Are You Using the Best Outbound Sales Channel? An Outbound Lead Generation Service Explains.

By: Jack Reamer |
 May 4, 2022 |

Just because there are a few different outbound channels to use, it doesn’t always mean that all of them are the best channels for outreach. Remember that not every prospect is on every channel.

So how do you choose the best outreach channel for your lead generation strategy? Also is outbound better than inbound? Or would a mix of the two be better?

If you aren’t getting enough leads for your business,  you might just be using the wrong channel. 

It could be as simple as that. 

In this article, we will discuss which channels are the best to use for b2b lead generation, and how to include an inbound strategy as well, for a great mix of high-quality leads.

(Hopefully, by the end of this article you will know which outbound method is the best for your business, and if you would still like some more advice, go here for a free 15-minute consultation with Salesbread.)

Which channels are available for outreach?

Before we jump into the article, let’s lay out all the outbound channels that can be used during outreach

  • Cold email/ email marketing
  • Twitter/Facebook or any social media platforms
  • Linkedin
  • Cold calling
  • Sms outreach
  • Trade shows

There are many more channels, but remember that you don’t have to use all of them.

When you build your prospect list, you need to consider where your prospects will be. 

If you think that they might be mainly on Linkedin, target them on Linkedin. Or if you think that they are mainly on Instagram, target them on Instagram.

Let’s dive into each channel.

1. Linkedin as an outreach channel

If you decide to use Linkedin for outreach, it’s important to note that not every prospect uses Linkedin. Not every prospect even cares about the platform. Not every prospect will accept your request or even reply to your message.

Many sales teams think that Linkedin is the B-all and end-all of outreach, and it’s not. Even though Linkedin has 830 million members, 10% of users have created a profile in 2010 and have never used it.

So if you are going to send a message or an ad to that 10%, your lead generation efforts aren’t going to excel, because these prospects aren’t seeing your messages. 

On the other hand, though, there are users that have the Linkedin App installed on their smartphones, and whenever they get a message, their phone pings. These would be ideal customers to target.

Why?  

Because they are engaged with the platform. This means that you won’t waste your time on Linkedin.

But how do you know who these users are? Is there even a  way to tell which users are on the platform regularly?

The answer is, that you will never know 100% who uses the platform all the time, however, there are some signals that indicate if a person uses Linkedin regularly.

Number 1: The prospect is in your first or second degree network & have posted something on Linkedin within the past 30 days.

So if a prospect is in your first-degree network, this means that they accepted you at some point; This means that they have used Linkedin in the past and are probably most likely to use it in the future.

 (We actually wrote an article that discusses growing a profitable Linkedin network, which you can read about here: https://salesbread.com/how-to-generate-b2b-leads-on-linkedin/ This will help you learn how to connect with people who are your ideal target audience.)

 If a prospect is in your second-degree network, this means that they have said yes to enough invites to have a shared connection.

This tells you that this person, historically, says yes to a lot of invites. 

 So if you reach out to them, the chances of them saying yes, will be higher and if they accept your connection request, this tells us that they have been active on Linkedin within the past 24 hours.

This gives us an indication that these prospects are active users on the platform, and you should reach out to them. 

Another indication of whether or not a prospect is active on Linkedin, is to check if they have posted something on the platform within the past 30 days. 

This is especially relevant if you are reaching out to prospects in your third-degree network. We did some tests and found that when you reach out to users in the third-degree network and check if they have been active on Linkedin within the past month, the acceptance rate is pretty much the same as if they were in your second-degree network.

If a prospect has posted something on Linkedin within the past month, then they are probably an active Linkedin user. 

These are the potential customers that you should be contacting. 

Number 2: The prospect has very few connections

Another way to check if a prospect would accept your invite, is by seeing how many connections they have.

For example, if someone has 100 or fewer connections, this tells us that they are very selective about who they connect with.

It also tells us that maybe they aren’t active users on Linkedin, and this is why their connections are so few. 

Have a look at the examples below: 

Take away from this section: If your prospects are on Linkedin, start there. Be selective with who you target. Don’t target everyone. If your prospects aren’t on Linkedin, we suggest moving onto different channels. 

2. Cold Calling as an outreach channel

Hubspot recently shared a study that showed 63% of sales reps say that cold calling is the worst part of their job. On top of this, cold calling only has a 2% conversion rate.

Most people do not like getting a cold call. This also depends on which country you are in because in some countries cold calling is illegal. Whereas, other countries embrace cold calling

For example, Salesbread has a client in Australia that crushes it at cold calling, but only with a certain vertical.

There is a website, where prospects list their own phone numbers, and it’s okay for salespeople to reach out to them. It isn’t a problem. 

Tip number 1: Is cold calling legal?

So if you do decide to use cold calling as a channel, the first thing you would need to do is find out if it is legal to cold call in that specific country. 

Tip number 2: Has the prospect listed their phone number on a website?

If a prospect has listed their cell phone number on a website, then you can call them. If they didn’t want people to contact them, they would make it really hard to find their contact details online. 

Remember, some people will share their cell phone numbers with their first-degree connections on Linkedin.

You would probably want to engage with that prospect on some level, with a phone step, if they are sharing their contact details online.

Especially if you haven’t been able to get them to reply to you on other channels like Linkedin messaging or direct mail.

Pro tip

If you have to really dig for a prospect’s phone number, just skip it.

Cold calling wouldn’t be the best platform for them because if they wanted a call, you would find their number somewhere online.

If you are in telemarketing, then remembering this can help you reach out to people who don’t mind being called.

Number 3: Cold Email as an outreach channel

Unless a prospect has been living in the stone age, the chances of them having an email address will be pretty high. Most people have email addresses. 

According to Statista there are 4,258 million email users worldwide.

So, the question is, how do you know if email is the best outbound marketing channel to reach a prospect? 

If you think about it, most businesses make use of emails in their day-to-day lives. The world still has one basic means of communication, and that is email. 

People that don’t really use email are those who don’t do most of their work online.

For example, this could be bartenders or waiters. They have a very strong physical presence.

Other than that, most likely your prospects will be using email, even if they don’t check it regularly. 

How would you know if a prospect is a bad candidate for email though?

Number 1: The prospect’s email address can not be verified

If an email address seems risky, you can’t search for it on the internet, a directory doesn’t have it, then you should probably scrap that prospect from the email channel, because you don’t want to bounce. 

Number 2: Know your market

As mentioned earlier, it’s important to know where your prospects are more likely to be. Are they using Linkedin? Are they using email for work? Or are they using phone calls rather for business?

An example is how we have never really had a strong campaign for restaurateurs. This could be because they mainly use phone or text to reach out to employees or vendors.

Perhaps they don’t really make use of email or Linkedin that much.

Knowing your market will help you figure out which channel would be the best to reach out to them from. 

Number 3: Use open tracking for your email campaigns

When you use email as a channel, you can monitor your open rates.

If you put open tracking on and are mailing out to your segments, and you aren’t getting a whole lot of opens, you may need to pause for a moment and double-check that:

  • You’ve got good data
  • Your deliverability is good (Remember to use a warm-up tool.)

If the above two points are good, then it could be that the verticals that you are reaching out to, aren’t that active on email.

Therefore trying a different outreach channel would be a better option. 

But for the most part, email is a really great channel for reaching out to decision-makers, because 90% of professionals have to use email in some capacity. 

The challenge of cold email is:

  • Finding the prospect’s email address
  • Writing a message that someone would want to reply to
  • And getting that email into the prospect’s inbox and not the spam folder.

(If you aren’t sure how to do the above, check out our cold email master class here.)

Number 4: How do you know if a prospect is a good fit for Twitter?

Salesbread doesn’t do much outreach via Twitter, but what we have found is that prospects who are interested in crypto are crazy about Twitter.

If you’re a bitcoin influencer, for example, Twitter would be a great place for you to try prospecting. 

A company called Copper states:

“Approximately 75% of B2B companies currently have an active Twitter presence as of 2019. Meanwhile, 85% of small businesses cite Twitter as their go-to channel for handling customer service concerns on social media.”

Therefore, if your ideal customer is using Twitter, reach out to them there. There’s no point in even trying to find their email addresses because Twitter is the main platform that they use.

Don’t fight it.

1. You could use Twitter ads to gain interest.

See the examples below:

2. Comment on something that a prospect has posted. 

(The example below is from Copper)

3. You could even filter through different topics, and find new leads in that way. 

By using the explore and advanced search button, you can filter through different topics, people, keywords and locations to find prospects to reach out to. 

Number 5: Facebook and Instagram as outreach channels

If you would like to use Facebook or Instagram as a channel for your lead gen, it is important to see if the prospect uses these platforms as part of their brand and if they manage the page themselves. 

If both answers are yes, go try it out as a channel. 

Pro-tip for selecting the best outbound sales channel :

Look at the trends in your prospect list. Instead of going through each prospect one by one and thinking “which channel am I more likely to find this person,” look at your list as a whole. 

Then say “Okay, here are 500 people on this list, let me check them out on Linkedin.”

You can then plug in all their companies into Linkedin Sales Nav, and check if you already have many of them in your second-degree network and if they are active.

If they are, start with Linkedin as a channel. If not, move on to a different channel like cold email, or phone.

Get your salespeople to find their phone numbers on the web, and add the prospects to a phone step. 

You can then do the same thing, for the next outreach channel.

The important thing to note is to try different outbound lead generation strategies and channels and see which works the best for you and your target audience

See which channel performs the best and start with that. They go down to the second-best and so on. 

Don’t just stop at one channel. A multi-channel approach is always the best in the lead generation process.

A small note on inbound marketing

Inbound marketing does work.

But it takes time.

A year ago, we started content marketing at Salesbread, where we did SEO and wrote helpful articles for our audience.

Only now, has inbound lead generation started bringing in more leads. 

Have a look at how our audience has grown in a year by using search engine optimization and helpful articles:

You can see steady growth over the course of a year. 

Yes, inbound can be more cost effective in some instances, compared to outbound, but leads will come in a bit slower. 

With outbound marketing, you can reach out to prospects immediately in real time, and see if they are interested.

Inbound is about creating trust in your brand and waiting for prospects to reach out to you. 

Therefore we believe in using a hybrid approach to b2b marketing.

Use inbound and outbound.

If you are a new startup and your budget is a bit tight, focus on posting regularly on social media for example, and getting your brand out there. 

Or you could even try cold email outreach yourself, until you have enough funds for outsourcing a lead generation service, or a content marketer

But the mix of both methods will help put more leads in your sales pipeline

If you want 1 qualified lead per day, get in touch with Salesbread

Salesbread is a lead generation company with over a decade of experience. If you aren’t yet ready to partner up with us, we also offer consultation services, where we can help you, see how to make the best of your outreach

We guarantee 1 qualified lead per day which equals 20+ leads per month.

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