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Running Outreach Campaigns

Running Outreach Campaigns

Introduction

Outreach involves a set of activities to engage your potential customers in a dialog via several communication channels. The objective is to network with relevant decision-makers in your target market, promote your product or service, and generate qualified leads that result in a sale. This is a universal tried–and–tested method to grow business for all organizations regardless of their industry or size. Having well-executed outreach campaigns is essential for the success of your business development efforts. You must follow multiple best practices to yield optimum results.

The Process of Running Outreach Campaigns

SmartLeads adopted a results-oriented outreach process that engages a much bigger target audience and results in a better conversion rate. We use the two most powerful communication channels - Email and LinkedIn. We have summarized below some of the most important best practices established over the years.

Recipients: The first step is to configure recipients, selecting out of the pool of contacts in your database. Even when you have your contacts allocated to market segments, you still need to break people within each market segment into subgroups for a well-planned gradual engagement.

Messaging: Next is configuring messaging for your target audience in each market segment. You may personalize your messaging for each role of the person in your prospective customer’s organization.

Senders: You also need to configure senders - people on your management team, in sales and marketing, on whose behalf the outreach communication will be sent.

Communication: When the campaign starts, sequences of messages are sent out to people as per defined recipients’ send order.

Tracking: You will track the progress of your outreach, reviewing how many people have been contacted, what is the open rate for emails, what is the connection rate on LinkedIn, and how many people replied to your communication to pass on these people as leads to the sales team.

Monitoring: You will also want to review how your audience engages with your content, looking for clues as indicators of their interest level or even intent to buy. You would identify some of them as suspects and make sure you nurture them properly to convert them into prospects over time.

Recipients

Each market segment will have several thousands of people and you will want to select which people you communicate with first and which later. Hence, each market segment will be covered by one or multiple campaigns.

There will be several people at each company in the same or similar roles, but you want to avoid sending communication simultaneously to multiple people at the same company at the same time. In case someone forwards your email internally, people will quickly realize that you are running an untargeted marketing campaign. Spam filters will also recognize you as someone sending the same email message to multiple recipients, potentially downgrading your domain reputation. Setting only one person per company at any point in time also allows us to go after the maximum number of companies at any point of time.

SmartLeads’ approach is to segregate contacts in each market segment into Send Groups. For example, if we decide to send emails only to one person per company at any point in time, we assign each person (at the same company) their own Send Group number. People in each Send Group are sorted by the company name and are assigned a Send Order number. Email or LinkedIn communication is sent first to all recipients at the Send Group 1, after that to Send Group 2. If company A was at the beginning of the Send Group 1, then the same company A will also be at the beginning of Send Group 2. This way we accomplish the maximum possible delay between communications to different people from the same company.

We can also set a Target Send Date for each recipient, making sure there is a minimum waiting period between sending a message to people in the same company. This way communication to a recipient cannot be sent earlier than the Target Send Date.

If we initiate a dialog with a person at a company from Send Group 1, we may pause outreach communication with any other people in that company in Send Group 2. The sales team will determine a communication strategy with all the people in that target account from this point in time.

Messaging

To make sure we suitably articulate the value proposition to people in each market segment, we develop specific messages for each of them. These messages are grouped into sequences specifying not only individual messages, their order, but also delays between consecutive messages.

You can reach out to contacts over multiple channels, so there needs to be some sort of coordination between the channels of communication. For this purpose, we run single-channel campaigns (each campaign uses only one channel). Recipients are divided into campaigns that don’t overlap at any point in time. Each recipient can be only in one active outreach campaign at any point in time.

Each channel needs to have its distinct sequences. A message for an email channel will differ from a message for the LinkedIn channel. So, this way we reliably engage with prospects across different channels. Plus, this provides an opportunity to compare and analyze results from different channels to see which one is producing results as expected.

Senders

Also, there is going to be one or multiple senders assigned for each campaign. As senders are likely to have different working hours according to their region, their messages will be sent during their business hours. Each sender will have one or multiple LinkedIn and Email IDs. There will be associated send volume - planned number of outgoing messages per day. This approach enables controlled volume of communications per sender to stay under the radar with spam filters.

Communication

Communication establishes a dialog with your contacts. The contact information has been already verified when building a database. A sequence of tailored outreach messages is now sent to recipients in selected market segments. These messages are optimized for their order and delays between them.

Furthermore, this communication needs to be omnichannel. Right now, we are using the most important two channels - email and LinkedIn. Later on, we will be expanding to SMS, voice, and messaging platforms.

When someone replies to outreach communication, they are handed over to the sales team for further engagement.

If someone replies but doesn’t show immediate interest, then such respondents are kept on hold. They are not willing to buy right now, but later they may buy. Therefore, we need to be in touch with these people and keep on educating them. They are added to nurturing campaigns with different messaging and objectives.

For people who do not reply, the outreach campaign ends here and they are redirected to nurturing campaigns, so that we can continue monitoring their interest level and intent to buy.

Tracking

Measuring outreach progress and results is the key to achieving success. This would include A/B testing of different messages, comparing open rates and connection rates across different market segments. Tracking provides insights into what works and what does not. The outreach team can pivot and go after new market segments, improve messaging, or make it more targeted using further micro-segmentation.

Each outreach channel has a set of well-defined stages and allows tracking of conversion rate at each stage. Such dashboards and reports should be reviewed at least once a week and even more frequently in the early stages when more experimentation is needed. Having said that, it does require at least two weeks to start measuring the results, given that there is almost one week delay between receiving a message and recipients reacting to it.

Monitoring

Getting replies from your prospects is great, but we also get good clues from how other contacts (who didn’t reply) engage with provided content.

We closely monitor the engagement history for everyone:

● How many messages did we send them?

● Did they open our email or not?

● How did they react and engage with the content?

● Did they click the links we sent them?

● How much time did they spend on the website?

Having all these metrics will help us analyze the results, introduce the required changes, improve the response rate, and have a greater impact on this lead generation approach. What’s interesting here is that all of this will be very soon carried out in a fully automated way using artificial intelligence. By having access to historical data on how people behave, we will be able to predict who is the most likely next person to reply to our communication.

Conclusion

Efficient, insightful, and streamlined outreach campaigns will amplify your organization’s sales and marketing efforts. Using an automated approach, you can free up your time for more market research and better messaging. Your potential buyers will be engaged in a proper way with personalized messaging, producing maximum results immediately and identifying people for continued engagement. Overall, you should be experiencing a higher engagement rate and better conversion of contacts into leads.

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Running Outreach Campaigns

Running Outreach Campaigns

Introduction

Outreach involves a set of activities to engage your potential customers in a dialog via several communication channels. The objective is to network with relevant decision-makers in your target market, promote your product or service, and generate qualified leads that result in a sale. This is a universal tried–and–tested method to grow business for all organizations regardless of their industry or size. Having well-executed outreach campaigns is essential for the success of your business development efforts. You must follow multiple best practices to yield optimum results.

The Process of Running Outreach Campaigns

SmartLeads adopted a results-oriented outreach process that engages a much bigger target audience and results in a better conversion rate. We use the two most powerful communication channels - Email and LinkedIn. We have summarized below some of the most important best practices established over the years.

Recipients: The first step is to configure recipients, selecting out of the pool of contacts in your database. Even when you have your contacts allocated to market segments, you still need to break people within each market segment into subgroups for a well-planned gradual engagement.

Messaging: Next is configuring messaging for your target audience in each market segment. You may personalize your messaging for each role of the person in your prospective customer’s organization.

Senders: You also need to configure senders - people on your management team, in sales and marketing, on whose behalf the outreach communication will be sent.

Communication: When the campaign starts, sequences of messages are sent out to people as per defined recipients’ send order.

Tracking: You will track the progress of your outreach, reviewing how many people have been contacted, what is the open rate for emails, what is the connection rate on LinkedIn, and how many people replied to your communication to pass on these people as leads to the sales team.

Monitoring: You will also want to review how your audience engages with your content, looking for clues as indicators of their interest level or even intent to buy. You would identify some of them as suspects and make sure you nurture them properly to convert them into prospects over time.

Recipients

Each market segment will have several thousands of people and you will want to select which people you communicate with first and which later. Hence, each market segment will be covered by one or multiple campaigns.

There will be several people at each company in the same or similar roles, but you want to avoid sending communication simultaneously to multiple people at the same company at the same time. In case someone forwards your email internally, people will quickly realize that you are running an untargeted marketing campaign. Spam filters will also recognize you as someone sending the same email message to multiple recipients, potentially downgrading your domain reputation. Setting only one person per company at any point in time also allows us to go after the maximum number of companies at any point of time.

SmartLeads’ approach is to segregate contacts in each market segment into Send Groups. For example, if we decide to send emails only to one person per company at any point in time, we assign each person (at the same company) their own Send Group number. People in each Send Group are sorted by the company name and are assigned a Send Order number. Email or LinkedIn communication is sent first to all recipients at the Send Group 1, after that to Send Group 2. If company A was at the beginning of the Send Group 1, then the same company A will also be at the beginning of Send Group 2. This way we accomplish the maximum possible delay between communications to different people from the same company.

We can also set a Target Send Date for each recipient, making sure there is a minimum waiting period between sending a message to people in the same company. This way communication to a recipient cannot be sent earlier than the Target Send Date.

If we initiate a dialog with a person at a company from Send Group 1, we may pause outreach communication with any other people in that company in Send Group 2. The sales team will determine a communication strategy with all the people in that target account from this point in time.

Messaging

To make sure we suitably articulate the value proposition to people in each market segment, we develop specific messages for each of them. These messages are grouped into sequences specifying not only individual messages, their order, but also delays between consecutive messages.

You can reach out to contacts over multiple channels, so there needs to be some sort of coordination between the channels of communication. For this purpose, we run single-channel campaigns (each campaign uses only one channel). Recipients are divided into campaigns that don’t overlap at any point in time. Each recipient can be only in one active outreach campaign at any point in time.

Each channel needs to have its distinct sequences. A message for an email channel will differ from a message for the LinkedIn channel. So, this way we reliably engage with prospects across different channels. Plus, this provides an opportunity to compare and analyze results from different channels to see which one is producing results as expected.

Senders

Also, there is going to be one or multiple senders assigned for each campaign. As senders are likely to have different working hours according to their region, their messages will be sent during their business hours. Each sender will have one or multiple LinkedIn and Email IDs. There will be associated send volume - planned number of outgoing messages per day. This approach enables controlled volume of communications per sender to stay under the radar with spam filters.

Communication

Communication establishes a dialog with your contacts. The contact information has been already verified when building a database. A sequence of tailored outreach messages is now sent to recipients in selected market segments. These messages are optimized for their order and delays between them.

Furthermore, this communication needs to be omnichannel. Right now, we are using the most important two channels - email and LinkedIn. Later on, we will be expanding to SMS, voice, and messaging platforms.

When someone replies to outreach communication, they are handed over to the sales team for further engagement.

If someone replies but doesn’t show immediate interest, then such respondents are kept on hold. They are not willing to buy right now, but later they may buy. Therefore, we need to be in touch with these people and keep on educating them. They are added to nurturing campaigns with different messaging and objectives.

For people who do not reply, the outreach campaign ends here and they are redirected to nurturing campaigns, so that we can continue monitoring their interest level and intent to buy.

Tracking

Measuring outreach progress and results is the key to achieving success. This would include A/B testing of different messages, comparing open rates and connection rates across different market segments. Tracking provides insights into what works and what does not. The outreach team can pivot and go after new market segments, improve messaging, or make it more targeted using further micro-segmentation.

Each outreach channel has a set of well-defined stages and allows tracking of conversion rate at each stage. Such dashboards and reports should be reviewed at least once a week and even more frequently in the early stages when more experimentation is needed. Having said that, it does require at least two weeks to start measuring the results, given that there is almost one week delay between receiving a message and recipients reacting to it.

Monitoring

Getting replies from your prospects is great, but we also get good clues from how other contacts (who didn’t reply) engage with provided content.

We closely monitor the engagement history for everyone:

● How many messages did we send them?

● Did they open our email or not?

● How did they react and engage with the content?

● Did they click the links we sent them?

● How much time did they spend on the website?

Having all these metrics will help us analyze the results, introduce the required changes, improve the response rate, and have a greater impact on this lead generation approach. What’s interesting here is that all of this will be very soon carried out in a fully automated way using artificial intelligence. By having access to historical data on how people behave, we will be able to predict who is the most likely next person to reply to our communication.

Conclusion

Efficient, insightful, and streamlined outreach campaigns will amplify your organization’s sales and marketing efforts. Using an automated approach, you can free up your time for more market research and better messaging. Your potential buyers will be engaged in a proper way with personalized messaging, producing maximum results immediately and identifying people for continued engagement. Overall, you should be experiencing a higher engagement rate and better conversion of contacts into leads.