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Sell or fail – cold email sales explained

Piotr Zaniewicz in

Blog/Sell or fail – cold email sales explained

Looking for customers is a challenge that never stops, and it’s stressful as hell because a lack of customers is why companies fail. I also know that sometimes founders all too easily miss the most obvious solutions that are right in front of us.

Cold mailing is one of the strategies that founders refuse to acknowledge (especially in Poland, where it takes one mention of cold mailing to instantly be called a “spammer”).

It’s powerful – but also has it’s limitations. In this post I’ll try to explain if you should be doing cold mailing – or looking for another way to find new customers. Let’s go!

What is cold mailing really?

diagram for cold sales email

It’s sending emails to potential clients that don’t know you yet. You’re assuming (based on research) that they are experiencing a problem, and you offer your solution in the least invasive way possible.

Instead of cold calling at inconvenient times (let’s be honest, any time is inconvenient for answering cold calls), you send a friendly email that will take only a tiny bit of someone’s time to read.

In practice, this means that you can build sales at your company without the need for sales expertise – you’re just sending emails to the right people. It becomes harder with scale though.

A big part of this strategy is targeting, which should be precise – you want to pin-point companies and the exact people within them that are most likely to benefit from what you’re offering. This is what differentiates cold mailing from spamming – the first is targeted, and done with the recipients’ benefit in mind.

The other make-or-break aspect of cold sales emailing is how well you can personalise messages. Performance in cold mailing depends largely on how well you can appeal to the pains that someone experiences everyday. It isn’t all that hard when you’re sending individual emails on small scale, but with large scale campaigns it becomes a big challenge.

Can cold mailing help your company get new clients?

You don’t need a big team or huge resources to do cold mailing. This is a strategy that you can execute anyway you freakin’ please.

Either guerrilla style – like we used to at the beginning, with no email or prospecting automation, mining contacts manually and measuring everything in big-ass spreadsheets. Or use a more sophisticated style like RightHello offers right now, with a huge database of contacts to pick from, email automation and descriptive analytics.

Generally speaking, companies that can get the most from cold mailing are close to- or directly a part of the B2B IT market.

It just doesn’t work if you’re targeting old-school, meeting-having, paper-reading, whiskey-drinking sectors like construction, heavy industry or gastronomy.

If that’s your target – you’ll be better off if you stick to cold-calling and other ways of traditional advertising.

People that work in these sectors aren’t online often because they have jobs where email isn’t important for business communication, rather for exchanging pics of grand kids every now & then. They might not have company addresses other than info@, which they don’t give a damn about anyways.

Anyways, if you’re in the right sector, let me answer a few additional questions for you:

Will it work if we’re a SaaS/agency/product company?

Ab-so-lutely for all three, under one condition though – the lifetime value of your customers is over 2.000$.

It just doesn’t make sense to sell cheap products or tiny services via email, unless you’re doing it as a promotional stunt to get the attention of a select group of customers – get a big clients. You would need huge scale from the start, meaning you’d end up just spamming a shitload of people.

Will it work if I’m targeting small/medium/corporate companies?

Small and medium businesses are great, because usually it’s easy to reach the right decision makers (founders make all decisions in small companies, in medium companies you might see VP’s or Managers of this or that, who shouldn’t be hard to find either)

Corporate mailing is a different ballgame. It takes time to figure out the right decision maker and reaching them is much harder than in smaller companies. Plus, there are much less corporate businesses that you can approach as opposed to SMBs – meaning that you will quickly run out of companies that you haven’t yet emailed.

Will it work if I’m a small/medium/corporate company?

You might think that this works for big companies with recognisable brands and a big team that has the resources to do it – and if so, you’ve got the wrong idea.

As long as you:

  • target the right companies
  • have someone to build lists of them with relevant contact emails
  • have copywriting skills to appeal to them
  • have a person to negotiate and close deals (which you can, and should, do as the founder in a small/medium company)

then the size of your company doesn’t matter.

Will it work if my target group is 100/1.000/10k/100k companies?

A 100 – nope, each customer is a goldmine and you have to carefully build personal relationships with them.

Cold mailing starts making sense if you have upwards of 1.000 potential customers. Gives you time to iterate different versions of emails until they start working, and gives you a few months of ongoing outreach without worrying about additional target groups.

Don’t dwell on this decision – start selling

Cold sales emailing is an effective way of acquiring new customers that you can start testing today. It’s not “spamming”, and people will respond – maybe not immediately, but they definitely will as you improve your outreach.

The faster you reach new clients, the better. If your sector is a rich ground for cold emailing, you can start conversations directly with the people that need you. If you still have doubts about this, contact us and me or my team will tell you all you need to know.

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Piotr Zaniewicz

Founder and CEO at RightHello. Believes that the most important validation of business ideas is to find paying clients. That’s when you know you’re going in the right direction.

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