I vividly remember the joy and excitement of reaching out to my ideal clients for the first time with BizzBee’s services. At that time, I was completely unaware of the importance of lead nurturing.
Instead of hoping to attract clients from paid ads, banner ads, video ads, and other outbound marketing media, I decided on a more direct and personalized approach – reaching out through LinkedIn and Email.
I knew that my company and I had what it takes to deliver premium B2B outreach and consultancy services, but I was not sure whether my potential clients would understand the same notion.
To clear this dilemma, being the pragmatist that I am, I decided to use a couple of different messaging approaches to see which one worked and which didn’t.
I immediately saw that pitching BizzBee’s services straight away didn’t work, it failed miserably. Quite understandable. Who likes being pitched or sold anything at the very first point of contact/communication?
It was clear as a day that I needed to improve my lead nurturing game.
Next, I tried reaching out to them by emphasizing the need and benefits of having a competent B2B marketing agency/consultancy and pitching BizzBee’s services afterward.
I got more responses and engagement, sure, but it was still a far cry from unlocking LinkedIn’s true potential as a B2B prospect nurturing and sales channel.
I struck gold with the personalization of my outreach communication with my ideal clients.
The messages had some variety, of course, as per my different targets.
However, by researching my ideal clients and doing my due diligence, I was able to understand my ideal clients better and explain to them how BizzBee Solutions, in particular, can solve their specific problems.
I was amazed by the results!
The one invaluable thing I identified was a pattern.
A pattern consisting of the most common communication obstacles when reaching out to B2B prospects. The value of my discovery does not lay in the mere recognition of the pattern, no, no… but in the ways of overcoming those obstacles and successfully moving the prospect down the sales funnel.
And if you are planning on reaching out to your ideal clients via LinkedIn or Email and are eager to learn what these communication obstacles are and how to overcome them competently, please continue reading.
Putting the obstacles into perspective
The easiest way to understand the concept of obstacles and communication challenges in the lead nurturing process is that they can be overcome through a funnel.
Cold prospects that reply to your outreach messages enter the funnel at the top and (soon-to-become clients) leave at the end of the funnel.
The transformative process of cold prospects to sales-ready ones is the prospect nurturing part, where all of the communication obstacles are overcome.
Obstacle #1: Response obstacle
The first communication obstacle is the Response obstacle, which occurs once a prospect replies to your outreach messages. I’ve confirmed that this is the best time in the lead nurturing phase to try to identify your prospect’s problem. Do not just assume their business problems, but ask them. Check out their LinkedIn profile, or any blogs or posts they might have published. Remember, you are building a relationship, so work hard on getting to know them.
‘No’ at the response obstacle stage
Some prospects won’t be interested in hearing more from you, and that is fine.
The timing might not be ideal, they might be using services from other providers, etc.
Do not be discouraged.
If you are conducting your outreach via LinkedIn and you’re in the lead nurturing phase, keep the person on your connections list. This way they are still exposed to the content you publish, and might change their mind in the future.
If you have reached out to them through email, and they are not interested in building a professional business relationship but have not opted out of your email list, you could keep them in your database and send them a few cold emails once in a while.
Obstacle #2: Problem obstacle
I’ve realized that most of the prospects I’ve lost in my outreach efforts were at this obstacle, being the trickiest to overcome. At this stage, you need to confirm and make your prospect state that they have a problem that needs solving.
Should you ask them directly: “What are your business’ problems?” or “What are your current business struggles?” there is an extremely low chance of getting a response (if any at all).
The prospect doesn’t know you well enough to feel comfortable sharing that information. This means that you need to deepen the relationship by having a simple human-to-human conversation. Talk about the topics that are current or trending, or talk about the interests they have.
Once you have exchanged some basic mutual information, you can move towards more targeted questions aimed at understanding whether they have a problem you can solve.
‘No’ at the problem obstacle stage
At this stage of the lead nurturing process, some of the prospects will fail to acknowledge or admit (to you) that they have a business problem. Once they reply negatively to your communication at this stage, I’ve found this a great opportunity to gather even more information on their position and (potential) obstacles.
• What do you mean?
• Why do you think that?
• Can you elaborate on that?
• Or a simple – Why not?
These questions, without a doubt, will give you more insights helping you further understand your prospect and improve your communication.
Obstacle #3: Solution obstacle
Once you’ve managed to confirm with your prospect that they have a stated problem, or a desire to seize an attractive business opportunity, you enter the solution obstacle stage. At this stage, you know your prospect has an issue that needs resolving, but you need to assure them that YOUR type of solution can work specifically for their business.
Remember that this is not yet the time to make a pitch. Instead of leading the conversation with “My solution will offer these and these features”. Or “My solution is better than all of the competitors’” navigate the communication as a friendly conversation.
- “Which solution or service have you previously used?”
- “Were you satisfied with the results of your previous business service provider?”
- “Have you considered other ways of achieving your business’ goals?”
This kind of questioning tells you what the prospect has tried, or is curious to try. By sharing some of your experiences with them, you cultivate a professional environment, a dialogue where the prospect grows more eager to share even more business information with you.
Something that has worked wonders for me, is sharing reports, statistics, or case studies. This way I can show my prospects how B2B marketing agency/consultancy service providers have helped similar companies to theirs.
The end goal is to convince them that your type of solution is superior to others.
‘No’ at the solution obstacle stage
The most common scenario at this stage is that the prospect is aware that they have a problem, but they disagree that your type of solution is the best for them. In other words, they need more convincing.
Instead of listing all of your product/service’s best features and capabilities, start asking questions. Begin with a simple: “Why?” or “Why not?”.
You will be astonished at how many insights you can obtain with either of those two follow-ups.
It might be that your prospects have tried a similar solution but got meager results. Or, it might be that they are not a strong believer in the value your type of product/service can generate for them.
Based on these answers, you will know how to guide the conversation forward, and position yourself as the one true provider that can resolve the prospect’s issues.
The time to make your pitch is nigh, but it is not quite yet!
Obstacle #4: Meeting obstacle
It all comes down to the meeting obstacle.
If you managed to do successful lead nurturing and navigate your prospect to this stage in the nurturing process, then your prospect is already aware that they have a problem and believe that you are capable of resolving it.
It is finally time for the long-awaited pitch… however, my advice to you is to refrain from making a basic sales pitch, but instead, pitch for a short meeting or a call.
It is here where you elaborate more about how your specific solution can help the specific prospect with their specific business issue. Remember to highlight the unique aspects of your product/service, an additional reason why the prospect should choose you over the competition.
If you haven’t already shared with your prospect any of your marketing assets (testimonials, case studies, or references), now is a great time to do so. Showing how you helped similar companies to your prospects’ is a certain way to increase their confidence and trust in you.
‘No’ at the meeting obstacle stage
Ahh….after all of that effort and careful exchange of messages, there are still some prospects that will say “No” even this deep into the funnel. It can be quite discouraging when it happens – I would know.
But instead of mulling over why the prospect is not interested or where the communication went wrong, ask the very simple question – “Why?” or “Why not?”.
Their answer is bound to be helpful with your next prospect.
As a final attempt before letting go of the current prospect, you can frame the meeting as a free value offer. Instead of offering a sales meeting, you could have a free consultation or a free audit of their existing systems. This way, the prospect might be open to reconsidering because it sounds like something they will benefit from.
Optional Obstacle: Transfer obstacle
If you are the one responsible for lead nurturing, a.k.a conversing with and building a relationship with the prospects, then this obstacle has already been overcome. The prospect already knows you, trusts you, and wants to see you at the actual meeting/call.
However, if you are an agency or working as BDR/SDR and someone else needs to attend the actual meeting, then here is where the transfer obstacle emerges.
The worst thing to do is to schedule the meeting and not participate in it or let the prospect know that you won’t be involved.
‘No’ at the meeting obstacle stage
There will be some prospects that are feeling comfortable enough to meet a completely new person at the meeting. As I mentioned, the worst thing to do is to be completely absent from the meeting.
What you can do here is be present at the meeting and introduce the new person.
The accent should be placed on the other person’s greater expertise, greater experience, and better capability of helping them out.
If you convince the prospect that it’s in their best interest to meet you, the transfer obstacle is easy to overcome.
The prospect nurturing, and outreach process heavily rely upon exchanging messages competently, and overcoming various communication obstacles. However, another important facet supporting the outreach process is the availability of extra marketing support (assets).
LinkedIn profile or company website
Despite what everyone says, first impressions do leave lasting remarks. So when a prospect looks up your or your company’s LinkedIn profile or website, make sure that everything is optimized and polished.
- Blog posts
Blog posts are the most common assets to share during the outreach sequence, or after someone shows some interest. They can be created in such a tone that they are talking to a specific target – your target. This offers cold prospects some value, which can potentially, make them consider responding to your campaign
- Email newsletter
With a regular weekly or monthly newsletter, you remind your prospect that you are still here. A strong newsletter will position you as an expert and portray you as the go-to person on a specific matter. So when a prospect needs assistance with that particular matter – you are the first person they will call.
- Thought leadership
Showing evidence of thought leadership through your social posts and via email increases your credibility. This way prospects are more open to connecting with you and willing to engage.
- Simple assets/e-books
E-books are the perfect way to pour your business acumen and expertise into a digital format. They are the ideal opportunity to show your prospects that you understand them. Plus you’ve made an effort to summarize your key findings into an e-book or a PDF file for their benefit.
- Social proof
There are many cases when prospects will be in a dilemma of whether to hire or buy from you. Instead of writing long paragraphs let your prior achievements and results speak for themselves.
Testimonials and case studies are the ideal marketing asset to boost your credibility and help the conversion process.
- One-time offer
Scarcity and urgency are some of the best driving forces for people to take action. And using a one-time offer is an extension of this concept. When a prospect needs a slight nudge to move them towards a meeting, presenting them with a unique opportunity is most likely to do the job.
I could go on for paragraphs and paragraphs about the specifics that each communication obstacle brings, and how to overcome them. But if I do so, this blog would turn itself into a book.
If there is one thing I would like to take away from this blog, is that B2B outreach is a human process, where the outcome of the process is the outcome of your ability to connect and build a meaningful business relationship with others.
If you are curious about how to master the relationship-building element during the B2B outreach process, I would kindly suggest checking out our academy.
Dancho is a serial entrepreneur, founder & CEO of BizzBee Solutions, proud father of two boys, and a ‘kafana’ enthusiast. He’s also the author of Amazon’s bestseller, ‘Sweet Leads.’ Dancho believes in building relationships with people and is inspired by growth. His ‘ZZ framework’ and formula for growth have brought 500+ clients the results they sought.
Eager to learn more? Follow Dancho on LinkedIn and Facebook.
Leave a Comment