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LinkedIn Voice Messaging: The Complete Guide for B2B Sales Reps

When it comes to reaching prospects, SDRs have to be skilled at using a range of different outreach methods.

Sending potential prospects a voice note on LinkedIn is one way to stand out from a sea of copy-and-paste InMails.

So we spoke to Alex Knight, Enterprise SDR at Cognism, who’s known to be something of a voice note wizard! She shares her insights on what works and what doesn’t regarding LinkedIn voice messaging.

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LinkedIn voice messaging: how to start

Sending a voice note to a prospect shouldn’t be complicated. But it isn’t something you should rush into without preparation, either.

After all, you wouldn’t pick up the phone to cold call without doing any prior research. Would you?

Alex explained that she splits her time looking for potential prospects and sending connections to good fits. Then she follows up the connection with a voice note.

“So I'll connect with everyone that's a potential prospect, so anyone with a good fit job title at one of my target accounts.”

“I'll also connect with SDRs and account executives to ask them a bit more about how they find the tools and whether they use [any others]. Just to get more feedback from an end user's point of view.”

“I usually send out the connection request. Not everyone's going to accept, obviously. But [if they accept], then I go straight in with a voice note.”

Using the right tone of voice is vital when reaching out to a prospect. No one wants to listen to a mumbled message! Alex recommends putting across some positive vibes:

“People don't want to listen to someone being monotone. Hearing someone happy and asking about their day will (hopefully) cheer them up and make them want to reply!”

“You want them to listen to it and then reply. So a positive tone is definitely important.”

An example of a good LinkedIn voice message

B2B sales have the bad rep of being ‘uncool’ next to its more glamorous B2C counterpart.

But the truth is, B2B doesn’t have to be boring!

Adding value and being customer-centric is key.

When it comes to leaving a voice note, Alex starts with a standard format. But she makes sure she personalises the message, so it is customer-centric. In this message, she’ll also ask relevant questions about the prospect’s industry.

She explains:

So I have a generic voice note, but I'll adapt it to who I’m speaking to.”

“If there's something really specific on their LinkedIn that I want to relate to, then I'll bring that in. For example, if they've just been promoted, I'll congratulate them and ask how it’s going.”

Here is Alex’s voice note:

LinkedIn voice note example

There are lots of positives to sales personalisation. Don’t forget most of the prospects you’re reaching out to receive tons of messages every day. So why should they reply to you?

Alex explains that voice notes can set you apart from the cut-and-paste InMails that most SDRs send.

“Voice notes are a good way to stand out. People usually come back with, ‘oh, this is my first one’. Or, ‘great way to stand out’.”

“People realise you’ve actually spent the time to record this for them specifically.”

“But sometimes people don't reply, so I usually follow it up by asking for feedback.”

LinkedIn voice note example

“People usually reply by saying, ‘sorry, I was busy. Let me listen to it, or they tell me they’re not interested’.”

💡Make sure you personalise your voice note with relevant questions about their job, industry or possible pain points; the latest LinkedIn stats indicate it's the key to success.

The benefits of LinkedIn voice messaging

Salespeople are constantly evolving how they reach potential prospects. While some methods stand the test of time (think of cold calling and emails), newer forms of communication are also becoming popular, like LinkedIn voice notes and WhatsApp.

One of the reasons why Alex thinks voice notes work for B2B sales is because (right now) the outreach is still a novelty. She explains:

“It's something new, and people love new things. The people we're selling to are in sales and marketing. So they'll be having hundreds of cold calls and emails sent to them every day.”

“I've had loads of people come back to me saying it was my first voice note; it was great! I'm going to get my sales team to do it.”

In a world where chatbots and AI are becoming more common forms of LinkedIn marketing and sales outreach, adding a human touch is an essential part of personalisation.

“I think another reason is personalisation. The fact that you've gone out of your way to record something for them specifically just proves that it isn't copied and pasted, and you do want to speak to them. So it makes the person that's receiving it feel like you’re more engaged with them.”

“People don't want to be speaking to a robot. And because you have a human voice attached to the end of the message, that's much better.”

The downsides of LI voice messaging

So those are the pros… but what about the cons?

Alex has found that voice notes aren’t every prospect's cup of tea.

“I guess a lot of the time, Gen Z and Millennials already do a lot of voice notes over WhatsApp. So you are used to kind of going back and forth. It's a part of our daily life. Whereas sometimes the older generation isn’t as used to them.”

“Sometimes they don't like messaging on LinkedIn for X, Y, and Z reasons. But, sometimes, they love them. They're like, oh, this is new!”

Another barrier is that you can’t skim-read a voice note the way you can skim an email or message on LinkedIn. This can mean that your prospect forgets to listen to your outreach, and your message doesn’t get across.

“Another negative I’ve found is that you can't skim-read it. So people might just glance at their phone, but they won’t [immediately] listen to it.”

“For example, if they're in a meeting, they might think, ‘oh, I’ll listen to that later’. And sometimes, they just forget.”

These aren’t deal breakers when it comes to sending voice notes, but it’s good for salespeople to remember to tailor their outreach depending on the prospect.

If they’re not active on LinkedIn or any social platforms, maybe consider a more traditional approach, such as using cold calling and cold email.

LinkedIn voice messaging: 5 tips for beginners

Alex has some best practices to follow:

1. Ask for permission

Asking the prospect for permission to send a voice note is a great way to gauge interest and take any potential sting out of cold outreach. She explains:

“Recently, Maddy Hopkins, one of our SDRs, suggested that instead of just sending a voice note, we asked for permission. This is something we do on the phone.

“So I would say, great to connect. Do you mind if I send a voice note? [If they say yes], then I'll send one straight after we connect.”

2. Keep it brief

It’s good to be aware that your prospect’s time is limited. So make sure you’re not wasting it with a five-minute voice note!

“You don't want it to be longer than 30 seconds because it's time they're taking out of their day. [Don’t forget], they can't just skim read it; they have to listen to it all the way through.”

Do you feel like you're a natural rambler when you leave a message? Don’t worry! Practice beforehand with team members. Or send a voice note to your manager and ask for some feedback.

3. Always go with your first take

Alex said:

“The more you do it, the better you're going to get. But don't spend time redoing the same voice note.”

“The first recording is always going to be the best because it's the most authentic. You don't want to sound scripted.”

4. Ask for feedback

Alex finishes her voice notes by saying:

LinkedIn voice note example

“People love to give feedback. So if they think, ‘someone's asking me for feedback. That must mean that I'm special.’ So that's a nice little touch at the end to get people talking.”

I find that if you're asking for feedback, prospects are going to think, ‘oh okay, this person is quite new to this.’ And they’ll be a bit more lenient [about your outreach].”

5. Record them in blocks, and don't forget to smile!

“[LinkedIn voice messaging] can get a bit repetitive. But I do them in blocks and do quite a few at a time.”

“And don’t forget to smile. Even if it's a fake smile, I find that you tend to sound happier.”

“[If you feel nervous], do it as if you’re sending your friend a voice note on WhatsApp. Don't panic, just send out the first one, and if it's a bit rough around the edges, that’s all the better.”

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