Cold outreach is tough.
Getting replies to emails or prospects on the phone is the first challenge of many facing SDRs.
So how do you stand out from the crowd and get people to take notice?
In this episode of B2B Rebellion, Nikki Ivey, Co-Founder of SDR Defenders, shares how she uses video outreach to get more replies.
Watch the video to learn:
Andy Culligan: Hey, guys. Really excited to have Nikki Ivey here with me today. Nikki, thanks so much for coming on.
Nikki Ivey: Thank you.
AC: You're welcome. So, I've got Nikki Ivey here of SDRDefenders and I came across Nikki there a couple of weeks back and we started chatting about what they're doing there at SDRDefenders. There's just something that really interests me.
I ran an SDR team before in the past, I've been an SDR, I've got a lot of sympathy for people in that role because I think it's a super tough role, that's got probably the least amount of respect out of any sales role because it's typically a lot of junior people end up in that role.
But I see it as probably one of the most important roles in an organization. It's super interesting to me to see an organization like SDRDefenders, even in the name itself... Basically tells what you guys do, you defend SDRs.
That... I think it's super important that organizations like what you guys have exists, just because the SDRs need a, sometimes, a shoulder to cry on, they need a place to go where they have people in a similar position as them, and they also need somebody to help them, teach them, "Okay, what are the right tools to use? What are the right approaches to use? How can I improve my sale scale?" etcetera, etcetera.
So I won't describe any further what I do, 'cause I won't do it enough justice for you, Nikki, but I'll hand it over to you. So to tell us a little bit what SDRDefenders do, and also if you can go into some sales tips or SDR tips that you can give our audience, say, that would be great.
NI: Sure, yeah, so I'll first talk about SDRDefenders and then I'll be talking about three ways that I've been using video to get into conversations. It's been a lot of fun, and I've gotten into the inboxes and hearts and minds of some folks that have been pretty otherwise difficult to get ahold of.
But SDRDefenders, I've been asked the question, "Why do SDRs need defending?" And a lot of it is what you just said, right? Where in an organization, because it's typically an entry-level role, they tend to be the folks doing what most sales folks recognize as the hardest part of being a sales person, and sometimes one of the hardest jobs, often one of the hardest job in the building of any organization, but they're not getting that lack of respect. And so they need defense against things like that culturally.
They need defense against folks that make it way more difficult and complex than it needs to be for those folks to promote, whether they're wanting to advance into account executive roles or SDR Leadership or Marketing or what have you, they need an advocate there a lot of the time. And then there's just a lot of noise out there as far as folks giving advice to sales people, especially new sales people, and it can be really tough to navigate what to be implementing, who to be listening to.
And so while I'm not here... While we're not here to tell people who to listen to, we felt the responsibility to put out information that was actionable, directed and tailored specifically towards SDRs, and that came directly from the experience of me and the four other professionals that are involved in this, so... So that's what we do, and ultimately it's a mission to transform the way organizations supports and lead folks in the SDR role, so it's exciting stuff.
AC: Let's go through some interesting tips that you have around this, around video content, 'cause I'm super interested to hear what you have to say.
NI: Yeah. I think one of the biggest things that SDRs can do really always but especially in this climate as things have just been turned upside down and everybody is sort of looking for a way to... A lever to pull.
Because it can be tough doing outbound phone calls right now. It's certainly tough crafting outbound emails, and I imagine most of the folks that my SDR friends are out there trying to get a hold of, their inboxes have blown up, so we gotta start thinking about other ways, and there's three tools I'm using on video that have been... I've had some success with and been sharing with other folks who are having success to get in front of the people that you wanna get in front of. Now, I will say that this mostly applies to if your prospect base is in the B2B space, and if they exist on LinkedIn.
I know that's not the case for everyone, but these work best in that case. Some of them though, the first I'm gonna go over, can work on other social platforms as well. But so the first one is Ripl. It's one of those... Have you have been scrolling through Instagram and just see like an ad, you're like, "Whatever, that's not real." Well I clicked on this ad for this video app and what it is, is that you can create a little personalized video image... Those are two opposite things, like a video card to someone who you're trying to get in front of.
So what I've done, the way I've used it is, I've taken something that they said on LinkedIn because that's typically what folks are personalizing around. They'll start a cold email for instance, or a cold LinkedIn outreach, something like, "Hey, I saw you post X, Y, Z, and that's why I'm reaching out to you," something of that manner. But that still kind of gets lost because everyone is using that language in the beginning of their outreach.
So the way that I'm using these Ripl videos is I'm taking a quote that that person said and basically making a quote post, the way you'd just see on Instagram. I'm making one of those, but with something that this individual said and using their image and then just posting it on social and tagging them in it. And I've had a lot of success. Folks like John Burrows, Scott Leese, Scott Barker, saw videos like that that I made for them and regrammed them to their Instagram Stories. Scott Leese retweeted it and addressed me directly like, "Hey, thank you, this was really cool." And I can tell you for sure that I could have been in those people's LinkedIn Messenger or their email for weeks and not gotten a response, but this was something that within hours was able to make that connection.
And I think one of the reasons why it works outside of the fact that it's a really cool... It's got a really cool stop scrolling factor because it is video as opposed to just an image. You don't have to do as much work to make the case that you actually know who this person is and engage with their content, because you're using part of their content, something that they said, as the central quote in this asset that you're gonna create for them. And people like to see themselves reflected, they like to...
AC: People are so vain, they're so vain.
NI: They are.
AC: Me included, me included for sure.
NI: Right? When I was making this, I was like, "Hey, I want one of these." But, you know what I mean, to see something that you've said, your name in lights. I've found success with that. And the app is free, and I don't work for them this is not a plug, but at this time when I'm creating these, I didn't have access to some world class video messaging platform that a lot of B2B businesses will get for their teams.
And I think a lot of folks that are listening here, a lot of SDRs out there fall into that same category, so then it just becomes about understanding what resources are at your disposal if you don't have a lot of, or any money, to put towards it and using that. So Ripl is the app that I'm using for that. It's unique and it's worked to get me in front of folks.
The second app that I've been using with respect to video is for my first degree connections on LinkedIn. Everybody knows that if you're using mobile, I guess most of you folks know, that if you're using mobile you can use native video messaging within LinkedIn Messenger, and it's a really cool way to use video to get in front of folks.
At that point, it still becomes the same motion that you would use to personalize a message where you're gonna do a little bit of research, find something that they've said that's resonated with you, and then make that the first sentence or topic. A little side tip here, I know a lot of folks are using the phrase like, "Hey, I saw your post." I like to start as much as I possibly can, that kind of outbound messaging, certainly in a LinkedIn cold message with a first-degree connection, I like to start those with the word you.
Like, "You said something that really made me think the other day, Andy." Or it'd be like, "Andy, dash, you said something that really moved me." And then they'll see that whether they're on mobile and they just see that first little line, or they're on their laptop and they'll see that first little line, and those are the types of things that grab them.
Whereas if I had said, "I saw," it's gonna sound like all the other "I saws" in their inbox. A little side note. But anyway, so I'm using that language and most folks on mobile are using the LinkedIn Native Video. If you're on desktop though, and you're on LinkedIn, it can kind of be a pain and slow you down if you have to leave all of that and then you go to your phone just a record a video.
AC: For sure, yeah.
NI: Right? So the Drift Chrome extension, for Drift Video, allows you to record those videos without having to leave your laptop, your desktop, and without having to leave LinkedIn. It's factually an integration. So if you've got the extension, you'll start to see in LinkedIn Messenger, the little option come up and they'll say, "Record Drift video." So you can do it right there. I've found that super helpful and I've found it effective for a couple reasons.
People know what Drift is so they're likely to watch a Drift video, and if you're using the same personalization language that I just went over, or that you've found effective in the past, then it can just be a really simple step that circumvents... One of the top reasons why folks don't use video when it comes to the motion that I'm talking about, which is that it takes too much time. So any little places that we can save time and provide a convenience as you're trying to personalize, those are the types of things that I key in on. And again, that's something that's been super successful for me.
AC: And just on Drift as well, while we're still on that. And if as a sales person or an SDR, you're not using Drift right now, it is a pay-for tool, but they are offering massive discounts at the moment. I've seen their CEO, David Cancel speaking about this extensively on LinkedIn at the moment. They're offering up to 93% discounts in order to help people. So Drift, if you're looking for a chat tool, or a tool that, like just what you mentioned there Nikki, now is the time to invest in Drift because they're really open to helping people, so yeah.
NI: Just like Ripl, of course there's a pay version of that, the Drift extension is free. You don't have to pay for anything to have to use that, and those are the folks I'm really looking out for at this point, is like, "If you don't have an org behind you paying for a big fancy software, this is something you can do today to get in someone's inbox."
And I've contacted folks like Collin Cadmus, and I have sent Scott Leese many a Drift video, I'm a huge fan, and other sales leaders, and I can tell you that with the right personalization, folks respond to it. And so the third thing that I'm using is, okay, what if I'm not on mobile so that's not the play that I'm gonna be using? I'm not doing social, so I won't be a Ripl play. They aren't first-degree connections, so neither the LinkedIn native Messenger on mobile, nor the Drift extension will work to send that person the video.
So this is for the case specifically if it's someone who I want to connect with, but I have to send a request because I'm not able to talk to them directly. I decided to use an app that creates a link. I'm upset with myself that it didn't occur to me sooner, but links look like text in a connection request invite.
And so, we can go back and forth about whether or not it makes sense to personalize a message, but specifically if you're wanting to leverage video on the first try with LinkedIn, I found this successful. So all you're gonna do, again, you're not spending any more time on research than you ordinarily would to craft a personalized message, all you're gonna do is the same thing, "Hey, you said something that resonated with me," and then whatever the rest of your message is, and then just drop the link to the video.
I'm using Loom to do this because it's just the simplest for me, and it's through another free Chrome extension. Of course, you can also generate a link using Drift Video, but for me, I've been using Loom for that purpose. So again, what I've done is, craft the request message, drop the link in there, and then because Loom is a tool that will alert you once that individual has watched the video.
You're actually getting more insight from that perspective than you would if you had sent them a LinkedIn video, because LinkedIn doesn't, right now, have the functionality to tell you how many times someone's viewed or who's viewed and from where, but you can get some of that information from Loom.
And so recently, the way that it worked, I was listening to a podcast, listening to the Sales Hacker Podcast, I believe, which Sam Jacobs was hosting and he did, he said something that moved me, I wanted to talk to him right away, but I noticed we weren't LinkedIn connections.
So while I was still on the page for the Sales Hacker Podcast that I was listening to, because Loom will record the screen from your camera, I went on there and I was like, "Hey, man. As you can see, I was listening to this podcast and you said this, it moved me, I had to connect with you right now. And so it's 1 o'clock in the morning, and I'm thinking about sales. Can you relate?" type message.
Just dropped it in there and then Loom let me know that he had seen the video, so now I know what my next move can be or needs to be, but he ended up getting right back to me, telling me how cool he thought the video was, and I was just... I wondered how that exchange would have gone or how that message... How I would have been able to get across that same kind of message without using video, that is if I had simply sent over a text invite without video.
And in my experience, the response hasn't been as strong, the connection hasn't been as strong when I'm not using all of the tools at my disposal when it comes to getting in front of people. And particularly for SDRs and particularly right now, that's what's important, right? Reaching in and grabbing people with your sincerity, your authenticity, right? Your genuine desire to help, and you can communicate a lot of that through video.
AC: Absolutely. I think it's really important to stand out a little bit. Some of the absolute shocking cold messages or cold calls or cold emails that I've gotten over the years. I mean, just try to put a little bit of personalization into it or show a little bit of your personality even, it doesn't even need to be personalized.
Like the thing that you just mentioned there about you listening to this podcast, and you were like, "Oh, this is right. I really wanna speak to this guy. How can I incorporate the fact that I was just listening to this guy into a video and send that on to?" That's something that's gonna be compelling to him because he's like, "Oh look, she actually was listening to me and she actually is interested in me, and she can prove it." It's the same as having any conversation with somebody, when you show genuine interest, that conversation is something that the other person is gonna wanna have as well. If you go in and just start spouting your value prop immediately and what you wanna sell them, it's like, "Oh, no thanks."
NI: Yeah. Yeah, for sure. And it's just the way to build on this same sort of theory that's floating around out there already, right? That folks are seeing success with, their talking about with respect to outbound follow-up. So you'll see folks say, "Hey, on LinkedIn, if you wanna build a brand or you wanna make connections with people, go into the comment section on something that they've posted and interact." And that is one way to do it if you do it right, but even more sometimes then folks like to hear that you agree with something that they said, the phrase, "You're right about X, Y, Z" is super powerful.
And again, it's a way to sort of extract yourself from the crowd of other folks. Let's say it's... Again, I'll use Scott Leese as an example. Let's say it's a Scott Leese post. He said something that I really agree with. It's got me fired up. I can go into the comment section and say, "I agree. I'm so glad you said this, blah blah. I can do that."
And I probably would, but if I wanted to take it that extra step, I'd go into his inbox, I'd use the phrase, "You're right about SDRs, Scott. You're right about SDRs." There's no way he doesn't open that message. And then when he does, if what follows... Compelling text works here as well, it doesn't have to be video in this case, but if what follows is, "You're right about SDRs, it compelled me. I just needed to talk to you right now and shoot this video for you." Then they click on the video and make that actual connection...
Because there are so few other people, if any, who are making that move and be doing that play, you have to do less work once you do get the person on the phone to make them believe you. And that's really, at the heart of how to build relationships and how to sell, is to make folks believe you about whatever it is that you're saying or selling.
AC: So Nikki, thank you so much for coming on today. It's been really, really insightful. I've actually taken a ton of notes here by the way. When I was looking away, I was actually taking some notes in on my iPad around Ripl videos and the Drift Chrome extensions. I think, I gotta implement it myself. I like to do some cold outreach myself, just to keep myself from getting dusty.
But thank you so much yet again and I really look forward to speaking to you again in the future and best of luck in the new role.
NI: Yeah, thank you. This was so much fun. I hope you all find it helpful. Thanks.