Outbound sales are critical to driving revenue – but the approach is not without its challenges.

The days of unsophisticated ‘spray and pray’ cold calling have been replaced with a more targeted approach.

These were among the conclusions of a roundtable organised by Furza, which supports organisations in building, scaling and developing sales teams through professional training and coaching, and BusinessCloud at the exclusive King Street Townhouse in Manchester.

No magic formula

Ben Booth is the CEO and co-founder of MaxContact, a Manchester-based provider of cloud-based contact centre solutions, and said there was no ‘magic formula’.

He added: “I believe that outbound sales are going through the next evolution. It needs to be personalised and direct. I do believe in the importance of long-term relationship building to what actually drives true revenue in a business.”


James Hornsby is a director of Furza and said: “No one has built a successful business and sales culture by sitting on their hands. You’ve got to be out there and being proactive in winning new business.”

Hard graft

Jack Snelling is the VP sales at nearshore software engineering partner Godel Technologies and said there was no substitute for working hard.

“Relationship sales will always win the day,” he said. “One thing we’ve all spoken about here is the SDRs (sales development representatives) and BD (business development) functions. There’s always a place for the volume side of sales. Relationship sales wins but you can’t get away without putting in hard graft and volume in as well.’”

Invest in Gen Z

Andrew Barlow is the CEO of social media disrupter Chatloop and co-founder of AppLearn. He said the focus had to be on young people.

“We need to invest time in better understanding the younger generations, specifically Gen Z, who are going to be coming into our workforces and create an environment through which we can help them grow and prosper,” he said.

“In an outward sales role it’s about understanding the outcomes that your customers are looking to achieve before you even begin to start selling them anything. Consultancy-based selling is critical.”

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Long game

Steve Peters is a board director of digital consultancy Code Computerlove and said successful sales comes down to having good relationships.

“We’ve talked a lot about how people’s inboxes are inundated with countless messages,” he said. “Help and not sell. On the longer-term we spoke about having two- and three-year relationships before you close a deal. All you can do is invest that time and play the long game.”


Nathan Ollier is the CEO of Manchester-based digital construction solutions firm Open ECX and said outbound sales had to be targeted.

He said: “We have to be increasingly focused on driving value in the conversation from the very first point of contact, which relies on us being far more targeted than we might have traditionally been in an outward sales environment.

“We have to be able to demonstrate our ability to respond in a value exchange fashion to the challenges of the organisation that they may or may not even be aware that they have.”

Furza roundtable

Solve problems

Gill Chippendale is the VP of global sales development at User Interviews, which is the fastest and easiest way to recruit quality participants for research.

“Sales and outbound sales have a real key place to play in growth,” she said. “The best sellers don’t sell, they solve problems.”


Andrew Jones is a sales director at Idox, which builds software for government and industry to work better and comply with regulations.

He said: “Sales are the lifeblood of a business. You can upsell and renew to existing customers but you have to have secured that customer in the first instance.

“New logo acquisition through outbound selling is key to growth. We must invest in outbound selling but also invest in the outbound sellers of the future.”


Alister Harris is the CEO of Lokulus, a Macclesfield-based tech firm, creating AI and ML-powered software solutions for customer interaction management.

He said: “We have to drive personalisation with outreach. That requires training and the right attitude. Where we lack maybe is not dedicating enough time to that personalised training.”


Richard MacLean is the chief markets officer at BCIS, which is a valuation platform for construction, and said it was important to be open-minded.

“We have a huge responsibility to try and help the next generation in the workplace because the workplace hasn’t changed that much over the years and we’ve all had to adapt when we first started,” he said.

“We’ve also got to be open to listen to new ways because they’ve absolutely got the future that we don’t understand just yet.”


Danny Simpson is co-founder and CEO of the MID Group and said companies needed to follow the customers.

“Be customer-led,” he said. “It’s people like your mum, your dad, your brother, your sister and your best friend. If you’re not talking to your customers somebody else is.

“Find a problem and offer a solution. Volume is king. Focus on value over discount. Talk about the deals that you’re not winning as much as the deals that you are winning. Remember that failure fosters success.”

Furze roundtable at Mill Street Townhouse, Manchester

Open doors

Nick Black is the co-founder and director of Apadmi, which recently took investment from CBPE to support continued global growth plans.

“Outbound opens doors, relationships keeps them open,” he said.

Cut through

Paul Ridgeway is the co-founder and director of Sheffield-based The Curve and said the UK was different to the rest of the world.

He explained: “The young people problem challenge we face in the UK is different to the rest of the world because the volume of noise is ridiculous and the level of sophistication required to cut through that is excessive.”

Sales culture

Simon Wharton works at award-winning eCommerce agency PushON and said a sales culture needs to be embedded in a company’s DNA.

“Without sales there is no business,” he said. “Every business to be at its peak needs a complete sales driven culture. Within our business everyone is thinking about how we can serve our clients better and what relevantly we can do that we can sell to them that will make their business better. Have a sales culture through the whole business and not just in the sales team.”

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