Calling

Depending on whether you utilize cold calling or outbound calling tactics, outbound sales calls can generate dramatically different results. Sales teams tend to use these terms interchangeably and oftentimes that can be confusing.

In this article on cold calling vs outbound calling, we cut through the confusion. 

Outbound calling vs. cold calling

Outbound calling and cold calling are both vital sales prospecting strategies, however, they are often conflated as terms. In this section, we will outline the key differences between outbound calling and cold calling. 

What is an Outbound Call?

To explain in simple terms, an outbound call is a sales call made to a potential customer who has typically shown some type of interest in a company’s product or services prior to the call. Outbound calling strategy focuses on warmer leads that have given the sales representative something he or she can start the initial conversation with. 

The prospect could have shown interest in the product or service in several ways, including here 

by signing up for a newsletter and downloading content. Interacting on social media, asking about pricing, or even providing their contact information at an event on a voluntary basis are other ways prospects show their interest in a company.  

Businesses have many reasons they turn to outbound calling. These include reasons such as pitching a service or a product, making bookings, reminding customers of prior bookings, fundraising, following up on a previous request, or even asking for feedback.  

In other words, the company makes outbound calls to educate potential customers further about products or services and cultivate the existing connection to determine if a good fit exists. Using a customer’s previous interest, sales representatives introduce solutions tailored to fit the needs expressed by the customers. Their goal is to guide qualified and somewhat familiar leads down the sales funnel using outbound calling. 

What is a Cold Call?

Differently from outbound calling, cold calling means contacting a potential customer who has not shown any prior indication of interest in a company’s product or service. This sales strategy aims to capture the attention of prospective customers who have had no interaction with the business previously. During the call, sales representatives highlight buyer pain points, introduce the brand, and work to demonstrate the value of the product or service from scratch. 

This isn’t an easy approach as it takes creativity and skill to gain traction fast via cold calls, leaning on exceptional communication skills to make an impression and prompt follow-up with cold contacts. 

Finally, keep in mind that not all outbound calls are cold calls; but, all cold calls are a form of outbound calling.

What are the different types of outbound calls?

Outbound calls serve several different primary purposes and, as such, they are categorized into several types, including lead generation, appointment setting, follow-up, and market research calls. Let’s explain each of them one by one:

Lead generation

Companies use lead generation calls to introduce potential customers to a product or service for the first time. The aim of this type of call is to capture the attention and educate the prospect on the key benefits of a product or service. Establishing credibility and prompting interest for future conversations are some of the additional aims of lead generation calls. 

Lead generation requires the ability to briefly convey value propositions tailored to the prospect’s assumed needs. The goal is to set the next steps for sending further info to nurture promising new potential leads.

Appointment setting

Appointment-setting calls build directly off previous conversations to schedule a specific discussion between the prospect and the sales team. They capitalize on any expressed interest to push for verbal commitment via a meeting or product demo. 

Setting the meeting provides the opportunity to establish rapport, ask questions, and interactively present how the offering fulfills the prospect’s needs.

Follow-up calls

Follow-up calls continue the conversation with prospects who have shown definite interest but require additional information before making a purchase. Effective follow-up calls include discussing personalized use cases, overcoming concerns, conveying pricing and service options, and reminding of value propositions. 

The goal of follow-up calls is to keep your solutions at the top of a prospect’s mind so they view your product or service as the preferred option.

Market research

Outbound market research calls are used to gather intel and trends from those within target segments. These calls identify pain points, feature wish lists, vendor frustrations, and other data to hone product development and marketing. Although not directly sales-focused, market research calls fuel better positioning, messaging, and lead follow-up processes to support revenue.

Outbound cold-calling strategies 

Connecting and conversing with potential customers via outbound calling requires skills and techniques to be successful. In this section, we will outline key strategies for optimizing outbound calls across every stage of interacting with the prospect:

Research your prospect 

This is one of the most important tips to have in mind as thorough research on a prospect before the call enables more tailored messaging, relevant talking points, as well as conversational fluency. 

When researching a prospect, sales representatives should focus on gathering data on the prospect’s pain points, history, work background, and other information to enhance relatability and prompt engagement.

Ask questions 

For a successful call, sales representatives should ask as many questions as possible. Strategically incorporating questions during an outbound sales call keeps prospects actively engaged rather than putting them on the defensive. 

Questions uncover needs, interests, and objections. Uncovering this vital information through questions, allows the rep to pivot approaches accordingly in real time during a call.

Offer solutions 

Outbound callers must be in control of the call at all times and be able to pivot the conversation quickly from presenting their product or service to providing customized solutions for the prospect’s requirements. Making connections between pain points uncovered and product offerings demonstrates listening skills, adds value to the interaction, and establishes the sales representative as a subject matter expert.

Make an assumptive close 

Assumptive closes are an effective strategy as they allow conversations to advance naturally without pressuring prospects to firmly commit. 

Using casual phrases like “I’ll send that case study over later today and we can discuss the next steps when you have time” nurtures leads without sounding aggressively demanding.

Stay Organized

Handling small administrative tasks promptly between calls prevents oversights. Logging call summaries, outlining follow-up plans, booking future touchpoints, and updating records helps streamline high sales volumes.

Bonus Tips

When looking to further optimize your call management strategy, consider incorporating the following bonus tips:

Take handwritten notes while calling: writing down key details by hand during a phone call boosts retention and comprehension. 

Record calls to review and improve: Whenever possible and permitted, record your customer calls to listen back to afterward. Reviewing past calls allows you to improve approaches over time by pinpointing areas of strength and weakness. 

Leverage mobile when connection rates are higher: Minimize dropped calls by making use of robust mobile connection capabilities when needed.

Closing thoughts 

To wrap everything up, outbound calling focuses on nurturing warmer leads already displaying interest, while cold calling ignites interest from scratch through creativity and communication skills.

Remember to research thoroughly before calling, ask thoughtful questions, and nurture leads based on their likelihood to convert through the sales funnel. Now, go implement these tips to optimize your sales calling strategy!

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