Updated on September 17, 2021 by Ivana
Adapt your brand to your multichannel customers.
In the B2B space, a well-defined multichannel outreach strategy will outperform any results derived from a single-channel approach.
Every single time.
It is only logical. Instead of using only one channel to reach your prospects (e.g. cold email), why not add additional channels to the mix (e.g. LinkedIn) and raise your B2B prospecting to the next level?
Utilizing different digital channels as part of a unified multichannel outreach strategy, drastically improves the overall outreach potential.
This way you double the chances of your message actually reaching your prospects.
50% increase in reaching your prospect >> 50% greater chance of customer acquisition (CAC).
Makes sense right?
Now picture this.
Automating your overall B2B prospecting and including multichannel outreach as part of your drip campaigns. All on autopilot.
Seems like it’s too good to be true. And it is. But with careful preparation and a better understanding of the overall process, yes it is possible.
Use this article as a manual to assist you in creating the finest multichannel outreach strategy for your own business needs, from both perspectives: b2b marketing & b2b sales.
Let’s get started by breaking down the whole process into must-know units to prepare you for tailoring the optimal multichannel outreach strategy for your own business.
First things first, what is a Multichannel Outreach Strategy?
Multichannel outreach is the process of using different channels to reach, connect and engage prospects.
Channels are all the different digital platforms and means of getting your message to your potential customers. The most popular digital channels include websites (your landing pages, blog section, or display ads on other websites), email, social media platforms (LinkedIn, Twitter, Youtube), SMS, and even phone calls.
People have preferences in the sort of content they consume. Give your customers multiple options (through multiple channels) to choose from to interact with you and your brand. Switch your mindset to think of your customer needs first, and your business growth will follow.
Align your strategy to support the channels you plan on using, along with your content plan (different channels – different content forms), and with those prospects that fit your target audience.
In the B2B space, in order to achieve commercial goals, you need other businesses that will use your SaaS as part of their business operations.
And there are many potential customers on the World Wide Web (www) that have a need for your SaaS. Some of them are actively looking for solutions, others are not even aware that such a solution might exist.
Therefore, the main purpose of a B2B multichannel outreach strategy is to connect the dots between your business needs and your future customers’ needs. And restore balance in the world. Make a win-win situation for everyone.
Naturally, understanding your target audience and what channels your ICP uses the most is at the heart of a successful multichannel outreach strategy.
- Only 30% of marketers are highly confident in their ability to deliver a multichannel strategy, followed by 67% who are only somewhat confident;
- Only 9% of marketers can currently engage customers across channels on a consistent basis;
- On average, high-growth organizations report 16 touchpoints per prospect within a 2-4 week timespan.
What are the focus areas of a multichannel outreach strategy?
A multichannel outreach strategy is based on several key areas to improve the success of the process and achieve better results. You need to take your time to plan out and carefully implement your strategy while focusing your attention on the following:
Target Audience – go towards what matters.
The multichannel outreach is client-focused. That is why knowing who they are and what they want is key, depending on your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). You give them a choice to decide how and when to engage with your brand.
For example, older generations may prefer a direct email proposition with a colder tone and statistical data, while younger generations understand the need and impact of building brand stories and are more inclined to learn about a company and its cultures in addition to its services before making a decision. That is why knowing your clients is important. Here you can see the methodology our colleagues from Sample Solutions applied across different channels to target younger audiences to gather B2C mobile samples.
Content is everything. It features in all aspects of digital marketing, from copy to videos, blogs, images, and whitepapers. That’s why you need to adjust it in accordance with the channel you are using. If you start your sequence with an email, make sure you personalize it as much as possible to present to the recipient that this is not some mistargeted automated email outreach.
Depending on the channel, choose the content that would fit the audience. If a LinkedIn message is your next stop in the sequence, don’t present your product all over again in a cold-like Linkedin Message. Make it more personal, remind the recipient that you’ve been in touch before and that you would like to connect to them on LinkedIn for a more personal connection.
Only then you can craft the content for your next step and stay on track with what you’ve communicated with the potential client. Let’s reiterate once again just in case… content is everything! This is your key aspect in every multichannel outreach strategy.
Every channel is different. It has its own strengths and weaknesses, flexibility and limitations, and of course – costs.
Thus, each channel should be analyzed, from your own business perspective. People have a preference in the way they interact with your brand, and there is no “one size fits all”. The most important question is:
Which channels your target audience prefers to use?
Those are the channels you want to focus on in your multichannel strategy. As the saying goes: “The best of marketers are found where their customers hang out.”
It doesn’t make sense to waste valuable time & effort on a channel not regularly visited by your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).
Not to mention investing money in paid ads on a channel emptier than a banker’s heart! (When it comes to the people you’re targeting.) That’s the perfect way to burn your hard-earned money.
And the question arises: How do I find my target audience online?
Easy. There is a tool designed specifically to help you find and track your target audience across the online galaxy 🌌.
It’s called SparkToro and Rand Fishkin is behind it. (That’s how you know it’s worth giving it a try.) Besides, you can use it to discover additional information about your audience, such as what they are reading, watching, following, and most importantly – where.
Identify the Right Channels for your B2B Multichannel Outreach Strategy
How do you identify the best marketing channels for your business?
If you haven’t done it by now, start by conducting detailed audience research. The insights obtained from audience research are worth their weight in gold. Remember, understanding your target audience is at the heart of a successful business.
Knowing where your target audience goes to “consume” content, will guide you to make a confident decision for your investment. “Serve” your paid ads where you are sure they will make the most impact.
Test the waters to see what works best with your ideal customers.
To give you an example. When prospecting for sales, you can begin your multichannel outreach campaign with a simple, personalized email to introduce yourself. If your prospect opens the email but doesn’t respond, don’t jump ship just yet! Follow up with a LinkedIn invitation to connect.
Here is a list of the most used channels in a multichannel outreach strategy. For both, B2B Sales & B2B Marketing purposes.
💻 Website (Landing Pages and Blogging)
Although not a direct channel for outreach, your website, landing pages, and your blog are all vital parts of any multichannel outreach strategy. Your website along with your high-converting landing pages are a focal point for your brand, product, and services where your potential customers go for information. Product pages offer an overview of the functionality of your SaaS, the main purpose of a landing page is to convert your prospect to a satisfied customer and your blog section acts as a hub, filled with knowledge and valuable insights on how to achieve better results using your services.
Additionally, use your blog to present inside information, data, and findings from your own company and field of expertise that no other competitor can offer.
This is how you position yourself as a thought leader in your industry and build credibility and trust among your community. Writing unique articles that offer market insights, analyzing case studies, announcing product updates are all of great value to your target audience.
Besides, being considered a thought leader in your industry requires blogging for other websites as well. Here is an additional read on how to be successful at Guest Blog Post Outreach.
📧 Email outreach
The email is the workhorse of the modern sales and marketing teams, and it remains the preferred channel for their outreach strategy. The options to customize and personalize your message (using the power of hyper-personalization) and get 122% ROI is unparalleled by all the other channels combined.
You can add images, videos, and even custom elements to your message in an effort to differentiate your brand & offer from the competition and get a 45% increase in reply rates. Emailing forms a great symbiosis with your content as the primary channel for engagement. Whether in the form of a cold outreach campaign, a product offer, or a brand’s newsletter, the email is the cornerstone of every multichannel outreach campaign.
Use email automation to create multichannel drip campaigns, enhanced with hyper-personalization, and send unique content to different persona types which you have defined during your lead segmentation phase. Schedule them at key times when they will be best received and consumed by your audience.
Measure your progress with email by looking at open rates, click-through rates, response rates, but ultimately optimize for conversion rates. Email can directly drive conversions, and depending on the type of email campaign, this is the metric that will be used to measure email outreach success.
p.s. Be mindful of GDPR compliance.
- Why is Email Automation a must-have for Small Businesses in 2021?
- The Power of Hyper-Personalization in Email Marketing
- How to Write B2B Emails that Sell in 2021?
- 14 Actionable Ways to Improve Your Email Deliverability
🧑💼 B2B social media channels
B2B social media channels have established themselves as a valuable part of sales and marketing efforts. The core functionality of social media for business professionals, like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Xing, is built around the concepts of finding leads and reaching out to them. They present a perfect secondary channel for your multichannel strategy.
According to the latest LinkedIn statistics, currently, there are nearly 740 million LinkedIn members, from 200 countries and regions worldwide that you can choose from to segment your B2B target audience. These professionals use LinkedIn not only to recruit employees (or find a job) but also to stay updated on the latest business news in their industry. This means they actually read the regular posts updates of the organizations they follow, as well as those of their connections. And when there is a link included in those posts, they will follow that link to an educational article on the benefits of your solution.
You can take my word on this, since LinkedIn themselves, in their “Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn“, claim that their platform drives more traffic to B2B websites and blog articles than Twitter & Fb combined.
So when it comes to social media,
92% of B2B marketers and sales professionals use LinkedIn to find and engage their B2B audience.
And it only makes sense since 80% of all B2B leads from social media come from LinkedIn. What’s more, the LinkedIn Messaging response rate is 3x higher than that from a regular email. Apparently, people are more inclined to respond to a cold LinkedIn message than an email.
Later in this article, I will show you how you can combine both, LinkedIn & Email, as part of your multichannel outreach strategy, to drive even better results and ROI for your business.
📱SMS for B2B Marketing & Sales
Nothing beats the immediacy of SMS.
No other outreach channel has the same power to get your message opened and read within the first 3 minutes.
Yes, it’s true.
- SMS has a 98% open rate;
- 90% of those short messages are read within 3 minutes.
- SMS has a 209% higher response rate than email or social media channels.
Mobile has officially outrun desktop in usage & generating traffic. And Google practically proved this when they decided upon mobile-first indexing in 2019. Interestingly enough, 88% of people that searched for a local business via mobile device ended up calling or visiting that business in the next 24 hours.
We are addicted to our smartphones and it shows. The average American checks their phone every 10 minutes. Or more precisely, 96 times per day.
Another big + SMS is the only channel that doesn’t require an internet connection. And it kinda makes sense. There is no spam filter for SMS. If you have the right number, your text message will simply reach the prospect.
Including SMS in the B2B Sales&Marketing strategies becomes an increasingly popular tactic. And this is just the beginning. That being said, consider adding SMS to your multichannel outreach strategy (if you haven’t already).
But before you do that, I got to let you know…
SMS opt-in is a must.
“Is it legal to text someone without their permission?” – No.
Before you start using SMS as an outreach channel, bear in mind that the GDPR compliance rules apply not only to email but to SMS as well.
I’m sure you don’t want to put your business at risk and face legal problems. Receiving SMS is a highly personal approach to reach out to people. Start with yourself. How would you feel being spammed via SMS by an unknown brand? I assume not very comfortable. SMS is certainly hard to ignore. The same goes for your prospects.
To avoid this, you have to obtain the permission of your SMS recipients to contact them via phone.
How to get permission for B2B SMS outreach and grow your SMS marketing list?
One way to achieve this is through subscription forms. You can add an additional field for “phone number” to be filled in by your website visitors for e.g. when they are signing up to receive newsletters from your brand.
Another, more feisty way to collect phone numbers of your potential customers can be creating an entire SMS opt-in campaign via email or social media. (See how channels complement each other in creative ways? Gotta love multichannel outreach strategies!)
However, once you compile a significant amount of phone numbers and compile a phone list for your SMS outreach strategy, it’s recommended to check those numbers before start sending them SMS. After all, you want to make sure that the SMS is actually received by your recipient to be able to measure your results and conduct reliable analytic.
Use a phone verifier service to verify the numbers on your SMS list in a couple of minutes.
As a matter of fact, Sales.Rocks offers a high-accuracy phone verifier as part of it’s Sales Toolkit to make sure you message the right number. Verify a single phone number or your whole phone list in bulk. Phone number validation is crucial for contacting the right prospect at the right time.
Related: Introducing the Sales Toolkit module
B2B companies usually use business SMS channels and software tools instead of the traditional SMS practice.
How to send professional SMS?
For a more professional approach, businesses encourage prospects to opt-in to an automated sequence provided by SMS marketing software. The SMS opt-in is usually initiated by texting a shortcode. In doing so, your new warm lead’s information is stored in the software, which will then send messages featuring promotional & informational content regarding your business. This way your recipients also have the freedom to opt-out of your SMS notifications at any time by writing STOP.
Whatever approach you choose (and there are many), make it clear to your users that they permit you to receive time-sensitive communication from you via SMS by providing their number. It is even better to let them know what to expect from the SMS. Will that be unique offers tailored specifically for them using hyper-personalization? Reminders about upcoming webinars, LTD promotions, or coupons? Whatever may be, let your recipients know. That is the only real way to truly get their consent and avoid irritating them with the sound of a new SMS received out of the blue sky.
Here is a list of the different types of professional SMS you can send:
- B2B SMS for scheduling a demo
- SMS for company announcements and news
- SMS reminders for busy professionals (=your leads)
- Re-engaging Cold Leads by getting them out of the cold in the middle of the complex B2B sales cycle, (and thus shortening your sales cycle.)
- Nurturing existing customers <3
Among many other reasons why you should include SMS as part of your multichannel outreach strategy for more personal approach to selling.
☎️ B2B Cold calling – that actually works.
Cold calling is an essential ingredient of B2B sales (even though it has a bad reputation). And yes, there are still some prospects out there who value more intimate outreach. As there are SDRs that are naturally gifted at cold calling.
However, the statistics show that most people are not overly enthusiastic when they are called out of the blue by a sales representative. Actually, they consider cold calling intrusive and unpleasant. Therefore, the success rates of cold calling are typically 1-3%.
It doesn’t take a genius to understand that this can easily lead to associated negative emotions with your brand for the rest 97% of those prospects =and thus do more harm to your business. If you’re a cold calling fanatic, then I’m sorry to break this down to you but
On average, it takes 209 cold calls for a salesperson to generate a single appointment or referral. (Baylor University)
All things considered, you might want to give up on cold calling altogether, but bear with me. We promised you a B2B cold calling that actually works, and here we deliver.
“Cold” calling as part of the multichannel outreach strategy.
Phone calls, when used smartly, can be a powerful outreach channel for small and medium-sized businesses (SMB). Especially after a sequence of emails and messages when your sales-qualified leads (SQLs) are ready to close the deal.
- SDRs that leverage 3 or more touchpoints have 28% higher SQL rates than those who just make a phone call;
- Sending emails to leads in between phone call attempts increases the chance of reaching them by 16%;
The sales representative’s voice can establish a confident dialogue where all questions are addressed instantly. Also, convey assurance if a prospect is still unsure about the purchase and present additional relevant information.
“Where closing is concerned, on that type of conversation, a call is better than an email. When there is negotiation involved, when they are trying to get questions answer, further down in the customer journey, it’s the best time to have a phone call as well as a demo.Scott Mark, Field Marketing Specialist
However, studies show that you should send an email first, and then follow up with a call. I always think you should call and leave a voicemail, and let them know you sent an email.”
Again, it all boils down to the one single truth: you need to plan for multiple touches, including multiple channels, before you actually connect and get a reply from the prospect.
Permission based cold calling.
Start by sending a cold email. If you get no response, follow up with a second email after 2-3 days. This is how you generate interest via. email and then only call people who actually show interest through a reply.
Imagine you prospects actually being excited to hear you out and give you time to educate them on all the benefits from your SaaS. There is no doubt they will be more inclined to listen to you since they have already expressed interest.
How to build an effective B2B multichannel outreach strategy?
Now that you know what you will need to focus on to make your multichannel outreach successful, here are 5 steps to help you establish the correct process and outline your multichannel outreach strategy.
The essentials: Setting Goals, Objectives, and KPIs
The first step is to have a clear goal for your outreach. Whether you want to increase brand awareness, convert trial users to paid customers, influence existing paid users to purchase a long-term plan or a combination of set targets, be sure that your strategy is in line with your goals.
From the very start, everyone on board on your B2B sales & marketing team, should be aware of and committed to a clear goal for your outreach, with clearly defined success criteria. If you don’t have a clearly defined plan on the end goal and how you’re going to achieve it, what are you exactly chasing as a result of your multichannel outreach efforts?
Whether you want to increase brand awareness, convert trial users to paid customers, influence existing paid users to purchase a long-term plan or a combination of set targets, be sure that your strategy is in line with your goal.
Setting clear objectives for your outreach activity should be the starting point to build an appropriate multichannel outreach strategy. Focus your objectives clearly on your key business success outcomes and then identify your KPIs.
What are your key business success outcomes that your B2B marketers and sales professionals are after?
Only after you pass this step, then you can begin designing the multichannel strategy that is measurable and clear.
As a member of B2B Smarketing team of a small business, you got to make use of all your resources in an efficient manner;
In other words: investigate 🕵️ where your money is best spent and then try to minimize budget waste.
Here are some key objectives to guide your multichannel marketing strategy:
- Awareness: Your objective is to drive awareness for your SaaS by reaching your ICP;
- Consideration: Evaluate if your product/service better meets your prospect’s needs than the alternatives.
- Conversion/Sales: That is the commercial success.
- Retention: Establish a customer success and retain your valuable customers.
(Crucial in B2B SaaS industry!)
Having a well-crafted multichannel strategy can help you deliver on any of these goals. But it’s important to establish what is your priority to know which channels to choose and measure success.
Measure Business Performance overall 📊
Don’t be misguided in solely looking at direct sales, instead measure business performance overall. It is important to understand that success can also be measured in leads: MQLs, SQL, and engagement with your brand. The next important step is to find out what metrics or KPIs are best suited to measuring the success of your outreach strategy. Of course, including the different channels that make up that strategy.
When you understand what the measurement and goal of a channel are, you can use different metrics to evaluate success even further. For example:
- CPA (cost-per-action) and CPL (cost-per-lead) for conversion channels (Landing Pages, Email + Cold Calling + LinkedIn);
- Awareness for customer engagement channels (Social Media & Display);
- New versus returning users and increased sales or conversions for customer retention channels (Website, Nurture Email Drip Campaigns, SMS…)
B2B KPIs to measure the performance of your multichannel outreach strategy
A B2B KPI (Key Performance Indicator) is a measurable value specific to B2B companies that helps you measure how effectively your strategy is achieving its business objectives.
Some examples of B2B KPIs are:
- Sales by contact method – Each business is unique, and that exactly where its strength lies. Test what contact method works best for your sales team. Additionally, you may find that some SDRs may be more comfortable bringing in sales by sending out cold emails, while others may be more successful over the phone. Test and measure the results, then combine their strengths for multiple touchpoints for your prospects.
- Lead-to-Opportunity Ratio: Use the BANT method – leads with a Budget, Authority, Need and Timeline requirements. And measure if your lead can actually become a customer.
- Landing Page Conversion Rate – If the % of Landing Page visitors converting is 1-2% percent, you know you have a conversion problem.
- Email Click-Through Rate – How many of those cold emails are actually serving their purpose?
- Source of Leads – From which channel/medium your leads are coming to your website the most?
- Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) – A great metric to optimize the right channel and “time-spent” on acquiring customers. Which channel brought you the most customers for the least amount of time spent?
- Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) – For SaaS and subscription-based businesses, this is the Gospel. Monthly recurring revenue is what makes the business sustainable, and therefore what every B2B marketer & SDR ultimately striving to improve.
- Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) – A crucial KPI for B2B Smarketing. How valuable a B2B customer is to your company? Answering this question is how you can decide how much you’re willing to spend on acquiring a customer.
Automate the process
An outreach involving a number of channels is a complex undertaking that can’t be done manually without investing a great deal of time and effort. You must automate the process as much as possible through the use of sales and marketing enablement services. You will need services that enable you to store your client data, have multichannel outreach functionality and to keep track of your results with the ability to adjust the whole process when and where needed.
Most products use a combination of services but rarely a full all in one solution. However there are a large number of available services on the market with great integration between them to ensure a great user experience, depending on client needs, pricing and functionality.
Engage with clients in a reasonable timeline
Set up your campaign so that you don’t spam or overwhelm people. If you start your campaign with a cold email and set up a follow-up email afterward, try to give them some space between your next actions. You can send out a LinkedIn invitation after your first email, so that this person understands that you are not just mailing them in bulk, but paying attention to their background. But, it might not be yet the time to send them a LinkedIn message right after they ignored your follow-up email.
Think of a reasonable communication set and steps to engage with the clients, so that they don’t feel bombarded with your messages.
Use the multichannel option wisely to have the best possible results for your campaign.
Make the client journey consistent
When creating a multichannel strategy, it is important that the target clients have the same experience regardless of their preferred channel of engagement. Make sure the message and client experience are consistent to maintain your brand image. If you over-commit your resources and attention to one channel and other parts of your multichannel outreach offers a worse experience it may have negative consequences on your results.
Analyse your results and improve
It is important to always analyse your results. In-depth analysis will show you what channels perform best and if the channels affect each other. You can also see where you will need to make changes to get better results. Even removing a channel for another one if it under performs continuously despite making changes.
Multichannel outreach templates
Here are two templates that can help you set up a simple and effective multichannel outreach campaign.
Template 1 – The Social Outreach
You should decide, based on your target audience, which outreach channels fit your strategy the most. If your audience is active on social profiles, have multiple social accounts and use them on a daily basis, then this campaign type is the one to execute.
Stage one – Awareness
Try setting up an automated outreach with a connection. There are multiple tools you can do that with, like Texau for example. Independent of which social platform you choose to send the connection request to, this should be the first step to attract the attention of a potential client – show them there is a person behind the outreach.
Stage two – Engagement
Once you’ve attracted the attention, now is the time to act. But, not yet the time to start selling right right away. Engage the person with a comment, or like on a post (this can also be automated) ;).
Show them you are interested.
Stage tree – Act
Now it is time for the outreach. Depending on their level of interaction and responses, tailor your message for your outreach, and personalise as much as possible. This can be the trigger for your follow up or the next step.
Template 2 – The Email Outreach
Email is always the most preferred channel for cold outreach. But, in a multichannel campaign emails can be the first, but also the last step of the outreach campaign.
Stage one – Cold email
You can set your first step of the campaign to be a cold email. Create a template, but make sure to personalise as much as possible.
Stage two – Move the attention elsewhere
Once you’ve sent out your first email, try to keep the attention on your outreach as much as possible. Set your next step to a follow up, but this time choose another channel. Any messaging platform should do. Remind them about your email and say that you would like to stay in touch also on some social profile.
Stage tree – Warm up
After your reminder it’s time to shoot the actual proposition. Go back to the email as a channel and tailor your offer according the trigger from the potential client.
Remember, even no response is a trigger.
Multichannel outreach is the way forward
Having a multichannel strategy for your outreach is sure to become the standard going forward. Statistics show that customers prefer to engage with brands that implement this type of outreach. This guide will help you implement a multichannel strategy for your outreach campaign.