How to Craft Outbound Calls for Account-Based Marketing

Account-based marketing is becoming a go-to strategy for B2B marketers who want to take control of their outreach (rather than waiting to see who finds them) and shorten their sales cycles. What may be receiving less acclaim, however, is the starring role outbound calls play in executing account-based marketing strategies.

If you’ve done your research correctly and know who to contact, when you make an outbound call, there are two possible results. One, you connect with a decision maker. Two, you end up in voicemail. You need a plan to make the most out of either situation.

Here’s how to craft your message for live calls and voicemails.

  1. Situation One: Connection Made

    A business development representative has made a connection. Now what?

    Make sure reps are prepared. That doesn’t mean handing them a script that they read word for word. On the other hand, you don’t want to leave reps to sink or swim on their own.

    Give your representatives a call guide that ensures they’ll grab the prospect’s attention and get to the point rapidly. It should include guidance on openings as well as questions to ask. After all, this is a rare opportunity for two-way communication. You can gain information from your prospect which will help you build rapport and to tailor your future outreach.

    Here’s a formula for your opening: Start with something personal, a customized approach for the account and contact you are calling, and quickly let them know how they’re going to benefit. Also, establish a reason for continuing the dialog, perhaps by sending some helpful information. Finally, ask a couple of questions and ask for a commitment to a follow-up call or some other action.

    Here’s an example.

    REP: “Hello Chris, I learned that your hospital is working on a data center migration project. I have some information on how leaders in the healthcare industry are tackling such projects, and I was wondering if I could send it to you?”

    CHRIS: “Yes, that would be interesting.”

    Great. You got a “yes.” That’s your foot in the door to start building a relationship. Ask some more questions that help you understand the prospect’s pain points.

    REP: “I’ll send that out to you. I was also wondering if you could share with me the biggest challenge you’re facing today with data center migration.”

    CHRIS: “Well, it’s taking way longer than I had anticipated to put together an inventory of all our technical assets.”

    REP: “You’ll learn about a simple way to do that in the white paper I’m sending to you. Also, I believe one of our technical experts can help you. Can I set up an appointment for you to talk with one of them next week?”

    The key is not to push too far in the first contact. Treat it as one step along the way. The goals are to share something of value, connect in a human way and to put the next stepping stone in place.

  2. Situation Two: Voicemail

    While people rarely respond to voicemail messages from unknown contacts, they can still help you to reach your objectives. After all, because it’s personal, a real human voice is powerful. It raises the likelihood that a prospect will respond to a future email or pick up the phone the next time they see your company’s name on the caller ID. In fact, it often helps to pair your voicemail with an immediate email follow-up.

    Your voicemail’s structure is similar to the phone call where you make contact except that you cannot have the two-way conversation. Once again, you want to personalize your introduction, offer something of value and ask for a commitment. Of course, your reps should tailor whatever they say to the person with whom they are talking.

    It may go something like this:

    REP “I saw in a press release that your company will be merging with Healthy Medical at the end of the month and thought you might be interested in our e-book “How to Plan System Integration During Mergers and Acquisitions.”I’ll send you an email. Just reply to let me know you’d like to receive it.

    If you don’t get a response to the voicemail the first time, don’t give up. Try again, but to keep it fresh add a new twist. Build on what you’ve said before.

If you use it right, the phone can amplify the power of your account-based marketing program. It’s all a matter of establishing the objective for each call, crafting personal messages, providing value and asking the prospect to take action.