We’ve recently been discussing how to earn a new meeting. In this week’s show, we’ll explore the best B2B voicemail script for complex sales.

In complex B2B, a full-time and well-skilled outbound cold caller might manage one or two conversations a day. A sales professional that gives cold calling only one or two hours a day might be lucky to have one or two calls per week where they actually conversed with the right person.

How do we improve not the conversion rate but the conversation rate?

If your marketing is really delivering for you, then you might be enjoying perhaps 25% of your total revenue coming from marketing generated leads. The other 75% are coming from existing customers and if your sales guys have great networks with the right product category or buyers from the right product category, then they might be generating it.

If you don’t have both marketing and well-networked sales guys, or great installed base, then cold calling is probably in the mix somewhere.

6 tips for your B2B Voicemail Script

There are six major ideas that I think we need to have in mind before forming a great B2B voicemail script, which I will offer you at the end of this show.

  1. Identify your ideal buyer clearly
  2. Make your message personal
  3. Be realistic about how often you’ll leave a message
  4. Sell the value of the callback from your voicemail
  5. Position in the category as 2nd prize
  6. Don’t make it up on the fly

Tip 1 of 6 for B2B voicemail scripts The first tip is to be clear about your strategy. That’s going to require us to do two things:

  • Identify really clearly the problem that you want to become the best in the world at solving; and
  • Identify really clearly who the buyer is that you should be talking with at all. What kind of business is affected by that chosen problem and who within the business is most likely feeling that pain?

Start by pointing in the right direction.

Tip 2 of 6 for B2B voicemail scripts

The second tip is to make your message personal. I’ve covered that ad nauseam on other blogs. I’m not going to cover it again now other than to say that before making a call, the caller (you) needs to understand why the prospect needs to return the call, not the other way around. I’m drawing here on what is called the “valid business reason” or VBR that comes from Miller Heiman’s Conceptual Selling.

Tip 3 of 6 for B2B voicemail scripts

Here are a few basic numbers for you.

  • A full time dedicated caller is going to get through about 60 call attempts a day. Now, frankly if you’re doing your VBR research at the same time, you’ll get through far fewer but we tend to like Marketing to do the VBR research so the caller can just focus on calling. Let’s imagine for a moment that Marketing’s done the homework for you and the caller is just making the calls. They’ll get through about 60 call attempts a day but it takes four call attempts on average to get through to a mid level manager and eight call attempts to get through to a senior manager.
  • Depending on who you’re targeting, you’d be lucky to have one or two conversations per hour from all those call attempts.
  • Now, 70% of the time that you make a call attempt, you’re going to get through to voicemail.

That’s why we’re talking about voicemail today.

The fourth tip tacks onto the back end of that third tip and that is to forget that you think they might not call you back, and instead sell why they should call you back. They won’t call you back if you leave an awful voicemail. If you leave a decent voicemail, you have at least a half chance of getting returned calls.

The whole point of this is that if you get good at leaving voicemail and you can increase the number of callbacks that you get, you’re going to decrease the number of calls that you need to make in the first place. You’re getting into a lot more conversations for each call attempt.

Tip 5 of 6 for B2B voicemail scripts

Now, imagine that you make a call attempt and you do leave a voicemail. If that voicemail simply says, “Here’s my name. Interesting ideas. Call me back,” You have done nothing to position either you or your company, nor did you manage to bring the problem to the surface.

Clearly, you want them to call you back. But what if they don’t? Is that it? Did you fail?

What you need, in the very least, is for them to understand that you’re the person they should talk to about that problem should they ever have it. If they call you back, great. If they don’t, but hear a super clear point about the problem you are good at solving from the voicemail messages, and from e-mail nurtures, and from your website, and from your social media posting, etc, they’re going to connect the company name with the problem and that’s an important connection. We call that “positioning in a category”.

Tip 6 of 6 for B2B voicemail scripts

When you’re making a call, it’s really hard to get through to the person. It’salso  really hard to have a good conversation with them and frankly, it’s just as hard to leave a good voicemail. So don’t make it up. What you need is a great process for building a really compelling voicemail that we can heavily customise based on the VBR information and that gets a good callback reaction.

That’s what we’re going to look at now.

A B2B voicemail script inspired by Michael Pedone

The script I’m going to offer now is inspired by a guy called Michael Pedone from SalesBuzz. I’ll include a link to his site in the credits. We’ve slightly modified what he spoke of in a webinar I attended. We’ve taken the principle that he was espousing but we’ve modified it on two bases.

Firstly, we don’t want to talk about any problem but the problem. You know the problem I’m talking about ‘The one’ that Marketing and Sales have wrestled and have identified as the absolute best problem to focus on because it rewards you really richly if you focus on it, and you’ve committed to focus on it. You’re obsessively focussed on it, and working on new ways to solve the problem.

In other words, it’s the focus for the whole business. That’s the first one, not a problem but the problem. Don’t know what I’m talking about? You haven’t identified that problem yet?

Stop and fix that.

The second change we made to Pedone’s recommendations is this notion of personalising the message to respect the valid business reason (VBR). If you’re doing your homework really well, or better yet if Marketing does the homework for you and they’ve identified how that problem is likely to play out based on the actual company you are calling, then you can make that problem far more real for the person you are calling.

On those two bases, we made a few changes. However, it is based on that work by Michael. Check out the link in the show notes.

B2B Voicemail Script

Here’s the script that we will recommend you use for voicemail.

B2B voicemail script exampleKey in that message was that I managed to convey why he needs to talk with me relatively succinctly. You might get better than I just did for that script, getting it even shorter, but it was relatively short.

It showed that I’ve done some homework on his company, that I have some insights and understanding into the problem and how to solve or avoid it. The message also gave my name, my company’s name and my phone number twice each just in case.

Voicemail in the context of Funnel Plan

I spoke earlier about Sales and Marketing needing to agree on the problem, and who most has it.

Funnel Plan is a great way to get Sales and Marketing to identify and agree on the objectives, strategy, velocity and tactics that you will use together to earn the right to serve new businesses. Don’t have a Funnel Plan? Get a free one at funnelplan.com.


Lots more lined up for next week. Until then, may your funnel be full, and always flowing .

Our thanks this week to:

  • You for watching this week’s show
  • Rhianna Busler for blog production
  • John Ang for video production
  • Miller Heiman for VBR (valid business reason)
  • Michael Pedone from Sales Buzz 
  • Hugh Macfarlane for scripting and presenting this week’s show