Did you know you have one of the world's most powerful sales tools at your fingertips? It isn't your high-powered marketing automation suite or even your fancy funnel metrics analytics program.
It's your humble CRM.
CRM software may not be sexy, but when used properly, it can supercharge your cold email strategy and drive a steady stream of revenue into your business. Here's how to leverage this simple tool to maximum effect:
Step #1: Build Your Ideal Customer PersonaYour CRM contains a wealth of data on both new prospects and existing customers. To start, look at your best customers and see if you can identify any patterns that exist across them.
First, decide how you'll define "best." Is it customers with the highest LTV? Is it those who have been with you longest? Maybe it's your newest customers, if your product or service has undergone such significant changes that your early buyers don't resemble current leads.
Try to identify at least 20-50 of these top customers. Then, look for trends across their:
- Geographic locations
- Business types
- Purchase histories
- Referral sources
- Titles or company structures
- Other common characteristics
Step #2: Build Lookalike Prospect ListsNow that you know who you're looking for, go out and look for new prospects who share some or all of these qualities. There are several ways you can do this:
Data.com and similar sources
Programs like Data.com's Connect and similar sources give you access to prospect lists based on criteria you set, though they may be a pricey alternative and are best suited to those selling high-ticket products or services.
Manual prospect research
If your customer LTV doesn't allow for data subscription costs, you can perform this research manually. As an example, if you notice that most of your best customers are distributors, searching Google for distributors within a 25-mile radius of city centers could turn up interesting prospects.
You can also find this information with web scraping tools like Dux-Soup. Here's a tutorial on how to use it for lead generation within your outbound sales strategy.
Once you've identified the people you want to contact, there are various strategies you can use to find their email addresses. You can outsource this process through services like Upwork or Freelancer, but keep ROI in mind. Don't pay more for leads than you can realistically expect to recoup in future sales.
Step #3: Import Lists Into Your CRMOnce you have your new list of lookalike prospects, clean them up using tools like NeverBounce or
Voila Norbert, as high rates of invalid email addresses could diminish your future deliverability rates.
After your list has been scrubbed, import it into your CRM tool, making sure to tag new prospects with the source used to find them for future ROI measurements. If you're able to do so within your CRM, turn on lead scoring to weight future actions taken by prospects.
Step #4: Send Initial Prospecting EmailsNext, send your newly-entered prospects an initial prospecting email. A simple three-sentence template - like the one pictured below - can be a good starting point, assuming you don't have a prior relationship with these prospects.
If you do have some relationship with the prospects you're sending to - for example, you have shared connections on LinkedIn - use a different template that mentions this relationship to go from a cold email to warmer outreach.
If you'll be mailing to more than 10-15 prospects, use an email automation tool to speed the process up. But even with larger lists, send your outreach in batches so you can test which subject lines, templates and other variations give you the best results.
You can also experiment with multi-touch email campaigns. "When you're reaching out to a cold prospect, make sure you don't just send one-off emails," says Blake Johnston, CEO of OutboundView. "Putting together a multi-touch campaign (reaching out 'x' number of times over 'x' number of days) will give you the best chance of getting a response from the prospect."
Step #5: Turn Promising Leads Over to SalesOnce your messages are out the door, monitor the lead scoring features you enabled in Step #3. As prospects begin to develop different levels of engagement, pursue them as appropriate, or turn the leads over to a sales team for further follow-up.
Bonus Tip #1: Find Cold Leads in Your CRMOne last tip to add to this process: don't assume you have to go outside your company to find cold leads.
Depending on your company's sales history, a cold lead could also be:
- Past closed-lost opportunities.
- Contacts who let the conversation drop.
- New contacts who have entered your CRM through marketing/email automation, but who have not had contact with your company yet.
- Contacts who have interacted with your customer service desk, but who are not yet identified as sales prospects,
- Customers whose contracts have lapsed.
- Customers who have left you for a competitor.
- People who switch jobs, from a company that is a customer of yours to another company that is not yet a customer. As Stefan Debois, Founder of Survey Anyplace, observes, "These people are great to target, because you already know them and they already know your product. You should be able to find these people using LinkedIn, and update your CRM accordingly."
Bonus Tip #2: Ask Existing Customers to Make ReferralsIf your CRM includes a field for monitoring NPS survey results, set up an automated notification that triggers your customer service reps to send out a referral request email when a new score of "9" or "10" is recorded.
I hope you had a nice weekend!
I don't want to take much of your time, so I'll get to the point right away. We are growing gradually and in order to maintain the right pace of growth we need to be on the constant lookout for potential clients. And since there is no better way to build a prospect list than asking for recommendation, I decided to reach out to some of our current clients. :-)
Do you by any chance know a company which might be interested in our services? Maybe there is someone you could introduce or refer me to?
Have a nice day!"
Modify the template above as needed to suit your business's brand tone, then test it to set off an influx of new leads into your CRM.
Using Your CRM for SalesYour CRM is more than a glorified Rolodex. By leveraging all of the features it offers, you can turn this seemingly-simple tool from address book to high-powered sales assistant. Embrace its prospecting and lead tracking tools, and you'll be able to turn it into a true partner that helps you supercharge your cold email strategy.
What other CRM strategies are you using for cold emailing? Leave us your tips and suggestions in the comments below: