What is cold outreach?
Cold outreach is an effective, budget-friendly way of banging your business drum to get more customers. Traditionally, it involves calling someone to ask them if they want to buy your product; more recent cold outreachers have used email to reach out to prospects, and the most recent cold outreach channels involve social media. However, it doesn’t rely on a single outreach channel anymore. The triple touch approach, including phone, email, and social media, is now widely used for prospecting, with chat and AI bots expected to follow soon.
In fact, using three or more channels in your campaign can result in a 287% higher purchase rate.
It is basically outbound marketing; casting your rod and seeing if anything bites.
Why should I use cold outreach?
10 reasons to jump on the cold outreach train.
- 75% of surveyed executives are willing to make an appointment based on cold outreach.
- It’s basically free.
- 69% of buyers accepted a call from new salespeople in the past 12 months.
- Modern automation tools automate 90% of the process; you just need to keep your finger on the trigger.
- The whole process is scalable to how your business grows.
- Relying on inbound sales halves your opportunities for finding customers.
- 82% of buyers believe a company is more trustworthy if it’s active in social media.
- Over 60% of buyers got relevant information from the salesperson who ultimately won the sale in the early, lead-nurturing phases of the sales cycle.
- The results are predictable and easy to obtain.
- Online social networks play a vital role in the purchase process of 84% of senior B2B buyers.
What do the experts say about cold outreach?
“Always bring value to your prospects. There is little chance that you reach out at the perfect timing, when the prospect has a project, a budget and a timeline, so it's important to build a relationship on the long term, so you're the first person or brand a prospect thinks of when they’re ready to start an evaluation. The best way to do that is by bringing value to your outreach, by sharing resources that the prospect will learn from: blog articles, white papers, webinars. etc. Not only this will help you be seen as an advisor, and not just a salesperson, but also build trust.”
Celia Bordes-Pages, Senior Account Executive at Mixpanel
“Contact prospects with insights that make a difference! When it comes to outreach, everybody talks about the importance of personalization. I get dozens of personalized emails a day but they usually lack context and examples. Only through short and relevant insights of what your platform can do to solve a pain, will you get an answer from your prospects. It doesn't matter how good your solution is, in today's busy world, you have limited time to articulate your value proposition. So start sharing insights of your product that will relate to your prospects and that will make a real difference to their business.”
Emmanuel Heymann, SimilarWeb
“Be straight to the point. Don't use long, sophisticated sentences and giant intro messages. Be simple and focus on the value that you can bring to the prospect. The easier for them to understand this value, the higher the chances are of a fruitful conversation. Most of the people that you are trying to reach don't have time or are not familiar with the problem that might exist in their business or aware of the problem but previous solution research came out ineffective/costly/any other objection. Once you present your value points in a clear and effective manner - they are ready to open the conversation with you.”
Cold outreach and the GDPR
Making sure your cold outreach campaign is legal.
What is the GDPR?
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the legal framework for the collection and processing of personal information that belongs to those who live in the European Union (EU).
After several high profile data breaches, the GDPR was enacted in 2016 and came into force on May 25th, 2018. It requires all data controllers and processors to handle data with appropriate security and organisational measure in place to keep it safe.
It was not created to get in the way of your cold outreach campaign.
What does it all mean for your cold outreach campaign?
It’s entirely possible to conduct cold outreach campaigns and be GDPR compliant. I repeat: the GDPR was not designed to stop you from using cold outreach to gain new customers. Still, it is important to remember that when conducting any kind of marketing campaign where you are storing and processing user data, that data is valuable; there are data pirates out there trying to steal that data, and it is your ethical and legal duty to keep it safe.
Your B2B cold outreach needs to meet certain requirements to not fall foul of GDPR regulations. You need a strong reason and solid line of explanation as to why the person you are contacting would be interested in your business activities, you need to inform cold email recipients that you are processing their personal data, and you must not process data for any longer than is necessary.
Even as an American company who might believe the GDPR doesn’t apply to them, it’s still good practice to follow proper safety procedures when handling data. A data breach can be cataclysmic for your business’s reputation.
William Oleksiienko shared five tips for meeting GDPR requirements with a cold outreach campaign…
- Do not send too many emails to one person (five is the sweet spot).
- Slow down and add 3-4 day delays between each step in your sequence.
- Include opt-out links instead of plain text.
- Hand-pick your prospects to target only those who match your ICP.
- Make sure your product or service is 100% relevant to them and fits their business model.
Finally, ask permission. Manners cost nothing.
Building a prospect list
Starting from scratch, it’s not easy. Once you get the ball rolling, and start learning the best outreach channels and techniques for your business, it becomes much easier. Before you can start firing out emails, tweets, and phone calls though… you need to know who you are going to reach out to.
1. Develop a buyer persona.
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your business’ ideal customer. It paints a picture of who you primarily aim your brand messaging, content, and products at. A buyer persona takes into account any number of variables, such as demographics, behaviour patterns, motivations, and goals. The more detailed a buyer persona is, the more precise a brand can be in its targeted messaging.
A business is not limited to one buyer persona. In fact, the more buyer personas a business details, the more broad they can be in their messaging.
Here’s an example of a buyer persona for NetHunt CRM.
Sales Rep Ali
Male / Female
To close more deals.
Manual data input.
CRM used to control him, report everything he does.
To talk to people, engage.
CRM is difficult to set up and learn.
Better client relationships.
Just another system to maintain; no time.
25 - 50 years old
B2B sales, lead generation, sales strategies, how to close deals, how to be more effective and productive at work, developing soft skills, communication skills, presentation skills, psychology of selling, emotional intelligence, pipeline management, phone calls scripts, sales emails, conversion of leads to clients, persuasive copywriting, sales automatization tools, negotiation skills, self-motivation, effective meetings
2. Find relevant prospects.
You can find prospects just about anywhere these days. The source you choose depends on your buyer persona and where you are likely to find matching profiles. We’re going to focus on three sources of lead generation that can be used in tandem with each other... Crunchbase, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
CrunchbaseCrunchbase is a dedicated platform for finding business information about both private and public companies. It sources its data in four different ways, through the venture program, machine learning, an in-house data team, and from the Crunchbase community.
“Prospecting can be tedious and time-consuming. Use Crunchbase’s live data to identify new prospects and build your lead generation strategy. Narrow down companies within a particular headquarter location, investment stage, or industry with our flexible tools. Easily integrated with CRM.” - taken from the Crunchbase website.
How much does Crunchbase cost?
Free version available with limited features.
Professional version starts at $29 per user, per month; paid annually.
Enterprise version on a price-by-quote basis.
LinkedInLinkedIn is the promised land for finding prospective new customers. With over 675 million users in more than 200 countries, it is a goldmine for leads. A calculated, patient approach to LinkedIn lead generation can take your business to dizzy new heights. It’s a professional place for professionals to meet other professionals. People are expecting to be reached out to.
Sales Navigator is even more promised, and is a paid-tier subscription built for sales professionals to find and reach out to new leads. You receive access to LinkedIn Learning, you have the opportunity to see who’s visited your profile in the past 90 days, and can browse as many profiles as you flipping-well please. Furthermore you’ll receive 20 shiny InMail credits every month to help you reach out.
Navigatorers receive regularly updated lead recommendations, gain access to more comprehensive search filters, and, after searching, results provide more profile data for a better overview of potential leads. You can save up to 1,500 leads and accounts that have tickled your fancy and might need actioning later. With Sales Navigator, it rains leads.
The 9 Cheekiest Places to Find Leads on LinkedIn
- View who else is viewing
- Find out who viewed your profile
- Check out Lead Recommendations
- Utilise your own content
- Utilise everybody else’s content
- Join groups
- Give and get referrals
- Search through advanced filters
How much does Sales Navigator cost?
One month free trial.
Standard version starts at $59.99 per user, per month.
Team Account starts at $134.99 per user, per month.
TwitterIf you’re looking for something a little bit more small business (cheaper), Twitter is always a good (cheaper) bet for finding prospects and people who might buy your products and who you want to target. As with anything (cheaper), you’ve just got to know where to look.
Search for relevant hashtags and keywords.
At NetHunt we might simply, constantly search for #CRM and keep an eye on the search results.
Search for tweets asking industry-related questions.
At NetHunt, we can search for “why is my CRM…” or “what is the best CRM?” and reply with relevant content to provide value for our new prospect.
Follow prospects and engage with them.
At NetHunt, we might find somebody like Sales Rep Al from our buyer persona. We can simply follow them and engage with them when we see something relevant; building a relationship with them.
Twitter lead generation cards.
When someone clicks to expand your tweets, they’ll not only see your offer ( but they’ll be able to respond to your call to action with one click of the button. Their name and contact info will automatically be submitted.
Ask for a follow...
… slide into their DMs.
3. Add them to your CRM.
Use your favourite CRM system to store everything in one place and to give inter-team access to those who need it. Beyond manually inputting new contacts into your system, CRMs offer integrations with platforms like Crunchbase and LinkedIn to automate the process for you, scraping data straight into your dashboard.
“We finally took control of all that lead-generation capacity of LinkedIn. Our integration can be found at the Chrome Web Store and the beauty of it lies in its simplicity. The integration adds a button to LinkedIn (people or business) profiles. With a click of that button, you can add or enrich contact files within your existing NetHunt system and start pushing them down your sales funnel. A handy widget is added to a lead’s profile on LinkedIn. This gives users a full breakdown of a lead or company’s details and full context at their fingertips. The interface is smooth and completely customisable, depending on a company’s needs or desires. Simplicity is at the heart of everything we do”
Andrei Petrik, Co-Founder & CEO of NetHunt
4. Find their contact details.
General email addresses such as firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com aren’t much use in cold outreach. Picking up the phone and punching in random numbers with your fat fingers isn’t going to land you with the right prospect. The problem with increased data security is that people don’t want to publish their phone numbers or email addresses. Full stop. Why would they… when people like you are sniffing around, trying to get in touch with them?
On the other hand, reaching out on social media is relatively easy. For Twitter, all you need to do is fire off a tweet to the person asking for a follow back if their DMs are closed. If they’re open, you can just slide on in there with your pitch. For LinkedIn, you can only message your direct connections. That is, unless you’re a Sales Navigator, where you receive 20 inMail credits a month to message whoever you want.
Luckily, there are some (sneaky) ways around it.
LinkedInIf you’re connected with your prospects on LinkedIn, finding their email address is easy. You can either open up their profiles one by one to check their email addresses, or export your connections via the LinkedIn advanced settings.
Advanced Google SearchDespite being the “old-fashioned”, sales-repping-for-dummies way… it’s simply the easiest. Get started with the basics, by searching Google with the following terms...
[name] + email or email address
[name] + contact or contact information or contact me
If that doesn’t work, you might need to make the query more specific. Try running a search of the company website...
site:[companywebsite].com + [name] + email
site:[companywebsite.com] + [name] + contact
site:[companywebsite.com] + [name] + about
This is by no means a guaranteed email address finder.
Advanced Twitter SearchBusinesses often get asked for their email address on Twitter. The advanced search tool helps you find the last time a prospect responded to this request.
Sneakily, people often replace the “.” and “@” symbols with “dot” and “at” as words in order to hide the information from bots. Go to the Twitter Advanced Search and look for words “at” and “dot” in “All these words” section. Then submit their Twitter handle in “From these accounts” under the “People” section. Et voila, one email address at your disposal… hopefully.
If not, it’s time to roll out the big guns...
Hunter.ioHunter is a dedicated resource that scans webpages for email addresses. The good news is that users can sign up for a free account, and there are a couple of different ways in which the application uses to find email addresses.
The first is through their Chrome extension. Simply visit the company domain of the person you want to contact. If the icon is lit up orange, it means Hunter has some solid-gold email addresses ready for you. Click the icon and find the list of emails that Hunter has scraped for this domain. For larger companies, you might need to contact a specific person in a specific position. In this case, try the second option that Hunter provides. Go to Hunter’s website and click on the “Finder” tool in the Menu bar. Next, enter the first and the last name of the contact, along with their company domain. It’s as easy as that, you should find their email address instantly.
How much does Crunchbase cost?
Free version available with up to 100 free domains each month.
Paid plans start at $39 per user, per month; paid annually.
The Company SwitchboardCold calling a specific prospect can also be easy. Simply pick up the phone and call a company’s general number, where you’ll get through to the receptionist and you can ask to be put through to the decision maker you need to be put through to. There’s a script for that kind specific situation a little bit further, on page [number].
How to reach out over the phone
The cold truth about cold-calling is that it often ends in rejection. To maximise your chances of success you should time it properly, be fully-prepared, be open and approachable, and understand where you have gone wrong in the past. To maximize your chances, follow these tried-and-tested, backed-up-by-data best practices.
- Call on a Wednesday: 46% more conversions happen on a Wednesday compared with Monday.
- Call within a hour of a customer inquiry or subscription: make sure your product is fresh in their mind and give you the best chance of success.
- Call between 4pm and 5pm or 11am and 12pm: statistically the most successful times for cold-callers to make the call.
- Ask open-ended questions: Have a list of questions prepared for your call and make sure they relate to a customer's goals and pain points.
- Crack a joke: Jokes help break the ice. It doesn’t even matter if it’s a bad one or a boring one about the weather, just make sure it’s not offensive.
- Keep track of what works: Test different introductions, propositions, and closings and keep note of which ones work!
- Don’t be afraid to go off script: You’re much more likely to build an organic relationship with your customer if you can relate to them on a human level.
It needs to go something a little like this…
Introduce yourself clearly.
Start by saying who you are and where you’re calling from, and ask for the person you specifically want to speak to. Keep it short and simple, but make yourself sound official. If you’ve reached a receptionist or a PA, they’re much more likely to put George Rowlands, CEO of BiscuitHunt through to the boss, rather than George, Bin Man from Manchester.
> Hello, my name is George Rowlands and I’m the CEO of BiscuitHunt. Can I speak to Jerry Sinclair please?
This is potentially the hardest part. Still, building rapport is much easier if you’ve researched your cold-callee before you rang them. After you’ve asked for permission, whether they have a couple of moments to speak to you, try asking an open-ended question. This is where the answer can’t be yes or no, and it’s the first thing they teach you in conversation-making class.
> I hope I haven’t caught you at a bad time. Congratulations on the Ballon d’ Biscuit Award, Jerry. How’s the new found fame treating you?
Give your value proposition; position yourself.
After the trivialities are finished, your cold-callee is probably going to ask why you called. This is your single chance to shine and really make them dig both you and your product. Again, your research comes in handy here, because the first thing you should tell them is about them.
> Yes, Brian Potter at Phoenix Biscuits referred me to you. He said you were looking for office biscuit solutions for your large team?
Use this structure to learn more about how you can help your prospect. This is a cold call, after all, and you don't know much about your cold callee. Listen out for a gap in their process that your product could fill.
If you don’t organise another meeting, in-person or otherwise, your cold call has failed. Be polite, thank them for their time, and don’t take it to heart if it’s a no. There’s always the next call.
> Are you free for another call next week, Jerry?
Cold call script templates
a. The Gatekeeper. For when you get through to the receptionist.
You: Hello, can I speak to [name A] please?
Them: Hello, this is [name B], I’m [name A]’s PA here at [company]. Can I ask what your business with [name A] is?
You: Actually, [name A] is looking for a [product] and he has made an inquiry with us. Maybe you have heard about our [product]. I’m [name] and I work for [company].
Them: Oh yes. [name A] mentioned that today. Would you like me to put you through?
You: That would be wonderful, thank you very much for your help [name B].
b. The Voicemail. For when you’re being ignored.
You: You: Hello, [name]. This is [name] from [company].
I’m calling to tell you about a few ideas I have for improving [process] in your company. I wanted to see if you could find some time to have a little talk with me about it. It shouldn’t take long. If you’ve got a second, give me a call on [number].
Again, that’s [name] from [company] and my phone number is [number].
Thanks, speak soon.
c. The Inbounder. For when you know they might be keen.
You: Am I talking to [name] from [company]?
Them: That’s me. How can I help?
You: You recently signed up on [website], and I wanted to find out how exactly we can help you. Is this a good time?
Them: Oh yes. Basically, we have a [problem] that needs solving. We need [feature], [feature], and [feature].
You: Alright. I think [product] would be perfect for you because we provide [feature]. I’ll tell you what though, you won’t learn much with me just telling you about it on the phone. Let’s book a demo and I’ll show you everything there.
Them: That sounds perfect. How’s Monday at 11am for you?
How to reach out over email
Cold sales emails are messages sent to potential clients or prospects. They break the ice for salespeople, help them generate and nurture leads, and can even help to close deals. Cold emails are convenient for both you and your recipient, they offer a way out of sticky situations you don’t get with face-to-face meetings, and you remain open for business 24/7. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Learn how to do it!
Let’s break down the perfect cold email, from the top.
The Subject Line is arguably the most important part of your cold email. It separates you from the spam and the million-and-one other marketing and cold emails that sit in your recipient’s inbox. The best advice here is to keep it short and sweet, try not to look like a robot, and engage your recipient straight off the bat.
Here are some angles you can approach your cold email subject line from…
- Open with a joke… “A horse walks into a bar…”
- Offer some intimacy… “Here’s an embarrassing story about me!”
- Share some common ground… “I see you were at [conference]”
- Show your professionalism with some formality… “[name], it’s nice to finally meet you”
- Go in, all guns blazing… “so you’re the [name] from [company] everybody is talking about?”
The opening line should be appropriately professional, but equally personal. Having researched your recipient, you can sweet talk them with a little bit of something like this…
- “Congratulations on [recent achievement].”
- “[Mutual contact] passed me your details and recommended that we get in touch.”
- “It was great to see you at [event].”
- “I loved your most recent [online post].”
The body is the meat and potatoes of your cold sales email. Even though it’s the longest part of your cold sales email, every little detail counts. Each line needs to persuade the reader to the next line whilst being informative and memorable. We’re good, but we can’t tell you exactly what to include in your cold sales email; every single one is different. Instead, we can give you a few structures that are proven as the most effective when it comes to engagement and link clicks…
The Closing Line is the ribbon you wrap around your cold email, the cream cheese frosting smothered on your carrot cake. You wouldn’t stop a film halfway through, or fade a song out just as it was getting to the chorus. The end is important and the closing line of your email should guide the recipient where to go next with a clear CTA.
- Urgent: Time is running out, sign up today!
- Personal: Nice to meet you, call me!
- Valuable: If you need anything, don’t hesitate to ask me.
- Excited: We’d be ecstatic to have you on board!
- Confident: We know our product is perfect for you.
The Email Signature is your modern-day business card. I’d tell you how to do it, but Liza wrote a blog post telling you how to do it, much better than I ever could.
How to reach out over social media
When it comes to reaching out over social media, authenticity and being yourself is key. Social media has become an extension of our own personalities, and it is about building relationships. Any relationship expert will tell you that relationships are built on trust and connectivity. This same rule applies to social media.
The thing about social media is the brevity of it; every tweet or comment you make is pretty much equivalent to the opening line of your email. Here are a few ideas for tweets or comments that are going to set your social media outreach campaign on fire.
How to follow up a cold email
Wow, you came so far. Respect. You might be forgiven for thinking that this is the end of your cold outreach adventure, that you are now a millionaire, and you plan to go helicopter shopping on Saturday. Please don’t... the hard work is still to come.
“What many people don’t realise is that the sale is very rarely made after the first email, call, or tweet. Cold outreach is only the beginning, and it actually takes an average of five follow-ups before a buying decision is made.
The sad thing is that 44% of sales reps give up after just one follow-up”
It ain’t over ‘til it’s over, baby. Give your recipient the opportunity to notice you again. Inboxes are busy places, and you can only assume that you got lost in the rabble. An effective follow-up campaign is as important as, if not more important than, your original cold outreach campaign.
This is the perfect time to bring the triple touch approach into action. If your original message was sent via email, give them a call. If it was a tweet, stick it in an email… and so on. Here are some tips on getting that follow up replied to.
- Keep it between 50 and 150 words. Consicity is key in getting your message across.
- Reference your previous correspondence, “I tweeted on Tuesday to see if…”
- Use trigger words to boost recipient attention. Find them, here.
- The best time to send a follow up email regarding a quotation is 3 - 5 days after the original email was sent.
- Don’t be pushy.
How to measure your cold outreach campaigns
There are three metrics we can measure against each other in order to gauge the effectiveness of our individual and aligned cold outreach campaigns.
How many cold calls did you make? How many cold emails did you send? How many tweets did you send? Knowing activity helps track how time is being spent, whilst providing a foundation for the following two metrics.
How many decision makers did you reach? How many were qualified for your product? Use this to determine whether you’re pursuing the right prospects and to test the quality of your lead list.
How many qualified decision makers moved on to the next step? The conversion metric is great for pinpointing the strengths and weaknesses of your pitch and close.
A good, informed cold outreach strategy can do wonders for your business.
Feedback? Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
Written and put together by the NetHunt team ❤️