Having doubts about the ability of cold email outreach to grow your B2B business? Here’s how to fix your broken B2B cold email campaign.
Before we dive into what works, what doesn’t, and where to start, consider the following quote from successful tech entrepreneur, Dmitry Dragilev:
Everything I’ve achieved in my career, I’ve achieved … through cold email. I took a startup from 0 to 40M page views and sold it to Google … through cold email. I’ve published 1400+ guest posts and articles in most well known publications … through cold email. I’ve built relationships with Gary Vaynerchuck, Tim Ferriss, Matt Mullenweg founder of WordPress, the Winklevoss Twins, on and on and on … through cold email.
If slow, cumbersome companies like Salesforce can grow year-on-year thanks to the power of business-to-business cold email outreach then surely you, as a fast-moving, nimble B2B tech business, can do the same.[toc]
How To Improve An Under-Performing B2B Cold Email Campaign
You’ve already taken the first step to improving your business email outreach campaign just by taking a few minutes to read this post and take in a few new ideas.
Other people aren’t as proactive. they’re the ones who keep getting the same underwhelming results.
Rather than try to change everything at once, break it down into core components to make it easier to improve your business-focused cold email campaign.
Here are the four components you can work on:
- Email Content
Let’s start with Targeting.
1. Improve Your B2B Cold Email Campaign With Better Targeting
Identifying the right targets is obviously a hugely important aspect of filling your sales pipeline with cold email.
However, there’s more to targeting than meets the eye.
Targeting can include two main elements:
Personalization: Items such as name, job title, company name, industry.
Actionable Data: Pieces of information that indicate that the sales prospect is in the market for your type of product or service.
When it comes to actionable data, most people stick to the basics:
- Company Name
- Company Size
Unfortunately, this often leads to dull, cookie-cutter email messages that are a dime a dozen.
Low-level personalization leads to temptation of the bad email kind like this one shared by Jill Konrath in her excellent article here.
Example of an ineffective cold B2B email/sales brochure you’ll be tempted to write when you have no personalization elements
My name is Jennifer with XYZ Sales Training. We improve sales performance though our unique blend of sales technology and experience, resulting in 89% better quota achievement. Our industry-leading methodology has helped more than 650,000 sales professionals find and close more deals, and our proven sales process makes your forecast and pipelines accurate by putting science behind it.
It all gets delivered through our BigDeal® technology – the on-demand Sales Performance Automation application that operates standalone, or can be integrated with your existing CRM system to produced sustained, measurable results. And to ensure that your sales teams get the full benefit, our virtual learning system delivers on-the-job training worldwide – reinforced by expert coaching.
I am not sure if you would be the appropriate contact, but I am trying to find the person at your organization who evaluates our type of program offering. Would it be possible for us to speak for 5 minutes or can you point me to the correct person to contact? Find out how organizations like Microsoft, Xerox, Honeywell, Siemens, United Healthcare and Adobe have found success with our offering and how [not provided] can find similar achievement.
Thank you in advance for any assistance you can provide. I kindly await your response!
Of course, a lack of personalization doesn’t cause bad emails, but it doesn’t help either.
17 Examples of Actionable Data To Use For Improved Targeting & Personalization
- Company Revenue
- Website Popularity
- Current Job Vacancies (including duration and location of vacancies)
- Software and tracking used on website
- Keywords on website
- Verticals/sub-industries within industries
- Customer reviews (volume and quality)
- Monthly tech spend
- Number of social media followers (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc)
- Trip Advisor reviews
- YouTube reviews
- New staff appointments & personnel changes
- Grants received and funding raised
- Earnings Release (positive and negative)
- Awards won
- Company growth rate
- Business model (eg. Advertising, Affiliate, Classifieds, Consulting, Direct Sales, Events, Freemium, Lead Generation, Marketplace, On-Demand, etc)
Imagine how much more powerful your email outreach campaign will become when you include some of these pieces of actionable data.
2. Improve Your B2B Cold Email Campaign With Better Email Content
After bad targeting, bad email content is the next cause of an under-performing B2B email outreach campaign.
As Kishen Sreehari said in his excellent article on cold B2B email:
“One of the biggest mistakes in Outbound attempts is thinking it’s about you. It’s never about you, it’s always about the other person.”
There are various elements of a cold email for which you should always consider how to make it about the prospect and not about you.
Such Them-Not-You elements of cold emails to consider include:
- Subject Lines
- Sender’s Name
- Opening Lines
- Length of Message
- Features vs Benefits
- Calls To Action
Here’s a simple structure to follow when planning your message:
- Consider who you’re emailing
The email copy that works great for one customer segment might totally miss the point with others. Unfortunately, there are no one-size-fits-all solutions – thus testing is your best friend.
- Keep it short
Nobody wants to read an entire novel in their inbox. Keep them short, frank and to the point.
- Don’t focus on features, focus on the value you bring
Your prospect doesn’t care about your features. What she cares about is the value you can provide to her and her company.
- Have a single, clear CTA (Call-To-Action)
Make sure you only ask for one thing – even if it’s just a simple, short reply. Sometimes you just want to start the dialogue.
- Make it stand out
Think about all the aspects of your email that will help it stand out in the inbox: subject line, length, social proof, email signature, etc.
- Always be personalizing
Make sure that include some references to their company, their mentions in the press, recent achievements, common connections, etc.
Follow these steps as you’ll already be on the road to improved performance in your outreach campaign.
3. Improve Your B2B Cold Email Campaign With Follow-Up
You’ve probably seen the statistics on sales follow-up.
In short, the more you follow-up, the more likely you are to make the sale.
In the following podcast interview, marketing guru, Noah Kagan summed this advice from his in-house sales and email marketing expert, Anton Sepetov: Don’t give up.
Anton reported: “One of things shocking about e-mail sales was 50% of responses come on my second email.”
As Noah points out: “If you’re giving up after just one email, you could be missing out on 50% more potential leads, money, and sales.
Plus, if you think your email can help the other person, you owe it to yourself to try and get it seen.”
Plan to follow-up with sales prospects in order to boost your sales.
4. Improve Your B2B Cold Email Campaign With Optimization
Once you’ve discovered your target market, crafted the right cold email, and planned your follow-up sequence, you can now launch and optimize your B2B email outreach campaign.
By optimize, we mean, examine the various elements that make up the campaign and then test and measure the elements with the aim of improving overall performance.
Optimization ideas to help you fix a broken B2B cold email campaign include:
- Narrower targeting per campaign: Rather than be all things to all people in your messaging, can you zoom in to identify narrower segments in your audience? For example, which of these has more resonance in the auto industry: “… the service is designed to help finance managers” or the narrowly-focused “…the service is designed to help finance managers in the [Location] automotive industry.”
- Subject Lines: No-one is going to read your cold email if they don’t open it. The subject line is the gatekeeper so it’s a good place to start when it comes to testing the various aspects of your broken B2B cold email campaign.
- Email elements: Spend as much or as little time as you like on optimizing the content elements of your emails but, either way, spend some time. You can split-test the opening line of your message, the depth of personalization used throughout, the length of the message, and so on. Whatever elements you work on though, be sure to keep WIIFM in mind: What’s In It for Me? Avoid talking to much about yourself and your company. Instead, focus on how the reader will benefit.
- Calls To Action: What Call To Action are you using? Are you asking for a phone call? A meeting? A click to a sales page on your website or perhaps to your meeting scheduling service? Perhaps you’re asking who’s the best person to contact within the business? These Calls To Action matter and are worth examining in more detail to see if you can get a boost in campaign performance.
- Buying Signals: You’ve got basic data in place, such as Job Title and Industry, but are there any buying signals that you can overlay to increase the chances of turning the lead into a sale? For instance, if you’re a marketing technology company, have your prospect companies recently added Google Adwords or Facebook tracking code to their websites which might indicate they are looking for growth opportunities? If you sell corporate reputation management services, do your prospects have high or low ratings on the various online review platforms? Are there other indicators that a business might now be in the market for your products or services? Scroll up to Section 1 for more buying signal ideas such as Company Revenue, Website Popularity, Current Job Vacancies, Software and tracking used on website, Keywords on website, Sub-industries, Number of social media followers, Grants received and funding raised, Business model, and more.
B2B email outreach is a powerful way of acquiring new customers. Just don’t get stuck with a broken B2B cold email campaign
If you’re wondering sort of buying signals might apply to your campaigns, take a look at how Brightest Minds can help.