For marketers doing B2B outreach on Linkedin, the funnel probably looks something like this:
Send connection request
Send sales email
Send follow up email
Send another follow up email
Maybe the lead catches, maybe it doesn’t.
But what if there was a better way? One that disrupted the standard approach to B2B outreach and got far better results?
At Daze, we’ve developed what we call the “allbound funnel”, and we use it to multiply the number of hot leads we generate for our clients. So let’s shake up the funnel as we know it, and see what this new concept is all about.
Linkedin: the place 2B for B2B
Rated the top social network for B2B lead generation, Linkedin is the best platform for building business relationships. It really is a matter of “be there or be square.”
On Linkedin, you can identify and connect with high-potential leads from a massive global pool of professionals. But if you stick to the standard outreach funnel, you are not doing much more than a digital version of old-fashioned ‘telemarketing’.
The allbound funnel stops cold outreach in its tracks at a crucial moment, and veers in another direction altogether. And that’s where its power lies.
What the allbound funnel looks like
B2B outreach on Linkedin always begins with the connection request. Marketers identify potential leads, and send a request to connect on the platform.
Some of these requests will be accepted, and some will be rejected. The ones who accept move down the funnel. And this is when marketers usually initiate a sequence of promotional messages, hoping to interest the connection enough to book a sales call or meeting.
But in the allbound funnel, this is exactly the time to stop, take a deep breath, and take a break.
Send connection request
STOP! BREATHE. TAKE A BREAK
Time for a break
Instead of rushing into the sales pitch, the allbount funnel is different. It tries to create value, relevance and curiosity among connections, rather than pushing forward with spammy sales messages they are not ready for.
So, now is the time to nurture these Linkedin connections with informational, educational and value-rich content posted regularly to the network.
But there’s a catch. You don’t want to rely on Linkedin algorithms alone for this important nurturing stage. The network simply may not provide enough exposure among your connections to really warm them up. So it’s time to break out of the walls of Linkedin with custom audience campaigns on other social networks.
Send connection request
Nurture connections on Linkedin and other platforms
Doing B2B outreach – outside Linkedin
When a person accepts your Linkedin connection request, you now have access to their personal email address. Linkedin allows you to create custom audience lists from your connections. These audiences can be quite specific according to job title, location, company and any other parameter that narrows down your potential leads. You can then import the custom lists to Facebook or Twitter, find those connections on these platforms via their email addresses, and design social campaigns specifically targeting these audiences.
And as a bonus aside, Facebook and Twitter ad campaigns cost significantly less than Linkedin, so you can maximize your exposure to highly targeted audiences on several networks, and at a cheaper overall ad spend.
This phase of the allbound funnel, when you serve educational, nurturing content to connections on several social networks, should last for six to eight weeks. This provides enough time to gear up the potential leads for the next phase of Linkedin outreach – the bottom-of-funnel (BOF) messaging sequence.
Best of all worlds
As you can see from the illustration below, the allbound funnel starts and ends the same way as the traditional Linkedin outreach funnel, however there is a crucial detour in the middle. This two-month period when you take a break from cold messaging and nurture the audience with relevant, valuable content shows your expertise to potential leads and builds their confidence and curiosity in your brand. Now it’s time to captivate them with the sales message sequence.
Allbound your direct messages too
A main principle of the allbound funnel is building relationships with Linkedin connections that are deeper and more valuable than a simple cold call. Now that you’ve spent time and resources nurturing custom audiences on Linkedin and other social platforms, keep the human touch going in your messages too.
Over a sequence of four to five Linkedin direct messages, continue to provide engaging educational material that is helpful to the lead, and will make them see your value as a brand and potential business partner. Send them your best, highest quality content, like cheat sheets, webinar recordings, free guides or ebooks – anything that will focus their attention on the value you have to offer.
If the lead still doesn’t respond, then you probably are not the right fit for them at the moment. The leads that do respond to your BOF messages now move down the funnel as MQLs, ready for the sales team.
And the allbound funnel strikes again!
So we’ve outlined the steps of the allbound funnel, but it has to be said – behind what looks like a straightforward funnel is a complete, detailed and structured plan that is customized for every Daze client, according to their needs. Potential Linkedin leads are identified, segmented and sent connection requests. Custom audience lists are built and optimized. A complex content nurturing strategy is devised and implemented across multiple networks and campaigns over a period of weeks and months. And then a multi-stage messaging sequence is crafted and implemented for various lead segments. Of course, all content and messaging is A/B tested to make sure it is getting the best results at every stage.
There are several large and small challenges in the process. Privacy regulations are making it harder to conduct these kinds of outreach campaigns, although it is still completely possible. It is also important to note that custom audiences need a minimum number of approximately 1000 Linkedin contacts in order to match a few hundred for Facebook and Twitter campaigns. Building robust connection lists can take time. Given the challenges, though, the Daze team has proven time and again with numerous clients that the allbound funnel is the funnel of the future. And it starts today.
Focus on the real leads
The allbound funnel takes cold outreach and seriously turns up the heat. It focuses on high-potential connections, garnered on Linkedin, and nurtures them across platforms with valuable content targeted just for them. We are not talking about simply retargeting visitors to your website who arrived from a Google search. We’re talking about specific individuals who are an optimal fit for your target market and have the highest possible chance of converting to MQLs. This is real nurturing of real leads. Bringing value. Building relationships. That’s what the allbound funnel is all about.