B2B cold emailing was never easy as a pie, but it gets really tough when you aim at reaching C-level executives. In this post I’d like to share my experience of reaching some of the busiest people in sales and getting rocking reply rates with cold emails. This method will allow you to get everything done and hit “launch” button in 3-4 hours after you begin.
As always, at first you need a plan. Approach each separate step of your campaign into plain and simple ideas: targeting your C-level leads, sourcing and verifying their contact data, creating your email copy and scheduling your sequence flow and duration.
Prospect list: build and validate
I needed to reach very known segment of leads, so I browsed across the web and found a list of the Top 100 Sales Influencers on Twitter. You might spend some time figuring out how to set different data mining and extraction patterns but as soon as you’re done with this you start saving LOTS of time.
So, after you found yourself in front of an Excel sheet with initial data scrapped and formatted the way you like, it time carrying out a smart research to cover missing fields (in my case, I only had to find emails, but employment information is usually much more exposed). To save time and peace of mind I’d recommend you use a combination of tools that will find almost anyone’s email address.
Must have tools to nail email data
For social media profiles, use Connectifier, SellHack and EmailHunter (the last one works wonders in LinkedIn). To locate electronic mail data from web sources, make use of Chrome extensions like EmailExtractor plus the good old EmailHunter will give you a hand. In case you only have your prospects’ name and company, you’d want to go for tools like VoilaNorbert and Name2Email (this one is built by Reply and is free for everyone).
After 2 hours you end up with about 80% of the email addresses to perfectly complement your list. Still there’s one more step to make it work really well – make sure these emails are valid and secure your delivery rate along with email reputation. There’s a bunch of services and apps out there that make it work: MailTester, IsValid, Synapp.io, BuikEmailChecker, BriteVerify, and so on and so force.
Crafting email copy plus follow ups
When reaching out to A-level players you should follow a simple rule: connection first, pitch last. When you contact people that are considered to come from major league, it’s not a reason to both hesitate or push. Take a deep breath, call all your patience for help if worried and go get their attention.
There are two things that open doors and hearts for you: adding value or asking for advice. I picked the last option for reaching to top sales experts as they obviously have a lot of background that results in extremely valuable and trustworthy recommendations. Ask for a small favor that would be easy to make, idea validation, opinion on specific question or a 5-min interview for your corporate blog. Anything that doesn’t take much time and effort and still create engagement will work. Keep in mind that such kind of relationship requires strategic thinking and delicate approach, so make sure you don’t start pitching right after your first engagement.
If content is the king, become a vassal
After you’ve done preparing the data ground, it’s time to write a killer email copy that will make they get back to you with something more than “no, thanks”/”not interested” note. Think about what your prospects care about. What is that they love and hate, their hopes and pains, something that they have in common and what makes them stand out from all the rest. Find a way to address to that and connect it with your field of expertise.
Despite not having actual writing automation, there is still a set of really helpful and smart tools you can use when writing an email copy. Simple yet marvelous writing space like ZenPen and Paragraphs is fresh air after years with Word and LibreOffice. Perks from Draft and Gramally will have your back covered in terms of spelling and grammar errors. Advisory services like Hemingway and Writefully will make your writing easier to read and embrace. Make sure you introduce yourself and mention how you found your contact’s profile, state the reason for contact clearly whether it’s asking for feedback or some pain you can help with. Built-in call-to-action in the end is a must-do.
The perks of smart email automation
When it comes to cold contact, smart outreach automation is the best option. The way it is focused on helping you reach highest reply rate make is perfect when it comes to Sales 2.0 model. Using tools like Reply, you can quickly set up a sequence of emails and advantage of A/B testing feature on the go.
Indicate several touch points and pick a certain number of days to wait before every other follow up (normally, the more follow ups sent, the longer the gap should be), set a delivery schedule so that your emails hit your prospects when they are more likely to respond (by the way, C-level executives are more likely to read and respond to your message on weekends) or invest more time in customizing your message.
Hopes and expectations
Once you pull the lever, it’s time to keep eye on your inbox (with Reply you can set a text message notification via Zapier and a number of other tools to keep you alert) and analytical data. Use it to track relations and locate patterns that will help you constantly improve your results. And, let’s admit it, we all like to look at lovely increscent charts and understand it’s what we do that makes it real.
After all, the best thing your email automation tool can do for you is make your emails look 100% manually written. Due to that I was able to get 39% reply rate after one email and a single follow up. Along with this, adding some personal touch will also get you a pretty high response rate from any kind of prospects. Test this approach and you will build as many exceptional business relationship as you need to have.
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