Blog/Introduction to generating more leads with cold emails

Still not sure how emails can help you get new clients? In the B2B (business to business) tech industry, cold emails are one of the best ways to find them. It won’t be effective instantly – but patience and perseverance will grant you a very fruitful lead generation channel.

conservation about cold lead generation

Wikipedia defines Lead Generation as “the generation of consumer interest or inquiry into products or services of a business”. In other words, it simply means “guiding” potential customers, from having an unsatisfied need to confirming that your solution is what they need.

You could spend more money on ads, pop-ups and banners, which still work but no one really likes those on the internet.

I think that the core of lead generation is:

If you offer more value, you can expect more interest.

In cold emailing, this translates to (as Sujan Patel nicely put it): 

No matter what the reason for the email, the focus—and what you need to communicate—should be something that gives value to that person’s work

Generating leads with emails

most effective tactis to generate salesI’m not going to spin a story about how a single cold lead generation email can generate a huge stack of dollar bills. What I want to share is:

  • why cold email lead generation is a good way to develop new business relationships and generate sales leads
  • actions that make business-to-business (B2B) cold emailing effective

Why is it important to your business? I’m gonna let these stats speak for themselves and dive right into the subject.

What’s the point?

chuck norris rest after emailing leads

From a financial point of view, email marketing offers great ROI (up to 4000% as our practice shows). You can achieve a lot without making a big hole in your marketing budget.

…unless this single fact doesn’t convince you. In that case, here are a few additional perks of cold emailing:

  • less annoying

Cold emailing is not spamming. I think many people still use email as if it’s a phone – they answer whenever it rings, it might be something important, right? And they’re annoyed when a message doesn’t meet their expectations. Guess what, though – You don’t have to check all emails that you get.

Crazy, right? I believe you have to expect straightforward, descriptive subject lines and complete transparency from people. You also have the right to throw their emails right into the trash when they don’t meet your requirements.

Come on, if someone uses a subject like “Better UX for {company} app”, are you seriously going to open it and be annoyed that it’s wasting your time? Because I would open it only if I were interested in improving User Experience at the moment.

  • creative

You can try pretty much anything to personalise your message. Be aware of the risks, though – if you go crazy with your first email campaign and scare off hundreds of potential clients, you might have to look for a new target group.

  • scalable

Imagine scaling a cold-calling department – which would mean hiring a ton of new people, right? Scaling email marketing is much easier, as long as you have a quick way of finding potential customers and their email addresses.

Let’s do this!

describes 3 phases of lead generation email

Step 1 – segmentation & customer profile

You’ve probably figured it out already, but I often see that companies have either too broad of a customer profile (“IT companies”) or too narrow (“bitcoin startups that were recently funded”).

A workable target would be between a 10.000 and 100.000 decision makers worldwide. But in general – the smaller it is, the better you’ll be able to recognise their pains and address them in your messaging.

There are many factors to base your decision on. These are some of the questions you should be asking yourself:

  • In what city, state or country is my client?
  • In which industry?
  • How big of a team should my client’s company have?
  • How much revenue should they be generating?
  • Who can make the decision to buy my product in that company? (who’s the decision maker responsible for buying your type of services/products – we accelerate B2B sales, so we look for Sales Managers, etc.)

Of course, it all depends on what you’re selling. In your situation, very specific things might be important:

  • Are they VC/Angel-backed?
  • When was the company founded?
  • Do they use a specific technology?

This allows you to have really small subsets which are easy to reach and establish a relationship with. To me, a great target would be something like:

  • Sales Directors in companies:
  • that provide IT services
  • with a headcount above 50
  • in California

Step 2 – locating your customers

Once you figure out and decide upon certain criteria, you’re gonna have to figure out a way to mine data and constantly keep building prospect lists.

You could go for paid business to business (B2B) data providers, general or focused on technology/industry. Or build a process to get data from sites like, Crunchbase or LinkedIn. 

Stay away from buying ready lists of companies or people. 99% of them are really poor in quality (old emails, data that’s not up-to-date). Gathering the right data might just be the most important part of the process – you don’t want to be bothering the wrong people with your pitches, or better yet sending e-mails to addresses that don’t work any more. You want to generate quality email sales leads.

Step 3 – Writing an email pitch and followups

scene from hangover

I think the most important thing is getting into the right mindset before you write:

When improving your emails, you should go for adding more value and presenting your unique personality. Rember these rules! These will help you in generating sales leads from emails.

It’s the age of memes – in tech, the more quirky, honest and positive you are, the better responses.

In other industries (old-school people not familiar with the internet culture) – stick to just adding more value (free trials, consultations, helpful content like videos, webinars, ebooks).

Follow-ups serve two main purposes. You can present more value in multiple emails, instead of flooding someone with information in one sales pitch.

And one of the popular sales experts, Steli Efti (I highly recommend reading his blog) explains the other reason in his post:

In most cases, the real reason why people who don’t respond to your first cold email respond to your follow-up email is very simple: timing!

They may not have seen your previous email, but your 5th follow-up might pop into their inbox at the exact moment they’re paying attention to it.

Step 4 – Automating email outreach & followups

You don’t have to care about automation until you’re sending more than 50 e-mails weekly. You really don’t want to end up combing through spreadsheets to see whom you have to follow-up with.

Luckily there are great tools that will help you automate the whole process. Here’s a list of the ones I can recommend:

Step 5 – lead qualification and sales

Your short term goal is to schedule a call with email sales leads. The easiest way to qualify a lead is to have a one-on-one with the client.

You can ask questions to truly understand them, build a relationship and provide value by offering something helpful for their current situation.

My data tells me that if I didn’t get a call after exchanging 5 emails with a client, there’s a 95% chance I won’t close a deal. That’s why I’d say you should try to arrange a call from the introduction e-mail up until the last follow-up.

Once you get a call, you can move a client further through the process, or disqualify and move on to the next ones.

Check out a guide by Bartosz, head of sales, where he shares his strategies on converting a cold email response into a qualified lead.

Final word: be disciplined and patient

Selling is a game of numbers, and cold email sales even more so. You have to be determined to regularly put a lot of effort into it if you want results.

With each introduction or follow-up sent, the probability of getting a sale gets bigger.

What I often see are people that stop cold mailing because there are no immediate effects. The truth of the matter is that it might take at least a few months to get your first sale. But again, it gets easier with each new email, lead, and closed deal. 

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