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Cold outreach is a tried and true way to get more leads into your pipeline. According to a survey conducted by DiscoveryOrg, 75% of executives are willing to schedule a follow-up conversation based on a cold call or email alone.
Like most sales tactics, cold outreach takes strategizing, testing, and practice to perfect. We’ll go over how cold outreach can benefit your business, as well as proven tips for improving your cold calls, emails, and LinkedIn messages. But first, let’s touch on the benefits of cold outreach if you’re convinced it doesn’t work.
You can’t just rely on your inbound marketing to pull the sales weight for your business. Proactively reaching out to leads is a great way to stack your sales pipeline, whether you’re an early-stage startup or a well-established company.
Not everyone is browsing your website or social media channels. Cold outreach lets you reach people who otherwise might have not found you through inbound channels.
Having a direct conversation with someone can speed up the process from prospect to purchase. You serve as a direct guide to all of their questions and concerns and do so proactively. No bouncing back and forth on impersonal channels. This also shows your customers that you mean business and are proactive about helping them.
Most of your cold outreach will take place by phone, email, or LinkedIn. These three areas are where you’ll want to improve for better results out of your cold outreach efforts. Let’s start with picking up the phone and placing cold calls.
Cold calling is still alive and well, so it’s an important skill to practice and master. According to a study by RAIN Group, 69% of buyers interviewed said they accepted one or more cold calls in 2019. However, poor cold calling can equally hurt your outreach efforts and your business. This is why we’ve compiled nine tips for getting better at cold calling.
Do your research
This might sound obvious, but it’s important to do your research before dialing. Make sure you’re reaching out to the right people and that you have a firm grasp on their company, background, and possible pain points. Doing so will ensure that your outreach is more targeted and personalized.
State your full name and company right away
Don’t skirt around who you are and where you’re calling from. This may make you come off as shady. Within the first few seconds of the call, state your first and last name as well as your company to assert your legitimacy.
Learn from every call
Not every call will go well or according to plan, and that’s okay. What’s more important is that you learn from each cold call and incorporate your findings into future conversations. Keep note of what people respond well to as well as what they respond poorly to in order to fine-tune your scripts.
Practice your scripts
Practice makes close-to-perfect. As we stated above, you should always be fine-tuning your scripts based on your learnings, but you should also practice them, too. Finding your rhythm, your strong points, and your weak points before you pick up the phone will only set you up for success.
Use software to automate your workflow
Thankfully, we live in a world where marketing tools and technology can automate some of our cold outreach activities. Instead of taking notes on your iPhone, use CRM software to record conversation notes and keep track of each stage in your sales pipeline.
Even though cold outreach is outbound outreach, you’re bound to get an influx of inbound calls once you kick things off. An inbound call center can help you field customer calls so that your sales team can prepare and present their best solutions.
Add emotion to your delivery
The difference between you and a robocall is simple: you’re not a robot. Make sure that’s clear to your prospects by using different intonations and inflections while you read your script. Avoid sounding monotonous – remember, you want to keep your prospects engaged for as long as you possibly can.
Discuss next steps
Before you hang up, it’s critical that you spend time discussing the next steps. Align with your prospect on what the best plan of action is following the call. You’re there to guide them through a decision or series of decisions, so it’s best to end with a follow-up plan rather than a hard sell.
Pinpoint the best times to call
There’s a right time of day for everything, including calls. Hubspot found that the best time to make a sales call was between 4:00 and 5:00 PM in the prospect’s timezone. Take note of the best times that work for your prospects and schedule your workday accordingly.
Master the art of the voicemail
Chances are, you’ll get sent to voicemail a lot. A reported 97% of cold calls end up as voicemails.
Voicemails are still a great opportunity to engage with a prospect. When you hear the tone, make sure you keep the same upbeat tone you would use if they had answered. Your script should be very short (less than 30 seconds) and end with an urgent call-to-action.
Chances are, 30 seconds or less won’t be enough to say everything you want to say. Leave follow-up voicemails that include different information.
Let’s be honest, it’s not exactly a cakewalk to get people to open an email, let alone engage with it. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth the effort. Emails are more scalable than phone calls and can help you reach people where they’re actively spending time: their inbox. Here are our top nine tips on how to send more effective cold emails
Start with an enticing email subject line
The most important part of any email is the subject line. The average office worker receives 121 emails a day, so you need to craft a subject line compelling enough to stand out in their inbox.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to put the person’s first name in the subject line. Subject line personalization can boost your cold email open rate by 22%. Most email clients will also have A/B testing tools that you can use to find which subject lines drive the highest open rates. Below is an example of a subject line that cuts through the noise:
Introduce who you are
Think of your cold emails as being more like IRL introductions. Write a friendly opener that tells the recipient a little bit about who you are and what you do. Doing so builds trust and humanizes your email.
Explain the “why”
After you’ve introduced yourself, it’s time to explain why you’ve reached out. Just like with your subject line, there is an opportunity here to make your email more personal. Did you notice something specific that would make them an excellent candidate for your product or service? Did a friend or former colleague suggest that you reach out? Giving them context about why they’re being contacted is important.
Prove the “how”
Once you’ve explained the why you can touch on the how. How are you going to solve their pain points? What experience, data points, or qualifications do you have? Why should they choose you above anyone else? Why do the pain points you’ve pointed out a matter or need solving?
Don’t be too pushy
Remember, you’re entering someone’s inbox without having any prior interactions with them. If they’ve taken the time to open and read through your email, you don’t want to come off as too aggressive or demanding. This is off-putting.
Instead, be friendly, cordial, and straight to the point. No nonsense, just facts. Keeping it real is the way to go.
Remember that showing empathy in your emails is one of the most important factors of customer communication.
Have a professional-looking email signature
Your email signature matters. Before sending, check to see if you have your full name, job title, company website, and phone number at the bottom of your email. This will ensure that both you and your company appear legitimate. A professional headshot, preferred pronouns, and links to your company’s social media accounts are also nice to include. See these email signature design examples for further inspiration.
Make the CTA clear and easy to follow
Your prospect has made it all the way to the end of your email – now what? Make the call-to-action as clear as possible. Do they need to reply back? Add: “Reply back to this email with “I’m interested” and we can speak further.” Do they need to schedule an appointment through a calendar tool? Say: “Use this link to schedule a time to chat.”
You can also use bold to draw further attention to what the next step is.
Optimize your send times
Not all hours are created equal when it comes to emails. According to a recent study by CoSchedule, the best time to send an email is 10 AM. However, we strongly suggest testing different send times until you find what’s optimal for your business, or using software that calculates the best time to send.
Be prompt with follow-ups
Only 2% of sales happen after the first point of contact, so be ready to send follow-ups to those who don’t respond.
Consider building a flow that takes into account different email engagements. For example, send a follow-up email only to those who opened your email but didn’t take further action to get more targeted.
With over 740 million members and counting, there’s certainly no shortage of potential customers on LinkedIn. B2B marketers drive 80% of their leads from the platform, making LinkedIn one of the most effective social media channels for building a sales pipeline. These are our six best tips on how you can make your messages stand out in someone’s inbox.
Doing a little bit of research can go a long way. Take a look at your prospects’ LinkedIn pages and try to find the best jumping-off points for your messages. Where do they work? What metropolitan area are they based in? What college did they attend? Were they part of any national clubs or societies (i.e. fraternities, sororities, honor societies)?
Whatever common ground you find, use it to craft your messages for a more tailored and personal approach. Your prospects will appreciate your attention to detail.
Get a mutual connection to introduce you
LinkedIn is a social platform. Even if you’re using the platform’s paid tools to do your outreach, do a quick check to see if you have any connections in common with your prospects. Ask your connections if they’d be willing to give an introduction, or alternatively, ask them if the prospect in question is worth reaching out to. Referrals are a powerful sales tool: 77% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase if their friends or family recommend the product.
Keep it short and sweet
Your messages should be on the shorter side. A wordy email runs the risk of not being read through all the way and ultimately ignored. Try to keep your initial email to just a few sentences.
Don’t get too sales-y soon
It’s certainly tempting to include a link to purchase, but the reality is, this may come across as desperate to someone who probably doesn’t know you or your product. It’s best to start slow and get a conversation going that stems from a genuine interest or curiosity. Check out these cold email templates to get an idea of how to place your hooks in relation to your intro and call-to-action.
Share social proof, case studies, or a portfolio
Like referrals, social proof has a huge impact on purchase decisions. A whopping 88% of consumers trust user reviews as much as personal referrals. If you’re able to, name drop some of your biggest customers or clients in your opening message. Even better? Use concrete statistics, i.e. your product helped customer A grow by X percent YoY as further proof that you’re worth looking into.
If you don’t have social proof or case studies yet, ask the prospect if they’d be interested in reviewing your portfolio. A portfolio is another great way to showcase the kind of work you can do.
Keep notes in your CRM and remember to follow up
As well as every form of outreach, be sure to record what happens in whichever CRM app your business is currently using. If you don’t get a response right away, don’t be discouraged. Set reminders to follow up after the initial message, and try following the “4 touch points rule” to increase your response rate.
It’s crucial to nail down your cold outreach strategy ahead of time, no matter what form of cold outreach you’re using. With the right preparation and tools in place, you’ll have more meaningful conversations and be better set up for success. Keep in mind, though, that your cold outreach can always be improved upon and refined. Incorporate your data into your findings and keep iterating to find the best possible messaging.
Dmitry Dragilev is the founder PRThatConverts.com - an online coaching program where he works with 800+ students from 25+ countries to help them master PR, SEO and content marketing. Dmitry is also the founder of JustReachOut.io - a software platform which has helped 5000+ business owners pitch journalists and get covered in press all on their own without the help of PR firms. In his spare time Dmitry blogs on CriminallyProlific.com and SmallBiz.tools - a blog where he reviews the best business software tools for people who want to save time and eliminate stress. In his not so distant past Dmitry used PR and SEO to build a startup from 0 to 40M pageviews and got acquired by Google. He is a contributor at Forbes, Entrepreneur, Wired, BusinessInsider, TheNextWeb, WIRED, and has written 1500+ articles in the last decade. He shares his thoughts on his personal blog as well at CriminallyProlific.comRead More About Dmitry Dragilev