The Basics of Outbound Lead Generation Set-Up

Want to boost lead generation? Follow this 7-step guide to setting up an effective outbound lead gen program.


Cold calls seem intrusive. Unsolicited emails often get ignored. Rejection hurts. No wonder many businesses shy away from these tactics. But here's the reality — actively reaching out to new prospects is critical for growth. 

This process is called outbound lead generation. It can be challenging, but with the right strategies, it becomes easier and more effective. And the payoff is enormous! You get a loaded pipeline and an expanded customer base.

This beginner's guide lays out a simple 7-step framework for successful outbound lead gen. Follow these best practices, and outbound lead gen can become a scalable, predictable engine driving your business forward.

What Is Outbound Lead Generation?

The Basics of Outbound Lead Generation Set-Up, What Is Outbound Lead Generation?

Instead of waiting for inbound leads to come to you, outbound lead gen lets you intentionally reach out to find and capture new leads.

Some outbound strategies include: 

  • Cold calling 
  • Email outreach
  • Social media ads

Outbound works hand-in-hand with inbound marketing. While inbound aims to attract passive website visitors, outbound is active prospecting at its core.

Combining outbound and inbound is crucial for lead gen success. Outbound casts a broader net and puts you in front of fresh audiences. With the proper outbound foundation, you can take your lead generation and revenue to the next level.

7 Steps to Outbound Lead Generation

Outbound lead generation takes strategy and planning. Here are seven steps to set up an effective outbound program:

Step 1: Foundational Alignment

First, align your outbound efforts with your overall marketing and sales strategy. It involves two sub-steps:

  • Know your target by identifying your ideal customer profiles (ICPs) and creating detailed buyer personas. 
  • Understand a lead’s stage in the sales cycle by clearly defining what constitutes a Sales Accepted Lead (SAL) and Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). 

Before you can write the perfect message, you should know who you’re speaking to with crystal clarity. Be specific about their characteristics. Start broad, including demographics like industry and job titles. 

Then, build detailed buyer personas representing your primary customer types. Give them realistic names, photos, and profiles covering their goals, behaviors, and motivations.

Next, work with your sales team to establish the criteria that make an interested lead (SAL) and a sales-ready lead (SQL). For example, a SAL may request a demo, while an SQL has completed a demo and wants to know more.

Knowing who your lead is and their stage in the sales cycle helps you craft relevant messages that speak to your audience. You can then design segment-specific email sequences or call scripts.

Step 2: Funnel Math

The Basics of Outbound Lead Generation Set-Up, Step 2: Funnel Math

Now, set your goal by doing a little funnel math. This is a way to determine whether your outbound strategies are profitable.

What you do is work backward. Before even thinking about how many cold calls or emails you need to send, ask yourself:

  • How many new customers do you want next quarter? Let's say 100.
  • What's your sales conversion rate? Let's pretend 20% of demos convert to sales.
  • So if you need 100 sales, you need 100 ÷ 20% = 500 demos booked.
  • If 10% of conversations convert to demos, you need 500 ÷ 10% = 5,000 sales conversations.
  • And if 2% of emails spark conversations, you need 5,000 ÷ 2% = 250,000 emails sent!

Doing the math gives you a clear, quantifiable goal. Now you know how many calls or emails you need for desired outcomes. You can plan how many sales reps you need, day-to-day activity quotas, and more.

While the numbers look daunting at first, remember it's a process. Consistent, structured outreach builds into more significant results over time. 

After setting your goal, focus on executing excellently at each funnel stage while keeping the end revenue goals in sight.

Check out our Lunas Outbound Lead Gen Funnel Math. Dive deep into the mechanics of lead funnels, understand conversion rates, and optimize your strategy for maximum results. Elevate your lead generation game today!

Lunas Outbound Lead Gen Funnel Math

Step 3: List Building

Remember the ICP and buyer personas you created in step one? It’s time to use them to build a targeted list of contacts.

This list is your database of potential buyers. They’re the ones you’ll be calling and emailing. Ensure each contact is aligned with your ICP so you don’t waste time on dead-end leads.

There are a few ways to find these contacts. Here are a few examples:

  • Build internally by asking for referrals from existing customers
  • Keyword searches on LinkedIn based on ICP criteria like location and industry
  • Use conference attendee lists
  • Purchase data sets

As you’ve probably learned in step two, outbound lead gen is a numbers game. Sufficient list volume and quality are critical. Make sure you’re following the best practices when building your list. Continually refresh your list so you always have more contacts to fill your pipeline.

Step 4: List Segmentation

The Basics of Outbound Lead Generation Set-Up, Step 4: List Segmentation

Once you've built your lead lists, the next step is prioritizing and segmenting them into groups. Not all leads are equal, so divide your lists by criteria like lead source, profile traits, behaviors, and potential value. Then, target them based on what makes sense to you.

For example, prioritize leads in your fastest-growing market segment first. Or target past event attendees with specific product demos.

You can tailor your outreach strategy and messaging based on each segmented group. Each group receives messages aligned with their specific pain points and stages in the buyer’s journey.

Segmenting lists based on potential value, like budget size and purchase indicators, also lets you prioritize more effectively. Pursuing your highly-targeted dream accounts first may make more sense than trying to work on broad lists.

Step 5: Prepare Your Collateral

Ensure you have all the necessary collateral mapped to each buyer persona before outreach begins. Collateral is any document or media that helps move leads down the sales funnel. It includes customized email templates, sample use cases, demo invites, and drip campaigns.

Outbound is more effective when you personalize messaging and value to each persona's needs. You’ve already created buyer personas and segmented your lists in the previous sections. Use this for personalization.

For example, your email copy and demo content for a Finance Manager persona should focus on ROI and cost savings. In contrast, collateral for an Engineering persona would emphasize product features and technical specifications.

Check your current collateral and create any missing assets that priority personas might need. This approach ensures your outreach is relevant.

Step 6: Write 1st Cadences

Now comes the most critical part — writing your initial outreach sequences. Start by developing one multi-touch sequence for each buyer persona.

Keep this persona top-of-mind while writing your sequence. Imagine you’re writing an email to a friend. What would they be interested in?

Again, focus on personalization. Make each email recipient feel you wrote the email for them. 72% of consumers say they only engage with personalized messaging, so don’t skip this part. Communicate concrete value aligned with each persona's role, goals, and pain points.

Remember, your first cadences aim to capture attention, provide value, and transition leads to a phone call or meeting. Try to nurture leads across 5-7 touches before passing them to sales. Refine and expand your series over time based on response rates.

Step 7: Tool Setup and Execute

The Basics of Outbound Lead Generation Set-Up, Step 7: Tool Setup and Execute

Finally, load your segmented contact lists and outreach sequences into a CRM or specialized engagement tool. Automate where possible to save time.

Once setup is complete, launch your outbound campaigns on a small scale first. Then, fine-tune your messaging and follow-up sequences based on response rates. 

As your sequences prove effective, you can gradually expand your reach. With the right strategy and personalization, you'll generate more inbound-ready leads.

Monitor results closely to identify opportunities for optimization. Continually refine and expand your campaign based on data to strengthen your outbound efforts.


Executing effective outbound lead generation takes research, planning, and persistence. But with the right foundation and execution, it can significantly expand your customer pipeline.

Following the seven steps outlined, you can set up the essentials of an outbound program tailored to your ICPs and sales goals.

Remember, this is an ongoing process. Continuously refine your outreach strategy based on response rates, sales feedback, and changing market conditions.

With a solid outbound foundation combined with your inbound efforts, you'll fill your funnel and power revenue growth.

Unlock Outbound Lead Gen Success

Want an easy way to remember the basics? Download our free Outbound Lead Gen Setup Cheatsheet.

It summarizes the seven critical steps covered here and includes more detailed tips to help you start capturing new leads.

Get the cheat sheet now and keep it handy as you build your outbound program. With the right strategy and execution, it can become a predictable lead machine.

The Basics of Outbound Lead Generation Set-up & Execution

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