This is a guest blog post by Tytus Golas - the CEO and founder of Tidio Live Chat - customer engagement software boosted with chatbots.
“Can I actually sell anything with cold emails?”
“Isn’t it what they call SPAM?”
These are the questions you might ask yourself when considering cold emails for lead generation and sales.
Thinking this way is totally reasonable. Cold emailing gets a lot of bad fame, mostly because of the poorly written mass emails and spammy behavior of senders.
Well, the real answer is: absolutely not, cold email is still the way to go.
How’s spam different?
It often has fake senders, isn’t personalized, aims at reaching the masses, and is not looking to start a conversation.
If you create a well-written, personalized, and to-the-point cold email with a relevant offer, you won’t be a spammer. Quite the contrary - you might even become your audience’s best friend. And did I mention the tons of leads you can generate? That’s right.
Why am I so sure about this?
With almost 4 billion active email users and an average email open rate of 21.33% across all industries, email remains one of the best marketing techniques.
In fact, emails can be extremely useful in building effective sales funnels and they can become your secret weapon, too, if you know how to do it right.
There’s a lot of mistakes to be made and they give cold emails that bad reputation. It’s not uncommon to come across ridiculous things like a wrong name or a misleading subject line.
Alright, drama aside, here I am to teach you how to nail your cold sales emails by showing you the best sales techniques for b2b you can use.
Let’s dive in!
Cold emails vs Email Marketing
You know what, let me slow things down just a bit, Mr. I-wanna-know-it-all-and-I-want-it-NOW.
If we’re going to make your cold email outreach as successful as it can possibly be, we gotta set a few important things straight.
First and foremost, in order for you to learn how to sell with cold email outreach, you have to understand the difference between cold emailing and email marketing.
No worries, it’s really simple.
The two seem to be quite similar, but there’s one important difference.
You send cold emails to people you had no previous contacts with. Yes, it’s all about contacting a total stranger, if you will.
Email marketing, however, is about sending emails to people you’ve connected with before. So they’re not total strangers. They could be your blog subscribers or customers you share your kickass content and sales offers with.
The Basics of the Cold Email Outreach Strategy
What would you do if I told you that selling was the last thing you should focus on when thinking of your cold email outreach strategy?
Yes, not the first, but the last.
You see, you can’t just walk up to some and try to convince them to buy something from you.
I mean, you surely can, but most people you’ll ask will be like...
Yep, not a good way to sell.
Before approaching anyone with a cold email and trying to convince them to buy from you, you have to do your homework.
The most important one?
Find and Research People you Want to Reach out to.
That’s right, I’m sure you saw it coming.
Finding your target audience doesn’t just mean stuffing your email list with new names and addresses and hoping they’d consider the same offer.
It means collecting information that can make your emails more relevant and interesting to them.
If you have no idea where your crowd is hanging out or, God forbid, what they do for a living, you have a problem.
A big one.
And you gotta solve it first before hitting that “send” button.
So here’s what you do.
First, start with defining a “buyer persona.”
You can think about it this way: you can’t create a good cold email if you don’t know who you’re writing to.
A persona is a detailed description of your ideal customer. It goes beyond their job position and email address and includes details like priorities, pain points, interests, business goals, and other characteristics.
In this situation, you’re like a story writer who develops characters.
For example, if you’re developing a buyer persona for a B2B business, here are some of the most common points to include:
- Demographic information
- Educational background
- Job experience
- Their business goals and challenges (pain points)
- Their main motivations to achieve the goals
- How do they measure success?
The end result of your buyer persona project should be a document like this one below. It should neatly summarize all information points - including the answers to the questions above - and be clear enough for your marketing team to understand.
Here’s a buyer persona template used by Tidio, a live chat & chatbot software. It combines the most relevant information areas - goals, frustrations, motivation, personality, demographics, etc. - and gives a good idea of an ideal customer.
After learning all of these points, you should have a good understanding of where to begin with your cold emails and how to create content for lead generation.
The next step at this point is to find online communities where people like your buyer personas hang out. These could be LinkedIn groups, forums, question-and-answer websites, reviews sites, and other online places.
Make a list of the people who you think fit the description of your buyer persona. Now, it’s time to take a look at their profiles to get more information.
Here some common types of profiles with the most relevant information:
- LinkedIn profile. It has some contact info, experience, content sharing activity, interests, skill list, certifications, articles, and other things you can use to make a good email.
- Personal profile on the company’s website. If you find website sections like “About Us,” “Meet Us,” “About the Team,” or something like this on the website of the company the individual works for, be sure to check it out.
- Personal website. There’s a chance that the individual you’re researching has their own websites, which is a great place to find something that could help with establishing a connection with them.
Believe me, even basic research like this can help you not sound silly, or even worse, ridiculous. Plus it shows that you’re not just another salesperson trying to push products onto them.
Once you know who should be your target, it’s time to use an email finder tool such as Hunter or Voila Norbert to get their email addresses. Then, you could create a spreadsheet to track your progress and keep things organized.
Easy peasy, right?
But let’s assume that this is the homework you’ve done beforehand. So what’s next?
Come up With an Offer Based on Your Research
Now, try to find ways to make your offer relevant based on the research you’ve done. This works to increase the chance that they’ll click on your email and read what you have to say.
Since the way to make your offer relevant is to present it as a solution for the recipient’s problem, try to come up with a list of potential challenges that you can help them with overcoming.
For example, some of the most common challenges faced by both B2B and B2C buyer personas are:
- Improving lead generation
- Increasing sales
- Getting more product feedback from customers
- Improving customer satisfaction
- Too much to do, too little time
- Doing more with less money
- Choosing the most promising technology
- Designing digital products
Of course, these are just ideas. Each buyer persona has unique pain points and challenges, so do your homework.
So, you need to present your product or service as a solution to those challenges. Try to think about ways to make it sound like they need it badly:
- Mention a competitor who’s used a similar product and improved their results
- Ask a question about a pain point, e.g. “Are you struggling with lead generation?”
The connection between the recipient’s problem and your solution should be the main point of your cold email templates.
Your offering should be described as a clear, tangible benefit that helps with resolving the target problem, to maximize the chance of engaging the reader.
In some cases, however, you can begin the letter with something different.
For example, if you’ve found that the person has recently won an award or had a successful product launch, congratulating them would be a nice way to start.
4 Best Sales Techniques For B2B You Can Use in Your Cold Email Outreach
The time has finally come.
Now, you’re finally ready to learn some magic.
Sales Technique for B2B #1 - Offer Something Free
This is one of the most common sales technique for B2B in cold emailing that focuses on providing a free product for the recipient. It could be a free trial, a time-limited subscription, a free product or service, a free consultation, or a generous discount.
Offering a solution to a problem faced by the lead for free is a great technique (because of the obvious reason).
Here’s an example of a cold email we’ve received recently from TeamBuzz - an employee feedback tool.
Why did we like this sales technique for B2B?
Let’s break it down quickly to see why it got our attention:
- It has a catchy, short subject line that made me open it.
- It provides us with some interesting data, possibly relevant to our company.
- It offers a no-risk solution to try out.
Apart from it, the email is written in a very conversational tone and has clear CTA (to sign up for a trial).
Perhaps it’s a bit too salesy and it could be more relatable to our company (mentioning something truly relevant to Tidio), but it was good enough to spark our curiosity in the tool.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that your offer should be relevant and valuable enough for the recipient to consider giving it a shot.
Is that enough? Of course not.
To reinforce your offer, mention the most important benefits associated with your offer. Make sure that the benefits are also relevant for the recipient.
Another major thing is to remove any obstacles that could prevent the recipient from saying ‘yes.”
For example, don’t make any additional offers - having too many choices can confuse the reader and eventually result in him or her not taking any action at all..
Sales technique for B2B #2 - Scarcity is the Key
This is another common sales technique for B2B cold email outreach that plays on the fear of missing out.
The famous #FOMO if you will.
Chances are that you’ve received emails like this before. The ones that say the offer is valid for a limited time only, so you better hurry, remember?
The goal here is to create an urgency that delivers that extra encouragement to respond to the letter.
This technique is old as time but always has a good shot.
Here’s an example.
I noticed you were checking out new lead generation tools.
Next week, we’ll be running a very special promotion for our [product], up to -50 percent. Are you interested? Please let me know, as I think we’ll be out of promo codes pretty soon.
And here's another one:
You should definitely try to use scarcity for your cold outreach strategy.
Here’s how to sprinkle some scarcity on the buying decision:
- Telling them how much they could save if they buy now. In other words, focus on the cost of not taking your offer, e.g. “Don’t lose 50 new monthly customers by trying our lead generation tool”
- Saying that you have a limited number of products left. In many cases, the loss of availability can make a product or service more desirable
- Making a limited-time offer. For example, mention that your product comes in a 24-hour only promotion.
Sales Technique for B2B #3 - Use the Outsider Approach
This is a technique for grabbing the attention of the reader right away. Here’s how you do it: begin your letter by sharing some benefits of becoming an insider and trying your product/service.
Hi Mark, 80 percent of our customers, including Company1 and Company2 are consistently hitting their lead generation targets thanks to our Tool. Do you want to know how we helped them discover critical lead generation shortcomings?
A message like this uses the outsider approach which:
- highlights the rewarding experiences that similar persons or businesses are having
- makes the person eager to buy by incorporating the fear of missing out.
Recently, we’ve helped 20 small businesses to increase the lead generation rate by 5 percent by using the most effective strategies of competitors. Want to join them and see what your competitors are doing?
Why is this example good?
- It shows a clear benefit for joining you (a higher lead generation rate)
- It gives a glimpse of what you’ll get if you sign up (real lead generation strategies of competitors)
- It provides justification for your offer by saying that there are a specific number of companies that have already benefited from joining you.
Sales technique for B2B #4 - Become their Best Friend
“I love reading cold emails that sound like a sales pitch!”
Said no one, ever.
It’s like being approached by a salesperson who’s trying to get to you to buy something you don’t need.
That’s why marketing talk is a big no-no for a cold email. It makes people read the first line, cringe for a sec, and then click on the “Report Spam” button.
Writing cold emails in a simple, conversational language is the best option for getting responses. Seriously, your text should sound the way you’d say it to a person in a real conversation. The tone of the message, especially when you don’t know the recipient, should:
- Be light and positive. If it’s not, your message will sound like a research paper
- Have a personality. This is to avoid the typical generic tone that cold emails have. Writing the message in a way you talk is definitely the best way to go
- Make sure to use your own name. It makes you look like a real, interesting person, not a spammer who cares about nothing but selling. Feel free to include some facts about yourself, too.
- Use humor with caution. Inappropriate humor can create a perception of you as an amateur, unprofessional person.
Perhaps instead of trying to present your offer in the first email, you might want to build a rapport, encourage your target audience to check out your resources, or get in touch with you.
Building a Rapport
One way to generate leads is to try to build a relationship and then discuss doing business together. Just think about it: people receive tens if not hundreds of emails every day, and most of them are impersonal.
So, you have a chance to stand out. Here’s an example to consider:
And another one:
I’m a longtime reader of your blog. Love your amazing case studies on content marketing.
I’ve just published an eBook on email marketing strategies for small businesses with lots of templates and examples.
Is there any way we can get in touch? Would love to hear what you think.
By doing so, you can start by talking about common interests rather than your offers, and build a relationship.
Checking out a Valuable Resource.
Do you have original research to share with your prospects? If you do, then you should definitely ask if they’re interested in checking it out.
You guys have been doing an amazing job with growing your sales for the second straight year!
Impressive increase like yours typically means that companies get more customer support queries. We’ve recently conducted market research that shows how businesses scale their customer support teams.
Would you be interested in checking out this report to know how to maximize customer satisfaction with your service?
Getting in Touch
Another way to start building a relationship with a prospect is to ask to get in touch in the way they prefer. If you hit on the pain point that he or she has, chances are good that they will be willing to talk.
A very important thing to keep in mind is to make the email focused on that pain point.
Here’s an example:
I understand that you’re the head of growth at Company. I have experience helping businesses like yours with increasing lead generation rate by as much as 30 percent.
That said, I’d love to discuss how Company can advance lead generation in just a few months.
Are you available for a quick meeting next week? Here’s the link to my calendar in case you’d like to book it right now: [the link to the calendar]
Mentioning your lead’s competitor
When trying to catch attention of your lead, try to mention their competitor in your cold email. It adds both social proof and reputation as well as fear of missing out that the lead’s competitor is staying ahead.
A typical email would look like this:
Target customer: Coca-Cola
Subject: Coca-Cola + CloudTalk
I'm David with CloudTalk - a modern call center software for Enterprise businesses - and I'm reaching out because we've recently onboarded Pepsi and I'm sure Coca-Cola could benefit from CloudTalk's advanced functionality as well.
Would you be interested in setting up a quick call to learn more about CloudTalk's benefits?
No cold email outreach is complete without a follow-up message. Essentially, it should convey the same message in other words; the only difference is the first sentence where you say that you had messaged them earlier.
To avoid getting filtered out by spam protection and improve the deliverability of your cold emails, don’t be over-aggressive with the follow-ups. Wait a day or two after sending the first message to get as many emails delivered as possible.
Here some of the cold email outreach best practices to keep in mind:
- Remind them that you had tried to connect before. A perfect place for this is right after the greeting
- Make sure to send a second email in the same thread. The recipient should be able to find the first message easily
- Never send the same email for the follow-up. Most people have a really good eye for spotting spam and mass emails, so they can tell if a message is repetitive
- Add the recipient’s name and their company in the email subject line. This is a basic personalization element that shows that you’ve done your research homework (applies both to first and follow-up emails)
- Ask a question in the subject line. In most cases, the people seeing the question will automatically try to answer it, meaning that the email generates some attention right away
- Make sure that 90% of the email text is about the recipient. No point bragging about yourself here
- Always finish with a call to action. This is a message that describes the action you’d like the recipient to take, e.g. reply to you, sign up for a free trial, book a meeting. Make sure to finish off the email’s text with a call to action so the reader knows clearly what to do if they’re interested.
Cold emailing isn’t spam. It’s personalized, focuses on the benefits for the recipient, comes from a real person, and is aimed at starting a real conversation.
If done right, cold emailing could help your lead generation and lead conversion efforts. So instead of crossing it off, make sure to include it in your marketing strategy for 2020!