5 Steps to Outbound Lead Generation (Part 1): The Foundations

Perfecting the steps in your outbound lead generation will help you book more qualified sales meetings with decision-makers.
Formulating your outbound lead gen strategy can be broken down into five steps. In this article, we’ll be covering the first two steps which make up the foundation of your outbound lead generation.
The first two steps may not sound significant initially but don’t be fooled. Many tech founders skip them and that is a major mistake! It is absolutely critical that you go over them instead of jumping straight into the meat of the process.

These first two steps involve getting clear on your targeting. If you aren’t clear on who you’re targeting and the problems you’re solving for them, you’ll fail. Without this basic foundation, you won’t be able to get meetings and sell your product.

You can have perfect, crisp messaging, but if you haven’t nailed down your targeting, you’ll have little to no chance of success.
If you’ve honed in on who you’re targeting, even if your messaging isn’t perfect, you’ll have a higher rate of booking meetings.
the foundations of outbound lead generation

The Foundations of Outbound Lead Generation

Step 1: Identify Your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

Your ideal customer profile includes specific attributes of the companies you’ll be going after. Specify this in as much detail as possible.

A few questions to help get you started:
  • What size of a company should they be?
  • What revenue range?
  • Are there any leading indicators?
  • Are there any lagging indicators?
  • What industry are they in?

Even if you can serve a broader range of companies, it’s still good to specify and narrow down where you want to begin.

Getting clear on these attributes will help you filter out the ones who most likely won’t be customers and filter in the ones who will likely need your product.

Step 2: Identify Your Buyer Personas

Similar to the ICP, your buyer persona is the decision-maker at the companies you’re targeting. These decision-makers are also facing the same problems your product helps solve.

To get started, go through a list of C-level, director, VP, and all management levels of roles, and ask yourself:

“Is this role someone who would be experiencing the problem I’m solving? Is it a COO, a VP of HR, Director of IT, etc.?”

Identify the top 2-3 titles of people you would solve a problem for. Once you have your top 2-3, research as much as you can on these people.
You need to figure out:
  1. What are their biggest pain points?
  2. What are the biggest challenges they face today in the market?
  3. What’s going on in the market that’s impacting their job?
  4. What is the biggest impact on their business if these problems are left unsolved?
  5. What are the biggest gains and advantages for them and their business if you can resolve their problems?

At the root of outbound lead generation, you are ultimately selling to people, not companies. This is why it is so fundamental for you to understand these people before selling to them.

Once you understand your ideal customer, then you are ready to move to the next stage: building your messaging sequence.

Step 3: Build Your Messaging Sequence

A messaging sequence is “a series of messages sent out over a period of time.”

We recommend 4-5 messages sent over a 3-4 week period, with a few days apart each.

This is the part where you will look back and use the information you found when creating your buyer persona.
When crafting your messaging, focus on the pain points, the goals of your buyer, and how your product can help achieve those goals.
If you’re using LinkedIn for your messaging sequence, it is best to keep your messaging short, concise, and conversational. 1-2 sentences for your message should be enough. Make sure to avoid long messages as most people won’t read them.

Remember: the focus of your message should be about them, not you, your product, or your product’s features.

Check out this article for tips and examples of what you can use for your LinkedIn connection request messages.

After your initial message, follow-up and provide more context if needed.

Once you have established your ideal customer profile, buyer persona, and your messaging sequence, the foundation of your outbound lead generation is complete.
You are now ready to move forward and reach out to your target audience. Stay tuned for the second part of this two-part series where we’ll dive into the execution.
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