Modern Outbound Part 2: Email, Call, LinkedIn, & Video Best Practices

outbound sales best practices

The Modern B2B Buyer is Just Like You!

How many email addresses do you personally have depending on what you’re searching for or buying online?  What filters do you have set up to keep your inbox cleaner? How many times have you given a fake phone number to avoid getting spam calls?  

An even more important consideration: the modern buyer has already done research on you.  They’ve checked your LinkedIn, your Facebook/IG, your company page, and probably even downloaded some of your company’s content before they’ll ever talk to you and you may never know they’ve done it.  

Today’s buyers are savvy and that fact alone makes it even more important to make sure your outbound sales plays are on point with personalized, value-driven messaging that makes them WANT to have a conversation with you.  

Sure, you’ve heard this before but it’s never been more important to reach buyers where they are, in the ways they want to engage, with messaging that matters. All of the outbound messaging you do to land a conversation has to be intelligently aligned with the customer’s values and supported with quality data that is meaningful to him/her and simplifies the journey.

The Modern Buyer Expects a Modern Approach 

In the image below, Gartner shows us how complicated a B2B Buying Journey can be.  Your job is to make it simpler and shorten the Sales cycle, leveraging targeted value messaging from the very first outbound contact. 

In designing your strategy to reach clients who are more sophisticated and discerning, you’ll want to be sure you’re leveraging proven outbound Sales best practices and include plays with email, calls, videos and most importantly, LinkedIn.  

b2b buyer journey

Implementing Outbound Sales Best Practices

As buyers move through Problem Identification, Solution Exploration, Requirements Building, and Supplier Selection, your outbound messaging has never mattered more to drive business down the funnel.  

As you begin to incorporate modern outbound Sales best practices, you’ll want to start with segmenting customers into tiers based on deal size or client size.  Beyond the segments, you’ll also need to consider the sequencing and length of communications. 

Email

Let’s start with cold emails, which are the easiest of the modern techniques to execute and as such tend to become extremely templated. 

These are a couple of email types we didn’t break down in the Modern Outbound Playbook. Download the playbook and insert these messages into the plays we layout.

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1. The Common Ground Email

Get to know your prospect! People don’t remember the sales process, they remember the personal experience, so before reaching out via email, look for common ground. Start your email with a nod to an interest, hobby, or acquaintance you share with your prospect to steer the conversation less toward the deal, and more toward building a rapport.

2. The Problem-Solver Email

This isn’t the first time you’ve been advised to position yourself as a problem-solver, rather than a salesperson. While it’s okay to subtly mention your offering as a solution to your prospect’s business problem, you might be better off saving it for later.

3. The Case Study Email

Human beings love a good story. When engaging with buyers, savvy sales development reps share customer success stories and case studies. In fact, 78% of B2B  buyers rely on three pieces of content before talking to a Salesperson. A great outbound sales best practice is to attach at least one piece of collateral showing your solution makes a difference at other companies similar to theirs.

4. The Giver Email

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who passes on a free offer if it’s something of actual value to them. Use that to your advantage when sending an email to prospective buyers. Whether you’re offering an ebook, a free trial, or a free evaluation, make the offer the focal point of your email. The more exclusive or insightful it is, the more likely it is that your prospect will see it as valuable.

5. The No-Nonsense Email

Sometimes, you’ve got to be straightforward. And that’s okay. Upon analyzing more than 40 million sales emails, Boomerang found that when it comes to word count, the sweet spot is 50-125 words. Consider using bullet points to quickly point out how your solution benefits your prospective client.  

With the above examples in mind, craft your cold emails with Franklin D Roosevelt in mind:. 

Be Sincere, Be Brief, Be Gone. 

Seriously. Fewer than 600 characters is the target.  

You’ll need to lead with value that might include operational efficiency, improved visibility, actionable insights/intelligence, competitive advantage. Then follow with personalized pain points that your reader is likely experiencing based on your industry and current client knowledge. 

Next, give them a reason to consider change now, such as a regulatory change or their need to be cutting edge, then end with a strong call to action. These last three paragraphs are about 588  characters so make your words count from the opening.

Then there’s the closer – the call to action.

In a study done by Gong.io, they found that calls to action (CTA) asking for time had only a 15% response rate, but CTA asking for the Customer’s interest in a particular outcome achieved a 30% response rate! 

Example 1 – Asking for time CTA:  “I’d love to share a few ideas with you and spend time understanding your current process.  Mark, could we spend 15 minutes this week to chat?”

Example 2 – Asking for interest CTA:  “Mark, does it make sense to chat about [positive outcome]?”

Example 1 sounds like you want to talk about you.  Example 2 sounds like you want to help solve a problem. 

Phone Calls

Next in your tool belt is cold calls.  

Pro Tip: Use LinkedIn for research.

You will want to do some research before you pick up the phone.  You should look for online content that features your prospect or their company.  It could be helpful to look at their previous employers/roles to help you better get a handle on the business issues they may be facing or have already resolved. 

Also, see if you can determine which competitor tools your prospect is currently using.  There are a couple of different data enrichment tools that can pull this information for you.

Pro Tip: Practice

We consider it a best practice to record your prepared cold call script to check your diction and tone. It is entirely possible to hear the smile in someone’s voice so make sure you’re authentic and demonstrating genuine interest to help. 

Make sure your script includes a call to action that is clear and easy to execute. You may need to call up to six times per prospect and remember to not overuse voicemail.  

Video

Video is a great way to start a personal relationship with your buyers in all stages: Prospecting, Selling, and Nurturing.

Prospecting

  • By just using “video” in your email subject line can increase open rates anywhere from 6% to 19%.
  • Pay attention to the thumbnail of your email in the body of the email. Make sure it invites your prospect to click! If you can add some animation, even better.
  • As always, personalize the video and for Tier 1 clients, use their name and connect individually.

Selling 

  • Video helps build camaraderie and that important 1:1 connection.  
  • But you still have to do the heavy lifting and explain why your product fits your buyers’ specific needs and situation.

Nurturing

  • Help you and your solutions stay top of mind for the buyer who isn’t ready to buy. 
  • And make sure you address / use the hyper-relevant content your buyer is thinking about. (You can have your own triggers set up when a buyer takes an action or invest in intent data.)

LinkedIn

It is impossible to build a successful Sales strategy without LinkedIn as part of every play.   

Without requesting a connection, you can “Follow” and engage with thought leaders, hashtags, current customers, prospects, competitors, analysts and news, leading to new ways to start a conversation with people you want to know in your industry.  

You can comment and it’s perfectly appropriate to link back to your own thought leadership (or your company’s).  A great rule of thumb is that if you ‘Like” a post, follow- up with a comment about why you liked something.  

Another outbound Sales best practice is to respond to all comments you receive with a ‘Like’ or personalized comment.  Remember that engagement on LinkedIn shouldn’t be all business. It’s great to share personal stories because people engage with content that moves them.  When you comment on someone else’s post, keep it positive and light but most importantly, authentic.  

Get Started With Our Free Outbound Sales Best Practices Playbook

Skaled has created the modern playbook so you and your team can leverage the latest outbound Sales best practices and plays. Along with more best practices, how to target and tier your accounts, we also give you 5 specific outbound sales plays that you can start tomorrow.

 

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