When you're in the early stages of building your customer base for your SaaS business, chances are you’ll be sending a few cold emails. Personal networks only go so far, and it’s a good idea to land customers outside of your personal network to demonstrate traction. Since time and resources are so limited, it’s critical that you get responses to your cold emails.
At Forum Ventures, we’ve seen a lot of both successful and very unsuccessful cold email attempts. Over time, we noticed some patterns in the emails that got responses versus those that got ignored (or worse, marked as spam).
Whether you’re prepping your first cold email ever or are getting ready to send your hundredth outreach today, it’s never too late to improve. In this blog we’re covering where cold emails fit in B2B startup sales and the three keys to getting a higher response rate. As a bonus, we’re providing an example of a successful cold email pitch that you can emulate.
If you want more practical tips like these, check out the Forum Ventures B2B SaaS Marketing Playbook.
Cold emails are step two of the B2B SaaS direct sales process. When you’re just starting out, warm introductions are critical. When that’s exhausted, it’s time to move onto cold emails. Only after you’ve tried both of those things and discovered a working ideal customer profile (ICP) definition can you move to an MQL strategy.
The goal of a cold email is simple: to book a call. In order to get that call booked, you need to focus on the potential customer’s program. People spend money to solve their problems. That’s about it. Whether their problem is taking up too much time, harming their image and reputation, or costing them money, it’s still ultimately about solving problems. By the way, at Forum Ventures we refer to that as a “TIM” problem - Time, Image, or Money. If your prospect doesn’t have a TIM problem, chances are they won’t spend money to solve it.
With that in mind, keep all cold emails about the problems your prospect is facing. There are two ways to do that:
If you lead with a lengthy personal intro, your email will probably get deleted. People want to solve their problems, and that’s it.
Key content should be no more than two to four sentences. Copy needs to be clean and to the point. Same goes for the subject line.
When you’re drafting your copy, try this method:
Remember, the entire email - subject line and copy - is about booking a meeting.
If the point of an email is to book a meeting, then you need to ask for one. By putting it in the form of a question, you are more likely to elicit a response than if you leave it up to them.
If you focus on their problems, the copy is tight, and your subject line is clear, then the question should flow naturally. Once you’ve introduced yourself and proven that you can solve their problem, asking for a meeting is an easy next step.
Subject: Can we support hiring at Limelight?
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ConstantContact and Mailchimp estimate that cold business emails get a response rate between 14% and 23%. If you’re well under that then you’ll definitely want to keep testing and optimizing your approach. Remember that every executive, founder, and enterprise leader is inundated with email - both cold and expected. The key is polite persistence, writing the best emails you possibly can, and, with luck, the right timing.
In the B2B SaaS world, you can’t avoid cold emails. Even if you plan for an entirely digital sales funnel, cold emails will be a part of your strategy at some level. So the key is to be wise with your cold emails - they could be the difference between high response rates and completely wasted time.
Want more practical tips on early stage sales and marketing for your SaaS business? Download our SaaS Marketing Playbook now.