How I got 39% Reply Rate from Cold Outreach Campaign to Top 100 Sales Influencers

In this post I’m going to tell you how I was able to get 39% reply rate from some of the busiest people in the world with just one cold email and a follow up. I’ve reached out to 100 influencers and all it took me just 5 hours starting from finding email address and ending up hitting the Send button. In the end I got 39 replies and engaged in communication with some top sales influencers like Guy Kawasaki, Dan Waldschmidt and other.

Recently I decided to connect with some top influences in B2B sales space in order to find out if there are any areas where we can cooperate. And right now I want to share results and some useful tips with you. The same strategy will work if you are doing any kind of outbound sales or business development.

Strategy

At the very first touch with influencers the main goal is to start communication, not to pitch them with your idea right away, this is how relationships are built. A lot of good things could happen as a result and down the road it may be much more comfortable asking for a favor, talking about guest blog posting, exposing to their audience or asking for support of some initiative. It’s a long sales cycle and you should think strategically.

Influencers list and finding emails

Long story short, we found the list of Top 100 Sales Influencers To Follow On Twitter online. These people have from 5K to 500K followers on twitter. Seeing some top famous names on the list, I first hesitated if I should send them automated emails, but my template was good and it didn’t hurt to include them in the list. Later on I was surprised to get back from some top exerts in B2B sales niche.

Using tools like Connectifier, EmailHunter, Name2Email and Pipetop we were able to find 80% of email addresses within 2 hours.

Setting up automation for sending emails

Using our tool Reply, we created two-step email sequence. First email was to be sent right away. The second one was scheduled in 4 days if there is no reply in the same email thread.

All emails that are sent via Reply look 100% like they have been written manually. Reply acts like an email client. It connects directly to your email account. However, you should add Opt-Out link to avoid complaints with CAN-SPAM act if you’re sending emails to cold contacts.

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Few notes about email sending process:

1. Emails are sent from your personal email account
2. All emails end up in recipient’s Primary folder
3. We don’t use any images or tracking pixels, so there are no “Enable images for this email” pop-ups when recipient gets your email.
4. Reply puts delay between sending each email (I set it for 40–60 sec), so they go out one by one without appearing to mail servers as a bulk email blast

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Few notes about the email copy we used:

1. We asked for feedback since it’s valuable for us and it’s a good way to engage in communication with experts.
2. I started email by introducing myself and mentioning how I found them.
3. Second and third paragraphs include a pitch, where I’m asking for the feedback. Try to make this section as short as you can, while still express the main points.
4. Last paragraph entails questions that act like call to action.

Since all emails look as they have been personally sent to recipients, I was able to get pretty high 39% response rate after a first-step email and a single follow up. I may consider doing another follow up later in a different tread for people that haven’t responded yet, but for now this one was enough.

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I got the idea validation and started communication with a number of B2B sales influencers. The first goal was to engage in communication and listen to their feedback. I was able to establish stronger relationship with those who really like what we do here at Reply, and now I could have more smooth communication on possible partnership, guest blog posting or other opporutinites.

Conclusion

At the end, here is a few positive responses I received out of this campaign. Don’t want to advertise here, but even I was amazed how easy it was to do with the solution we built. You simply spend 4–6 hours on finding emails, composing the email copy and setting up the campaign, then launch it, and replies start coming in next 10 days automatically.

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Would be happy to listen to your experience with reaching out to influencers, building relationships with them and the results you’ve got, please share in comments.

Comments (18)

OpenBooks.com says:

It sounds really great. I am gonna let you know how it worked for us!
– Ula

Oleg Campbell Oleg Campbell says:

Thanks Ula! Looking forward to hear how it will work.

Ed B says:

is your outbound email intentionally filled with grammatical errors? if so, why?

Oleg Campbell Oleg Campbell says:

Hi Ed, not it is not by intent. I am non-native English speaker and much better in programming languages than human ones :)

But I appreciate you asking and pointing out attention there. We will have a proofreader to go through our all blog posts.

Neil Verma says:

Oleg, this is just brilliant stuff. I plan to do the same and wanted some inputs regarding it.
Just walking you through the process which I have in mind, correct me if wrong.
Finding Influencers (Through Influencer Platforms) >> Twitter Engagement (Optional) >> Finding emails >> Shoot emails

Oleg Campbell Oleg Campbell says:

Hi Neil. That is correct. Please let me know if you need any help with any part of this process. As well you could add Linkedin Connect (optional) to this workflow.

Neil Verma says:

Thanks Oleg the campaign actually worked wonders – We had an open rate of about 38% :)

Lusha Grabowski says:

This is super impressive Oleg

Another plugin which might be of value for you is: http://www.Lusha.co

Its a great plugin which find personal contact details (Gmail & Hotmail) for candidates

Please try it out and I’ll be happy to know what you think?

Thanks

Abhishek Barari says:

Seth: I have no idea if it will work but you should do it. Correct??

Matija says:

Thanks for sharing Oleg, it’s always very helpful to see real examples along with the results! Regarding our experiences with influencers, we found very useful Groove’s system that includes getting advice and traffic on your blog post: https://www.groovehq.com/blog/1000-subscribers

We applied the technique described here and got good results! It was a great way to create relationships with influencers and also get them to comment on our blog post and share it on Twitter pages. This is our blog post that we used for this strategy, you can see the comments at the bottom: http://blog.talkbook.co/speaking/2016/06/01/5-ways-to-collect-emails-through-speaking.html

runmael says:

Seeing this kind of good results makes me eager to start my new email campaign. Thank you for the blog post!

Seth Godin says:

Please take my copyrighted photo and name off of your page. You didn’t ask first, and would never have said yes.

Seth

Oleg Campbell Oleg Campbell says:

Seth, my apologies for not confirming this with you. I’ve removed your photo and name off the post.

Great lesson here – always ask for permissions. In my opinion, you shouldn’t be even posting names unless influencer agrees to this in advance. On the other hand, you got lots of attention from this. You may burn a bridge but you might get extra views.

Priya Sharma says:

Wow! That’s excellent list. I really appreciate your patience for making such a comprehensive and well – thought out guide. Well this is the time of AI and working hard for developing business reach while we have tools for Lead generation is useless, and this is only growth hacking. I have used few tools for my business for growth hacking like AeroLeads, rainClutch , Rapportive and this tools help me a lot. I hope it will help you too.

Oleg, that is such an impressive tool. You’ve only exhibited that cold emailing still works if you use the right strategy and reach out to the right people. If I may add, for those who are looking at building a targeted list of prospect, you can visit our website http://www.salesripe.com to learn more about our tool for growing your leads list.

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