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.


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.

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

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.

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.


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.

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.