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Sales Tips

Sales Hacker Cold Email Guide

June 13, 2017

At Sales Hacker, we continue to see that our audience wants more tactical training around cold email. Hopefully this post and the Free amoCRM Sales Hacker Training Bundle will give you the knowledge that you seek.

Building a cold email sales machine can be broken down into the following components:

  • Email Templates and Copy
  • Sales Activities
  • Email Automation Tech
  • CRM and Inbox Usage

 

1. Email Templates and Copy

Subject Line

In the world of outbound sales email the subject line has a tendency to be overlooked. Think of your subject line as the gatekeeper. If you don’t have a good tested optimized subject line you are not getting to speak to the boss.

Here are 5 tips we recommend when designing your cold email subject lines:

  • Make them personal. The company name and/or contact’s name should be in the subject line. You can do this via a custom “hand written” email or via your email automation app using dynamic fields.
  • Focus on the value proposition. Leveraging the old “Your Company x My Company” subject line is lazy.
  • Piggyback on your logo customers if possible. If you have big names clients/partners you can use their names in the subject. Like I did above
  • A/B test your subject lines. Send 500 cold emails to 500 similar prospects. Using your email automation app look at open rates, click rates, and response rates. Change the subject line and repeat. Ideally you can do this test at the same time. Whatever subject line has the best absolute positive response rate wins. Continue to repeat this process until you have fully optimized the subject line. When running this A/B tests do not change the other variables in order to keep the data integrity of the test. Just change the subject line. For the 500 contacts sample try to keep the personas as similar as possible.
  • Focus on positive response rates. Your email automation app will tell you 10% responded but if all of those responses were contacts telling you that they are not interested it was not a true 10% response rate. After running your A/B test you should individually go through all the responses and track via a spreadsheet how many positive responses you actually received

 

Body

Here are our key points for the body of your cold outbound email:

  • No more than 5 sentences
  • Look at the far left of the body copy. Ideally you should see more “You” than “I” if you are talking about how the prospect is going to benefit versus your company’s capabilities.
  • The email should read more like a text message than a letter
  • Open with the prospect first name
  • Limit to only 1 link
  • Break up paragraphs. Using enter/return. White space is your friend. Make it easy to read on mobile devices.
  • Don’t waste time with pleasantries. “Hope you are well” does not add value. Don’t introduce yourself. We know your name already. Add value and remove the fluff.

 

Signature

In my opinion, graphic heavy signatures are outdated. As a sales professional sending 1000s of cold emails per week your fancy signature is just going to get in the way. Go with a text based signature including your name, company name, link to your company website, your cell, and your skype. I frequently have prospects not respond to my email but instead opt to add me on skype.

 

2. Sales Activities

If you are going to make outbound cold email successful you need to define a certain level of activity metrics.

First let’s talk about positive response rates. Your goal is to get the number of absolute positive responses rates as high as possible. If can be done through scaling of cold outbound email or via targeted custom written emails. A mixture of templated emails with custom emails tends to be the best as you are using both your machine gun and your sniper rifle. Below is an example of both approaches:

What you see above is the power of sales automation and sales technology. With a similar time investment we were able to 3X our results. While I received a substantially higher response rate from the custom targeted campaign the automated campaign which was less customized produced the greatest number of actual positive responses.

Below is a breakdown of my sales funnel from email to signed contract:

Doing a bottoms up analysis focused purely on sales email I can map out on a quantitative basis what my monthly new biz revenue should look like. This is why cold email activity metrics are so important. If I can send 4K solid cold emails per month and the other variables hold constant I have a sales machine that can do $300K in topline revenue per month!

 

3. Email Automation Tech

I won’t get into the myriad of sales tools for email automation in this post. That said I personally use ToutApp, MixMax, and Outreach.

You should leverage your email apps not just for TOFU (top-of-funnel) but MOFO and BOFU (middle and bottom of funnel) as well. Most sales reps using these apps have a “core prospecting drip” they use to generate opportunities but then miss out on the efficiencies of email automation for in-funnel oppty’s. Make sure to have all your email templates for the entire sales process in your email automation app.

I really love TextExpander for repetitive email copy as well. If you use Gmail you can use the Gmail Labs “Canned Response” feature for templates. That said ToutApp and MixMax have solid quick in-funnel in-gmail templating so no excuse for typing the same response over and over.

When using these tools make sure to select the proper email delivery channel. You want to send from your Gmail servers not ToutApp’s servers etc.

4. CRM and Inbox Usage

CRM

All your emails need to be logged in the CRM. You shouldn’t have have to dig through your email to find the latest correspondence. Either through API integration or BCC make sure you have your Gmail connected with your CRM and email automation app.

You also need to track the types of emails you are sending per month. There are several email types you may be using. Here are a few I track:

  • Drip – this defines how many drip campaigns I am sending out
  • Custom Ping – this defines the number of custom cold emails I am sending
  • In-Funnel Ping – this is my definition of a follow up. A short email to a qualified opportunity to move them further down the sales funnel

You need to understand the total number of emails per month but also which type of emails are being sent. Log these emails as activities to track this data.

 

Inbox

Here are my inbox major keys:

  • Use priority inbox – this helps you separate your inbox into defined sections. You can leverage priority inbox with labeling and filters to create certain sections where you internal company emails go etc.
  • Use labels and stars. In Gmail settings you can increase the number of stars you are using. I like having 5 stars. A defined starring system plus labels should help you stay organized.
  • Use the undo send feature so you can catch mistakes before the email is actually sent.
  • Setup a filter for bounced emails. I automatically forward my bounced emails to my SDR to remove them from the CRM and to find a new contact.

 

Conclusion

Your ideal customer profile impacts your cold email machine immensely. So does the product you are selling. Find ways to add value and reduce risk. Email may not be your problem. Your challenges may be around a poorly defined ICP or lack of knowledge. If you are selling marketing services but know little about marketing that is going to be a problem. That said, implementing just a few of these tips should substantially help your email sales game.

P.S. In coordination with amoCRM we are stoked to offer you the “Free amoCRM Sales Hacker Training Bundle.” This bundle includes 10 sales training products to help you build your sales machine and improve your cold email prospecting efforts. Cheers!

Matt Smith
The VP of Digital for Sales Hacker

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