How to Perfect Your Cold Emailing Technique
Cold emailing is the equivalent of cold calling – the solicitation of a potential customer who had no prior interaction with a salesperson – and is simply handled by email. It means you reach out to a sales target without them having made the first move. And that’s why it amounts to shooting an arrow in the dark. Why? The prospect doesn’t know you. Your email may land in a spam filter or remain unread even if it was delivered. Cold emailing is a tough exercise. Sometimes your arrow will hit, but often it will not. What you have to do is add a bit of light to the darkness to increase your chances of hitting the target. But it’s not as easy as flipping a light switch on. It requires discipline and – for most LSPs – a complete rethinking of how to email prospects.
Focus Your Efforts
You don’t want to address prospects with a generic message about your company. Instead, use sales targeting principles whereby you define a target market, the best entry points into each market (so-called “client personas”), and then prioritize the leads most likely to buy (see “How to Target Sales Efforts on Leads Most Likely to Buy”). This enables you to form groups of sales targets with similarities in needs and interests.
This process includes gathering at a minimum:
- The needs and wants of these personas. If you formulate them well, they will clarify the value you can bring and the benefits prospects want to see. No matter what, don’t list that they need to translate – you can’t show value on that concept alone. Dig deeper. Why do they translate – what are their business objectives? Why would they want to change their translation approach?
- A list of three to five common issues they encounter. Think about elements they must find aggravating in their job. One common worry when you do this is that if you choose pains that are too specific and they are not those the client faces, then you lose your chance to capture their interest. So, make sure you identify the right challenges. You need to understand the client persona’s problems inside and out.
Decide on What Aspects of “You” to Emphasize
The next step of the preparation phase consists of determining how you can best address the issues common to the client persona you are targeting. Each persona in each market may end up with a slightly different version of your answers.
- The relevant offering to address the client persona’s needs. Which services and technology will you focus on selling? Pick one core service to sell – not the full range of your capabilities otherwise you will have a hard time distilling how to position it. If you find a mismatch between what clients truly want and what you offer, beef up your offering.
- Features of your offering. Think beyond quality and customer service. What will clients get when they buy from you? Consider features from the client’s perspective and try to be concrete in your answers. Do you have a special client onboarding team, custom technology, or less common certifications?
- Your differentiation. What is different about your offering for these target clients compared to those of other LSPs pursuing the same prospects? If you have a strong offering but don’t know what to say about it, you probably need to further define your client personas to truly understand what makes them tick.
Plan the Email Approach
Most LSPs use cold emailing to present what they do, describing offerings and features. Prospects can then self-select whether they see the LSP as a fit and can reach out for more info or a quote. Selling this way is terribly difficult, plus these emails are particularly aggravating for their recipients – they are seen as time wasters.
Instead, change your approach:
- Stop thinking about your emails as a way to sell your services. Instead, treat them as a pathway to the next step in the process, which in this case, should be to engage in a conversation to better understand the prospect.
- Focus on one core element per email. Don’t include everything you think you need to tell the client. Your cold email should not contain everything there is to know about your company. But you have more than one thing to say, right? That’s totally fine. Instead of one long email, divide content over multiple emails.
- Space out emails in your series. Wait a week or two between emails and limit your series to half a dozen. Be regular but don’t be a pest. Then restart a new email series later if you are sure the prospect is worth another round.
- Write about the client – not you. Refrain from talking about what you do too early in your email series. If you want to catch the prospects' attention, you need to talk about them – the goals they may try to achieve and the pain points they encounter.
- Integrate emails to sequences of steps. Never just email or just call. Blend different approaches into your sales strategy and plan for alternate paths if prospects don’t bite on the first attempt.
Next Step, Write Your Email
In our sales workshops, we spend entire sessions dissecting actual cold emails from LSPs. We define best practices from the subject line to the opening statement, all the way to the signature. The emails we receive from providers trying to sell to us prove time and time again that very few LSPs have mastered the art of writing solid emails that won’t go straight into the prospects’ spam or trash folder.
We’re observing a growing interest from LSPs in optimizing sales efforts – whether digital marketing, cold emailing, or cold calling. It takes discipline and effort to change ingrained mass mailing behaviors. However, by following best practices for targeted sales efforts, business developers can experience a noticeable increase in prospects’ engagement with their emails.
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