Selling B2B products or services? Get yourself comfortable - here’s our definitive guide to growing your business via outbound omnichannel lead generation. Cold email is certainly effective, but couple it with additional channels and you’ll be smashing targets in no time.
Let’s find you some customers!
Omnichannel lead generation is a fancy way to describe the process of acquiring new customers by identifying and reaching out to them directly on whichever platforms they use, wherever they are. It can also be referred to as multichannel lead generation or outreach.
Not all of your customers will be active everywhere, so the trick here is in identifying the best channels to hit.
And it doesn’t have to be online either. At Coldlytics, we know for a fact that many of our customers are achieving major success in combining cold email or LinkedIn outreach with cold calling and even direct mail.
In this age of high volume, “spammy” outreach and low attention spans, direct mail can help you stand out. I’ve even heard of businesses sending gifts to prospects along with a note (for example, upon raising their first round of funding).
We’ve had great success growing our business via omnichannel, but it’s certainly not for everyone. Here’s when you should consider using it, or not.
That’s to say, you sell directly to other businesses.
If you sell to consumers, it’s probably overkill to use an omnichannel approach. The foundation of most omnichannel lead generation will be cold email, and it can often be hard to find direct consumer contact details, not to mention it’s illegal in some territories!
For this reason, if you’re selling to consumers you should probably be using PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising.
PPC can be an effective strategy for B2B but customers are unlikely to make a high-ticket purchase from seeing one ad, which is why it works better for consumer products. We won’t cover PPC here, but it can still be effective when using a lead magnet.
It can also be uneconomical to use omnichannel lead generation to grow a consumer business. Multichannel outreach takes time and effort - so you want to make sure your CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost) doesn’t exceed the expected customer LTV (Life Time Value).
To the previous point, you may only want to consider omnichannel lead generation if you’re selling high-ticket items. It’s not so much about the monetary cost (it’s one of the cheapest ways to find customers), but the time & effort required is significant.
If you’re selling a $99/month subscription then you don’t want to spend a ton of time crafting individual emails and messages across multiple platforms, following up, and so forth.
If you fall into this bucket I’d advise (a) using automated cold email sequences or (b) increase your pricing, or even add a higher pricing tier.
We generally steer our customers away from mass/automated outreach strategies and advocate an account-based approach (i.e. crafting each message on a per-prospect level). The data we provide is manually researched and much higher quality than the typical B2B database. You only get one chance to use it well.
It seems obvious, but the more channels you use for your outreach, the higher the likelihood of reaching prospects when they are active and ready to make a purchasing decision.
Some prospects will use more channels than others. They may feel more comfortable interacting via social media than email, or vice versa.
Regardless, by enabling you to put your offer in front of potential customers at many different points during their busy day, you increase exposure to your offer and the chances of them ultimately converting. With a single channel such as cold email, you can only achieve limited exposure as you shouldn’t be following up more than 3 or 4 times.
As a marketer, your first task is to decide which platforms you want to focus on. This will be a function of two important factors.
Sounds obvious, I know. But marketers are often inclined to use a “spray and pray” approach. In fact, this is what we used to do!
But hold your horses. Unless you have the resources, you risk spreading yourself thin; wasting valuable time and money on 6 channels, when you could’ve hit just 2 to get the same result.
If you haven’t defined your ideal customer profile, do that now.
Otherwise referred to as LTV (Life Time Value), you should quantify how much a customer is worth to you before beginning your omnichannel outreach. You can then determine exactly how much time and money to invest in each prospect, confident that the unit economics make sense.
If you’re selling a product or service for a one-time fee then this is super easy to calculate. I’ll leave that to you.
I imagine most of you, like ourselves, are selling recurring subscriptions where each new customer represents a portion of MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue). In this case, you’ll want to dig out 2 variables: (a) the recurring profit this represents, and (b) how long each customer stays on average before they churn. Crunch the numbers (recurring profit ⨉ average length) and you’ll have your LTV.
Most payment platforms (Stripe, for example) do provide these metrics but just be careful to adjust these numbers for profit and not gross revenue.
It gets a little tricky when you don’t have historical data to go by. Most people have a natural urge to be overly optimistic here, so please try to keep it realistic.
I can guarantee that your initial churn rates will be higher than you expect when first launching. Don’t worry too much - it can all be addressed down the line - but keep the estimates conservative to ensure you don’t run your business into the red!
It’s time to get our hands dirty! I’m sure you’ll want to get going straight away but make sure to read the following points first.
There are a ton of tools out there to make your life easy. Don’t get bogged down though. We’ve all been there: you find a great looking tool, dive straight in, then get stuck during the setup or sucked into some obscure, insignificant corner of the app.
If you want to generate leads fast, forget being a perfectionist. I can guarantee no one’s going to pull you up on the odd spelling mistake or a misaligned logo!
Also remember - you can do all of this manually, and that may even be the best way to get going. Regardless, let’s highlight a few tools we like.
Our favorite all-rounder. Lemlist started as an email outreach tool has evolved over recent years to encompass automated LinkedIn engagement, cold call tracking, and pretty much any other platform via their “Manual tasks steps”.
They even provide a great email warmup tool called Lemwarm.
If you’re planing to run cold email outreach at scale, you should absolutely warm up your inbox. If you’re not going to be sending huge volumes then there’s probably no need, but you should read our guide on how to steer clear of the spam folder.
Expandi is a tool exclusively for LinkedIn automation, and it does the job nicely. The service automates tasks such as sending connection requests, follow-ups, and messages to targeted LinkedIn users. It uses advanced filters and personalization features to ensure that the outreach is relevant and engaging.
Mailtrack is a simple to install Gmail plugin that tracks when your emails are opened. While we don’t use it ourselves, it has a ton of users and many great reviews so I’d recommend using this if you’re using an account-based approach (emailing prospects individually, rather than as part of an automated sequence).
Developing a consistent message and branding across all channels is essential to creating a cohesive experience for your prospects. The holy grail here is to have your customers recognize you after receiving 2 or 3 messages across multiple platforms. Visuals are the best way to reinforce a brand of course, but this could also be achieved by using an eye-catching first line.
The reality of omnichannel lead generation is that automation can’t be applied everywhere. The biggest social media platforms, including LinkedIn, apply limits to the number and frequency of messages you send, so you may opt to use a team of VAs (virtual assistants) to run your campaigns.
In this case, spend time training your team. It’s very important that everyone understands your brand identity and guidelines. Train them on how to use your brand's visual and messaging elements in their communications and ensure they are aligned with your brand messaging.
Track as many metrics as possible during this process, many of which will need to be collected manually. If you think it doesn’t need tracking, collect it anyway. If you don’t have anywhere to store these, dump them in a Google Sheet. Metrics are more valuable that you might think.
There’s no rush, but figure out how to use these metrics to iterate everything: your messaging, the timing, duration between messages, the platforms you’re using, and so forth. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.
Omnichannel lead generation is a powerful approach for any B2B business looking to attract and convert new customers.
By identifying and reaching out to potential customers across multiple channels, you can increase exposure and your chances of converting leads into sales.
However, it's important to identify the best channels to use based on where your customers are most active, and to focus on channels that align with your ideal customer profile.
Implementing an omnichannel lead generation campaign requires consistency in messaging and branding across all channels, and a commitment to tracking and iterating on metrics to improve campaign performance over time.
Follow this guide and good things will happen, my friend. If you have any feedback at all, please drop me a line via the live chat below.
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