We see outbound marketing and sales as one of the most impactful activities a B2B business can undertake at the early stages - and can form a great foundation for further more advanced activities. Outbound gets a bad rep. It's often well-deserved too. Spammy, high volume and poorly targeted campaigns will annoy your target audience and earn you a bad name in the market. But do it right - with focused targeting, personalised copy, and thoughtful outreach and it can build your audience, boost your sales and open lots of doors with your potential clients. Here's the thing. It's nowhere near as hard as you think.
Time to up your prospecting game.
So, you've done your homework on your ICP (ideal customer profile) and customer journey mapping. You should now have a good idea about how to segment your customers based on their wants and needs. But beyond their roles and requirements, what additional context can you acquire here to take your outreach to the next level?
💡Remember the aim here is authentic low-volume, high-value interactions that make an impact on your prospect.
As you start thinking about how to build your campaign audience (prospects) you should then establish what marketing/content can REALLY add value. It's personalised messages yes, but also conditional statements too. For example, is the company hiring? This could mean they are expanding and could have a greater need for your product. How can you weave in context like this for an even more personalised message? (Want to know more, check out this guide on how to improve cold email open rates from Gmass)
Getting a consistent outbound sales machine working is a really fast way to build. It's not sexy, but it is effective. Building process, consistency and volume are all important but the prospecting step in this process is critical.
➡️ Spend too little time here and it won't matter how sophisticated your campaigns are, it won't move the dial at all.
Here's how I suggest you get started with prospecting before you send any emails.
1. Initial off-the-shelf, low-hanging data opportunities:
Explore the standard databases (like Uplead for example). You should be aware that data won't be perfect. If you buy a list, make sure to negotiate (i) how many emails you can send; (ii) a buyback if the quality is poor (not credits, cash).
2. Enrich the data:
Using tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator or Snov.io to fill in the gaps in your data list. Navigator allows you to search by industry/title and opens up the LI database volume. Snovio helps you to scrape the data with a plugin, straight into a CSV file. Check out their knowledge base here.
3. Prepare to send:
It's important to consider the impact on your domain if the data quality is poor. Some companies set up an entirely separate domain so that any bouncebacks don't impact the wider team. Want our top tools, read on to the section below. (Check out this comprehensive guide from Sendgrid about email blacklists here.)
Apply the learning.
📧 Don't skip the enrichment part: The more specific your list, the more targeted your campaign, the more valuable the engagement to the customer, and the better your engagement rate. Unfortunately, I've found that specific usually involved higher cost and effort - the good news is that the value you get back is often disproportionally higher. The same goes for personalisation.
💻 + 👧 Software + humanware: I'd seriously recommend outsourcing data personalisation. I've have had good degrees of success at prior startups with student placements, interns, and handy freelancers. (Overseas, you can find freelancers with fantastic IT proficiency and excellent English language skills for very reasonable hourly rates.) I'd consider this essential to scaling marketing/sales/growth with a small budget but the key is to create a highly granular, repeatable process.
🤖 What can you automate? Scaling this activity is much easier with automation. I highly recommend the combination of Snovio and Sales Navigator for finding leads/ enriching data and Reply.io for automating nurture cycles. You should also have a CRM set up to collect and manage all your leads - HubSpot is great and integrates with Reply.io easily, plus they have a free version to get you started.
- Initial Email Machine by Sam Nelson. Check out the deck in full here. (And head straight to slide 3 for some great contextual templates.)
- 7 cold email stats to write killer cold emails by Gong. Spoiler: Using ROI language in cold emails decreases success rates by 15%.
- Decrease your email bounce rate with these 7 proven tactics from the team at Reply.io. (Check out the section about purging your email list after you've sent your initial emails.)