What is an outbound call?

March 28, 2023

Outbound calling is a key part to any business - it helps attract and retain customers.

Outbound calling can be achieved through VoIP easier nowadays, and can be integrated into other business softwares. There are many advantages to outbound VoIP calling which we’ll look at in this article.

What is an outbound call and how do they work? 

In simple terms, an outbound call is made by someone representing a company such as an employee or agent. It’s the opposite to an inbound call which is made into the company by a customer or stakeholder.

Outbound calls are usually directed towards current or potential customers but not always.

What is the purpose of outbound calling?

Outbound VoIP calls generally seek to achieve at least one of four things. The first is to generate sales often by following up warm leads. The second is to extract information from someone. The third is to build brand awareness and the fourth is to carry out marketing research. Charities may use outbound calling to organise a fundraiser or gather donations, while political parties may use it to undertake polling.

What’s the difference between warm and cold calls?

Cold calling is essentially calling someone out of the blue. The customer being called may not have shown any specific interest in the company or in any of its products or services. It doesn’t get a great wrap, but can be a useful tool in a company’s wider marketing strategy.

A warm call is when a customer is expecting the call because they’ve previously shown interest in a product or service. For example, they may have seen a product online and filled out a form to request further information, and the ‘warm’ call is therefore something they’re expecting.

Why is outbound calling important? 

No matter the size of your business, outbound calls cover a range of purposes and are hugely important in generating sales. For small businesses especially it’s a great way to drum up sales locally, for example for gardening or home repair services.

Outbound calling is also an important way of retaining existing customers by building a rapport and encouraging repeat purchases. Furthermore, actually talking to a human being is still far preferable for many people, even in this modern age of instant messaging and social media.

Then there’s market research. Calling new or prospective customers is a cheap, easy and effective way to get answers to the marketing questions you want. This is particularly the case when compared to sending out a form, which will perhaps never get returned.

Types of outbound calling 

Outbound calling can be divided into various types depending on the purpose. Let’s take a look in more detail at what these types of outbound calling are and how they work.

Lead generation

Lead generation is about drumming up interest in the products or services your business is offering. This interest may be ‘warm’ or ‘cold’ depending on your previous marketing efforts and customer interactions. You may have even purchased leads from a third-party vendor that were targeting your potential market.

Lead generation isn’t just about closing sales though. It’s also about gathering further information about the customer to help you work out whether an actual sale is likely further down the road. It’s a good way of discovering what your customers really think of your product, your brand and your pricing.


This is where you use a phone or VoIP system to pitch your products and services to potential new customers. You’re essentially calling them rather than knocking on doors, giving marketers the chance to tell the customer exactly how their product fits their individual needs.

Telemarketing usually involves cold calling with a telemarketer’s success generally measured on how many potential customers/sales they can generate.

Following up with customers and informing them of new offers

When a customer has purchased a big-ticket item, for example a new car, a follow-up call a short time after the sale can be very useful. It’s not only a chance to get feedback on how the sales process went, it’s also an opportunity to sell extras like a warranty, plus remind customers about any limited time offers or contract renewal dates.

Make sure whoever it is in your team that’s dealing with these calls is super knowledgeable about all your products. They should be able to answer any customer questions that come their way accurately and confidently. This will help the customer trust them and your brand, increasing the chances of repeat business in the future.


Although similar, telesales and telemarketing are actually quite different. That’s because telesales focuses heavily on closing the sale, whereas telemarketing is about gaining information, and guiding the customer towards a sale which the telesales team can then close. Telemarketing therefore typically revolves around cold calling, whereas outbound telesales calls are often ‘warm’.

Market research

Using a VoIP phone system to undertake market research is a great way to see where there’s room for improvement in your business. For example, are there any ways in which existing products and services could be made better? How about enhancements to the customer experience?

Generally market research involves calling customers and asking them a series of carefully planned questions. The answers to these questions can then provide valuable clues around product development and the direction your business should head in.

Looking to get a VoIP phone system set up for your business?

With the 2025 landline switch-off just around the corner, there’s no better time to sign up for a bOnline VoIP system.

Not only can we get you up and running within 24 hours with no downtime, we do everything on your behalf remotely. The great thing about that is there’s no technical knowledge required from you, and our team is always on hand if you need us.

Don’t forget you can also sign up for a free 7-day trial, giving you access to all the fantastic features a bOnline VoIP phone system has to offer without the commitment. It’s a great way to get to grips with things like call forwarding, video calling, hold music, voicemail, call data analysis and much more before making the jump.

Why not take a look at our recent article What is a VoIP phone - everything you need to know for more information or call us on 0208 125 3229.


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