There comes a time when a single channel just doesn’t cut it anymore for your outbound sales efforts. Whether your business is already running cold outreach on more than one channel, or you’re considering branching out into new channels, it’s crucial to have a well-developed multi-channel outbound sales strategy to ensure that efforts across channels are aligned — and that you aren’t bombarding the same leads with too many messages across multiple channels at once (we’ve seen this happen before, and it isn’t pretty).
But first things first: what is multi-channel selling and why should your organization consider moving beyond a single channel for outbound sales? We’re breaking it down in this article — plus diving into the highest performing channels for cold outreach today, and how to use them effectively.
What Is Multi-Channel Selling?
Multi-channel selling, or multi-channel outbound sales, is a sales approach that uses multiple channels to reach out to potential customers that have not previously interacted with your brand, engage with them, and convert them into paying customers. This approach is a type of cold outreach and involves using a combination of traditional outbound sales methods, like cold calling and email outreach, combined with newer digital channels, including social media, video conferencing, and even chatbots.
Let’s look at an example: A fast-growing marketing agency uses a multi-channel sales approach to promote their services to potential clients that fit their ideal customer profile. They use:
- Email outreach to introduce their company and services to prospects
- Follow up the email with phone calls to schedule a consultation
- They retarget leads who haven’t scheduled a consultation on social media channels like Facebook to share case studies and success stories
- Finally, they send LinkedIn messages to complement their email outreach to potential clients
By creating multiple touches for prospects to engage with their brand, the agency is able to nurture cold leads into warm prospects that are primed to purchase.
Multi-Channel Sales vs. Single-Channel Sales
The names are relatively self-explanatory, but let’s touch briefly on the difference between B2B multi-channel and single-channel sales. Of course, the key difference is that the former uses multiple channels to engage with potential customers, while the latter relies on a single channel. In the past, many companies found success using a single-channel approach that relied solely on cold calling or email outreach to generate leads and convert them into customers. However, in today’s media-rich market where consumers engage with numerous channels every day, a multi-channel approach to both marketing and sales is becoming increasingly critical for success.
Counting the Benefits of Multi-Channel Sales
A multi-channel sales strategy offers several benefits to B2B organizations. Let’s take a look at five of the top benefits:
- Broader Reach – By moving into multiple channels, you can reach a wider audience since different individuals tend to frequent different online channels. In this way, channel selling helps increase brand visibility and reach, oftentimes driving more opportunities for conversion.
- Improved Engagement – Engage with prospects in different ways, helping improve your overall engagement and conversion rates. For example, some prospects may prefer to communicate over email, while others may feel more comfortable engaging through phone calls or social media. By providing multiple channels for people to reach you, your B2B company can better accommodate your prospects’ preferences and improve overall engagement.
- Enhanced Customer Experience – Your brand becomes more accessible when prospects and customers can engage with you on multiple channels. If a lead is always on Twitter, for example, they can quickly tweet or DM your brand and be moved down the pipeline by your sales team, whereas someone who receives an email can click a call-to-action button and schedule a demo just as quickly. By ensuring that prospects have a consistent experience across different touchpoints, you can improve the overall customer experience and build trust with potential customers.
- Boost Sales Conversion Rates – B2B multi-channel selling is likely to help improve your overall conversion rates. By providing multiple touchpoints for prospects to engage with your brand, you’re building rapport and brand recognition — priming leads to feel comfortable enough to buy.
- Higher Revenue – By pursuing multi-channel sales and marketing, chances are you will experience better ROI and increased revenue as you maximize the impact of your company’s outbound sales efforts.
While channel sales offers many benefits, there are certain drawbacks to be aware of.
Some Challenges of a Multi-Channel Sales Approach
There are a few challenges that B2B companies often face when implementing a multi-channel sales strategy. It’s important to keep in mind that expanding your outbound sales to multiple channels adds an increased level of complexity to coordinate campaigns on different channels and also ensure that the same leads aren’t getting bombarded with simultaneous messages on more than one channel at the same time. This is where having the right software in place to help track and manage your efforts is crucial.
Given the added complexity, it’s not surprising that expanding your outbound sales to additional channels will require more resources, from additional staff to added budget, to enable you to build and run various campaigns, create enough content and assets, and respond to inquiries in a timely manner.
It’s also extremely important to maintain brand consistency across all your sales channels. This is where a strong brand creative team is critical to ensure the content and graphics you’re using exhibit the same brand image and personality across the board, helping ensure a seamless customer experience for your prospects.
As long as you plan and budget for these added requirements as you’re ramping up your channel selling strategy, your company should be well-equipped to succeed with this new strategy.
5 B2B Sales Channels to Consider Adding to Your Strategy
So what specific B2B sales channels are worth investing in? Let’s take a closer look at five outbound sales channels that are known for high performance:
Email: Email is a tried-and-true outbound sales channel that has historically proven effective in engaging new leads and pushing prospects down the sales funnel with lead nurturing emails. Cold email (email communication sent to brand new contacts who have never previously engaged with your brand) has an open rate of up to 23%, making it one of the most effective outbound sales channels. With a strong leads list, B2B businesses can segment email campaigns and target specific audiences, personalizing messages and providing valuable content for each audience segment.
Phone: Anyone who’s been in sales for a while is likely to be intimately familiar with cold calling. A traditional outbound sales tactic, when pursued strategically, outbound sales calling can still be highly effective for B2B companies. By picking up the phone and engaging prospects directly, your sales reps can build relationships, qualify leads, and close deals. The average cold-calling success rate is 2%, though it varies depending on industry. However, when phone calls are used with warm leads for sales follow-ups after a prospect has already engaged, they’ve been shown to yield a response rate of 8.21%.
LinkedIn: Most sales pros both know and love the professional networking platform, LinkedIn. Who wouldn’t love the ability to easily connect with individuals at businesses that fit your company’s ideal customer profile and have free access to send them direct messages and raise their awareness about your offerings? Many sales reps use LinkedIn to identify decision-makers, reach out to prospects, and then strategically build relationships over time. And when professionals send InMail messages that are between 25-50 words, they get a 65% higher response rate than email outreach.
Social Media: Building a social media presence on social networking platforms like Twitter and Facebook can help drive sales conversations organically, especially with a social listening strategy in place. Beyond just sharing content, by monitoring certain keywords or hashtags, you can engage with prospects that are searching for your solution and then build rapport from there. Social media is also a great channel for collaborating with other brands and co-promoting your products and services, as well as announcing new features or offerings. Not to mention, social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate compared to other outbound marketing tactics.
YouTube: This video-sharing social media platform can be a powerful channel for B2B companies. Whether you pursue a paid or purely organic strategy, you can optimize videos with clear calls-to-action and direct viewers to landing pages or other online channels to drive lead engagement and conversion. Whether you create short educational videos that provide value to your buyer personas, or you promote a demo video giving people an insider walkthrough of your product, video is an incredibly powerful and effective format.
Keep in mind that the effectiveness of each channel will vary depending on your target audience, industry, and business model.
9 Steps to Get Started with B2B Channel Selling
Ready to get started implementing a B2B multi-channel sales strategy? Follow these steps to put a plan into action:
- Define your goals and objectives – Clearly outline the goals that are your priority to achieve with a multi-channel sales approach, from increasing revenue, to expanding market reach, or bringing a new product to market.
- Identify your target audience – Understand your ideal customers’ demographics, preferences, and pain points to help inform your multi-channel sales strategy.
- Choose appropriate sales channels – Based on your target audience and product or service offerings, select the sales channels that will be most effective for your business, including those listed above, in addition to other channels like online marketplaces, e-commerce platforms, and third-party resellers.
- Develop a consistent brand presence – Once you’re established on the channels you’ve chosen, ensure that your brand identity and messaging are consistent across each one to create a unified buyer experience.
- Optimize content for each channel – Adjust your content to suit the specific standards and audience preferences for each respective sales channel. This might involve creating engaging videos for YouTube, developing concise text and eye-catching visuals for social media, and writing detailed product descriptions for an e-commerce platform.
- Integrate systems and processes – Streamline your operations by integrating your software to more easily track prospects as they engage across different channels — from Customer Relationship Management (CRM), to sales, inventory, and order management systems. This will help you track interactions, manage inventory or projects, and respond to orders or inquiries more efficiently for every sales channel.
- Train your sales team – With the foundation for your multi-channel sales set up, educate your sales team about the different channels and their unique characteristics. Provide them with the necessary sales enablement tools, resources, and training to excel in each channel.
- Monitor and analyze performance – Regularly track and evaluate the performance of each sales channel using key performance indicators (KPIs). This will help you identify areas of improvement, optimize your strategy, and allocate resources effectively.
- Continuously improve and adapt – Regularly review your multi-channel sales strategy and make necessary adjustments to stay ahead of the competition and meet your customers’ evolving needs.
The most important part is taking the first step. Once you’ve gotten your channel selling strategy set up, you can experiment, test different campaigns, and iterate as you learn what works and what doesn’t. If you’re looking to add website visitor identification data to your multi-channel sales strategy, LeadLander can help. Sign up for a free 14-day trial today, no credit card needed.