Learn some best practices for connecting with prospects. Use every channel in your toolkit, develop strong relationships, and watch your startup grow!


Which is the most effective outreach channel to engage sales prospects: phone, email, or LinkedIn? Each can be effective, although different audiences tend to prefer one conversational channel to the others. Legacy industries like insurance, distribution, and retail favor email, while innovators and thought leaders are more active on LinkedIn. Ultimately, the best way to reach prospects is to use all three.

Key Takeaways:

  • Email, LinkedIn, and phone calls all have a place in a dynamic outbound sales prospecting  strategy.
  • Connecting effectively with prospects is a critical part of the sales process — use best practices to increase conversions.
  • As you interact with more prospects and customers, you’ll learn more about their preferences and habits.

The Best Way to Connect

The goal when approaching prospects is to engage them in a conversation. This means using multiple communication channels — email, voice, and social media — because most of your prospects use all three.

1. Start with LinkedIn

LinkedIn gives your prospects the chance to learn more about you and your business because they can look at your profile page. This often creates an initial layer of trust.

Send a request to connect, along with a message. You don’t have a lot of space — just 300 characters — to create a long message. But now’s not the time to dive into your sales pitch anyway. Keep it short and give them a good reason to accept.

2. Follow up with an email

Nearly everyone uses email — there are 4.04 billion email users. It’s the most popular form of business communication.

After reaching out on LinkedIn, send an email. This is an opportunity to let the prospect know which problem you can solve for them and why your company is in the best position to solve it.

They may sign up for a demo or a consultation. Even if they don’t, you’ve already told them why your product is worth their time, which will make it easier to convert them later during a phone call.

When’s the best time to send an email to a potential customer? Research conducted by Intercom and HubSpot shows that late morning is a good time to send emails. This is when people often check their inboxes. If your message is sitting at the top of their inbox, they’re more likely to open it.

3. Finish with a call

Initiating sales connections with LinkedIn and email can set the stage for a follow-up call. Stan Frering, head of Client Relationship Management for Easytrip France, offers this tip: “I always start by referring to this first email to show we’re one step further in our relationship.”

Phone calls are a key part of an effective outreach strategy. Talking on the phone may be the first interaction that forms a real bond with a prospective customer, building rapport and trust in ways that email and social media may not achieve. If they don’t answer, leaving a voicemail can still have a positive effect.

Once you’ve spoken on the phone with a prospect, it’s easier to continue the relationship. When you send a follow-up email or they read the content you’ve posted on LinkedIn, your prospects will know who you are, and your digital communications will resonate more strongly with them.

Best Practices for Contacting Sales Prospects

Spend time researching each prospect before you contact them. Prioritize your prospects: How closely do they fit your target market? How much decision-making authority or influence do they have? How responsive are they to your communications? 

Finally, focus on the relationship rather than transactions. Making a sale is the end goal, but behind that goal is the intent to solve a problem. Get to truly know your prospect and you’ll create an enduring customer relationship that lasts far longer than the first transaction. Ready to supercharge your sales prospecting strategies? Let’s talk!