Sending cold emails and follow-up email after follow-up email with low response rates is frustrating. Ineffective cold email is often ignored by leads. The worst cold emails can even be reported as spam emails by recipients affecting your organization's ability to contact others.
Cold email marketing can also be a wildly successful way to achieve your business goals. It has been used by passionate founders to land investors and talented sales reps to smash their territory sales goals.
We suggest evaluating your organization's strengths and weaknesses before adding cold email to your sales process.
Cold email is a fit for your business if:
Spray and pray is not a good strategy for a cold email campaign. Successful marketers must create an ideal customer profile to inform their research. Then, marketers need to identify the contact in an organization that matches the profile and locate their email address. If you're unable to effectively find this information, you may want to rethink adding cold email to your sales process.
There are tons of cold email templates to sort through on Google. I'll admit as a younger marketer in over my head at a sales-driven organization, I leaned on these templates. Although I don't recommend copy and pasting these templates for your cold outreach, I do recommend reading through a few of the top results. Reading through these templates will at least give you a few ideas of what not to do.
For example, below is a common conclusion for a sales email template.
"I’d like to speak with someone from [company] who is responsible for [handling something that's relevant to my product]. If that’s you, If not you, can you please put me in touch with the right person?"
This should not be part of your cold outreach. You need to KNOW who to contact before you hit send!
The difference between a good cold email and a bad one is research and writing. Sales reps will need to be able to use tools at their disposal to research leads. They will need to understand the needs of your ideal customer and how to find them online. They will also need to be able to efficiently craft eye-catching subject lines and engaging email copy.
If your current staff doesn't possess these skills, cold outreach isn't a great fit for your organization. That doesn't mean it couldn't be a part of your strategy in the future. It does mean that you will need to prioritize training for your current team or hiring new staff with these skills to successfully shift your strategy.
The number of leads and the corresponding number of emails your team will need to send will vary dramatically by your industry and market. There are only 24 hours in a day. Obviously, the more emails you need to send, the larger the team needs to be to send them.
Tech companies targeting enterprise accounts have huge teams to fill their sales pipeline. Salesforce, Dell, Oracle, and IBM all have more than 1,700 sales development reps. Taskdrive estimates that the cost of a sales development rep (SDR/BDR) is between $6,000-$10,000 per SDR per month. You can see how cold outreach could quickly get expensive.
You do NOT have to be Salesforce to have a cold email outreach operation that increases revenue.
You do NOT have to have 2,406 SDRs to execute your cold email strategy.
You do NOT have to have a single SDR to be successful with cold emailing.
Local businesses that serve a small population in their area can help scale their employees' prospecting efforts by providing them with cold emailing software and other tools. Useful tools include sales automation software (Outreach.io, Woodpecker.co, etc.) and research software/subscriptions (LinkedIn Sales Navigator or Hunter.io). These software solutions also come with a price tag, but they're much less than $6,000/month.
Larger businesses will need to invest in manpower and cold emailing software to maximize their outreach efforts. Sales teams that attempt cold outreach at a scale that's larger than their team can handle will send uninspired and ineffective outreach.
We suggest that these larger businesses invest in cold outreach staff in stages. Start small, add 1 or 2 SDRs to your team. Establish systems, train them, and run measurable experiments to improve their outreach efforts. After a predetermined period of time, evaluate the performance of your team's efforts and decide how to move forward. You could decide that cold outreach isn't for you or you could see positive results and decide to double your SDR team.
If you're going to cut corners with cold emailing, please do NOT add it to your sales process. Potential customers are busy and you're not the only cold email in their inbox.
A successful cold outreach email strategy takes buy-in from company leadership. Leadership that is impatient will push team members to hard sell potential customers prematurely. No one loves unsolicited emails, and they hate self-serving sales pitches. That doesn't mean leaders can't demand results, but they must buy into a longer-term nurturing strategy.
Ultimately, success in cold email outreach comes down to those in the trenches: the people who are writing subject lines, experimenting with copy, setting up follow-up emails, and doing the research needed to send personalized emails.