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The Death or Evolution of Outbound

May 29, 2024

Sometimes people get pissed off when I talk about the future of outbound sales.

It’s understandable given how many people have a vested interest in the traditional outbound model.

It’s understandable because industry-wide trends don’t present themselves equally and in real-time to all companies.

It’s understandable because if we see positive results today it’s easy and logical to dismiss the macro trends and forecasts of tomorrow.

It’s understandable because in many cases where product market fit is so strong, outbound is still completely crushing it.

It’s also understandable that technology changes human behavior and the way a child is raised impacts the way they perform research and make purchases and buying decisions.  

It’s also understandable that kids who were raised talking to strangers on the phone and walking into stores to buy items in person might have different buying behaviors than kids who came up using Uber, Amazon, and eBay.

It’s also understandable that going their entire childhood not talking to strangers on the phone or in stores would significantly reduce the chance that they will ever do that in their professional life, especially if they don’t have to.

For those who are paying attention to these human evolutionary changes, they’re designing their products to be self-serve with product-led growth.

Those who are paying attention are planning for these changes because they understand the time frame for when their customer base will be overtaken by the next generations, and that their buying behaviors will change.

They are designing their products so Millennial and Gen Z decision makers can discover, explore, research, and implement the product themselves without ever entering into one of those uncomfortable human-to-human conversations they grew up technologically sheltered from.

Technology has catered to these next generations of decision makers their entire lives and it has molded them into different people than their older counterparts.

Expecting them to suddenly change and start answering cold calls and booking live demos with strangers through email cadences is quite unlikely.

This doesn’t mean outbound marketing or sales will die, but it certainly means everyone in this industry needs to be aware of how their next generation of buyers are going to be discovering and buying solutions.

It won’t be through cold calls or emails.

It won’t be talking to strangers on live calls.

It will be through a conversation with an AI.

It will be through self-led research.

It will be through self-led product trials.

It will be through self-serve implementations.

It will be through no-negotiation simple pricing and automated usage-based billing.

It will be a completely frictionless process because that’s what they’ve been raised and conditioned to expect.

So coming at them in a cold call or email suggesting they book a live demo will seem like an old fashioned waste of their time.

I strongly encourage everyone to download and read Gartner’s 2019 Future of Sales Report, which specifically focuses on 2025 predictions.  

Don’t stop crushing outbound where it’s working, that’s definitely not the message.

But also don’t sit in the shadows too long because eventually your customer base will shift to the next generation of buyers.

The reason I’ve invested so many years into researching and speaking about this topic, and eventually creating my course The Modern Outbound System, is because these changes can be exciting if we leverage them the right way.

But they will put companies out of business if they sleep on this too long.

For those who want to dive deeper into the research and my history speaking on the subject these are the 3 resources to check out:

1. Gartner’s 2019 Future of Sales Report
2. The SaaS Buying Experience
3. SDR Model is Broken w/ Aaron Ross
4. The Modern Outbound System

If you need help building and scaling your sales and revenue organization book a coaching session and let's get started.

Happy Selling,

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