Cold outreach is one of the hardest sales techniques for a salesperson to master. Add doing it compliantly and you have just increased the challenge. And yet, so many people still believe it’s as easy as picking up the phone or hitting send on an email.
Cold outreach offers new salespeople the opportunity to get off the ground running, but first, you and your team need a strategy that won’t result in hang ups and emails in the trash.
We’ll show you:
What B2B cold outreach is
How to reach out within the scope of data protection, e-Privacy regulations and be compliant
How to set up a strategy that keeps your prospect engaged
What is cold outreach in B2B?
When you reach out to a contact at a company without any previous contact, that’s the essence of cold outreach. Warm leads are where you’ve established a relationship either via your website, a trade fair, webinar or on social media.
Cold outreach doesn’t give you the advantage of rapport, which can pose challenges. You have a few moments to land your pitch and your contact has probably heard hundreds of them. So how can you keep your contact engaged?
Different B2B cold outreach methods
Defining your audience is going to be the deciding factor in your strategy. If your ideal customer is in a branch of traditional industry, maybe social selling won’t be as effective. Go to where your customers are and speak their language, figuratively and literally.
Probably the best known form of cold outreach in B2B is via telephone, and it’s exactly what you imagine. You call your target companies, pitch your offering, and hope they don’t brush you off. Compared to email, where you passively submit your pitch, calling someone is very direct. You’ll know directly if your counterpart is interested or not.
I think that active listening is one of the most important skills to master in cold outreach. Even if your prospect is having a 3 minute monologue, you have to be able to filter out the most important information. For example, when you hear words like “challenge” or “problem”, you can use that as an opportunity to find out more.
Armin Raissi, Sales Development Expert
Cold outreach on social media and business networks
Social media and business networks like LinkedIn have become standard platforms for B2B businesses to be active on. More than likely your customers are also active on these platforms which means you have the opportunity to reach out there too.
When you make connection requests, you may want to send the same pitch to all potential contacts immediately. Don’t! Even if it’s not as personal as talking on the phone, people on social networks also prefer to have a more personalized approach.
Cold outreach at trade fairs
Trade fairs in B2B are the ideal place to reach out to potential customers because that’s exactly what these events are made for. Companies will be open to your pitch and ready to take a look at your offerings in this more informal environment. Most of the time, networking continues at the trade fair bar or at a restaurant after the day is over.
In Europe, the trade fair is still going strong despite the rise of online events. 90% of the world’s leading international exhibitions take place in Europe, so be sure not to miss out on being there with your potential customers!
Cold outreach via physical mail
Going old school once in a while is still acceptable. Even though we’ve forgotten snail mail in the context of cold outreach, it can still be quite effective if done right. This format in itself will help you stand out since many companies have turned completely to digital outreach. So why not come up with a creative flyer or a personalized letter?
Cold email outreach
Reaching out by email may not feel as intimidating as calling someone or walking up to them at a trade fair, but the impersonal nature means you’ll never really know if your message ended up in the trash or not. Worst case you get ghosted. The thing is, you have to craft an email pitch that makes your reader feel compelled to keep reading. Again, personalization will go a long way in helping you stand out from the AI-written emails your competition is sending.
Now that we’ve talked a bit about the kinds of methods you can use to reach out in B2B, let’s go into how to find prospects.
Sales prospecting: How do you find relevant contacts?
The outreach method isn’t going to matter if you don’t have contacts that you can actually reach out to. So how do you get relevant company information and figure out if that company would benefit from your offerings?
Historically, companies would buy addresses of companies from address list brokers. In fact, this is still something a lot of companies do. But we don’t recommend address lists. Why?
These are 3rd party lists with contact information that may not have been collected in accordance with GDPR..
These lists aren’t dynamically updated. That means, you’ll be getting information that may be incredibly outdated.
Let’s leave history behind us. The modern B2B world offers tools for so many uses, and lead generation tools. But how can they help?
B2B lead generation tools
Instead of combing through outdated lists, and calling numbers in the hopes that they're not disconnected, we urge you to work smarter, not harder. Having the right tools can cut your efforts in half and let you get back to what you do best: selling.
For the purposes of finding contacts that are relevant to your business, you can use Dealfront’s 100+ filters to narrow down your search. Build your list efficiently by selecting filters like company size, location or Trigger Events.
Trigger Events allow you to filter using parameters like:
Company expansion: Did the company just open another location?
Trade fair visits: Will they have a booth you can visit?
Personnel changes: Is there a new Head of Marketing?
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of target companies, you can see who the appropriate contact person is. But don’t worry, all the information that is provided within our platform is sourced from public records or official trade registers.
Now that you’re equipped with your list of companies that are ready for your offering, you’ll need to think about how to reach out compliantly.
What you need to know about compliant B2B outreach
Almost every country in the world has laws that regulate and protect consumers’ information.
The EU, for example, has the GDPR which regulates data handling: how the data is collected, processed, and stored. Outreach, however, is regulated by the e-Privacy Directive (PECD), and it dictates how you can reach out via telephone, email and social media. Each country within the EU has adopted the PECD in its own e-Privacy laws so it’s vital you research before you reach out. You’ll be risking steep penalties if you don’t!
Remember! Each outreach method will have different regulations. Just because you may be allowed to reach out via telephone in one country doesn’t mean that cold outreach via email or social media platforms is also allowed.
Quite often, you’ll find countries within the EU have “do-not-call (DNC)” registers where consumers can add themselves so they don’t get cold calls. In terms of B2B cold outreach via email or messages on social business networks like LinkedIn, your prospect will often have to opt-in to allow you to contact them - check your local regulations and terms and conditions of social media platforms to make sure!
3 best practices for compliant outreach
Wherever your customer is, there are standards that you should follow:
Always research the local laws governing outreach in your target region for each outreach method before you reach out.
Make sure your product or service aligns with your customer’s business. If you produce dental equipment, you shouldn’t reach out to farming vehicle companies.
Always document your outreach for internal purposes. You want to keep a record that you didn’t just call or email a prospect without respecting their local regulations.
Putting the prospect or customer’s data privacy first will help you build trust with and help position you as the go-to vendor for their needs.
6 Tips for successful outreach
So, you know which outreach methods exist and you’ve done all the legwork to make sure you have the information to reach out effectively and compliantly. But what can you do to ensure success with outreach?
Tip 1: Define your ideal customer profile
You want your product to resonate with your target audience. To do that, you have to break down which businesses best fit what you offer. B2B Firmographic data includes things like:
Your product has to be the right fit to solve your target company’s pain points and defining your ICP will help you do that more accurately.
Tip 2: Find the right contact person
Often, the numbers you’ll find online will lead to a central number and won’t be able to connect you with the right person. Even worse, you find someone who will talk to you and you go through the motions only to find out that your counterpart doesn’t have the authority to make any decisions.
You could do a manual search on LinkedIn, but Dealfront can also make that a lot faster.
You won’t need to worry about the information coming from a random source. All the data in the Dealfront platform can be found publicly on the internet. The only thing you need to take care of now is crafting a winning pitch.
Tip 3: Personalize a winning pitch
You’ve found the right person to talk to, but did you prepare a pitch that will keep them talking to you? There is no magic trick here. You have to discover as much as you can about your contact. Remember Dealfront’s Trigger Events from before? Including information you learned about their company is definitely going to make you stand out from the crowd.
With the right information, you could tailor your opening with something like: “Hi [Name]. Thanks so much for agreeing to speak with me, and by the way, congratulations on the expansion into the U.K. You must be very excited.”
At the very least, your prospect will be pleasantly surprised that you did your homework.
Cold outreach isn’t to be underestimated. You have to be open and curious. Ask questions, engage in active listening and really adapt to your prospect. With a personalized pitch, you’ll stand out, but research is the key here! What can you discover about your prospect or customer? Did they post something cool or newsworthy? Did you find the company just put out an interesting job ad that may give you clues into the direction the company is heading? Trigger Events like team expansion or personnel changes are worth their weight in gold.
Katherina Tustea, Sales Development Representative @Dealfront
Tip 4: Document your sales processes
A carefully maintained CRM system is the best basis for B2B sales. Noting information on random sheets of papers or in an Excel spreadsheet, or worse - relying on your memory, aren’t the keys to long-term success.
Documenting processes helps with…
Consistency: All the sales team members being on the same page means that every customer interaction is aligned with the team’s goals and values.
Improvement and growth: You can analyze each step of the sales cycle to see what has been working or not. You can then take the data and refine for better results.
Scaling: Use what you’ve learned and apply it when you enter new markets or with a new customer segment.
Preventing silos: When everyone is on the same page, you won’t have to worry if someone leaves the company or is on vacation. The team has the information they need to pick up where the other left off.
There are other advantages but the most important is that with documentation comes reliability. You’re building a customer experience that is built on trust because they know what to expect from you and your business.
Tip 5: Use intelligent technology
There are two things that any salesperson will tell you is very time consuming:
Preparation and research for their sales calls
So instead of spending their time calling, they’re caught up in administrative tasks.
WIth the help of sales intelligence tools, these kinds of tasks can be automated and integrated into existing systems. An intelligent system can compare contact the data of existing customers, find and correct errors, or add relevant data for lead qualification.
These tools won’t just reduce time spent on administrative tasks but also help you understand your ideal customers and their buying decisions.
Tip 6: Dealing with objections
You know that when dealing with customers, you’re bound to come up against objections to what you’re pitching. These objections are just part of a sales rep’s daily routine. So how can you deal with them? Ask questions!
There’s this classic saying among salespeople: “The sale begins with the first ‘No’”, and that’s so true. The prospect often just wants to get rid of you and then you have to find out what their pains are. When they object with “No thank you, we don’t need your product. What we have works well.”, you can answer “Hey! Glad to hear that. But can I ask how you’re doing that exactly?”
As the conversation progresses, I can already see whether our product will solve their pains or not.
Philipp Grein, Sales Development Representative @Dealfront
Here are some classic customer objections and how you can counter them with the right question:
Objection: I don’t have the time right now.
Answer: Absolutely no problem, may I call at a later time? Does this afternoon around 3pm work?
Objection: That’s too expensive
Answer: What exactly do you mean by “too expensive”?
Objection: Just send me something by mail
Answer: Gladly! Are you interested in X topic or Y topic? I want to make sure I’m sending you information that’s most important to you.
With these 6 tips, you’ll be on your way to better experiences for you, but more importantly, for your prospects and customers. Another way to create better, more personalized experiences is with the right tools.
Cold outreach tools for B2B
Having the right tech stack can really give your cold outreach processes a boost. Sales engagement, sales intelligence and video tools can give you the support you need. Here are our picks:
Our go-to-market platform is built to make each step of the sales process easy and effective for you. In the cold outreach phase, Dealfront can help you with over 300 filters so you can refine your target group to just the companies that will really benefit from your offerings. Then, with the 30+ Trigger Events, learn more about those companies before you reach out. With the click of a button, you’ve got a list of potential companies ready for your product or service and you’re equipped with additional data to personalize your outreach.
Tolstoy is a different kind of video tool. Where Vidyard only allows you to record and send videos, Tolstoy helps you create interactive videos that you can send to customers and prospects.
You can ask questions in the video, and your prospect will be given clickable answer options. The advantage is your prospective customer has the opportunity to take a more active role in the process. This also allows you to gather much more useful information about them that you can’t with the usual video, and creates a much more personalized experience.
Do you remember all the details of the last cold call? How did your pitch land? Did you pause too much? Gong is a great tool to have if you want to review and improve your next calls. Gong is a revenue intelligence platform that helps you analyze your sales conversations. Not only sales reps, but your team managers and trainers can review your calls to see where you did well or what can be improved upon.
Taking the cold out of cold outreach
Many people assume that B2B is this machine of impersonal customer/company interactions. Maybe that’s true for some businesses, but it doesn’t have to be that way for you or your customers. Equipped with new knowledge and the right tools, you can stand out from the usual crowd.
Taking the time to really refine your processes and gain deeper insights with the right tools means you can take the ‘cold’ out of cold calling. Understand where your ideal customer is in their journey and learn more about their business so you can personalize that first call. You are building a more memorable customer experience that will more likely result in success for both of you.