There is a widely held belief that the goal of a salesperson within the business is to bring in business, end of the story. Cold outreach is one of the main ways in which this is achieved, and over many years this has been a volume game. The more prospects you engage the more likely you are to meet your quotas and ultimately increase sales. But building massive lists, and sending a single generic script isn’t a way to stand out from the 5 billion emails sent on a daily basis. Adopting this approach is like your parents discovering Whatsapp emoticons for the first time. The message sends mixed signals, lacks clarity, and only gets a reply because you already have a relationship with the sender. You don’t have this luxury when you’re going in cold with a phone call or an outbound email campaign. Optimizing your own cold outreach requires more than the burning desire to increase sales, there needs to be trust in the process. We’re not saying it’s the Fly Way or the highway, but we do speak with some degree of authority after sending thousands of emails and running cold email campaigns all over the world. This article is going to break down the process of what the best way is to connect great business with ideal clients through outbound automation.
Creating the right value for the right prospect
True salespeople have an innate desire to make money and are motivated by the prospect of earning more from their clients. However, in this climate, transactional motivation and aggressive selling techniques simply aren’t going to cut it. Embracing empathetic selling, and centering your outreach around forging trust, you’ll build long term relationships with your prospects. This is true sales. The intention needs to be value-driven where the salesperson is helping the customer draw links between your offering and the prospect’s needs. Starting your prospecting process with the desire to make a positive difference provides the foundation for a successful cold email campaign.
You may have the right intentions, but intentions count for nothing if you don’t know who you’re creating value for. A systematic approach to cold outreach requires a clear idea of who you want to reach out to and how to tailor a message for them. It’s always good to start by putting together a prospect profile that has all the information you need to know about the prospect. Be as specific as possible when it comes to thinking about industries, company size, the positions within the company, and the company location your prospects are operating from. Going through your CRM and looking at the similarities between your best clients is always a good way to start. It goes without saying that the information contained in your prospect profile needs to be accurate and updated. Once you’ve got a clear idea of who you need to be reaching out to, it’s time to make sure your outreach is scalable, and for that to happen you’ll need the helping hand of quality data.
The need for a tech-boost
Data has revolutionized the way sales organizations sell to their customers, and this includes the way you conduct cold outreach. If you want a well-oiled outbound sales machine you’re going to have to invest in sales management tools that will help you find, and then reach your prospects. For the former, tools like Linkedin Sales Navigator, Uplead and Zoominfo will allow you to tap data points that give you a clear idea of the people that it makes sense for you to be getting in touch with. To get as granular as possible you could include data from using a combination of platforms that include Linkedin, Crunchbase, Facebook, Twitter, and job boards without recruiting firms in them like Angel List. This allows you to personalize messages in the form of a congratulatory message for the latest funding round or to position yourself as a cost-effective solution to hiring another employee. Some tools also allow you to filter for keywords in your search to drill down into your core audience. Filtering for keywords within fields results in a more focussed and accurate set of companies that would offer similar services than an “Information Technology and Services” industry filter would. We’ve found this to be a game-changer when prospecting within broad industries.
The next step would be to invest in a lead generation platform that offers email finder software. These tools use algorithms that find emails in bulk based on name and company. There are plenty of platforms available and depending on the quality, you’ll also need an email verification tool. This will ensure that your prospect list stays squeaky clean and the emails you send maintain a low bounce rate. This is crucial for email deliverability. Once the information of your prospect list has been double-checked and you’re 100% sure it’s email ready you’ll need to choose a platform to automate your cold outreach. In this area, you’re really spoilt for choice. With tools like Lemlist, Reply.io, Outreach.io, and Woodpecker you just need to choose which one is best suited to your budget and needs. There isn’t much margin for error when it comes to choosing a platform so make sure to make use of the free trials that are on offer before you commit to choosing one platform to automate your outreach from. The age-old saying goes that you can have all the gear, but no idea. You still need to write copy that communicates your value and resonates on a personal level with hundreds of prospects.
Getting to Yes
Generating positive engagement from your cold email campaigns depends on a combination of technical and content-related factors. The technical side of things all hinges on the deliverability of your email sequence, and for this to be optimized you need to keep bounce rates low and set up DKIM, DMARC, and SPF authentification. This lets email servers know you’re a real person.
When it comes to writing an email sequence that gets positive engagement it’s crucial to come across as human, friendly, and helpful as possible. We’ve found that emails that communicate value in 5 sentences or less and are below 100 words receive the most positive engagement. The biggest determinant of the success of your cold email is to add as much love to your cold email sequence as possible. Research your clients and engage with them on social media by reading, liking, and commenting on what they post. This ensures that the foundations of a potential relationship are put in place.
Because you’re going in cold, you need to embrace the art of the follow-up. The key here is to find the balance between being too pushy and being determined to show value. We’ve found that a successful email sequence usually requires around 4 follow up messages. Don’t take it personally if you’re not getting replies… your prospects are just too busy to get back to you. Make sure your follow up’s are short and adding additional value that hasn’t been mentioned before. There isn’t a cookie-cutter approach that works every time. We encourage you to get creative when experimenting and testing new email subject lines, intros, and calls to actions.
Refining and Re-engaging
Winning with cold email depends on embracing a data-driven approach, and your ability to learn from what worked and what didn’t. Once your sequence has played out report on engagement by segmenting according to industry, company size, job title, and other data points you may have. Use engagement metrics like open rates, reply rates, and interested rates to refine your prospecting and cold outreach going forward. The beauty of following the data is that it seldom fails in helping you achieve predictability in results. It’s just a matter of drawing the right insights that help you get closer to landing your dream clients.
A systematic and value-driven approach to cold outreach is all about finding people that resonate with your offering and crafting a message that brings you to the first stage of the buying process, conversation. Conversations are the very foundation of relationships, and worthwhile relationships take time. Sales organizations need to realize that every shortcut has a price usually greater than the reward. The price in the case of rushed prospecting and generic messaging would be the spam folder, and not top of mind brand awareness, and the value-driven long term relationship that your business and client deserve.