Need a predictable way to grow your lead pipeline?

This guide is for you.

I’m going to walk you through how to build a B2B sales process from scratch. We’ll focus on cold email as a primary channel, as well as looking at how you can seamlessly integrate other touchpoints like LinkedIn and cold calling.

We’ll look at:

  • Why Cold Email is the Ultimate B2B Sales Channel
  • Questions to Find Out if Cold Email Will Work For You
  • Sourcing Leads to Use in Your Sales Outreach
  • How to Execute a Cold Outreach Process For B2B Sales
  • Setting Goals and KPIs for Your Sales Process
  • Tools to Improve Your B2B Sales Process

By the end, you’ll have a playbook to follow to scale up your sales outreach and start getting more leads for your business.

This guide is ideal for anyone running a lead generation agency, or similar businesses with a high-value product/service.

Let’s dive straight in.

Why Cold Email is the Ultimate B2B Sales Channel

B2B sales is fundamentally simple. You’re talking to individuals and helping them solve existing pain points in their business with your product or service.

But, it’s hard.

Because you’re selling an expensive product/service, you’ll need to personalize every sales touch. That’s impossible with channels like paid ads and SEO.

You’ll soon realize that not everyone in your target audience will want to buy from you.

And, you’ll be busy catering to your existing clients and can’t afford to be spending all week reaching out to prospective clients one-by-one.

The only way to win at B2B sales today is to combine personalization with automation. You can reach more people, without compromising the quality of every interaction. That’s wherecold email comes in.

You can use it to speed up your B2B sales process, boost personalization, and at the end of the day, get more sales.

Next, I’ll show you how to approach the first steps in your sales process.

Questions to Find Out if Cold Email Will Work For You

Who is Your Buyer?

You need an acute understanding of who your ideal customer is.

This will help you determine the best sales channels to use.

For example, if your target audience is small local tradespeople who only have a basic website and a catch-all contract@{{company}}.com email address, cold email won’t be as effective.

You’d be better at joining a local business network and attending events or getting listed on their services directory.

On the other hand, if you’re reaching out to lawyers or accountancy firms with multiple team members, you’ll be able to email individuals within those businesses. In that case, cold email becomes a perfect channel.

What’s Your Customer LTV?

Another key factor in deciding if cold email is worth using in your sales processes is your customer lifetime value (LTV).

If you’re selling leads, high-value services, or a product with high customer LTV, cold email is ideal.

On the other hand, if you’re selling a one-off product or very low-cost service, it may not be worth it. You can get customers, but the time you invest in creating your email campaigns and interacting with every lead will leave you with no time for anything else, and due to your low-cost product/service, the ROI will be low.

What’s Your Team Size?

If you’re a solo business owner, you’ll need to approach sales differently than a company with a sales team of 10.

A larger team will have more bandwidth. They can experiment with more channels and will have more money to spend on ads, content, and even try tactics like using direct mail.

Smaller teams may not have that luxury.

But, don’t worry.

One of the best parts of cold email is that a small team can see results equal to or better than a larger team. The key is to ensure every email you send is high-quality, personalized, and compelling to the recipient.

High or Low Touch Sales Process?

If you have a long, complicated sales cycle that usually involves multiple touchpoints, consultation calls, and custom contracts, then you’ll need a high-touch, personalized sales process.

A personalized cold email can be a perfect way to reach out to B2B buyers.

If your personalization is effective, you’ll impress your prospect, start a conversation, and stand out from a crowd of bad cold emails.

On the other hand, if you typically never talk to a customer during the sales process, then cold email won’t be the right channel as it’s too high-touch.

Sourcing Leads to Use in Your Sales Outreach

Defining Your Ideal Customer

Your sales process will only generate results if you’re reaching out to the right type of people.

First, define your ideal customer profile.

  • What industry they work in
  • Job titles
  • Team size
  • Technology used on their website

Any criteria that will help you decide if they’re a fit for your service is relevant.

Finding Email Addresses

Cold email won’t work if you don’t have your prospects’ email addresses.

In some cases, it might be publicly listed on their website – especially if it’s a small business you’re reaching out to.

However, if you can’t find it immediately, there are other ways.

You can read our guide to finding prospects’ email addresses here.

A few methods include:

  • Extracting emails from LinkedIn
  • Visiting your local Chamber of Commerce directory
  • Using email finder tools

There are a variety of ways to find emails, and once you figure out a reliable way to source them, it won’t be a bottleneck.

If your process is repeatable, you can outsource the task to a VA or find a way to automate parts of the process. For example, you could automatically save prospects’ LinkedIn profiles to a CSV with automation tools, send that to your VA or team members to then find the emails.

Creating a Prospect List to Use in Cold Outreach

Once you have a list of prospects and email addresses, you’ll need to format them to use in your cold outreach.

You can use a simple spreadsheet for this.

The more organized your prospect list is, the easier it will be to scale up your sales outreach, as you’ll be able to hand the list to anyone on your team and they’ll have all of the information they need.

It’s important to get this right early on, as it’ll make future tasks – like uploading your prospects to your cold email software – much more simple.

A few example fields to include are:

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Company
  • Email
  • Phone number
  • LinkedIn profile URL

If you’re still not certain about how to format your spreadsheet, don’t worry.

We created a Prospect List Template that you can download and start using immediately in your sales process.

 

You candownload it for free here.

You’ll always be able to keep track of your prospects’, their status in your sales process, notes on interactions, and more.

Next, I’ll show you how to put your prospect list to work.

How to Execute a Cold Outreach Process For B2B Sales

Once you’ve carefully chosen your ideal customer and created your prospect list, it’s time to plan your outreach.

Cold email is one of the best ways to start and scale your B2Boutbound sales activity.

It’s accessible, affordable, and effective.

If you craft your email campaign well, you can seeresponse rates of over 30%, and be able to regularly book meetings with qualified leads.

Here are some of our recommended best practices to see high ROI on your sales efforts.

Be Patient and Follow Up

One of the most important parts of using cold email in your sales process is that you have to be patient.

Not everyone will see your emails, and not everyone will reply.

That’s why you need to follow-up.

Our data shows that55% of replies come from a follow-up email.

Use your follow-ups to add extra value.

Bring up a new case study, send a useful piece of content, or share a gated resource for free.

Following up is easy to implement withQuickMail.

After your opening email, add a new step.

First, add a ‘Wait’ step. Choose how long you’ll wait until following-up. Waiting 3-4 business days is usually enough.

Next, add another step, this time, choosing Email.

Write your follow-up email, and save.

 

Once you launch your campaign, prospects who don’t reply to you will be automatically sent your follow-up email.

It’s a simple and effective way to improve the results of your cold outreach.

And there’s no need to worry about prospects receiving follow-ups after they replied to your opening email. Anyone that replies, or unsubscribes, will be automatically removed from your campaign and you’ll be notified in your To-Dos.

Increase Your Chances of Success with Extra Touch Points

When it comes to sales, you don’t want to have all of your eggs in one basket.

Even if your cold outreach is working well, diversifying can help you further boost your reply rates and improve campaign ROI.

A simple way to do this is to treat your sales process like account-based marketing. Aim to connect with people on multiple channels in different ways that complement each other.

It can take6-8 touches to generate a viable sales lead, so be patient.

For example, after you cold email someone, follow up by connecting with them on LinkedIn and sharing a useful resource. Or, if you don’t get a reply, call them.

But, if you’re a small team, how can you balance it?

Well, it’s all in the planning.

Instead of starting your outreach, then feeling like you need to figure out what to do next, plan it out when you’re deciding on your sales strategy.

Decide on the tactics you’ll bring together, and map them out.

Once you’ve laid out your blueprint, you can start.

A simple way to remember which steps in your process you need to execute at any moment is to use Tasks in QuickMail.

 

Inside your campaign, use Tasks to add reminders and steps for you and your team of sales reps to take.

As well as tasks, you can add steps to remind you to Call prospects.

You can use the text field to add actions or a sales script to use on your call.

 

When your campaign is running, you can use QuickMail’sAircall integration to call prospects with 1-click.

Extra touchpoints like a LinkedIn connection, or cold calling, are a perfect way to guarantee your prospective customers see your pitch, and increase your positive reply rate.

There are no shortcuts in B2B sales, but creating an easy-to-follow, structured sales process will help you ensure your efforts lead to results.

Personalize Every Message to Increase Reply Rate

It’s important to have a sales process that can be scaled.

But, you can’t compromise on personalization.

If you send generic cold emails that could be sent to anyone, your sales efforts won’t deliver the outcome you’re hoping for.

Take time to personalize your outreach, and treat every prospect like they’re a key decision-maker having the final say over whether they become a customer or not.

One simple way to do this is to include an extra column in your prospect list.

Title it ‘Opening Line’ or ‘Icebreaker’.

The goal of this cell is to write a completely custom opening sentence for your prospect.

Mention something about their business, the content they’ve created, or any other topic completely unique to them.

This will make your opening cold email more personalized and proves to your prospect that you care about doing business with them.

To help your campaign run smoothly, I’d recommend writing out your opening lines at the same time you’re building your prospect list.

When your prospect list is complete, you can import them to QuickMail.

During the import process, make sure you select the custom attribute you need.

It will then be available to you inside the Attributes selector as you create your email campaign.

 

It’s a simple way to drastically improve your reply rate, and show your potential customers that you’re putting real effort into your cold outreach to them.

Once you master the art of email personalization, you’ll always stand out in decision-makers’ inboxes, and you can generate excellent results with your outreach.

Setting Goals and KPIs for Your Sales Process

If you rely on intuition and guesswork to judge your sales results, it’ll be impossible to know what works.

You won’t be able to scale your campaigns in a sustainable way.

Setting goals and KPIs for your sales process will help you see how you’re doing and find areas to improve.

Positive Reply Rate

Looking at your positive reply rate is a more telling metric than reply rate alone.

Aim for a positive reply rate of 20% – 40%, depending on your pitch.

Your benchmark will vary based on your call-to-action.

If you’re asking a simple question, you’ll have a higher reply rate than if you were asking for someone to commit to a 30-minute call with you.

Meeting Booking Rate

Even more important than your reply rate is the number of meetings you booked from your sales outreach.

For most businesses with a high-touch sales process, like agencies, you should focus on the number of meetings booked as a goal.

If you see you’re booking more meetings using one type of call-to-action or value proposition in your email, you know it’s resonating with your prospects’ pain points. Double down on it, and find new ways to improve it.

Conversion Rate

The most important metric? Conversion rate.

This tells you how good your overall sales process is, but also reflects on the quality of the product/service you’re selling, and if the people you’re pitching are a fit for it.

If you’re booking lots of meetings, but none are converting into a customer, it could be a process issue or a problem with how you try and close deals.

If you’re not booking any meetings, it could be a targeting problem, and your buyer personas may not be accurate.

Always ensure your sales activities are directly linked to revenue and don’t focus on vanity metrics like open rates – they won’t pay the bills.

Activity-Based KPIs

Once you have a good baseline and you consistently see good reply rates, switch your focus to activity-based Key Performance Indicators and goals.

For example:

  • Source and enrich 50 new prospects per day
  • Send 20 cold emails per day
  • Connect with 20 prospects on LinkedIn

These KPIs will help you hit your goals faster than focusing on micro-improvements to your call-to-actions or removing or adding a single word to your email copy.

If you’re worried about being limited by volume or sending too many cold emails, use QuickMail’sinbox rotation feature.

 

Inbox rotation enables you to send emails from multiple accounts at once, spreading the volume out between them.

You’ll be less likely to hit email sending limits, and less likely for an account to be blacklisted.

Tools to Improve Your B2B Sales Process

Send Personalized Cold Emails with QuickMail

You can’t scale a B2B sales process without a cold email tool. It’s impossible to send that many emails, follow-up, and keep track of your metrics manually.

QuickMail is the ideal cold email tool to help you send personalized emails and follow-up with your prospects automatically.

You can get started with your campaigns in 5 minutes.

Once your campaign emails and tasks are ready, you can import your prospects, set your sending schedule, and it’ll run on autopilot.

All you need to do is reply to your prospects when they get back to you.

Our platform integrates with email platforms including Gmail, Outlook, or your custom inbox. We also integrate with tools like Zapier, NeverBounce, Aircall, Calendly, Hyperise, and more.

You can start your free trial here.

Verify Contact Details with Dropcontact or Neverbounce

If too many of your cold emails bounce it’ll hurt youremail deliverability, and waste your time. A simple way to reduce your bounce rate (aim for less than 5%) is to verify the emails you have before adding them to a campaign.

Tools likeDropcontact andNeverBounce will do this for you.

You can manually import prospects into the tools to discover which emails are valid.

Or, you can do it inside QuickMail.

When you’re importing your prospects, create a Bucket to import them. In the Bucket settings, make sure the ‘Verify emails’ box is chosen, and select your email verification provider.

 

Your prospect emails will automatically be verified. Any emails that aren’t valid will be rejected from the campaign, and you’ll be confident that you’ll consistently see a low or non-existent bounce rate.

Quickly Make Cold Calls with Aircall

If you’ve followed the advice in this guide, you’ll want to add in extra touchpoints in the form of cold calls during your sales process.

Aircall is an effective solution to help you quickly make and track your cold calls.

 

 

You can integrate it with your CRM, or QuickMail, and can make calls to your prospects in a single click.

You can add tags, use call-whispering to speak to teammates for coaching while on a call, and record calls to review and find ways to improve your sales scripts.

Aircall is an essential tool for anyone doing cold calling.

Track Your Sales Pipeline in Pipedrive

A critical challenge for small sales teams is managing the status of leads, logging interactions, and staying on top of everything.

If you can’t stay organized, you won’t close any deals (without getting lucky).

A CRM is essential.

There are lots of good CRMs on the market, and the best one may depend on your exact use case.

However, one that delivers good value for money isPipedrive.

It’s affordable for small teams but can scale with growing businesses, and has features to help you handle rapid growth.

Pipedrive lets you easily see where leads are in your pipeline, get insights and reports into your sales metrics, and automate your repetitive sales tasks.

You can connect QuickMail to Pipedrive using Zapier, and customize your workflow to your heart’s content.

Final Note: Don’t Get Analysis Paralysis

If you’re new to cold outreach it can be intimidating.

But don’t worry.

If your offer to your prospective customers is genuinely valuable, you won’t be bothering them. Prospects will be happy that you reached out when you did to help them solve a pain point.

As well as that, don’t over-engineer your sales process too early.

Find out what works, then optimize it, and scale it.

If you try to make things complex early on, you’ll only slow yourself down.