How to Start Outreach: Our Recommendations and Experience

Outreach is a complex process, and B2B companies need to try different tools and approaches before finding the perfect strategy. In this article, we'll share Sparklead's experience as a lead generation agency, explaining how we conduct outreach for ourselves and our clients. The insights will be presented from the agency's perspective, providing you with guidance on identifying the ideal growth strategy for lead generation.

Inbound VS Outbound Battle

Based on Sparklead agency's experience, many B2B companies often choose an inbound strategy for lead generation. They explore various methods to attract leads to their website, including the development of various marketing content, such as newsletters, social media, SEO, etc. However, at a certain point, they begin to question the need for outbound lead generation, wondering when it's the right time to launch and for which use cases it's relevant.

Inbound and Outbound are not in a battle, and they shouldn't be compared. They are two parts of one strategy. If a company exclusively uses inbound, perhaps it's time for reinforcement by expanding the range of existing channels with outbound.

According to our CEO, Maryna Solomanchuk, outbound is not a universal solution and may not be suitable for every B2B business model. For instance, when targeting small businesses, it might prove inefficient from an investment perspective. Maryna makes a compelling argument, citing the cost of an outbound lead based on our experience. While the cost can vary depending on the industry, client, and use case, it typically ranges from $800 to $1500 per appointment or per a lead. You can rely on this information by comparing it with your average contract value to assess whether investing in outreach is profitable.

But, if a company focuses on big businesses where the profits from a lead cover the cost, having outbound in your strategy mix helps you get the results you want more quickly.

Why B2B Are Still Skeptical about Outreach

Many businesses are unsure about outreach because they've had bad experiences before. It's a common story: a company tries outreach but doesn't get good results. This happens because there are common mistakes made during each step of the campaign preparation. Here are some errors you might make if you try outreach on your own.

Moreover, businesses often ask questions like: What would be the ideal cadence? Should we use AI when creating content, or should we use human content writers? To what extent should we personalize the content?

If you've decided to run outreach and already calculated the approximate results, our recommendation is to immediately consult with an agency that can help you launch the campaign correctly. Before concluding that outreach is not for you, you need to consult with professionals who can tell you that you just didn't set it up correctly.

Actual Values from Outbound for B2B

From our perspective, reaching targeted decision-makers in B2B with outbound is easier compared to uncertain contacts from inbound.

When we talk about outbound as a part of your lead gen strategy mix, this is a very right way to target the companies which are on your radar.
Maryna Solomanchuk
CEO at Sparklead

It's easy to set up without requiring a dedicated marketing team. Besides, a more personalized approach than general targeting adds value, and you don't necessarily need a dedicated marketing team for this—your sales team or business development representatives (BDRs) can handle it, making your approach more independent.

Achieving predictable pipeline growth is vital for your sales team. Outbound provides this predictability, offering your business a level of assurance in terms of pipeline development and conversion into deals.

Stages of Outreach Prospecting

At this point, you might have a question for us: What would be the ideal outbound process?

The flow we follow at Sparklead to conduct outreach for ourselves and our clients includes:

  1. 1. Optimizing ICP: Gathering general information about your client and identifying their most significant challenges.
  1. 2. Research and Data Enrichment: Transforming your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) into precise contact leads.
  1. 3. Content Creation: Simultaneously creating optimized and personalized messages, landing pages, etc., to shorten the preparation time.
  1. 4. Channel Set Up: Establishing two main channels—LinkedIn and Email.
  1. 5. Outreach Campaign Run and Optimization: Daily analysis and reports using CRM.

Follow Sparklead's Expertise for Effective Outreach

Suppose you're in the IT industry or a similar field; you can try following the steps we take when performing outreach

Defining your ICP

We believe defining your ICP is a crucial part. Making it truly personal is key in this process, and here's why:

So, at this stage, we engage with our clients. We delve into their business, understand their target clients, and document it all. But we go further; we create a matrix mapping their ICP, identifying their pain points, and outlining the value proposition they offer. We also incorporate pieces of content or other elements, whether already created or suggested, specifically tailored to these ICPs. For technologically complex products, having supporting collaterals becomes crucial, explaining solutions for vertical markets or specific niches.

Calculating your TAM

So, the first step in terms of research is to assess the size of the audience. In this specific case, we rely on two primary sources. When it comes to the IT sector, the audience is predominantly active on LinkedIn, a platform we know is highly engaging. Additionally, you can use Clutch as a supporting tool.

Concerning the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), it can be divided into several tiers. The first tier consists of the enterprises from various verticals, such as Telecommunications, Finance, Healthcare, and e-commerce, with corporate sizes starting from 200 employees.

There are also other tiers of companies, categorized as tier two and tier three as well as system integrators, IT service and consulting firms, software development companies, and startups. Initially, the market may seem huge, requiring substantial effort. However, with the correct setup within three months, everything can be done at a high level —preparing the audience, conducting outreach, and generating the required number of leads.

Filtering to Find your ICPs

When consulting smaller companies on outreach, they often ask, 'Where do you get this data?' Well, it depends. One of the main sources for us is LinkedIn Sales Navigator, which makes working with data easy using filters. Anyone can do this without specific skills. You filter for anything you need for your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), like general parameters such as headquarters location and industry. This helps you understand how many contacts from, for example 15K companies you can collect. It's also crucial to use less obvious filters, such as job titles and connections.

Extracting the Data

After gaining insights into your audience context, a crucial step, in our view, is to extract this data. We accomplish this by transferring the data to a file, either in CSV or Excel format, using Phantom Buster. This tool is one of the available options and is incredibly user-friendly.

Downloading the results via csv

When dealing with a substantial list of contracts, the subsequent step involves creating additional tiers for these contacts. We give priority to companies with a higher number of decision-makers, assigning them to superior tiers. For these top tiers, we engage in manual research, specifically focusing on individual contacts. At this point we identify triggers that enable personalized communication at the contact level. This personalized approach is reserved for higher tiers, including tier one, tier two, and up to tier three.

For the remaining contacts, we adopt a more generic value proposition based on their identified pain points, considering their job roles. It's essential to highlight that companies with a robust digital presence benefit greatly from tools like LinkedIn. However, for some traditional industries, these tools might be less effective. In such cases, we prefer alternative sources, such as governmental programs, which often provide open data containing a list of participating companies.

Extracting Emails

Once you've converted your list of 15K companies into a contact database and categorized them according to your use case, the next step is to fill in any missing data. Various tools on the market serve this purpose, with Seamless being our preferred choice in many cases. However, there are several other tools available.

Not Content but Data Is King

In terms of the toolset we use in our daily job, we can recommend many. With a wide range of marketing tools available on the market, what was done manually six months ago can now be done automatically and much more efficiently.

As for the strategy our agency has chosen, we employ a semi-manual approach, which means that many tasks are still performed manually. This helps guarantee the quality and accuracy of the databases and the indicators.

Channels: Finding Balance Between LinkedIn and Email

As mentioned earlier, the most frequently used tools by us are LinkedIn and Email, both of which are highly valuable. However, they come with their own sets of advantages and disadvantages. For certain companies, LinkedIn serves as a primary channel for scheduling meetings, booking demos, or other interactions. This can also be implied to the traditional industries like furniture manufacturing and renewable energy, where LinkedIn can be surprisingly effective as well.

While LinkedIn allows you to reach people on a smaller scale than Email, the response rate is significantly higher in comparison with email outreach.

We'd also like to share some numbers from the initial campaign launches in both Email and LinkedIn by Sparklead before any optimization and further improvements. In email campaigns, our benchmark open rate is 39%. In terms of conversion rate, it currently stands at 1.5%.

It's important to note that these figures may not be typical for every case, but they serve as a benchmark for evaluating whether general parameters are working well. Regardless of whether we achieve results below or above the benchmarks, we make improvements in any case to maximize outcomes for each specific client.

Key Takeaways:

To sum up, there are three major points that we would like to highlight:

  1. 1. Polish your ICP and tailor it to your industry or niche.
  1. 2. Collect data that highlights your prospects' pain points.
  1. 3. Prioritize outreach quality: the quantity of interactions should multiply the quality and the frequency.

Remember to maintain consistency in your approach—research, send messages, and repeat.

If you believe that outreach is for you, don’t hesitate to book a free consultation with us.

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