Don’t hurt your sales leads – outbound leads are different from inbound!

Piotr Zaniewicz in

Blog/IT Lead Generation/Don’t hurt your sales leads – outbound leads are different from inbound!

Do you still treat all your sales leads the same way? Because it might be the reason why you have problem reaching your monthly sales goals. There are a few significant differences between inbound and outbound leads.

Over 530 small and medium companies from around the world have tried cold email lead generation with RightHello. And – surprise, surprise – we use that process to acquire customers too. 

Just over a year ago we also started doing serious inbound marketing. And we’ve noticed that leads from this source are different from outbound.

How are Inbound and Outbound leads different?

If someone is interested in what you’re offering, that person becomes a valid Sales Lead. Either Inbound – someone who reaches your offer on their own, or Outbound – someone you’ve emailed to promote your offer.

Potential customers do their own research when they know that they need something. Which is the first difference in Inbound leads. If someone finds you then they probably already know what you do, and usually know your competitors too.

Whereas in case of Outbound leads you have to define the need first. In an Outbound scenario, you’re the one who’s trying to start a conversation. You can’t assume (or check) whether your Outbound leads already know that you exist. They might not even know that your product or service exists.

If there’s one key difference between Inbound and Outbound leads, it’s trust. Outbound typically leads don’t trust you, unless they already know you (which is why strategies that mix inbound and outbound are the most powerful in B2B). They’re investigating your company to see if it’s trustworthy – which is the moment when Inbound and Outbound marketing converges. 

Here’s a tiny (info)sealgraphic to help you visualize the key differences between Inbound and Outbound leads.

Inbound lead vs Outbound lead

Inbound lead vs outbound lead based on seals

Specifics of leads from cold emails

What do people that receive your cold emails think? What makes them reply? How can you interest them in your offer? Is cold emailing the holy Graal of marketing?

Hardly, because like I mentioned before – recipients of your cold emails are suspicious of you. It’s a similar problem to the one that door-to-door salespeople face. They aren’t bad people!

The fact that they disturb people at awkward times is enough to make the whole world hate door-to-door salespeople. But an email notification isn’t the same as a heavy knock on the door. People value their time so much that even reading unnecessary emails makes some angry.

Your email should break the ice from the start. Someone who opens it needs to know, within seconds, why you’re writing and what you’re offering. Plus, between the lines you’re also trying to say that you’re trustworthy, not expensive, worth the commitment, etc. etc.. That requires transparent, sweet and informative writing at a pro level.

It’s hard to do, but it’s worth it. Otherwise the recipients of your cold emails will think “what is this bulls*t” instead of thinking “this is interesting!”. 

That’s why targeting and personalization is such a big part of cold emailing. A good job here means that you’ll be approaching to interested decision makers. And using their language will appeal to them. 

Is it crucial? Well, you’re writing to people that might need your solution. They’re probably not planning to satisfy that need yet.

In this context, an email that’s worth replying to has to:

  • hit inbox around the time someone’s browsing it – which is why one email isn’t enough, and we send campaigns with follow-ups

  • instantly prove your worth without salesy expressions, negative signals – only using full honesty to generate sales leads

I’m no poet, but good cold emails are like seeds. You target a field, spread the seeds on the targeted area (targeting). You water it (personalization and follow-ups), and next cultivate whatever grows from the field (new business). Depending on the quality of seeds and field (email and target group) – you’ll have a lot to eat, or nothing at all.

Human to human, not founder to sales lead

Did you ever get a weird email that disturbed you? Oh, everyday?

Me too, but don’t worry – keep fighting the good fight with RightHello. The goal is that someday companies will only market to people that need to buy from them. That’s why it’s important to use quality data in improving how you do marketing and sales everyday. 

In the end, marketing is building a need, and talking to ready sales leads is like a networking party. And if you don’t have enough data, you’ll end up dressing up as Batman for a serious event. Ideally you’d go to Comic-Con in your Batman suit, but leave it at home in favor of your two-piece when it’s time to make money. 

Thanks for reading!

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Piotr Zaniewicz

Founder and CEO at RightHello. Believes that the most important validation of business ideas is to find paying clients. That’s when you know you’re going in the right direction.