The pursuit of generating high-quality B2B leads is both a science and an art. Not only does it require a data-driven strategy to reach the right audience on the right channels but also a human-first approach to forging connections with potential customers.
And while there are many approaches and strategies one can use to generate leads, one indispensable ally stands out: the outbound contact center.
Equipped with handy tools and communication prowess, outbound contact centers can bridge the gap between your offerings and the eager ears of potential buyers.
In this guide, we cover what outbound contact centers are, how they work, and how to join forces to propel your business’s B2B lead generation efforts.
What is an Outbound Contact Center?
An outbound contact center is a facility where agents reach out to customers (or prospective customers) with the goal of initiating contact and generating more business. They may use a variety of communication channels, such as phone calls, email, or SMS, to generate leads, conduct market research, set appointments, or otherwise achieve other specific business objectives.
Many B2B businesses work with outbound contact centers in order to outsource their customer outreach, streamlining their operations and saving money in the process. Outbound contact centers can play a crucial role in a business’s sales and marketing efforts, from cold calling and upselling to cross-selling and lead nurturing.
What’s the Difference Between Inbound and Outbound Contact Centers?
Unlike inbound contact centers that respond to incoming inquiries, outbound contact centers initiate communication with existing or potential customers. Though outbound and inbound contact centers may look similar, they are focused on different goals.
An inbound contact center is very often the hub of a company’s customer communications. This team or facility will field customer support inquiries, customer questions, and the like. They are mainly focused on nurturing pre-existing relationships with customers.
Outbound contact centers, on the other hand, actively reach out to customers or potential customers in hopes of generating new business. They may utilize different types of tools, scripts, and techniques, and their conversations often look very different from inbound customer service conversations.
Benefits of Working with an Outbound Contact Center
While many companies choose to keep lead generation in-house, others choose to partner with or outsource to third-party contact centers. In fact, there are many benefits to taking this approach.
Here are a few key functions and benefits of working with an outbound contact center.
Outbound contact centers often consist of a team of agents tasked with reaching out to new contacts and/or existing customers. They are highly trained in outreach techniques and will proactively generate new leads on behalf of your business.
Surveys and Research
Outbound contact centers can conduct surveys and market research to gather valuable audience data. These insights can inform your sales team about customer preferences, opinions, and trends that may influence their buying decisions.
Outbound contact center agents may schedule appointments or meetings on behalf of your sales team, helping streamline your sales process. They can identify viable leads based on your criteria, ensuring your sales team focuses on those who are most likely to convert.
Outbound centers can follow up with customers regarding things like post-purchase feedback, service updates, or resolving issues. They can also help nurture existing leads, making sure no opportunities fall through the cracks.
Outbound contact centers often leverage technology like Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, auto-dialers, and analytics tools to enhance their efficiency and effectiveness. Since all of this technology is centralized under their facility, this can result in cost savings for your business.
Expertise and Specialization
Outbound contact centers specialize in sales, marketing, and customer engagement. They bring expertise and experience to the table, ensuring effective lead generation and customer outreach.
How to Generate B2B Leads with Outbound Calling
Many B2B businesses struggle with outbound cold calling because they hate it, don’t have the resources to do it, or don’t know where to begin. Fortunately, outsourcing to a third-party contact center is often a viable, cost-saving alternative to keeping the service in-house.
Here’s how to start generating B2B leads by partnering with an outbound contact center.
1. Research outbound contact center options
First, you’ll want to research various outbound contact centers to find the right fit for your business.
Start by identifying your specific needs, objectives, and budget constraints. This will help you identify agencies that are within your budget and that offer the specific services you are looking for.
Next, compile a list of potential agencies through online searches, referrals, and/or industry associations. Evaluate their reputation, client testimonials, and case studies to see if they have a track record of success.
Then, ask about their technology stack and procedures to ensure they align with your requirements. Schedule interviews or consultations to discuss their approach, team capabilities, and reporting methods.
Finally, request detailed proposals and pricing structures to compare against your budget and goals. Ask about what results they can expect to generate for your business and within what timeframe, if possible.
This research process will help you select an outbound contact center that best suits your B2B lead generation needs, budget, audience, and objectives.
2. Define your target audience
Your chosen outbound contact center partner will likely ask about your specific criteria for outreach. This requires you to define who your target audience is, what they are looking for, what channels they are using, etc.
It helps to first define your ideal B2B customer persona, including their industry, company size, location, and decision-making authority. This information will help the contact center tailor their outreach to fit the demographics and interests of your target audience.
3. Build a contact list
Work with your contact center partner to build an outreach contact list. Sometimes they will do this for you, and other times it may require more collaboration. They may have their own existing B2B contact database or you might have to build on by researching and validating new leads.
Once you have a contact list, review this list to confirm that the contacts align with your outreach criteria. Once validated, the contact agency will be prepared to reach out on your behalf.
4. Discuss the script
Experienced outbound contact centers will usually have pre-written scripts they can tweak based on the specifics of your business. These scripts were likely formed after years of outreach, trial and error, and refinement. But it’s always a good time to review it before you start the campaign.
You can help make this script even better by crafting a strong value proposition that highlights the benefits of your product or service to potential clients. Be sure to make it clear to the agents what the perks are and why people might be interested.
Then, check that your outbound sales team is well-trained in your product or service, sales techniques, and objection handling. Again, a reputable agency will likely have this down-pat, but it’s always good to double-check!
5. Take a multi-channel approach
Depending on your budget, you can encourage your agency to use a combination of communication channels such as phone calls, emails, social media, and direct mail to reach prospects.
Different people prefer different channels, so diversifying your approach can yield better results.
Your chosen agency may have experience with some channels and not others, so be sure to check in regarding their experience level, confidence, and the strategies used to reach prospects on various platforms.
6. Monitor and analyze results
Ask your outbound contact center for updates regarding the success (or failure) of their outreach efforts. Regularly analyze your campaigns’ performance to identify what’s working and what isn’t. Then, suggest that they adjust their strategy based on this data.
You can also use A/B testing to refine and optimize your outreach strategies. Advise your outreach partner to test different messaging, subject lines, call scripts, and timing to identify what works best for your business and audience.
Outbound Calling and Appointment Setting
Take your outbound contact center outsourcing a step further with appointment-setting services. Many agencies will not only conduct the outreach and lead generation but also schedule appointments for your sales team. This can help keep your pipeline full and your sales agents’ schedules booked with hot new leads.
Not all agencies provide this service, so be sure to check ahead of time. At Superhuman Prospecting, we provide everything from lead generation to cold calling to appointment setting, so you can outsource every step of the process.
Outsource Lead Gen to an Outbound Calling Service
Outsourcing to a third-party outbound contact center is a great way to streamline your B2B lead generation process, save money on outreach, and keep your sales pipeline full of high-quality leads. That way, your sales team can focus on what they do best: selling your products or services to ready-to-buy customers!
At Superhuman Prospecting, we help B2B companies save time and money by providing outsourced lead generation, cold calling, and appointment-setting services. Ready to sell better and maximize your ROI? Contact us to learn more today.