What Is Outreach? The Sales Automation Tool You Didn’t Know You Needed

Get to know the sales empowerment and automation tool Outreach.io

Zight | June 20, 2020 | 9 min read time

Article Last Updated: February 19, 2024

What Is Outreach? The Sales Automation Tool You Didn’t Know You Needed

Our favorite tools are ones we can integrate with and combine many different processes or data streams to yield one location that creates understanding around a given area. For sales enablement and improvement, Outreach is at the top of any list.

This email and sales enablement platform is designed to improve the way you interact with customers and how quickly you can personalize an effort by seeing all the data around leads. It works hand-in-hand with other tools while you reach out to prospects, move them to automated sequences, and then analyze these results for future improvements.

At its heart, customers say that Outreach is a smart automation tool that eliminates mindless tasks and busywork for sales development reps (SDRs) and related professionals. From collecting daily activities and logs to highlighting engagement and services, the company has earned a powerful reputation for helping companies manage customers and grow.

Let’s take a deeper look and see what that might mean for your company.

What is Outreach?

Outreach is a sales engagement tool that works to engage leads and prospects across a broad set of interactions, with support to make your staff more efficient and effective. Think of it as a next-gen CRM and enterprise communication tool.

It’s a SaaS platform that charges you per user but offers a free demo for you to see more and get pricing specific to your company.

Outreach can help you manage tasks or automate elements related to every stage of the buyer’s journey and customer lifecycle. Within its dashboard, you can control emails, social interactions, and voice solutions like outbound calling. There’s a strong machine learning and AI toolkit under the head so the tool can continue to learn what works for your customers and adapt to help SDRs succeed.

You can use the service to manage a broad team and bring sales and marketing together to better improve your chance at conversions.

Why do companies use Outreach?

Companies turn to Outreach to help them manage their customer relationships and acquisition, treating it as an extra layer of automation on top of existing CRM technology. Much of its work comes from smart mapping, analytics, and account improvement.

A core feature is that it integrates with tools like Salesforce to leverage data and track activities, such as calls and emails. Outreach can resolve data conflicts and update information within Salesforce to keep teams running smoothly. Or when a prospect is mapped to an existing contact, Outreach can add all relevant data and make changes to keep the most current information.‍

what is outreach

By linking with CRMs and your company data, Outreach can automatically detect when leads are converted and use automation to remap interactions with that customer. Data is adjusted in both the CRM and Outreach to ensure that these customers aren’t getting a deluge of sales messaging after they’ve already bought from you.

What customers online seem to like especially is the ability to put Outreach inside tools like Salesforce. This means their SDRs and agents are working with an existing tool they already know, while supported functionality to create leads or engage with people can continue to happen without changes to the workflow.

5 benefits of Outreach

Based on what its customers say, there are a lot of strong benefits to Outreach for companies large and small. Looking through reviews, case studies, and our own experience, we’ve uncovered benefits in a few core areas.

  1. Improved data utilization

Scraping tools can be useful, but they’re generally a little dumb. They can struggle to understand email addresses, locations, phone numbers, and especially dates. Amplify, Outreach’s suite of machine learning technologies, offers a little brain boost.

You can lose sales and all the benefits of personalization when someone figures out that your message is automated. One of the fastest ways for that to occur is when your second email doesn’t take the customer’s reply into account. This is especially true for out-of-office emails where the prospect won’t even see your message until they return.

Outreach offers a variety of data and metric and dashboarding tools. However, one intelligent feature many have mentioned is that can pick up on return dates in OOO emails. So, you can use the system to extract these dates after a first outreach campaign, pause your campaign, and then set it to resume based on those specific, personalized schedules.

Jitterbilt has used Outreach’s Amplify to extract thousands of OOO dates and adapt campaigns, helping it secure a 3X increase in qualified opportunities and a 15% increase in reply rates. It’s one many strong benefits of Outreach.

  1. Less wasted time

Task management is one of Outreach’s highest-rated features according to customers and review sites. The platform automates many manual activities that reps have to do over and over again. The clear automation rules and workflows make it easy to use and adjust these give your team members more time for the work that powers your business.

Automatically updating records across multiple databases, flagging potential leads, moving people to new sequences, and other supports help teams speed up their sales process. When it comes to managing pipelines and keeping new leads coming in, the DocuSign teams Outreach gives them back 10 hours of productive work time per rep per month.

what is outreach
Outreach makwhat is outreaches it easy to see the gains each team member is making
  1. Simplified automation and personalization

General automation technology can accomplish tasks that have minor variation or change. However, it takes a more powerful solution to understand and react to changes between users, personalizing emails, and campaign communications across touchpoints.

Outreach makes this possible for agents and teams by created customizable fields (in emails and elsewhere) that support individualized touch points at high volumes of interaction and data.

Instead of your sales team needing to manually personalize emails each day, they can create clear templates and use existing data to fill elements automatically. Email templates then give agents a starting field where only minimal fields need to be updated by hand.

“With Outreach, they can do that in one-tenth of the time and use the remaining time to make 40 more calls,” says Natalie Sieler, Content Marketing Manager at ConsumerAffiars.

Customers note that Outreach is easy to scale with databases and other elements, so there’s no long spreadsheets or other systems you need to keep track of or create. The dashboard also tracks what works, to see if personalization for emails is increasing open rates or which campaigns in an A/B test are performing best.

Message people. Make it personal. Speak to their pain points and use your best sales techniques. Just, do it faster.

  1. Custom targets and sequencing

Outreach’s ability to use multiple data sets and keep customer information up to date across systems makes it a smart tool to use for building custom targets and providing them with their own sequence. Customers note that the capability is robust while also being easy to use and build.

Sequences have a variety of options and features, including steps you can use to automate email, prompt teams to send an email manually, or assign tasks like phone calls and LinkedIn-specific outreach. You can customize sequences to operate on certain intervals or assign specific dates to each step.

You can save sequence information and reuse elements for future work. So, let’s say you have an upcoming webinar. You can build a sequence around that one-time event, delivering emails on specific dates to encourage registration and remind people to attend. For your next webinar in 3 months, you can then turn right back to this sequence and redeploy it, simply updating the dates and email list.

In a quick test, it was even possible to save and rerun the same A/B testing elements for these types of sequences.

  1. Lots of integration support

At Zight (formerly CloudApp), you know we’re big fans of integrating with leading tools — just check out our big list — and this is also an area where Outreach excels. It’s highly likely that the CRM and other marketing and sales tools you use are covered in Outreach’s integrations. From Gmail and Outlook to DiscoverOrg and Sales Navigator, and many more.

Their work means your team doesn’t need to do custom development to add Outreach to your stack. You can integrate to access the platform’s data, analytics, and messaging capabilities while still having all messages come from your channels. If you use call center software like RingCentral or the transcript services of Dialpad, you can keep these notable features while taking full advantage of Outreach.

Outreach vs SalesLoft

Outreach is often compared to services like SalesLoft for functionality and support. Both offer a variety of sales performance tools, email tracking, outbound call support, and overall sales and conversation intelligence.

The best software for your specific operation will change based on your specific deployment and needed support as well as the other systems you’re using. When making your decision, it’s best to look at detailed reviews from multiple sources, including Reddit and TrustRadius.

Based on these comparisons and user reviews, SalesLoft seems to be a little quicker for some teams and SDRs to start using but Outreach offers greater functionality and support for workflows. Outreach tends to have more positive reviews around email capabilities and ability to capture lead data. Once SDRs learn Outreach, many say that it is faster to adjust and filter search results to find preferred targets or those meeting specific qualifications.

Perhaps the biggest benefit for Outreach in its “vs Salesforce” comparison is that it has expert data control and usage capabilities. While you’ll need someone to train and learn the backend, it offers high usability, reports, and data management. If you have an existing CRM and integrate it with Outreach, user reviews say you’ll be pleased and get the most out of the platform, especially compared to Salesforce and other tools.

Some companies use both, including ZeroFOX’s Manager of Business Systems Alexandra Gold. Gold told TrustRadius that, “I feel like Outreach support reps provide better support about Salesforce than Salesforce does… The support team at Outreach is also extremely available and conscious of our interests and use cases.”

Look both at your list of functional needs and the workflows you have in place or want to accelerate. Those two lists can guide you in the choice and help you understand if the integrations and benefits of Outreach are right for you.

Our work with Outreach

Outreach leverages Zight (formerly CloudApp) internally to help its technical support team better address product concerns. This team works on tracking bugs and fixing them as well as troubleshooting, covering product and engineering support, too.

“In addition to showing customers how to use our product with Zight (formerly CloudApp) while they’re getting signed up and situated, we also leverage Outreach for churn initiatives and customer management,” says Andrew Mewborn, Outreach senior account executive.

They turn to Zight (formerly CloudApp) when someone has reported a bug or support reps need assistance. The company’s four-step ticket template includes a requirement to tell support teams how to reproduce the error. Our tools that allow for easy screen capture make it possible for people to record a video of their screen and describe errors or issues. When it comes to console problems, we make it simple to screengrab and annotate those images to highlight concerns.

Zight (formerly CloudApp) makes bug reporting simpler and more effective thanks to high-quality recording that cuts down on miscommunication. For teams and customers, seeing is often believing and doing. On average, we help Outreach save 21 hours each week through screen recordings, screenshots, and image snippets while improving customer happiness and increasing the overall efficiency of bug reporting.

So, why not fire up Outreach to help your sales and marketing teams do their best. Then get a free trial of Zight (formerly CloudApp) to inject some extra support for your service teams. It’s a combination that’s already producing significant wins.

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