The Easiest way to create a B2B outbound sales pipeline
I’ve helped 14 B2B companies start an outbound sales funnel from scratch in a wide range of industries from hotels to airlines and nightclubs. I’ve only used cold email because I find it the most effective and scalable. What I outline below is the simplest way I know of doing this anyone can replicate, even non-techy salespeople. This process enabled all startups to close 1-50k deals and several of them raised 500k+ in funding.
Metrics to shoot for
70 - 80% open email open rate.
30% reply rate
If the targeting and copywriting are somewhat good 10-15% of companies will take a meeting with you
- The process has 3 leverage points,
- The targeting of the companies/people,
- Your email template copywriting
- How you deal with replies.
A few Assumptions to make it easy; (i can expand another time with more rare cases)
- We will target an industry/ companies that are well represented on Linkedin.
Defining who you have currently sold to
- First, I always start with an exercise to find out what types of companies a startup has sold to. What the characteristics of the target companies are, (number of employees, revenue, geographical location). If you have sold nothing this will also work, but all of it will be assumptions.
- Second, we want to define the job titles of the employees at are target companies. The best is data we have on our current customers. Fill out all the names of the everyone involved in closing every deal in the sheet below.
- In a next step we will give the job titles to VA’s to find our leads
- Here is the excel to fill in with examples.
Step 2: Interviewing current customers
Taking 45 minutes to interview one of your B2B customers is one of the highest leverage activities you can do.
- Record the conversation, you can use it to train your first sales to hire. One new sales rep said listening to customer interviews was the best part of his onboarding experience because he could hear customers explain the value they got from the product in their words.
- If there are any issues you can solve them and keep your customers longer
- Write down all their answers, use what they say in your copywriting for email templates
- Ask them for referrals, seriously do this, I’ve had customers give me 2-8 warm leads to contact
- Here are questions that work for me
Step 3: Defining the companies we want to target
Ideally, I would get every company in a target group For example if you target hotels Booking.com and Tripadvisor give you most of your target group. The easiest scraper I found for big websites like these (and LinkedIn!) is https://data-miner.io/ .. Sign up for it
- The end result should be an excel with a column of company names, and ideally a column of links to their LinkedIn company
- Lots of ways to do this, if you want me to expand on this comment below.
Step 4: Finding leads and email addresses
I use Upwork and virtual assistants for this, the UX of the platform is terrible but there are many many good VA’s, i always communicate with the VA’s over skype.
I pay freelancers $.20 per email address or $0.30 per lead filled out in excel (first name, last name, company, job title). You can probably go cheaper but it's dirt cheap anyway. Manual finding by a human is more accurate than any of the services/tools I’ve tried.
Here is a step by step to hiring and selecting VA’s on up work:
- Do not mention you are looking for email addresses associated with LinkedIn accounts, I have gotten my account suspended for this.
- Give the VA’s your google sheet with companies, the list of job titles you want, negotiate .30$ per leads. And wait for a stream of leads to come it.
Step 5: Copywriting our sequence
- The interviews (above) are the best source of inspiration and content
- Secondly, I do persona research, I look at 100-300 LinkedIn profiles of my target group, for example, Revenue Managers at 4 or 5-star hotels. I write down what I notice, a common language they use, KPIs they mention, etc.
- The minimum viable email campaign is a 3-step email sequence.
- Email 1 - Explaining the value of your company,
- Next, Email 2 - A customer success story industry insight,
- Final, Email 3 - A “breakup” email.
Step 6: Email sending
- Use Mail-tester to check if all your domain settings are correct.
- As a sending tool, I like Quickmail.io, there are dozens out there.
- Check a youtube video on how to set it up.
Getting to 80% open rate is doable but hard, lots can go wrong, here are rules I live by
- Send 50 initial emails per day as a maximum, more can decrease your email deliverability
- Never include pictures/attachments
- No links to outside sources, your value should be clear from the text only.
Step 7: Deal with the replies & book sales meetings
- Dealing with replies is an art and lots to explain about this .. let me know in the comments if you want to know more.