Cold Outreach Strategy – Get More Leads Than You Can Handle 

In this article I’m going to show you how to get more qualified leads than you can handle. And do it in as little time as possible.

So get ready to raise your prices because 60 days from now you’ll have too much business coming in.

Be warned, this process takes some effort, but it’s nothing you can’t handle. When cold outreach fails it’s almost always because we skipped a few of the steps below. So take your time and make sure you do every step fully and completely.

Cold Outreach Isn’t Complicated

Given how much attention B2B lead prospecting gets you’d link we’re trying to do something insanely difficult.

It’s not. In fact, the underlying process is actually pretty simple.

Your cold outreach strategy can be broken down into 5 main parts. If you execute all 5 parts well then you’ll consistently grow your pipeline. 

Here they are:

  • Targeting & Data Quality
  • Value
  • Repetition
  • Personal Connection
  • Ask for the meeting

Let’s dig into each section in more detail. But before we do…

Prepare For Your Cold Outreach Campaign 

I know you’re anxious to get started – me too!

But before we contact anyone, let’s consider what our target audience sees and experiences.

Let’s start with your cold emails. Does your email signature include your website (it should)? If your prospect is interested, they’ll probably click through to your website. 

What will they find? Is it a clean, professional looking site?

What about your mailing domain? Does it redirect to your website? Or does it go to a blank page?

If your prospect looks you up on LinkedIn (and they will), what will they find? Does your profile tell a compelling story? Do you communicate competence and professionalism?

This past week (when I wrote this) I met with a guy who offers multiple semi-connected services. When I looked at his website I had NO idea what he does. He does so many different things, it doesn’t make any sense.

So review everything your prospects will see from THEIR point of view. It doesn’t need to be perfect, but your marketing assets should tell a simple, compelling story. 

Add Social Proof

Another consideration is social proof. If you’ve got some successes under your belt, be sure to make your testimonials visible so your prospects are likely to see them.

There’s nothing more powerful than an unbiased person sharing a transformative experience they had while working with you.

Your prospects want to experience the same transformation your past clients enjoyed. Testimonials convince them you’re the right person for the job..

Doing a pre-campaign review is an absolute must before you contact any prospects. You don’t want your prospects to get part way through the sales process and then jump ship. Your collateral needs to convince them you can deliver on the transformation you promised. 

Pre-Outreach Campaign Review

So I did a quick review of our website and my LinkedIn profile. Here’s what I found:

  • Objectively speaking, the website is in need of a redesign. That’s not something I can handle quickly so I’ll leave it ‘as is’ for now. And get a site refresh in the medium term.
  • We’ve got some great testimonials on the website. But we could do with more reviews, placed in more strategic places. For example, right before and after someone fills out a form.
  • We don’t have a meaningful presence on 3rd party review sites like Google My Business. Moving forward, we’ll ask clients if they’d like to share their testimonials on Google, too.
  • All our email domains are redirected to the main website. Which is perfect. Someone who checks out saleshigherdata.com (one of our email domains) will be automatically redirected to our homepage.
  • The company’s LinkedIn profile doesn’t have a lot of content, but it’s semi-active. We have over 10,000 followers, which makes us look established.
  •  I don’t post very often on LinkedIn, so effective immediately I’ll start posting more consistently.
  • My personal LinkedIn profile is incomplete so I’ll start making incremental improvements. Over the past few days I’ve updated my photo, added a new banner, and turned on ‘Creator Mode’.

Improve LinkedIn Profile

Now it’s your turn! Review the different channels where your prospect will engage with your brand. What’s their impression? Does your online presence instill confidence?

Effective Cold Outreach Starts With Targeting

Success at B2B lead generation begins and ends with good sales targeting.

PLEASE, don’t skimp on this part.

Seriously. I can’t over emphasize how important it is to get your sales data perfect. The more you refine your sales targeting and data the better your outreach campaign will perform (I promise).

Every week I speak with B2B outreach agencies who are interested in our white label lead generation services. There’s usually something wrong and they want us to audit and improve their existing campaigns.

When I question them about what’s going on, the problem is almost always with the data. They’ve done a basic search, which is great. But that’s where they stopped.

Data is the life-blood of your outreach campaign. It needs to be perfect. And perfect data takes effort. Anyone can export data from a tool. You’ve got to take things to the next level.

I like to choose my prospects very carefully. Among other criteria, I look at: 

  • Whether it appears they can afford our services
  • Whether they are active LinkedIn users

The first criteria ensures that I’m speaking with decision makers who (probably) have a budget should they choose to deploy it. I’d rather connect with prospects who can afford my services but don’t need it. Rather than prospects who need our solutions but can’t afford them.

Second, I like to connect with decision makers who are already active on LinkedIn. Being active on the same social platform gives them a chance to come across my content on a regular basis. 

It also gives me a chance to comment on their work. And build a personal relationship with them over time.

Connecting with your prospects for an extended period across multiple channels builds name recognition. And ensures you’re top of mind when a need for your solution arises

Define Your Ideal Customer Profile 

Yeah, yeah, yeah. You’ve heard it a MILLION times already. You should define your ideal client profile. 

It makes sense, but creating avatars feels kinda dumb. And I imagine a lot of people just skip this step.

A better way to think about it is, ‘who needs [our outcome] right now?

If you can answer that question, you’ll never run out of clients.

Data Is Crap Requires Human Review

I’ve done hundreds of thousands of lines of data exports. And you know what?

There’s a lot of garbage.

These days every B2B data tool markets themselves as ‘perfect prospect data at the click of a button.’ 

And they couldn’t all be lying, right?!

Well yeah, they sort of are.

Data exports are a fantastic starting spot. But the sad reality is EVERY data export is riddled with errors. In my experience, about 40% of data is partially complete, taken out of context, or just plain wrong.

Imagine what all this bad data is doing to your campaigns? It’s destroying them!

DON’T take data exports at face value – review EVERY line on the spreadsheet. 

Open the websites and confirm the company is a perfect match for your ICP.

Review the team. Add relevant contacts to your contact list. And remove people who have since departed.

The process takes between 2 to 5 minutes per line. So budget about 40 – 60 hours per thousand contacts.

Don’t take data for granted. It’s ugly so you need to clean it up before you use it. Or ask our B2B data services team to do the job for you.

Where Do Your Prospects Need To Be?

Which would be easier? Selling lawn services to house owners, or apartment owners?

Probably house owners! Most apartment owners don’t have a lawn that they’re responsible to maintain.

This seems pretty obvious, but the same logic applies when selling B2B services. Your prospective clients need to be in a certain place to get maximum value from your services.

For example, how can you sell CRM software to a company with no salespeople?

Or how do you sell blog content to a company with no blog?

Truly GREAT data should reflect where your prospects need to be to use your solution.

This is why so many companies look for ‘sales triggers’ to help them identify good possible opportunities. 

For example, look for companies that just made key hires. Or just received funding. Or are expanding their footprint in a new territory.

Most of the time, getting a deal requires your prospect to be in a place where they can say “YES”.

If they aren’t doing the thing you need them to be doing then they won’t buy. It’s as simple as that. 

Look for ways to spot companies that (probably) have the problem you solve.

If you build that into your data the rest of your prospecting gets a whole lot easier.

Cold Outreach Revolves Around Value

Now that you know exactly who YOU want to contact, we should explore why THEY want to hear from you.

An effective cold outreach strategy can be summarized in one simple sentence.

Communicate value to the right people, on repeat.

That sounds pretty easy, and it is.

But we need to be clear about how we define value.

For the purposes of this exercise, value is defined as a transformational outcome. In other words, what will change when the prospect uses your solution? How will their lives be different?

What changes for the better?

If you’re not sure, then here’s a helpful exercise.

Start by making a list of everything that’s positive about your product or service. Don’t think about it too much. Just jot down everything you can think of as fast as possible.

When you’re done, review each point and decide whether it is ‘transformative’. Which points did you list actually change the prospect’s life?

The more transformation your product or service offers, the easier it will be to communicate that value. 

List out all the great things about your solution and divide them into features or transformation statements.

Remember, value refers to things that make a positive CHANGE to your prospects’ situation.

Repetition Multiplies Value

There are four common reasons why your prospect doesn’t respond to your outreach messaging. Here they are:

  • They’ll never need your solution
  • They don’t see enough value in your messaging.
  • They’re too busy right now.
  • They’re potentially interested, but not right now.

What’s nice about this list is ALL these problems are mostly fixable.

They’ll never need your solution: This is a targeting problem. If you’re contacting people that will never require your solution then there’s a fundamental problem with your data. You need to refine your targeting to a much deeper level.

They don’t see enough value: The #1 reason prospects don’t take action is lack of perceived value against the perceived cost of replying. Refine your cold email call to action (CTA) so you are asking for very little relative to what you are asking for.

Here’s where it gets interesting.

The last two objections are timing issues. The prospect is potentially interested, but just not right now.

This tells us two things:

  • There’s NO POINT sending message after message in a very short timeframe. If they were too busy on Monday then another message on Wednesday won’t be any more successful.
  • Contacting prospects for a protracted period (ie YEARS) offers the best chance of catching them when they’re open to your solution.

The trick is to manage frequency. If you reach out too often they’ll block you. If you reach out too infrequently you’ll miss the window of opportunity when they are open to your solutions.

Personally, I like doing small bursts of activity every 6 weeks. This keeps you ‘top of mind’ when they are open to your solution. But it is infrequent enough they don’t feel like you’re being intrusive.

Avoid referencing your past messages. EVERY communication needs to provide value. And should stand on its own. 

Repeatedly hitting ALL your prospects with consistent value is the most predictable way to ensure your prospecting success.

Personal Connection

Sometimes we think of B2B sales as an impersonal process that is mostly logic driven.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Buyers are people, just like you or me. Which means they want to work with people with whom they have a personal connection.

So give them one!

Connect with your prospects on LinkedIn (or other social media) and share aspects of your work. Give them the opportunity to get to know you as a well-rounded person.

In other words, stop being a name and become a person.

LinkedIn also works well for building personal connections because you can comment on your prospect’s posts. Most people don’t get a lot of comments or shares on their posts. So when you engage it really stands out.

And don’t forget you can directly message your prospects to further deepen your relationships.

Managing relationships in LinkedIn (and other social media) can be quite challenging. I’d recommend using a tool like Breakcold or Kanbox to make this process 1000x easier.

You’ll note that building a personal connection is very similar to the repetition step mentioned above. People don’t magically become buyers unless they really need your solution. Instead, you want to be the first person who comes to mind when they DO need your solution.

Ask For The Meeting

We talk a lot about delivering value. 

Value is how we capture initial interest and nurture our best prospects.

Those who are interested in what we do will typically ask for a meeting or more information.

But not always!

Some prospects just won’t think to ask for a meeting. So between 5% to 10% of your communications should directly ask for a meeting.

This gives prospects who have considered taking action a chance to act.

And let’s face it, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

Asking for the meeting works best when you know you’ve built up some personal connection and delivered considerable value.

Iterate Your Outreach Campaign As Needed

The thing about outreach campaigns is that they often don’t go as planned. Sometimes you get wonderful, positive surprises.

Other times you get bupkis.

A best practice with cold email is to treat every outreach campaign as an experiment. At inception, I have no idea whether it’ll work, or not. So before the experiment begins I need to define what constitutes a successful result.

As the campaign progresses I can compare my real results with the anticipated outcomes. If the expectation and reality match, then it’s time to scale.

If not then it’s time to update your sales targeting or your value proposition.

Best Practices For Cold Outreach

So there you have it. Building a cold outreach strategy isn’t especially difficult.

Treat it like a science experiment. Begin with a hypothesis. In this case, your value proposition will be attractive to your target audience.

Use cold outreach via email and LinkedIn to test your theory. You don’t need a lot of contacts to see if your hypothesis is mistaken or correct. 

If you achieve positive results, then scale that audience segment.

If not, figure out why your messaging isn’t working. Ask yourself how you can add more value, and who can benefit from it.

Do you have any tips for creating an effective cold outreach strategy? Got any questions you’d like me to answer? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

You can contact me on LinkedIn or send me a note on our contact page

 

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Matthew Murray

Matthew Murray

Matthew Murray is the Managing Director of Sales Higher. He knows any company can THRIVE with enough qualified sales leads. So he’s spent the last decade helping companies meet engaged prospects and win new deals.

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