B2B Sales Outreach Blunders That You’re Making Right Now And How to Fix it

By: Jack Reamer |
 May 11, 2022 |

If you’re here, you are probably scouring the web to find an answer as to why your outreach isn’t working.

Sure, you might have some leads, some conversions, and some sales. 

But it’s not enough. Hence, your frustration. 

You might be wondering what you’re doing wrong and how to fix it.

So, if your sales team isn’t reaching their targets, or if you aren’t getting enough money in the bank, it could just be that you’re making some of these simple mistakes. 

And with a bit of tweaking, you could be raking in sales in no time at all. 

This article will discuss some of the mistakes salespeople make, and what you can do to fix them. 

(If you would like to skip the reading, and hop on a free 15-minute consultation with Salesbread, no problem. Go here. We can advise you on how to get 1 lead per day in your sales pipeline.)

The sales channels we will be mentioning are:

  • Linkedin
  • Cold Email
  • Cold Calling 

The top blunders sales reps make with Linkedin sales outreach

Before we get into the nitty gritties of Linkedin, it’s important to have a short conversation about Linkedin Sales Navigator. 

1. Linkedin Sales Navigator Mistakes- What you need to know

Firstly, if you don’t have Sales Nav, we suggest that you should get it. It’s part of some of the top lead generation tools, that you just can’t do without

Why?

Because it really makes outreach so much easier. You can target the right people and companies, using various filters.

You can also keep track of key leads and company changes and engage with potential customers

Here are some advantages to Sales Nav:

  • Advanced Lead and Company Search
  • Lead Recommendations
  • CRM Integration
  • Real-time Sales Updates
  • Notes and Tags
  • Who’s Viewed Your Profile (View the expanded list of who’s viewed your profile in the last 90 days.)
  • InMail Messages
  • Smart Links Presentations
  • TeamLink

You can also choose from various packages that suit your needs. 

Besides this, it’s an affordable program to invest in. You can also get a free trial, to see if it works for you.

If you do have Linkedin Sales Navigator beware of these mistakes:

You’re relying on industry filters to build a list

You might think that using the industry filter would be ideal for prospecting, but unfortunately, this isn’t the case. 

Let’s say that you would like to go after Saas companies and you rely solely on the industry filter, this is a mistake.

Why?

Because:

A: There are not enough options in the industry filter to get as granular as “SaaS businesses.” (Note though: Linkedin has updated their industries filter recently to include a few more options. Keep an eye out for a new article discussing this in length.)

For example, you can choose computer software, you can choose internet, you can choose information technology and services, but you can’t choose SaaS companies.

In order to get granular, you should use a third-party resource, (like Crunchbase) to build a list of target b2b companies.

B: If you’re going after SaaS companies, the SaaS company could label themselves as something else. For example, let’s say the SaaS company has developed a customer management tool for gyms.

The company could label itself as:

  • Internet and technology
  • Health and wellness
  • Computer software

Thus making that industry tab unreliable. And this could make you lose out of half of your ideal target audience

So do you get around this?

Well, you could still use the industry filter and be happy with only getting 50% of your ideal customer. 

Or you could create a list of accounts FIRST

You would do this by researching the companies that you would like to target.

How do you do this? 

By actually going off Linkedin Sales Navigator and using a third-party resource, as we mentioned earlier. 

There are many tools to choose from that could help you get extra granular when building your list. 

You could use:

  • Apollo.io
  • Crunchbase.com: 

Crunchbase allows us to find data on specific companies and track investors, prospects, and even complete market research.

  • Zoominfo: 

Zoominfo provides accurate data such as phone numbers, email addresses, and company info for B2B sales teams.

Once you have created a list of your target companies, you can then feed those accounts into Linkedin Sales Nav and start searching for the right people to go after at those companies.

Have a look at the example below:

Crunchbase allows you to become super-targeted when it comes to looking for your ideal b2b buyers.

You’re not using the seniority filters correctly.

Pop quiz time… According to Linkedin, which title do you think has a higher role at a company?

Senior or manager?

Most people would probably say senior, but according to Linkedin Sales Navigator, “manager” has a higher position at a company.

Can you see the problem?

Linkedin does not allow you to self-select a seniority level.

Instead, Linkedin uses an algorithm to sort your position according to your job title.

So seniority filters on Linkedin can cause issues for two reasons:

A.)  

You might not know that Linkedin has a different hierarchy.

Thus you would be targeting the wrong prospects. (Such as, “senior” is higher than “manager”, meaning that you’re reaching out to the wrong decision-makers at a company.)

B.)  

Linkedin also gets the seniority filters wrong sometimes. It’s not always 100% accurate. 

For example, if you type in “chief human resources officer” and have the results sorted by “manager”, you’re going to have many people come up. 

How do you get around this?

You might find that staying away from seniority filters is the best option but what you need to do is use exact matched keywords instead.

You can’t just rely on seniority filters to find the correct leads. 

Use tons of different keywords to get to the correct seniority level you are trying to reach.

So physically type in “directors” or “chief financial officers” or all the C-level titles you want to target.

You’re relying solely on InMail to reach out to prospects

Often clients tell us that they aren’t getting any response from their InMail messages on Linkedin.

There could be a few reasons for this, but we think that one of the main reasons is that people have to pay for InMail services. 

It costs one credit to send an Inmail, but if someone accepts your message, and replies you do not get charged.

So because prospects have paid for this privilege, by nature, when they receive a message that they aren’t interested in, it’s an intrusion.

People that ignore your messages do count costs, and those costs go towards their credits. 

So long story short, do we use or do anything with Inmail? Sure, we tack it onto the end of our multi-channel approach. 

So that might be: 

LinkedIn’s connection requests, messages, emails, cold calling, and then Inmail as your last-ditch effort.

It’s important to not rely exclusively on your Inmail credits to start conversations for outreach, as people aren’t really responsive towards them.

Try various other methods first, as we mentioned above, and if all else fails (which it shouldn’t if your messages are really personalized), try Inmail as a last resort.

We have even noticed that people respond better to invites than to InMail.

You could even ask a question in your connection request, and the chances are that this would be a better response than an InMail message.

These are just a few mistakes on Sales Nav that marketing teams make, but there are more that we have noticed.

Keen to find out more about Linkedin Sales Navigator mistakes?

Check out the podcast below:

2. Your targeting is too basic

If you have built a list of prospects and it’s too generalized, you aren’t going to have enough qualified leads

Your prospect list has to be ultra-targeted in order for it to work well. 

Some companies make the mistake of grabbing a list of 5000 accounts or prospects and then reaching out to everyone on that list. 

The problem?

You are going to be wasting a lot of time and energy reaching out to the wrong buyer persona

At Salesbread we use a data-driven method to build a list of your ideal target audience

You want to target customers who:

A.) Need what you’re selling

And

B.) Have the budget for your product or service

Here’s how we do it:

We ask out clients who have purchased their product or service within the past month. We then look for patterns between buying customers, to create an ideal customer profile.

For example:

  • Are they all in a certain location?
  • Do they use the same automation tools?
  • Are they all in a specific industry? And if they are in a specific industry, do they specialize in something in that industry? 
  • Have they been funded? 
  • Do they have a specific amount of employees working for them?

Once we find these patterns, it’s much easier to build an ultra-targeted list. 

(In fact, there are over 34 target account filters that we use to analyze your current customers/accounts and find “Look-a-like” customers.)

Watch this step by step video on how we find the right people to reach out to:

You can then use tools such as Zoominfo and Crunchbase, to narrow down your search by using their advanced filters.

As we mentioned above, don’t just rely on Linkedin to build lists of target accounts. Use different filters and third-party resources to get accurate data. 

If you do this, you will definitely notice better metrics.

Last year Salesbread managed to generate close to 5000 qualified leads for our clients.

This is more than our promise of 1 lead per day.

3. Your Linkedin outreach messages are awful. 

The me, me, me message

(The above Linkedin message comes from here)

Closing deals could be as simple as not talking about yourself. 

Look at the message above.

Would you reply to a message like that?

Probably not. Why?

Because the entire message is all about the sender. 

  • They don’t use any personalization.
  • They only talk about themselves
  • And they don’t address any pain points that the prospect might be facing. 

If you want effective sales, you’re going to have to write copy that’s engaging and helpful.

If you can shift your mindset to actually being helpful and not just worry about sales, you might actually get more sales engagement

See the better example below:

Don’t think about “what’s in it for me.” Think about what’s in it for the prospect.

How can your service help them solve problems that are keeping them out at night?

The really loooooong message

Don’t do this:

You probably got bored reading this message about one sentence in. Besides not using any personalization, this message is really really long. 

Busy founders and corporates don’t have the time to read long messages from complete strangers. 

Keep your Linkedin messages short and to the point. Add in two to three sentences, and pack as much value as you can in those sentences. 

We suggest only using one value add at a time in your messages, and speak very little of yourself. Only mention what you do for context. 

This is how a Linkedin message should be:

The above message is short and to the point. There is a thought-provoking question in it, and a P.S at the bottom for context.

The Sleazy Sales Pitch

Sleazy sales pitches are the fastest way to get rid of potential prospects.

If someone has taken the time to connect with you on Linkedin, don’t mess it up by hopping right into your sales pitch. 

Rather take the time to add more personalization to your follow-up and ask for a meeting. 

Don’t sell in your messages, but rather build trust by just starting conversations. People will be more willing to chat with you if they feel like you’re actually wanting to help them and not just sell to them. 

The un-personalized Linkedin message

Another mistake that some SDRs make, is to not add personalization to their messages and just send out the same automated message to every single prospect.

What’s the problem with this?

Prospects, get bombarded daily with outreach messages. If your message doesn’t stand out from the crowd, they are going to just ignore it.

So how do you fix this mistake?

You have to add in personalization. This is more than just adding the prospect’s name. 

In fact, personalization means diving a little deeper. 

We use the CCQ method for writing our copy.

This means you need to find something to compliment the prospect on, find a commonality, or ask them a question about something. 

See the examples below:

In order to write a personalized message, Google the prospect’s name, or check out their Linkedin profile. Usually, you should find some information about the prospect that you can add to your messages.

This will likely pique their interest, leaving you with higher open rates, and a chance to start a conversation. 

The weak CTA 

Another mistake that we have seen is that many salespeople use weak calls to action. This leaves the prospect unsure of what you want from them. 

If you want to set up a meeting, be direct in your message and make it easy for the prospect to respond.

You could do this by adding your Calendly link, or asking them if you could book a slot in their calendar. 

Below is an example of a weak CTA:

This person made quite a few mistakes in this message, but notice how there is no easy or direct way to get in touch.

There is no link to their site or calendar.

Yes, you could reply to his message, but because the message is relatively weak in many circumstances, the chances of prospects responding aren’t going to be high. 

This message was most likely ignored by many people.

Here are some examples of strong CTAs

  • Are you available for a 20 minute chat on [MONTH] [DAY] at [HOUR] [TIMEZONE]?
  • How about a quick 30 min call next {{=day}} at 4 pm [TIMEZONE] to discuss more?
  • What will it take to get 25 minutes on your calendar next week?
  • Can I steal you away for a 15-minute phone call tomorrow at 5 pm [TIMEZONE]?
  • Let’s catch up for 15 mins. Just select any date and time on my calendar link.
  • Please choose a date and time of your choice using this link.
  • Please book a 15 mins slot at your convenience. Here is a link to my calendar.
  • Would you have 10-15 minutes for a call on {{=bday+3}} at 11 am to discuss further?
  • Are you available to talk later this week? Here is a link to my calendar:
  • Can we get on call this {{bday+2}} 10 AM to discuss how we can help you solve [MAIN PROBLEM]?
  • Do you have a quick 10 min to chat?
  • Could I grab 10 min of your time to chat?
  • Can you or someone on your team jump on a quick 14-minute call this week to explore?

Cold email outreach blunders

Cold email outreach is still really effective in 2022.

The graph below shows the open rates industries receive when it comes to email outreach, and many companies are seeing 15% and 25%  open rates.

But your sales outreach strategy needs to be on point, and if you’re making some of these mistakes, it’s time to make some changes. 

You’re leaving your outreach to someone who lacks experience

If you are the founder of a startup, don’t just leave your sales emails to an amateur.

Yes, sometimes when a startup is new, we might not have the funds just yet to hire a professional SDR; but initially, you know your company the best.

You know the value of your product or service and how it can help other businesses. If you can, be in charge of your sales emails, even if it is just at the beginning.

Sales emails are a great way to get into the “sales” mindset, especially as a founder and this should be handled initially by the person closing deals.

Plus, if you can do it as a founder, you will know exactly what to expect from an employee who is handling outbound sales for you. 

Once you have a good strategy going, you can always hand it over to an SDR or outsource a lead generation agency like Salesbread. 

Your target audience isn’t 100% defined

Before you target businesses to reach out to, you need to ask yourself “why are you reaching out to that specific business or person?”

What triggered you to put them on your list?

It’s much more than saying “oh, they are a small/medium-sized business in the United States.”

You need to figure out who your exact target audience is, before sending emails.

If you can really define your list to companies that need what you’re selling, then the chances of success will be so much greater.

Your email list can be built in the same way in which you would build a list for Linkedin. (See the data-driven video mentioned earlier in the article.)

And you do this by looking for patterns between paying customers.

If your list is accurate and data-driven, then you will have more qualified buyers in your sales funnel

Your spamming prospects with crappy emails

Remember quality over quantity always.

The worst thing you can do is burn through a list of thousands of prospects. 

Why?

Because it’s going to give you a bad sender reputation. This means a lot of your emails are going to end up in spam from your domain. 

This also means that prospects aren’t going to be seeing your emails. 

 “According to a 2008 study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley and UC, San Diego, spammers get a response just once for every 12.5 million emails they send — a response rate of 0.000008%.’ 

Therefore you do not want your emails to end up in spam. 

Besides this, if you send thousands of emails you’re going to get a really low open rate.

Focus on quality cold outreach instead of reaching out to thousands of people. 

Also, if your email is badly written and you burn through your entire list, you are going to tarnish your brand name.

Rather send a few emails, do some AB testing to see what works.

If the first batch doesn’t seem positive, try something a little different to see if you get a better response. 

So, go slow and send great sales emails to your list.

You’re using cold emails to drive sales not to start conversations

If your outreach tactics include spammy messages and sales pitches, you’re going to struggle to get people to convert.

In the same way with Linkedin outreach, use cold email to start conversations. Get people excited about your offer.

Mention the value that your product or service has to offer and how it can solve pain points

Don’t just sell. 

If you can get your foot in the door, start conversations, and book a meeting, this will be a better marketing strategy, than salesy pitches. Below is an email, that’s just about the sell. Besides this, the email is really long.

Remember to keep your emails brief and only use a few sentences that add value. 

Don’t annoy prospects with your emails

Prospects get annoyed when emails are just about “buy my product, buy my product.” If you want to be effective, you need to offer your prospects something irresistible.

Something that would be a no-brainer to say yes to. 

Email outreach is a lot about building customer relationships and not just about selling. 

Be wary of your email cadence as well.

We suggest waiting 3 days before sending a follow-up.

Some sales reps send too many emails during a short period of time, and this can also frustrate prospects.

Follow the guide below for perfect email cadence. 

Cold Calling Blunders     

Cold calling is probably the least favorite outbound channel for most salespeople.

The stats above paint an interesting picture of the success rate of cold calling. As you can see only 0.3% of cold calls result in an appointment.

In fact, some SDRs actually suggest warming up prospects with a cold email first, before reaching out to them via phone. This has a greater success rate than a direct cold call. 

But if you do use cold calling in your sales process, try not to make these mistakes. 

Not knowing your product inside out

How can you expect to sell a product or service, if you don’t know the product inside out?

If you don’t understand how a product works for example, (like a CRM tool) you are going to struggle to answer questions that a prospect might have.

If you are an SDR,  team manager, or a founder, make sure that your sales team really understands your product.

If they know exactly how it works, then they can have the confidence to speak to prospects. 

You don’t have a defined target audience

Building a defined list of prospects is especially important for cold calling.

There is no point in selling dentist equipment to psychologists. So, when you are building a list of prospects, make sure that you reach out to the correct people. 

Don’t just grab a list of all Drs at hospitals for example. Try to define your list as much as possible.

If you do this, the chances of success will be greater because you’re reaching out to people who need what you’re offering. 

You’re not listening

Often cold callers are so eager to get their point across, that they actually fail to listen to what prospects have to say. 

If the prospect asks a question or has something to say, it’s important to listen to their concerns and answer their questions.

If you can’t do this effectively, it makes the prospects feel as if you’re only in it for the sale, and not actually interested in helping them with their pain points

You’re sounding too salesy

An interesting tip that some of the top cold callers have mentioned, is to record yourself on a call. Listen to how you pitch to your prospect. 

If you sound like a salesperson, you need to adjust your tone. Try to sound as if you are talking to a friend or family member. You might actually be surprised at how different you sound when speaking normally compared to speaking to a prospect. 

Remember to also be polite. The golden rule should apply, especially in sales.

Need some advice on your b2b sales outreach?

If you find that you’re making many of the above mistakes, reach out to us. We offer free 15-minute consultation calls but also offer a “done-for-you lead generation service” for less than what you would expect to pay for a full-time SDR.

With over a decade of experience in outreach, we would be happy to help you get 20 + qualified leads per month. 

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