May 21, 2018Cold email
I believe QuickMail is the best tool for lead gen agencies, and this is why:
Talking to many agencies, I realised that I did a pretty poor job at communicating what’s new on QuickMail over the years and how they could benefit from new features in QuickMail, but rather than doing a boring list of all you can do in QuickMail, I decided to describe how many companies use QuickMail to make their life easier with automation and grow their business. Kind of a best practice guide for lead generation agencies and anyone willing to up their game.
Using Groups to segment prospects
One of the most important things when it comes to getting results for clients with cold email is the ability to go super targeted on the prospects to contact.
It’s not rare to find accounts with 20 groups. Each group could reflect the source of leads (e.g. Glassdoor, LinkedIn, CrunchBase, Angellist) but often is a series of specific attributes (e.g. Marketing director + 1-5 million + Serie A + Bad Glassdoor rating + Hiring, COO + Manufacturing + Press mentioned + high growth last Quarter)
The main reason why people fail at prospecting:
Simple. Casting your net too wide – Jack Reamer
Use Google Spreadsheet & automatic import
All agencies work with Google Spreadsheet.
It’s much easier to organize for your organization and collaborate with other people, whether it’s with a Virtual Assistant filling/cleaning the spreadsheet, or share with the client for approval/check. And it’s much easier to manage Google Sheets shared by the organization than individual CSV when it comes to compliance with GDPR.
Many agencies have the spreadsheet generation part completely automated, be it with virtual assistants, 3rd party Databases or program scraping websites.
Clean your list
The best lead generation agencies take good care of their domain sender reputation and will work hard on reducing bounces to a minimum to preserve it.
For that purpose, they will always run their list through a tool that will determine if an email will bounce before even trying to send it.
There are a lot of tools that can do that, but their level of quality varies drastically.
For example, there are Hunter.io, Kickbox.io, NeverBounce, EmailBulkChecker… but our users did their homework and BriteVerify was consistently found as the most reliable.
That’s why QuickMail has a direct integration with BriteVerify.
You can decide to clean the list prior to add your prospects to a sequence or do it just in time (meaning it will verify the email validity just before starting a sequence)
Custom attributes (Merge tags)
If you want to stand out with, you’ll need to do better than using first name and company name as attributes.
Many people fail at cold emailing by sending the same lazy and generic emails that everyone else is sending – Dana
Most successful agencies on QuickMail use a ton of custom attributes to highly customize their sequence.
QuickMail doesn’t limit the number of custom attributes, we have agencies, using more than 45 different attributes!
Why so many? Surely, you can’t use them all in your templated email right? Correct, although they use a good number of them in their templates, they use the rest for another purpose. See why later on how they handle replies and optimize their campaigns…
Consistency and predictable pipelines
Marketing people think in terms of Campaigns, successful lead generation companies, on the other hand, find ways to have predictable pipelines.
So rather than adding 200 prospects and letting the software try to send them as fast as possible, then handling replies, then starting another campaign…, they set up Schedules in QuickMail to make sure that they start a certain number of prospects at the same time every day.
That way, they can predict based on their reply rate, how many replies they will get every day and provide a continuous stream of leads to their clients.
And Schedules don’t require a human to start the prospects manually. They will execute automatically, so they can focus on other more important things, like handling replies.
Email variations, A/B testing
Most agencies are using A/B testing (called variations in QuickMail) for one primary reason: deliverability.
Those who do serious A/B testing can have a very large amount of drastically different variations (e.g. 10) to quickly determine which one has the most potential to resonate with prospects.
Finally, other agencies aim for continuous improvement and always use 2 variations and each week determine the winner, pausing the losing variation and creating a new one for the week to come.
Handling replies with lead scoring, labels & workflows
Getting replies is only half the battle. Follow-ups will help you get more replies, but you need to have a process to feed this back to your clients. And what if those replies could improve your prospecting at the same time?
Best lead gen agencies analyze their replies on a regular basis and try to find commonalities between prospects who replies positively.
That’s why the more data you attach to a prospect, the easier it becomes to compare similarities between respondents.
This can easily be done by labeling replies in the replies screen (or within Gmail / Outlook), then exporting prospect with a certain label for further analysis.
Best agencies have a great process in place to qualify AND determine the next action step.
The main reason why people fail at cold emailing:
Attention to Detail & Lack of follow through – Ian Bloembergen
Because successful cold emails rarely work as a direct sales letter (with a buy or book a demo button at the end), successful lead generation agencies take a step back from that point and work their way to booking a demo in multiple touch emails.
This implies that you will need to handle multiple replies with the prospect before you can hand the lead over to your client.
This is where QuickMail really shines with the use of Labels and Workflows.
Labels can be set on each reply through Gmail/Outlook or directly inside QuickMail on the Replies Screen (meaning you can give access to your replies to a VA without the need for them to know the login/password of the email account)
Workflow allows you to change QuickMail behavior to fit your needs.
For example, you can configure that setting a certain label will automatically start a new sequence.
E.g. If you set the label “Interested, have John book a meeting”, you could trigger a sequence from John, reaching out to book a meeting.
You can also modify lead scoring (adding or removing value) based on action from the prospects (like clicking a certain link or opening the email) to prioritize calling people, or even create a manual task (like calling someone or checking their linkedin profile) if they click on a certain link in the email.
Permissions & portals
The Permission screen is often used to allow Virtual Assistants to access a QuickMail account without having to share the login/password of the GMail or Outlook account.
Another trending way this is used is when Agencies/Consultants ask their client to directly sign up for QuickMail. The client, then gives access to the Agency/Consultant to manage the account on their behalf without having to share the Login/Password of their email account.
Deliverability is king.
One thing that good Lead Generation Agencies doing cold email have to mastered is their setup configuration.
They always make sure things are in place for good deliverability. They aim for less volume and better reply rate.
Some use the main domain of their client (checking the domain has a good sender reputation), but most handle themselves the creation of the domain and email that goes with it.
SPF & DKIM are always checked to see if this is well configured (e.g. using mail-tester.com)
But another thing to setup is a CNAME in QuickMail so links reference your domain rather than QuickMail.io special domains
To increase deliverability, best agencies use email variations as mentioned above but they also remove open tracking from the first touch. Open tracking is a technology that adds an invisible pixel but spam filter compare the amount of text to the number of images.
If your text is short (short = more replies), you will be penalized. So they turn it off on the first touch, but back on with the second touch. The idea is since the follow up includes the first email, the amount of text will be bigger and offset the addition of the pixel tracking.