Alternative Prospecting Methods

October 6, 2021

🚪 SDR Symposium | September, 2021

If you put your mind to it, you can become a really good SDR by doing nothing other than mastering phone and email outreach.

But to become a great SDR, it takes something more. For many of our best SDRs at demandDrive, that “more” is discovering a new way to prospect.

It’s like that point in a video game when you reach the newest boss but you don’t have the right skills to defeat them. You have to take a step back, assess your toolkit, and create a new plan of attack.

For this symposium’s panelists, they all hit that same wall, but the liberty they took during their experimentation allowed them to find the right alternate channel for their outreach.

That’s how we ended up with a panel of experts who were each skilled in different alternate methods.

The Panel

Greg Cammarata

Account Executive

Fred Camacho Jr


Mike Aragon

Talent Acquisition & Business Development Executive

Don’t like reading? Check out this video highlight instead! 🔽


Each of our panelists decided to explore alternative prospecting methods for a reason.

For Greg, he didn’t start looking into new channels until he became an SDR for demandDrive (as opposed to our clients he had previously worked with). With his past client, phone and email outreach worked like a charm so he didn’t feel the need to add a new channel.

But once he started reaching out for dD, he knew he would need to exemplify the high-quality, personalized outreach we’re known for providing to our clients. That’s when he turned to video prospecting.

Mike, on the other hand, started texting prospects from his cell phone when he received a response that explicitly told him they preferred to text. From there, he saw the value texting had when used in the right situation.

He was clear to point out that not every prospect should be texted. Unless they tell you they prefer it or you get a good referral, he’s found it best to stay away from it. It’s usually impossible to tell if a prospect prefers to be contacted on their cell or detests it, and making assumptions about it is a dangerous game to play.

For Fred, he and his team were getting frustrated by the amount of “just send me some information” rejections they were hearing. To warm up their cold calls, they turned to LinkedIn.

Fred has been utilizing his personal LinkedIn to connect with prospects as a way to warm up the cold call he’ll be making later on. By connecting with them (and importantly, not pitching them) before reaching out over the phone, he’s found his cold outreach is being received with more warmth and a willingness to talk that wasn’t there before.


As with any kind of experimentation, you’re going to run into some challenges along the way. Instead of seeing these obstacles as a deterrent, our panel was able to learn from their mistakes and were better for it in the long run.

For Greg, the biggest challenge he faced was deciding who received a video message and who didn’t. At first, he would send one to as many prospects as possible, but he felt it hit a point of diminishing returns. He was spending too much time making videos and his other outreach channels suffered.

His solution? Only send videos to target accounts. By using video on the highest value accounts he was able to strike a balance between video and traditional outreach while still reaching out to everyone he wanted to on a given day.

When Mike began texting prospects, he took the time to research the laws and etiquette around cold outreach over text. It’s important to note that this was also pre-COVID, so even calling a cell phone was sometimes a bad look (depending on the prospect).

And it turns out he was right, depending on what state or country you’re in, cold texting could put you in a legal gray area (it’s why spammers call and email but never text). That’s why Mike uses texting so selectively. If he has a warm enough reason to reach out, like a good referral, he has no problem texting. However, if it’s completely cold he’ll stick to the traditional channels.

Fred’s main obstacle as he began using LinkedIn was figuring out how a prospect likes to be contacted. After connecting with a prospect on LinkedIn every SDR has a decision to make: do you start to pitch over LinkedIn or do you save the harder sell for calls and emails?

He came to the conclusion that it depends on the prospect. Some prospects rarely check their email but spend a lot of time on LinkedIn. Others use LinkedIn for networking and detest those that try and sell them something through social media. To solve for this, he built a cadence that starts with a LinkedIn connection, moves to calling and emailing, and then back to LinkedIn if he didn’t get a response after a few attempts.


One of the more complex aspects of using a non-traditional channel is knowing how to personalize your message. Just using a new form of communication isn’t enough. If the message you send doesn’t resonate with the prospect you’re nowhere further along than you were before, and you spent a lot of extra time to get there.

On the flip side, alternate channels give SDRs the opportunity to personalize in a much more unique way. Greg, for instance, creates a net new video for each prospect in his video cadence. While there are examples of others having success sending a templated video, Greg found that showcasing his personalization skills through video was a great way to demonstrate the value demandDrive could bring to a client in an organic way.

By making a new video each time, Greg was able to send a message that was just for one individual, and the prospect knew it. Videos are also harder to templatize than emails or voicemails, so when his prospects receive a video where Greg addresses them by name, they know he took time to create this video message for them and no one else.

Mike found that personalization was inherent in his SMS outreach because he would only reach out if there was a good reason. A text saying, “your colleague X told me you’d be the best person to talk about Y” comes off a lot more sincere than a generic, “here’s what we do and how we help our current customers who may or may not be in the same situation as you”. By only using text messages when there was a legitimate reason to do so, he found that personalization was inherent, and he didn’t have to go the extra step to find another “reason for reaching out”.

This touches on the importance of relevance in your personalization. You don’t always need to know what the prospect does in their free time or what sports team they root for if you have a valid business reason to reach out. While both types of personalization can be useful, relevance is often eschewed for personalization, which can lead to its own issues.

In direct contrast to that (welcome to the case-by-case world of sales development), Fred finds a lot of success personalizing his outreach based on the prospect’s LinkedIn profile, even if it isn’t always relevant to their business needs. LinkedIn is the ultimate rapport-building platform (for business), so finding different ways to build relationships through LinkedIn has proven useful.

Finding commonalities between yourself and the prospect is where he starts and he asks follow-up questions from there. Here’s his specific example:

“Oh, I see you also went to UMass, how’d you like it? Were you part of any fraternities/sororities when you were there?”

By addressing the commonality and – and this part’s very important – asking follow-up questions, he can easily build rapport, which will help him down the line. It’s important to note that for Fred, this is a relationship-building exercise. This happens before any kind of pitch or hard sell because it needs to be authentic. If you attach personal questions to business outreach prospects quickly become wary of your motives.

In the end, there’s only so much guidance you can get before forging your own alternative prospecting path. The advice shared by our panelists is simply that; advice. Their words do not make up a guide or playbook, because every SDRs journey is unique. Sometimes you’ll have to make your own mistakes in order to learn from them, and that’s ok. As long as you have support from your peers and manager to make those mistakes as you experiment with new prospecting channels, your whole team will be better off for it.

alex ellison

Alex Ellison is the Marketing Communications Manager at demandDrive. He started his career as an SDR before discovering a passion for creating content and resources that drew him towards marketing. In his current role he primarily works behind the scenes drafting, editing, and developing a wide variety of marketing materials and educational resources. He is also currently enrolled at the University of Washington pursuing a Masters in Communication Leadership with a focus on Digital Media.
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