Stop trying to sell in your cold emails

By Sergei Arend | Published on Mar 24, 2023

In the meantime, let’s talk B2B sales.

Specifically, how cold email — when done correctly — can fill the top of your pipeline with sales qualified leads for less investment than other channels. And, c’mon, who doesn’t like a nicely filled pipeline?

What cold email is, and what it isn’t

Simply put, a cold email is sent to someone unsolicited and without prior contact. It’s the digital version of cold calling.

We get it. No-one likes receiving cold emails. However, precision targeting and concise, clear copy can elicit responses like:

A good cold email can feel like a warm smile from a stranger in a public space. Sure, sometimes it’s creepy, but sometimes it can brighten the rest of your day.

So what makes a bad cold email? In our experience, everything starts to fall apart when expectations are misaligned.

Cold email is a tool for your sales ninjas. You use this kind of outreach to fill the top of the pipeline so your reps spend less time manually building lists (more on this later) and hearing “no”. If you keep this aspect of cold outbound in the back of your mind, you won’t write clunky sales emails that are so clearly trying to convince the prospect to buy something.

Stop trying to sell in your cold emails

This isn’t the “cold email tips” blog to end all cold email tips blogs.

Most of the advice that abounds on LinkedInfluencer feeds can be summed up in a series of Neanderthal chants that are almost beautiful in their gruffness: make subject line catchygive benefits not featurespersonalize goodmeasure success.

To demystify these tropes, we’ll be uploading our own advice pieces over the coming months. Our analytics and testing team is collating data from experiments we’ve been running, and this’ll inform our advice that works because it’s based on real data.

*Record scratch* “Hold up. I shouldn’t get them to buy?” you ask.

Yes. That’s correct.

Targeted cold outreach vs. Spam

First, a “cold email sequence” is a series of automated emails with specific time delays between them. Each email in the sequence is referred to as a “step”. For example, a sequence targeting young startups might have five steps, with step 1 being sent on day 1, step 2 on day 3, step 3 on day 6, and so on.

While the goal of the sequence is to convert a prospect to a customer, it’s way more helpful to view your goal as finding out more information about a particular audience; you want to sort the interested from the uninterested. The goal of your outbound sequence should not be to make a sale.

Think about it. Some stranger reaches out to you on the internet. Even if the targeting was okay, the pushiness or “salesiness” of the email can be off-putting and can be the reason someone ignores your email or — even worse — flags you as spam.

Let’s say all those targeted ads on Insta were finally working and you’re now in the market for an air fryer. If you were approached by some pamphlet-wielding hopeful on the street, your response to that air fryer pamphlet would rest entirely on the messaging and the action they wanted you to perform (the CTA – “call to action”).

Imagine filling out your credit card details on that pamphlet and handing it back to the stranger, trusting them that they’d send the air fryer your way in a few days. Or being told by the pamphlet-carrier that you had to follow them now to make the sale, or else the opportunity would be gone (completely disregarding the fact that you were headed someplace else when they stopped you).

Now imagine that all the air fryer pamphlet asked you to do was call a number and speak to a consultant, or scan a QR code and head to a landing page where you could learn more and purchase it yourself, without speaking to someone.

In every scenario, you were the right prospect for the air fryer; however, the salesperson approaching you with too heavy a hand could still make you ignore the message.

Most people don’t trust cold outreach and the salespeople who do it because they think they’re going to be convinced into buying something they don’t need. Try to convince less, and always come across as someone who would be okay if your prospect said, “No, I’m actually not interested in this.”

Dynamic prospecting for cold outreach at scale

Manually building lists is something of the past (at least, it should be).

When you’re running outbound on the scale that we are, across numerous sectors and niches, you’re only as good as the tools you use. The world is literally your oyster when it comes to sales intelligence tools, but  Hubspot & Apollo,  are foundational in our tech stack.

At FueltoFly, we use a dynamic prospecting approach — which means we confer with the client to get an initial profile of the audience segment for an email sequence, and then iterate as we gather performance data.

We build an initial list of prospects and load them into a sequence. We then launch and monitor performance — tracking which job titles are engaging with which variant of messaging, which company sizes/industries/regions/etc. they’re from, and so on. We then use this to remove and add prospects into the sequence. Hence, dynamic — the prospect “list” lives and develops as emails are sent out.

We’re excited about getting into the nitty-gritty of cold email and prospecting in future blogs. If you didn’t find this useful, feel free to rage-tweet us (but we can’t promise we’ll respond).

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