Stop botching your follow-up - The biggest cold outreach mistakes and how to fix them


As a sales expert, you’ve probably read lots of tips about how to perfect your outreach strategy. But do you know about the three deadly mistakes you can make that will kill all your cold outreach efforts? Discover them below and how to solve them.

Setting up a cold outreach strategy takes effort and energy. You don’t want to send out hundreds of emails or call numerous leads only to receive no response. 

So before you pick up the phone or press “send”, here’s what you need to avoid.

Our Sales Representatives share the top three most common industry mistakes and what to do instead. Ensuring a higher success rate for your cold outreach strategy.

1. Immediately pitching your product or service

Have you ever accepted a LinkedIn connection request and immediately received a message that states what this person does, how their company can help you and that you should book a demo right now?

We all have. And you probably never responded to this person or booked a demo.

And if you feel frustrated by this, you’re not alone. Statistics show that 71% of customers feel frustrated with an impersonal experience.

And immediately pitching is the quickest way to lose a prospect’s attention. Why? Because why would a stranger care about what you do? They are busy with their own daily struggles and work responsibilities.

Solution: when reaching out to cold leads, write personal messages. 

You can use cold email or LinkedIn InMail templates, but be sure to personalise them based on the person you’re reaching out to.

For starters, write a strong hook. It could be a reaction to a recent event, the fact that a shared connection recommended you, or addressing a known pain point.

Next, keep your message short and sweet. You’re interrupting someone’s day. So get to your point, make your message clear and have a straightforward follow-up action.

How long should your message be? According to Hubspot, emails between 50 and 125 words perform best. And keep the subject line short as well. Ideally, 50 characters or less.

As for InMails, LinkedIn states that InMails with less than 500 characters receive the most responses.

2. Talking too much and not listening

It’s tempting to think that the more information a lead has about your company and product, the more likely they are to convert. But that’s a wrong assumption.

Talking too much about your company without understanding a lead’s situation and current challenges will leave people wanting nothing to do with your B2B brand. Because they won’t have been able to connect with you or see how you can help them.

Solution: know your USPs and highlight different ones depending on a lead’s pain point. 

Sales is about listening, not talking. You need to be very familiar with the problems of your target audience and understand how your offering helped solve this. Interview some of your customers to gain this knowledge, if need be.

Then, when chatting with a lead, ask open-ended questions and let them do most of the talking. Aim to understand the ins and outs of their business, their immediate and long-term business goals and what’s stopping them from achieving them.

If there are key requirements a company needs to meet to be part of your customer base, now’s the time to check. Before you launch into a solution that actually isn’t applicable to them.

After broadly understanding their company and needs, introduce your offering. Use language that they would understand to explain how your product or service would help them achieve their goals.

If they use a competitor, ask them why and whether they find that some key features are missing.

3. Not having a clear follow-up plan

After chatting with a lead, you need to know what the next steps are. Do you need to follow up in three months when the timing is better? Or send them more information via email? Whatever it is, make sure that you finish the conversation with a follow-up plan.

No follow-up plan is like leaving money on the table. You’ve had a nice chat, but without following up, that lead will go check out a competitor that is more dedicated to nurturing them. Meaning you’ve lost the opportunity to convert them.

Solution: always make a plan to touch base with a lead. Even if it’s six months down the line.

So make a plan to touch base again. And in between meeting times, keep engaging with a lead. Either via LinkedIn or email newsletters, aim to remain subtly top of mind.

Plan before doing outreach

During the sales process, our assumptions can get in the way of a lead’s needs. So before you reach out via phone or email, remember not to pitch, focus on listening over talking and be sure to have a follow-up action in place before you end the conversation.

Pair that with some industry best practices for writing a cold email or cold calling and you have a recipe for success!

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