The Multichannel Success Formula: Top Channels, Sequence Flows, and Messaging Tips [Webinar Transcript] 

The Multichannel Success Formula: Top Channels, Sequence Flows, and Messaging Tips [Webinar Transcript] 

Just a few months ago, we brought together the top sales development experts, practitioners, and enthusiasts at our annual online conference — Sales Development Excellence. This single-day virtual event, packed with expert panel discussions, masterclasses, and hands-on workshops, covered the key aspects of sales development mastery. 

The second panel discussion of the conference was dedicated to uncovering the secret formula to successful multichannel outreach, the foundation of modern sales strategies. 

We had the pleasure of being joined by some renowned expert speakers: 

Watch the panel discussion (+ more) on-demand

Watch on-demand

You can watch/listen to this panel discussion as well as the full conference following the link above, but in case you prefer written content — here’s a transcript for you to scan through. 

Enjoy!

What does your most successful cold outreach sequence look like in terms of structure, the number of touch points, your favorite channels, and messaging tactics?

Mark: My typical cold outreach really depends on the total addressable market that I’m trying to reach out to and also the deal size. That determines what channels and how detailed I’d need to go with my messaging. My sweet spot, though, is really combining email and LinkedIn. I’m not necessarily saying that the phone doesn’t work or cold calling is dead, that’s not my argument at all. It’s just that I get pretty good results with my email and LinkedIn approach. And there are times when I do add in phone calls if I’m not getting the results that I expect with cold emails. 

But in terms of the sequence design, typically it’s around ten steps. Those steps include between five to six emails and three to four LinkedIn touchpoints as well. So a touch point might be to view the profile, send a connection, send a message, or if they connect or engage with some content. That all happens over 21 days. 

And then, just to talk a little bit more about the copy of the messaging, it’s very specific to the problems or challenges that the prospects I’m reaching out to will face. 

That way, through the right segmentation and list building, I can send a one-to-many message to the same persona about a specific challenge. And with every sequence, I always pick two problems, and I split those two problems across four or five emails.

Edd: As an agency, we have to adapt to many different types of workflows. Typically, we do have an automated set of emails with about six to eight steps going out and we usually have four to six LinkedIn touches that are sprinkled in between to complement the emails. Among those steps, we also have calls because, even though it’s not Mark’s preferred way, it does yield results. 

These are all depending on the industry, the total addressable market, the client, and what their specific needs are, because we personalize these campaigns. Now our messaging style, again, we’re quite flexible in our writing. We have different writing styles. I actually have a library of about 21 different writing styles for sales and marketing that just give a base to jump off of. 

But then the real power comes from the research. Our team really invests a lot of time when we’re onboarding a new client on research, in-depth research, and that’s to address what Mark said, what’s the real pain? 

People generally just won’t pick up an email because there’s features and benefits, more so it’s personalized for their own personal pain or what their struggle is. And so we try to really hone in on that over several messages, phone calls, etc. 

Nick: I don’t need to go over what Mark and Ed just talked about because I think they covered it pretty well. But the way that I think about this stuff, especially with the volume that has exploded over the recent years, more specifically because of AI accelerating, is you have to think about your sequences or your workflows as separate mousetraps. 

A salesperson that’s assigned to a lead is going to have their own mousetrap, which is going to be 6-8-10 touches. The marketing team, the company is going to have its own mousetraps based on what the prospect does or what lists they get into. 

So you have to think of the whole field and think about what’s out there, put that into context, and then put yourself in the prospect’s shoes. What are they going to respond to, what are they going to be most interested in? And also, what is not going to annoy them, because you have a higher level of annoyance that people have because of just the sheer volume of outreach. 

So you have to really put that at the top of mind. I don’t think about these as a long, ongoing campaign. I think of them as short bursts around a specific topic or a specific need that you’re trying to address, or a specific message that you’re trying to send out there. And then if you don’t get a response, you put them to the side for a little while and then pick it back up again with some other campaign or some other thing. 

Whether it’s a specific rep or an overall team doing this, you kind of think about it the same way. So I just look at it as a short burst than how I did maybe five, seven years ago, where it was just one rep sending many touch points over a long period of time, like many months. I don’t think you could do that anymore. You’ve got to keep these things for six to eight weeks and then wrap it up and send them into something else.

What are the tactics that you employ in order to achieve that balance between maintaining the highest quality of outreach, which is typically manual, and scale, considering we also have to do that for, let’s say, 3000 people per month?

Mark: Before I answer this question, I always like to speak to my clients and teach them that you can’t sell car insurance to somebody who doesn’t own a car. And where I’m going with this is that you need to make sure that your message is relevant. If your message isn’t relevant to the prospect you’re reaching out to, then you’re not going to get a reply. 

Adding in a line of personalization and then following that up with a non-relevant message — you’re not going to get a reply. So with all of the campaigns that I work on, I actually don’t focus on any sort of intro personalized message at all, or AI-generated message. If there’s an observation that I can find for a trigger, which Vlad was sharing in the previous talk, then I’ll start with the observation. 

But if I can’t find an observation, saying that, oh, I noticed that you went to this university, or hey, you’re human, you must breathe oxygen now buy my stuff, which is what a lot of those lines come across as. So for me, it’s really focusing on making sure that you do your research and your list building. And as Edd mentioned, that’s a huge part of the process, which I’m sure Edd’s customers or clients don’t realize of all the work that goes into the research side of things before a campaign can go out. 

But focusing on much smaller segments and lists of prospects that share a similar or common trigger or signal, and then messaging with a highly relevant message which has nothing to do with their individual personality or what you can find on LinkedIn can still get results. I typically see 13% to 17% replies. 

Some of those replies are a no or a maybe or not right now, but I’m still getting those replies, which is helping from a deliverability point of view too.

Nick: With all the automation tools, it’s very hard to stand out on LinkedIn, and so I just try to keep it as manual and genuine as I can. And the way I think I found that this works best is by showing up, responding, liking, or commenting in your target’s feed, and things like that. So if somebody that you’re targeting at a company gets promoted, you can maybe automate the alerts for that, not necessarily the outreach. So automate the alerts through the different tools that are out there about somebody having a job change or they posted something or something like that, and use that as a trigger point to go and reach out to them and say, hey, congratulations, or hey, that’s great news, and just to keep it top of mind. 

So then when you do want to send that message, or they decide that they have the demand, you’re top of mind because you are commenting on something they care about, which is the content that they are putting out. So that’s what I would focus on. 

As a quick tip with LinkedIn, separately from all the playbooks and things that people run, is really just use it truly for what it was meant to be, which is a social network, and be social with people and be active and use that as a way to get your profile out there to increase the likelihood that somebody will respond.

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Edd: It’s definitely a balance, for sure. So I did want to echo in on what both Mark and Nick said. Great strategies, right? There’s nothing that’s ever going to replace a personal touch. And, truthfully, that’s when our SDRs really start working, is when we get that response, when we get to enter in our personal touch. 

But to scale is a little bit different for an agency. And over the last four years, algorithms have changed exponentially. I think Google changes their algorithms somewhere between 500 to 600 times a year. And if you broke that down, that’s like two times a day. The problem is the whole entire industry is saturated. We’re no longer a blue ocean opportunity. It’s a red ocean, but we have a lot of people who think it’s a blue ocean because they haven’t really been in the industry that long. 

And it becomes saturated, so to scale that, we have learned that we can’t send large volumes. Four years ago, you could send 10,000 emails a month and you could just get results by numbers. But when COVID came around, everybody started working at home, things got saturated. So then people started replicating that, and that makes our algorithms get tighter. 

So why fight it, right? Go with the algorithm, do everything personalized, and get it down to a science where you’re digging in and actually finding out what people want. 

So when we scale, we’ve done a lot of research internally on all of our clients to find that when we use a broad spectrum or a broad paintbrush whenever we’re writing copy versus a narrowed industry-specific, the quality of response and the number of responses start to increase. 

And so when you scale that down to a manageable level, so let’s say we’re only sending like 200, 300 emails a week, but those emails are also personalized for a title, an industry, a specific problem, solution, and result, you can somewhat focus it down to where it’s personalized and get people to answer. But again, you’re still not going to be able to get that personal touch. So when it comes to us and our clients, we do a mix of everything. 

We do the short small volume campaigns every week for our clients with multiple touches, but then we’ll also go and hunt and find people. That’s always going to be part of the process. And you could do this on a one-off basis. You can ask your client for like a top ten, like a wish list, and then your people can start connecting with them on LinkedIn, understanding and researching who they are, what kind of struggles they’ll go through, and try to relate as a person because at the end of the day, we’re all just people, right? 

As for AI automation, we don’t use AI in our copy or anything like that because you can definitely see when somebody says, I hope this message finds you well. We all know those emails, but that’s our mix. That’s how we find some sort of balance by trying to do all of it super interesting.

What are the new emerging channels or technologies that you think are interesting, be it AI or something very specific like WhatsApp for America, where you thought, hey, this is interesting, I didn’t realize this would be an efficient way to get to my prospect? 

Nick: What we have been doing at Close is looking at the quote-unquote ‘traditional’ channels because everybody has flocked to LinkedIn, email, the stuff that you can really scale up and do big numbers with, and have started to move back to more of the traditional things. Depending on who you’re selling to or what your market is, thinking as it may be crazy, but thinking direct mail as a potential place depending on the deal size. There’s a lot of ifs with that, but thinking down that train of thought of what are places that I can show up that my prospects are likely to be to where I stay top of mind, or I’m reminded of when that email inevitably shows up in the inbox or in the LinkedIn in-mail. 

So anything that you as a company can do to help your salespeople have a higher likelihood of being opened because they recognize the brand from other places that they’ve been. 

I think that’s always going to help, but it’s impossible to track. That’s the problem with this. But I think it does help and will go a long way because the entry point, the response point is most likely always going to be catching them on the phone, them responding to an email or on WhatsApp, whatever that sort of communication channel is. 

But the way to increase the likelihood of them responding is to work way higher up at the top of the funnel to make that happen at the bottom of the funnel. 

So another interesting thing is, if you think about all of our media consumption behavior, a lot of us are not watching cable anymore, we’re watching on some streaming box, Roku, or what have you. There’s plenty of places where you can advertise on these, as an example, because a lot of people’s attention and time is going there. So if you find something relevant there on YouTube, they remember, you know what, when it lands in the email, I remember seeing an ad on this, or this is familiar to me, and they can pick that out of the 300 emails in their inbox from that day. 

That is just from a bunch of people they don’t recognize. So I’ve been trying to spend a lot of time helping my salespeople downstream get recognized in the inbox because they saw something higher up in the funnel. The email or the in-mail is not the first time that they heard about us.

Edd: The way we use it is, as you can imagine, if we’re going to be doing in-depth research on a client, and let’s say one person can have two or three clients, that’s a lot of research. So we condense our research with AI. You can ask ChatGPT or Google Bard to give you qualitative statistics. Look for pain, look for different things. What kind of pain points does the furniture industry have from a logistics standpoint or something like that. And you can start breaking down what that total adjustable market looks like, along with whatever your client has told you during your research to really pinpoint the messaging. 

So AI is a good tool, but it has to be used properly. There are a lot of people out there that just want to say, generate me an email. But what you should really be doing is ‘generate the information I need so I can create a human-to-human contact with email.’ 

I would like to get more into SMS, but if you’re doing cold outreach, that’s going to be really hard because you have to have their permission. So maybe implementing steps with text messaging after I’ve already started speaking with somebody to make sure they’re going to make their meeting. No-shows are 30% of booked calls. So we can reduce that with being proactive towards text messaging. It is something that I feel like we’re going to start doing, but I think it’s all about what kind of strategy. 

So, if there are tools out there and you can find a good strategy to use it, and stay within policy and procedures, then I’m open to hear it. Kind of curious what Nick’s got to say.

5 Tactics to Fight Demo No-Shows (+ Ready-to-Use Sequence)

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Nick: The question I was going to have for Ed and Mark actually was that I have been finding AI tools like, let’s use Chat GPT as the example, as being a tremendous time saver with sanity-checking ideas. You had just mentioned the total addressable market. You want to generate a lead list, and you think it’s to this market or this set of people, talking back and forth with GPT helps me arrive at the answer on should I have people go do this or should I go do this a lot faster than maybe the experience before? So it’s saving me a lot more time in decision-making on whether I should go pursue an idea or not. And it doesn’t help or it is a bigger issue to try to help with the actual execution of the task. It’s helping me figure out which tasks to prioritize and do. That’s what I found the most help with these tools. 

Mark: Just going to Nick’s point — yeah, 100%. If you are using AI to come and develop an idea, it’s perfect. But you also need to have a certain level of knowledge to understand whether the answers are correct or not. So a lot of the training data that ChatGPT has been trained on, for instance, the most effective cold email in 2017 is no longer effective, yet that gets baked into writing those messages. So I’m with you there, Nick, of using it for ideation. 

A lot of the times when clients come to me and ask about AI and if we can use AI in their sales, I say of course we can, but first of all, define your ideal customer profiles and personas in a succinct way, and they can’t. And I think that’s really where it comes back to. And this is a long-winded way of answering the question of what new channels and shiny objects? 

Essentially, it’s the basics that are still working, the right message to the right people in the right medium. So I prospect where my prospects are, in most cases that’s email and LinkedIn. In terms of new tactics, using more rich media like voice notes and video in LinkedIn DMs is proving to be effective. 

I haven’t done a large enough scale to work out how much more effective that is, but I’m seeing that I’m getting more replies or more people listening to my voice if it’s a voice note because all they get is this little blue bar with a white button that says ‘Play’ in the inbox. And that’s very intriguing, even to the hardest of cold prospects. 

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