B2B SaaS companies need to stop sending generic cold email templates
When it comes to writing high-converting cold emails, a quick Google search will return thousands of different rules, templates, and steps to follow.
Cold emails as an acquisition channel are particularly popular for B2B SaaS companies. If you do your research and prospecting correctly, you can test and scale top funnel outreach very effectively and inexpensively, allowing you to allocate resources more effectively elsewhere.
However, given the amount of advice out there, with so many ‘proven’ ways to send cold emails, it’s safe to assume that there isn’t one silver bullet-type strategy that will save your failing email campaigns.
The cold email templates that flooded the internet can work, but their widespread use makes them often ineffective.
Email automation companies that have anything to do with email or cold email (from sending to verification) produce especially this type of content. And there is a fair number of them…
They understand their reads want a quick fix, plug and play solution.
Grow your SaaS business by understanding the principles behind successful cold emails
While small tweaks and improvements are nice, it’s something more nuanced than a simple template or a quick trick when it comes to long-term impact on your cold emails and sales processes.
We send thousands of cold emails weekly for our clients to prospects in different industries. The messages we send differ from client to client, and further for each client inside different campaigns, but they still perform really well.
If you start to approach your sales processes from this angle, you will quickly realize that it’s not about a magic combination of words that will make your prospects want to jump on a call.
Instead, it’s about underlying principles inside the emails. Every framework (in any field, from sales & marketing, to finance or science) is based on specific principles that make the framework robust.
The simple framework that I will discuss here is not different. Tactics follow strategy.
Based on the understanding that principles are more powerful than small tweaks, we set to analyze the cold emails we send (in this experiment, only the first emails) to understand what aspects make the successful campaigns successful.
Analysis of our best performing first cold emails – this is what we found…
Before we discuss what we did. Let’s break down the dynamics of communication that we’re engaging in when sending out emails.
One of the fundamental things our clients grasp when we start optimizing their campaigns is that there are two main categories of variables when it comes to cold email outreach.
Category 1 – You/your business
- Product and features
Category 2 – Your prospects
- Competence to make a decision
- Readiness to buy
- Internal decision-making process, approvals
The challenging part when it comes to cold emails is condensing the relevant Category 1 information and communicating it effectively and persuasively. How you do this is in your control.
However, you can’t control variables in Category 2 for a specific organization you communicate with. You can only influence WHO will be on the receiving end of your emails. The selection of who enters your sales cadences is in your hands, that’s why prospecting for the right accounts is as important as what you communicate to them.
To understand the effectiveness behind winning emails, we looked at how different elements interact between Category 1 and Category 2 variables.
We found that product differentiation is the major variable when it comes to writing effective cold emails and enticing a response. Upmarket solution deals are made on the features, integration, and flexibility to integrate with existing processes.
If your prospects are cold and you don’t have any history with them, they never saw your ads, read your blog or heard about you, they will care primarily about how your product solves their pain in a differentiated and better way.
Talking about price, UX/UI or other elements is important, but it’s often too early in the sales process.
When I talk about differentiation, I mean a 10X differentiation, not 10%. It’s the kind of differentiation where your prospects think ‘Ok, wow, that’s really cool’ or ‘this is very interesting, how does it work?’.
Are you competing on the fact that one or a small number of features are marginally better, or are you offering a paradigm shift in terms of how the problems of your prospects are resolved?
Are you so far ahead of your competition that there is nobody competing with you in your category?
It’s important to be honest with yourself and to not make an emotional decision when thinking about this.
However, most likely you know the answer already – the answer was obvious (at least at that time) before a single line of code was written.
If you struggle to determine this, start by analyzing your competition and their products, conduct user interviews, and quantifying your findings.
Make your value proposition determine the types of cold emails you send
Generally, we send on behalf of our clients two types of emails depending on their value proposition.
If you have a product without significant differentiation – send ‘bait’ emails
In case your product falls into this category, the ‘bait’ emails perform the best. In a bait email, you introduce your product alongside a valuable piece of information or content for your prospect, ideally as a result of using your product (but this is not always possible). The bait also needs to be easy to consume and applicable in the near future.
While we’re baiting a response with something free, the value you offer has to exceed any cold emails they are used to receiving. It has to be something worth paying for.
Some examples are a detailed SEO report made with your SEO tool or a collection of PPC and SERP marketing data of your prospect’s competition. Experiment with offline or online events, data sheets, fact sheets, reports or recent industry research or statistics.
If your product can’t be used to create a bait, think about what valuable information your prospects want and will be a ‘no brainer’ to access and consume.
What to remember when writing the bait cold emails:
- Industry specific
- Explain your product in 1-2 sentences
- Valuable bait that solve a real problem
- Test baits
- Clear call to action
If you have a differentiated solution – send ‘fact-based’ emails
In case you are miles ahead of the other players in your market, the ‘fact-based’ emails tend to perform the best.
These emails are shorter and require less research when crafting the offer (however, don’t neglect personalization). The fact-based emails simply state in what major areas you differ from other competitors.
While it’s not a ‘take it or leave it’ messaging, these emails resemble it. You outline your differentiation (remember 10x differentiation) and ask whether your prospect wants to know more.
Don’t be too pushy in this email however, ask for a brief and no strings attached introduction, discovery call or a meeting. In this case, your product is the bait.
What to remember when writing the fact-based emails:
- Outline major areas of differentiation in 3-5 brief points
- Explain value of taking the next step (e.g. a discovery call)
- Clear call to action
Here at App Marketing Minds, we often consult our clients on the types of emails they send. While their cold emails are doing well, they could be doing better by offering a bait, or improving their existing baits.
Why so many B2B SaaS companies struggle with cold emails?
I already described the 2 categories of variables that can influence the outcome of a cold email. The list is far from exhaustive.
A campaign that is underperforming can have one or more variables contributing to its performance. The ony way to find out is through A/B testing.
However, understanding where your product falls in the marketplace and adjusting messaging accordingly will make a significant difference.
Applying this change led to up to 70% improvements in lead generation efforts.
This is still concerning only the first email – but what happens next?
Switch it up regardless of your value proposition in the later emails. Introduce content baits and also go with shorter, fact-based emails.
You need to keep systematically A/B testing different angles and emails with your product, offer and market
What’s the take-home message?
Don’t simply copy email templates that you and thousands of other people can download from the internet. The chances are thousands of other people are sending, and millions are receiving these emails.
You can’t spam your way to success in sales. Think about the value you provide, whether through your product or through a bait that will lead to a demonstration of your product.
Thinking about the principles behind emails will produce results, not tweaking one or two words.
Maybe your value proposition is truly unique, but you’re not clearly explaining it in your emails. On the other hand, you could be directly selling (‘take it or leave it’) a generic solution while having many direct similar competitors.
Try to make these changes and let us know the results.
If you’d like to discuss your current sales campaigns, simply leave us a message or schedule a call. If you are new to cold emails, discover how we will set up a turn-key outbound lead generation campaign for your business.