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SDR & BDR Direct Messaging Framework

Doing direct outreach?

In an early version of sister site CMO Copilot, we included a direct message generator to make it just a little bit easier to reach out to prospects on LinkedIN and other social networking platforms (in a non-spammy way, and never by connecting, sharing, inviting and/pr asking all in one day).

While each DM was personalized for the ICP or buyer persona being targeted, all DMs were based on the following matrix, which I always thought had value independently of the individual personalizations.

It was born from an extensive analysis of DM best practices, and combined (1) a basic hierarchy of the connection types, from strongest to weakest, and (2) the type of message being sent.

Sending a DM with LinkedIN

The idea was that CMOs could work with sales managers, SDRs and BDRs to standardize types of DMs and bring them into the marketing content fold.

While I don't have any independent studies to back up the overall effectiveness of this approach, I can say that (1) I still use it personally, and (2) for the few months I was using an automated outreach platform that tracked performance, using this approach did a lot better than using the platform's suggestions — my message acceptance rate averaged 33% (ranging from 10% to 53%, depending on target), and my message response rate averaged 50% (ranging from 34% to 62%).

Direct Messaging framework

Hierarchy of connections by type, from strongest to weakest, where sender and recipient:

  1. Share many connections

  2. Share one connection

  3. Are both members of the same groups

  4. Are both members of the same group

  5. Both commented on the same post

  6. Both shared the same post

  7. Both liked the same post

  8. Both follow the same influencer

  9. Are both in the same occupation

  10. Are both in the same industry

  11. Both live in the same city or region

  12. Both went to the same school

  13. Both worked for the same company


  1. Connect

  2. Share

  3. Invite

  4. Ask

To use this framework, you just go down the list until you find a connection you and your prospect have in common, then tie that to a specific type of message.

For example, if you both commented on the same post, you might share a related post, invite them to check out a related white paper, article or event, or ask them to expand on their comment.

Or if you're both in the same occupation, you might share a survey, invite them to an occupation-specific networking event or virtual webinar, or ask for some advice.

It takes time, but putting thought into DMs instead of just firing off spammy requests usually leads to a more meaningful connection that can build into an authentic two-way relationship.

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