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    Classic Hits to Build a Sure-Fire Outbound Marketing Strategy for B2B

    Written by Jeffrey Willis on June 8, 2023

    Yo, let’s kick it old school and talk about the hustle,
    Outbound marketing, gonna flex that muscle.
    Grab the mic, let me tell you about the game,
    It's about reaching out, not waitin’ for the fame.

    Spreading the word, direct mail and calls,
    Making sure sales stays on the ball
    We're reaching out, ready to impress.
    Outbound marketing, causin’ no stress.

    In our love affair with all things inbound, we sometimes forget the power of a tried-and-true outbound marketing strategy for B2B. Dare I say it, but more often than not, outbound gets scoffed at as old school. Yet truth is, what works … works. And when something works, it never goes out of style (just like cheesy, 1980s-inspired, AI-generated rap lyrics, yo). So, with that in mind, I don’t mind kicking it old school because you have a sales funnel that needs filling.  

    Outbound marketing in general means that we as an organization are reaching out to our audience, initiating the conversation, pushing our message to where our targets are. Far too often outbound efforts have come across more as intrusive and spam than welcomed interactions. Yet with modern approaches, gone are the days of outbound tactics coming across as impersonal, cold, pushy, salesy.

    Modern outbound tactics have been remixed to resonate with today’s market — personalized, value-driven, and part of a larger, comprehensive demand generation strategy. And while marketers explore new frontiers — such as the previously mentioned AI —these classic approaches are sure-fire hits for any B2B outbound marketing strategy. 

    6 Elements of a B2B Outbound Marketing Strategy

    The Cold Email

    Every year, we hear email is dead. But every year we seem to get more and more emails. Email is far from dead; it’s just trapped in a lot of noise. According to Salesforce’s State of Marketing report, email accounted for 80% of all outbound messages in 2022 and experienced an increase in volume by 15%.

    Today’s big problem with the cold outreach is that B2Bs scrape emails from a database, load them into a generic sequence and don’t understand why prospects aren’t beating down their doors for demos.

    When sending the cold email there are a few things to consider:

    • You are intruding on the recipient’s inbox. Approach respectfully, so watch your tone. Don’t be pushy; be brief. Don’t lay on the guilt in your follow ups with the dreaded “per my last email.”
    • Do your research. Personalization makes a difference, and it goes well beyond a merge field for first name. Even if you are using the same template for multiple outreaches, segment your list by pain points, industry, location, etc. and at least personalize one sentence using your research. This builds credibility.
    • Offer value. You aren’t selling with this email; you are connecting. The chance of you booking a demo out of the blue is slim at best. Whether you start by sharing valuable resources, addressing a known pain point, or providing an industry benchmark, aim simply to start the conversation. 

    The Even Colder Call

    If you thought a cold email could come across as interruptive, try getting someone on the phone nowadays. Do people still use phones to talk? This is definitely a tougher route, but still an effective one.

     If you get past the initial hang up and actually speak with a prospect, the person-to-person communication automatically creates a greater connection than the cold digital space. But a lot of the same rules from the cold email apply to the cold call as well:

    • Treat your prospect like a human and not another name on the list. Your BDRs probably have a quota (50, 100 calls per day), but at that volume is it effective? Spend time researching to make the call as personalized as possible. Just because it is a cold call, doesn’t mean the conversation needs to feel cold.
    • Again, focus on the value of your outreach, not the sell. You want to create a rapport that builds a relationship. You are a “trusted advisor” that can help.
    • And most importantly listen. We all have scripts for the smile and dial, but being able to actively listen and respond appropriately is what creates a conversation. Take cues from listening to determine next steps.

    Direct Mail

    Speaking of old school, direct mail has not only made a comeback, but may be one of the top outbound marketing tactics you can have in your arsenal, especially if you are taking a more account-based marketing approach.

    In Q3 2022 direct marketers sent more than 6.3B pieces of mail according to Postalytics. With all that stamp licking, here are a few things to keep in mind:

    • One message doesn’t fit all. It may cost more to do smaller print volumes, but the more the message is personalized to the recipient, the more likely they are to engage. If you are taking an ABM approach this is especially true and should be tailored to each account.
    • Plan your follow up. Just like a cold email or call, one outbound touch isn’t a silver bullet. Combine with these other touches and you have the foundation of a solid outbound strategy.
    • But most importantly, if you are investing, make it worthwhile. A postcard is too easily dropped into the trash without a glance. Make your mailer a unique size or even better make it giftable, sharable, engageable. Dimensional mail, dare I say it, adds depth to your outreach. 

    Paid Advertising

    Google search, social media sponsored posts, retargeting — new formats of paid ads are coming out frequently in each channel, but are they worth it? Yes-ish. Paid ads out of all the outbound tactics seem to have received the biggest push over the past years. The reason? You can get traffic fast if you are willing to spend.  

    Trust me, I am not naysaying paid. In fact, as long as you have a solid strategy, patience and budget, it is very worth your investment. However, here are some things to consider when kicking off this program:

    • Is your budget enough to be competitive? You also should have a willingness to spend your first few months on testing. Just because you quickly see traffic coming in, it doesn’t mean it is the right traffic, nor does it mean they are coming in for the right reasons. Testing different offers, ad formats, channels, all take time and budget.
    • Paid can overwhelm you with data, but don’t get lost in all the metrics. Your end goal is conversions. Awareness is splendid, but your pipeline must be filled.
    • Retargeting is often an easier way to start, especially if you are still building out your offers and content. Create some great ads and start stalking, um I mean advertising, to your site visitors wherever they go. At least you know they were interested in you.


    If the past few years of “together apart” accomplished nothing else, when we once again could be “together together” people took advantage of it. But truth be told, events and networking opportunities have never really gone out of style. Are all events worth your time and money? No. But is that person-to-person connection worth it? Totally.

    Yet like all these old-school B2B outbound marketing tactics, there are a few things to consider if you want to make events successful in today’s marketplace:

    • Start with an ABM approach to your events. Connect prior to make sure your top targets are already engaged and ready to talk with you. This may mean using all the outbound strategies above to break through, but the less cold the relationship is, the warmer your reception will be in person when you finally meet.
    • If you are exhibiting, spend time creating a strategy to answer “why” would someone stop at our booth? Exhibitors spend a lot on design and display, but a pretty booth isn’t a silver bullet. A great experience is. The more engaging you can make the experience, the more likely you are to have attendees lining up. But most importantly ensure the experience connects back to your offering. So don’t create a crazy, cool AI rap if it has nothing to do with what you are selling.
    • Tap into the power of your social channels. Larger events usually have their own hashtags, so use them to be part of the conversation. But even more importantly for social, showcase your experience and your people, not just promos about attending. You will often see your highest engagement rates when you showcase your smiling team in action. People on social media like wacky dances, miniature goats in pajamas, and a smiling sales team.
    • Plan your follow up — STAT! All too often companies come back from events tired, and waiting for sales to follow up on top leads before marketing reaches out to the others. And then suddenly a week has passed, or two. The longer you wait, the more opportunity slips away.

    Content Syndication

    You have content, but if people aren’t coming to your website (inbound) how does it get seen? That’s where content syndication comes into play. It simply means getting your content published on third-party channels. From guest blogging on a partner site, to pay-to-play media opportunities, this can take a lot of different formats, but ultimately you are aiming to expand your reach within your target audience and generate qualified leads.

    • Have you done your buyer persona research? If you have identified your ideal buyer, then you should know where they go to get information. You should also know what type of content they are most likely to engage with.
    • For pay-to-play opportunities set your goal and then explore each outlet, and their various offers, to see which best aligns with the result you are seeking. More often than not I would recommend looking at sponsored content on the site or even a sponsored webinar — especially if they guarantee a certain number of leads within your target audience.
    • The other big component to consider is how does this outbound effort support your inbound effort — specifically, your SEO strategy. While the goal of your program is to reach the audience where they are, it should also serve to boost your searchability and be a value backlink to your website where they can convert and become an inbound lead.

    Outbound Marketing Strategy for B2B

    So, is there truly a sure-fire outbound marketing strategy for B2B? Honestly, no. But these five classics have been around long enough to prove their worth and relevancy for today’s audiences. With the support of data, new technology and a little remixing, these outbound approaches are as much of a hit today as they have always been. And as ChatGPT reminds us:

    So remember the lesson, remember the rhyme,
    Outbound marketing, it's worth your time.
    Don't just sit and wait for the call,
    With outbound marketing, you can have it all.


    Topics: Marketing Strategy and Planning, Demand Generation and ABM

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