Published by Calendly

How new sales reps can write cold emails that get replies, in 4 steps

Your batch-and-blast sales emails are turning off prospects. Get more replies with PersistIQ’s 4-step formula for effective cold email.

When the pressure’s on to generate more and more leads, it’s tempting to blast the same email to every prospect you find and hope for the best.

But we both know this is a direct route to the trash–not the start of a potential sale.

So in this post, I’m sharing how to automate your prospecting emails, while still personalizing them to get people to reply.

The right mindset: Balancing automation & personalization

Sales tools that automate the outreach process are great–to a point. But we can’t simply automate everything and expect the job to be done, because what sets great salespeople apart from merely good salespeople is their ability to connect with other humans.

“What sets great salespeople apart from merely good salespeople is their ability to connect with other humans.”

A great salesperson uses their social and emotional intelligence to connect with someone and advance the sale. Artificial intelligence is a long way from being able to replicate a complex, genuine human interaction.

Which means you have to find the balance between automating your emails, and putting in the effort to keep them personal.

Bottom line: there’s danger in too much automation. The idea is not to automate everything, but to reinvest the time technology saves you on the tasks computers can’t handle gracefully.

Now for the fun stuff: using technology to scale your efforts and be more productive.

This 4-step process will point you toward more leads, more meetings and more deals closed.

1. Create your buyer personas (or know them backwards and forwards, if they’ve already been created)

Without buyer personas, you may be able to pinpoint your target industry or company size, but you’ll struggle with selling to people in those industries or companies. So if you don’t have a clear picture yet of exactly who you’re selling to (the humans, not the companies), you’ll want to start with this great post on Sales Hacker or these templates from Hubspot.

2. Get smarter about what insight you collect on your prospects

Every sales rep everywhere uses LinkedIn Sales Navigator. But lucky for you, there are more sophisticated ways to leverage the world’s largest professional network.

I personally use the 3×3 approach recommended by Brendan Hartt, LevelEleven’s Director of Sales Development: Find 3 takeaways on your prospect in 3 minutes.

This should be information beyond what your sales intelligence platform will give you–for example:

  • Current city (are any of your current customers based there?)
  • Work history (did they used to work for a company who now uses your product?)
  • School or university (how is the college football team doing?)
  • Mutual connections (did you both meet the same person at a conference?

This is what will set your personalized emails apart from the generic blasts everyone else is sending.

3. Write your cold email templates

An effective email template is half science, half art. Automation can handle the science–measuring which templates are most effective, running mail merges–but it’s up to you, the human, to pen a message compelling enough to get a response.

Here’s the exact outline of an effective cold outbound email, plus a sample template:

  1. Attention-catching, but casual, subject line: You’re trying to start a conversation, so the “casual” is key here. If you can, try to fit one of your three relatable facts in there.
  2. Reason for reaching out: This could be a common connection, a significant event, recent award, etc–but whatever it is, it needs to be relevant. You want to rationalize why you’re emailing your prospect.
  3. Transition: Transition from the reason you’re reaching out to how you can help them.
  4. One line value proposition: Seriously, keep it to one line. If you can’t explain your offering briefly in a way your buyer persona will care about, you need to rework your pitch.
  5. Social proof: Namedrop some clients your prospect should be familiar with. Better yet, bring up how you’ve helped one of their competitors get some valuable results.
  6. Call to action: Have a specific action you want your prospect to take and ask–ideally, setting a meeting with you!

Hey {{first name}},

I saw on LinkedIn that we’re connected through {{common connection}}.

{{One sentence about why that connection is relevant}}.

Given your position, I think you may be interested in what my company does. {{Give your one sentence value proposition}}. We’ve helped companies like {{their competitor}} achieve {{specific results}}.

Do you have time to connect on {{date}} at {{time}}?

[[If you use a scheduling tool like Calendly, you can increase the chances of getting the meeting by including your link and a short invite, like: If you’re busy then, feel free to name a more convenient time and I’ll handle the meeting arrangements. My calendar’s all yours.]]

Thanks,

{{your name}}

4. Launch your outbound campaign

  1. Drop your list of leads and your templates into your outbound sales platform, like PersistIQ. If you’re not using an advanced outbound sales platform, there are many things you’ll need to do before you hitting “send.”
  2. Make sure you’re not reaching out to a lead you or your colleagues have already reached out to in the past
  3. Make sure you’re not reaching out to a lead that already in your campaign
  4. Make sure you’re not missing any variables
  5. Make sure all emails are valid
  6. Make sure you’re not  exceeding your daily sending limit set by your ESP
  7. Now, pull the trigger!
  8. Afterward: analyze your results and improve
  9. Becoming a true expert at sales requires a scientific approach to testing. You need to constantly tweak different elements of your email, analyze the results and adjust.
  10. Rather than blindly shoving more leads into the top of your funnel, slow down. Try different wording. Double-check whether you’re using your platforms the right way. Set up automation that gives you back time to focus on writing relevant, personal emails.
  11. This is how you get predictable sales development, and a better bottom line.