High Volume Outbound

Does cold outbound work for high-volume, low-touch sales?

As Incendium has grown our practice, we’ve discovered a broader set of areas where cold outbound email can be useful. While it is certainly not the only tool at a marketer’s disposal, we believe more and more that it is the most versatile low-fidelity technique across a wide range of go-to-market motions. Recently, we’ve been experimenting (with considerable success) by using cold outbound email independently from or even as a replacement for an early-stage sales team.

Traditionally, B2B cold email has been situated at the very top of the sales funnel with a goal of advancing the conversation to a salesperson. Generally, this takes place in a sales environment where a product demo is required and, consequently, the average contract value is significant enough to justify a sales team. However, with some minor tweaks, a lower-touch sales apparatus can also benefit from cold outbound email.

In order to make this motion make sense, the question we’ve had to answer is whether we can sell an offering directly via cold email, disintermediating the salesperson. It’s possible to do so with a couple of minor modifications.

First, we’ve found through A/B testing that starting the campaign with the same CTA is beneficial. This means that you should write the cold outbound campaign suggesting that the prospect take a meeting (as opposed to directing them to a landing page or, worse, a direct download link). The process shifts only after a positive response in which a prospect indicates interest in meeting about the offering.

At that point, you will have received buy-in and engagement from the prospect, which means that you have some more latitude to suggest the course of action. We’ve had a great deal of success “spinning” this initial positive response into a user download even though the sequence suggested that a meeting was in the cards. Here’s an example of a response template we’ve used to do just that:

Hi there,

Thanks for getting back to me, I really appreciate it! I would be happy to connect to discuss {{Client}}. We find that conversations are more productive after you've had a chance to check out the platform, so as a next step, you can use the personalized link here to sign up for a trial. Once you've had a chance to check out our platform, we’d be happy to answer any questions you have.


One additional tip: It is essential to tie together visibility into all sign ups and tracking on the back end such that successful activations can be monitored in real time. This allows for useful follow-up with those prospects who have not moved forward after a positive response. We suggest utilizing a few key processes: 

  • Sending unique UTM links when prospects receive the link to download. This allows you to track in real-time who signed up from where. It also enables you to have more confidence in A/B testing - e.g. if a change in language between email A and email B affects signups.
  • Google Analytics - you will be able to not only track whether a user has registered, but also the extent to which they use the product. When combined with UTM tagging, you can gain crucial insight into which segments of prospects convert into serious users rather than ones that just sign up and forget about it.
  • Follow up emails!  With the aforementioned 2 additions made to your process, you can now do some manual follow up work. We suggest adding prospects to short “reminder” sequences in situations where they replied positively but have not signed up or signed up but not actually used the product.

We do not believe that salespeople are going away anytime soon, but we do think that moving them closer to the ultimate sale is an accretive shift for most B2B companies. With this minor iteration of our typical outbound motion, we’ve been able to build a sales funnel that significantly reduces the need for a salesperson at the very top of the funnel, which is essential if the contract value is low.

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