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Cold Sales Prospecting Tips and Tricks From The Experts

Like so many industries, getting into the thick of things and gaining experience on-hand is far more valuable than any tips you might learn in a textbook or advice you might receive anecdotally.

A doctor can read all he wants about open-heart surgery, but there’s nothing like actually getting into it; or into someone. The same concept applies to Lead Generation.

Lead Generation, to be performed at a high-level, requires patience, diligence, and lots of trial and error. But sometimes your company needs outreach traction now. What then?

The good news is, we at SalesHive have been in the trenches and getting our hands dirty for a long time. Through painstaking work, and no small amount of tears, we have learned the hard way how to do things right- and sometimes when we’re doing things wrong.

Here is a small yet valuable listing of tips and tricks that we have learned at SalesHive to increase the success and efficiency of our Lead Generation.

Email Copy Tips

Personalization

All SDRs know that writing a more personalized email will likely garner longer and more focused attention from their prospects.

It makes sense. If you get the contact for a prospect who went to Notre Dame, and you mention Notre Dame in your email, they’ll certainly have more reason to stick around and see what you’re offering.

But a major pitfall of this strategy is over-personalization. Too many details of a prospect’s life is creepy, contrived, and clearly researched. This turns prospects away fast.

Keep your personalization generalized, and don’t personalize your prospect to an extreme. Focus on making your copy industry-relevant to them, and they’ll probably reply to you.

Selling in Intro

One typical error is inexperienced SDRs trying to sell the prospect in the introductory email.

Selling in your intro makes you come across like a Superbowl advertisement, but far less appealing. Most people actually want to watch those.

This practice is a mistake. It’s not what the introduction is for. The introduction email is literally designed to do just this- achieve an introduction.

After correspondence has been established with a prospect, and hopefully some rapport, then you can slowly start to open up with your value props, but not before. Don’t try to sell in your introduction email. That’s just not what the intro is meant for.

Be Conversational

You aren’t a robot, so prove it in your emails by being conversational with the prospects who are receiving your outreach.

A dry, flat, and formally direct email is a sure-fire way to get a prospect to hit delete. Nobody wants that, least of all you. Be conversational in your copy and you will come across as an equal with the prospect. Just another guy or gal trying to get traction for your company.

A conversational approach keeps things in a frame that increases comfortability. A comfortable prospect is a prospect who will eventually become a client.

Short and to the Point

In cold outreach, you are already invading your prospect’s space without permission and asking for their time. Their time is valuable. Just as much as yours.

You need to be respectful of that and keep their attention no more than required, and if possible, far less than the needed minimum.

All cold outreach should be kept to 3-5 sentences tops, short and to the point, with sentences spaced evenly apart and easy to read.

If you create a novel for them to read, they won’t even bother. Let them sift through your copy quickly, and if you have a solid engaging piece that brings them value, they’ll likely reply.

Focus on Prospect

In selling, there is this sense that a salesperson should talk about themselves, letting the client know who they are and what they do. After all, you’re selling yourself and your product. Of course, you want to be forthright about it.

But this is a counterproductive approach and you have to be counter-intuitive in order to execute the proper approach.

Talk about the prospect, not yourself. Focus on their needs, their pain points, and put every emphasis you can onto them.

By displaying your focus for them in your email correspondence, you give them a sense of how well you will take care of them when they sign. Clients who feel understood and taken care of become long term clients.

Include CTA

One thing that is often neglected in campaign copy is including a Call to Action for the prospect. A CTA is an offering to the prospect to continue the correspondence.

If you only introduce yourself to them with a simple greeting and some brief information but don’t suggest a time, date, or method for follow up, the likelihood that they take that initiative themselves is extremely unlikely.

You have to prompt your prospects every step of the way, so always end with a call to action requesting a follow-up. If you don’t, you just won’t get one.

Formatting Tricks

Mobile Formatting

The world is ever advancing and becoming more efficient. Gone are the days of sitting at a computer and sifting through emails for hours on end.

High-level execs and decision-makers are always on the go, meeting to meeting, and trip to trip. This means they check email on their phone, in whatever spare moment they can.

Not only does this emphasize the need for quick and concise emails, but you should always make sure your emails look good on mobile. Double-check the format that your email presents on mobile devices.

Many are surprised how many emails are checked via mobile, and not giving concern to the possibility that your copy might not be read across a big pretty screen is a mistake.

Fonts and Texts

Yes, your copy needs to be creative, but you should stay away from being too ridiculous and flamboyant.

Bolding, italicizing, and having crazy fonts and colors in your copy is not only distracting to the prospect, but it gives off the feeling of an unprofessional clown show.

Only use plain text in email copy with black coloring. Bold and italicized HTML will trigger spam filters and your prospects will never have the chance to read your email.

Fancy is fatal.

No Bullets

Bullet points are often perceived as a good method to streamline information and keep things clear, and while this may ring true for a research paper, in Lead Generation it doesn’t apply.

Bullet points come across to the prospect as robotic, boring writing, and have been proven to decrease reply rates and deliverability because of spam or deletion issues. 

Rely on your copy writing skills to make an easily digestible email. Don’t rely on bullet points.

Data and Sending Tips

AB Testing

A good SDR will not simply depend on their own intuition as to whether a piece of copy is good and performing well. They'll depend on data via AB testing.

The odds are a personal performance bias will play in with uninformed SDRs, generating the belief that their copy is spot on and will perform good in reply, open, and conversion rates.

Nearly every time, it takes several iterations of a version of copy to find out which resonates best with prospects.

Use your A/B tested data to determine different cold copy effectiveness, and use only the best copy in your outreach. Testing the correct variables and doing so in the right order is incredibly important to the success of your campaigns. Learn more with our guide, The Science Of A/B Testing Sales Prospecting Emails.

Lead generation A B test variables - SalesHive

List Quality

Many SDRs focus on getting as many contacts into their lists as possible. Quantity and volume only. After all, the more lines cast, the more likely you are to get a bite, right? Not true.

Focusing on the quality of the prospects on your lists isn't just a time saver but more efficient in terms of conversion success.

By focusing on the prospects who might actually need your services and can execute a healthy working relationship, your labor goes much further in conversion returns.

It's not about the quantity and sheer volume of the list. It's the quality of it.

Email Cadencing

It can be exciting to get an email campaign circulating ASAP once it's ready, but this is a sure fire way to ruin your hard work.

You should always stagger your email-sent volume to avoid spam and to avoid overwhelming your prospects.

Throttling your volume will keep you out of spam, and spreading out your outreach so as not to bombard your prospects and drive them away from you is worth executing patience.

Temper Expectations

Because you need to be patient with email cadencing and the number of sends that occur, don’t expect to reach a higher volume of sends for at least two weeks. And this means replies will be down too.

It may be difficult to see only a few hundred sends going out over the initial warming period when you’re earning domain trust and boosting your sender score with servers, but it's better than seeing your deliverability rates drop do to low percentage points.

Temper your expectations as you avoid spam, and don’t expect responses from clients for three weeks. It takes that long with a good outreach process.

Spam Keywords

A little known spam problem that new SDRs experience is the issue of using spam keywords.

Email servers have listed and registered a plethora of words that occur more frequently in emails that become marked as spam. Words like viagra have been used so much in nonsense emails, and have been marked as spam by users so often, that that word anywhere in your email copy will get your email sent straight to spam.

Never send out an email with Spam Keywords in it. It's an easy fix when you know what to look for. Check out our list of internal spam keywords.

Remove Toll-Free Numbers

This is simple. Remove all toll-free numbers from your email. We’ve learned it triggers spam filters.

If prospects want to call you, they can ask for your number or you can provide it after coorepondnece has been established.

Outreach Channel Tricks

Diversify Channels

During outreach, never rely on just one outreach channel. It's always smart to diversify.

Every Lead Generation team should use multiple outreach channels because it increases the number of prospects you can potentially reach as opposed to if you were to limit yourself to a single channel.

Some prospects only use social media, some just prefer using email, and others like using the phone and calling to do business. Crossing into various outreach channels just increases avenues for success.

Cold Calling

Cold calling is one of those Lead generation channels where everyone has an opinion. Some claim it’s long dead, while others say that in an impersonal age of social media and texting, calling has risen to new power.

We agree with the latter, and our SalesHive cold calling successes prove it.

Don’t be afraid to add cold calling to your outreach channels. When we moved from email, direct mail, and LinkedIn to also include Cold Calling, our conversion rates on potential prospects went way up.

This speaks volumes to the prowess of our callers and our caller strategist, sure, but Cold Calling still isn’t dead. It’s one of the best channels in sales.

Call Call Call

Don’t be afraid of the phone.

After you’ve added Cold Calling to your outreach, you have to use it. The phone brings a lot of anxiety, especially after we have become used to being able to send a text easily and undisturbed, but the phone has immense value.

Most high-level execs prefer doing their business over the phone than doing it via email. That’s an entire branch of the C-suite and key decision-makers open and available to you, just because you are making phone calls.

Scripts

The phone is a person-to-person interaction and with it comes a level of inconsistency, at least from call-to-call. Callers have to think on their toes, responding to prospect questions in real time. No one discussion with a prospect will ever look exactly the same.

The key to limiting this diversity is using calling scripts.

Texting and email is a much more calculated process, the same message over and over, and a calling script can achieve a facsimile of that.

Using pre-written scripts when on calls increases the consistency between your callers, your value proposition, and can actually help your team find the most effective caller script.

Handling Prospects Tips

Be Direct

Creative copywriting can be the make or break between a prospect reading your email or not, but even more important than creative copy is the intended focus of your copy. Focus on the prospect and be direct with them.

You can and should be odd and memorable, but be direct first.

Respect your prospect's time and get to the point fast, no matter how clever the campaign you’re writing is.

Time Zones

The most simple errors are often the most devastating.

Many companies do business across the country, perhaps even across the world, so double-checking where your prospect is and the timezone they adhere to when scheduling a meeting is vital.

Double-check the time zones of every prospect you correspond with by finding them on LinkedIn, or going directly to their website. This helps narrow down the correct time to schedule a calendar invite.

A wrong time could result in a reschedule or even a lost prospect altogether.

Be Patient

Lead Generation is often a game of attrition. A game between you and your prospects.

Many prospects don’t operate on your desired timeline, and we’ve come across several instances where patience and perseverance resulted in signed deals, despite it taking far longer than the norm.

Don’t throw away a prospect at the first sign of frustration.

If you don’t treat prospects like Tinder Profiles and simply move on to the next one when you don’t get a response immediately, then you just might get a deal in the long run.

Process Tricks

Set Criteria

It doesn’t pay to wing it when it comes to your prospects, and knowing who you want to contact before you begin outreach is essential.

Know what kind of prospects you want to sign beforehand, and have set qualification criteria for the profile when looking for your ideal customer.

Don’t just go for any prospect. Target them with a previously built profile.

Value Prop

Just as you would want to have your ideal customer profile built out before targeting outreach, you want to have your value prop concretely defined.

This is important for any number of reasons, but without this established, you won’t know what kind of benefit you can bring to your prospects when they ask.

If you don’t know your value, then they won’t know your value.

Reverse Value Prop

Sometimes you understand what you offer and pursue prospects, pitching your value to them. But another way to streamline your process is by reverse engineering your value prop.

Reverse engineering this means looking at who might need you and the benefits you provide, not finding prospects, and convincing them they need you.

The best way to do this is don’t limit your scope to only looking at a few industries, but rather look at your value prop and piece in all industries that can be impacted by what you can offer.

TAM

One way to establish your value prop is to know your TAM; your total addressable market. Your TAM is the total market industry that can theoretically use your services.

By knowing the limitations of your TAM, factoring in geography, and financial capacities of your targets, you can build better ideal customer profiles and value props.

Reverse ICP

Just as important as identifying prospects who are a good fit for your product, identify what kinds of prospects are not a good fit.

Do this in the same way you would build an ideal customer profile, by building a poor or reverse customer profile. This helps narrow down the best prospects for you to spend your time on when they come in.

It streamlines efficiency, minimizes your bandwidth, and gets more deals signed.

Multiple Targets

A typical B2B sale will almost always involve more than one person, with some sales involving up to twenty people at an enterprise level.

Only targeting one person per account or company can leave a lot of potential on the table.

Make sure you diversify your lists and include several decision makers from the same account.

SalesHive Experience

Gaining industry tips on-hand is how the majority of professionals in the business world learn to excel. Being in the field is far more valuable than any knowledge you might learn in a textbook or advice you might receive anecdotally. 

The best Lead Generators deploy patience, diligence, and lots of trial and error to learn the tips and tricks of the industry.

Hopefully, our own trial and error tips and tricks can help give you a leg up, expediting your experience level.

Use our SalesHive tips and tricks, because we use them too.