5 Steps to Create a Perfect B2B Cold Email Campaign

June 15, 2023

ViB Editorial Team


Topics we'll cover

Imagine you’re trying to make a great first impression but on someone who doesn’t know you. What should you say, or what should you wear? How do you know whether it’s a good time?

Trying to execute a successful B2B cold email campaign sometimes feels just like that. With all the uncertainty included.

You’re essentially introducing yourself to someone who has no idea who you are or what you’re about. And with so many other emails vying for their attention, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. In fact, 16% of B2B marketers in tech are increasing their email marketing budgets in 2023.

But here’s the thing: a well-crafted cold email doesn’t have to be a shot in the dark.

With these 5 steps we’re about to share, you can create a killer cold email campaign that will make your prospects sit up and take notice. 

Session recap: insights from a B2B cold email expert

We recently sat down with Shay Berman, a leading expert in B2B email marketing.

During his session, Shay shared insights on how to craft the perfect B2B cold email, campaign and cadence

“The key to success with cold B2B email marketing is to get in front of the right contacts, at the right time, with the right message so you can stop their scroll and get them to click open your email.”

Perfecting these cold B2B email marketing lead generation techniques can be a long, drawn out, trial-and-error process. 

But Shay also reminds us that cold emails can deliver huge results. Reaching new audiences that wouldn’t have discovered you organically, and increasing brand awareness over time are two big plus points.

B2B email marketing statistics and benefits

Here are just some of the industry reports on where B2B email stands in the world of marketing strategies and tactics:

  • Email marketing is the most important marketing channel for B2B marketers in tech, with 83% of them agreeing (ViB)
  • 78% of decision makers report having arranged an appointment or attended an event after receiving a cold email or phone call (HubSpot)
  • Email marketing yields an average ROI of 4,300% (Forbes)
  • Email is almost 40-times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook and Twitter combined (McKinsey and Company)
  • 41% of marketers say effective one-to-one outreach was the main factor behind successful qualified lead generation for their B2B businesses (Statista)

Yet, according to our recent B2B marketing trends study, marketers are seeing decreasing email performance. In fact, the average email open rate is only 14%, suggesting that more can be done to improve email outreach such as with more effective cold email campaigns.

Graph of Average email open rate 2022 - B2B Marketing Trends Report ViB

5 steps to craft the perfect cold email campaign and cadence

To join in on the power of B2B email marketing and launch a new cold email marketing campaign or improve an existing email marketing program, leverage these for optimal steps to effective cold email marketing and the insight contained in each step. 

Step 1—Start with legitimate and accurate contact information

When it comes to cold email outreach, you need to be crystal clear about who you want to target and get the highest quality B2B contact lists.

Trust us, investing more budget and effort here is worth every cent, as it helps you set up the right foundations for the rest of your campaign.

Accurate contact lists pave the way for effective targeting and messaging. And by accurate, we’re referring to both the contact’s email address, and how the contact is segmented.

Examples of segmentation parameters that you’ll need accurate information about are:

  • Industry type: What vertical(s) are you trying to work in? 
  • Job titles: Who is the key decision maker that can give you a firm “Yes” or “No”?
  • Company size: How many employees do they have? How many locations do they have? 
  • Business location: Do you only work with companies in the U.S.? Do you need to filter by state? 
  • Annual revenue: Do you want to work with smaller companies or large corporations? How much does the company need to bring in annually to be considered sales qualified to you? 

Buying lead lists that are legitimate is crucial too, so you don’t run into any compliance issues, or experience too much data decay which could hurt your email deliverability rate and get your email domain flagged.

A great way to build compliant B2B lists is by working with trusted B2B data providers. With these tools that provide you with access to millions of potential contacts, you can pull legitimate and accurate contact information for companies and contacts based on your own contact criteria. 

See the 10 B2B data providers we trust

Step 2—Tailor your message for no-pressure selling

Let’s start with this quote from Shay about his no-pressure marketing philosophy.

“When it comes to email marketing, our philosophy is based on a no-pressure marketing approach. (It) involves a process of educating prospects who you are, what you offer, and, most importantly, why it's relevant to them. In today’s marketplace, a no-pressure, educational approach garners stronger results than a hard sell.”

Shay said that his companies rely heavily on the Sandler Sales System®, a sales training approach that focuses on building a relationship with potential clients and qualifying them to ensure their a good fit before making a pitch — such as sending an email promotional offer. 

The method emphasizes the importance of understanding the client’s pain points and addressing them with a customized solution.

“Essentially, the Sander method taught us to ensure every prospect is the right fit upfront. You begin by asking potential leads the right targeted questions to give them the opportunity to say yes or no — they are either interested or not. If they’re not a fit, we want to know that. This has helped save us a lot of time. Then we can go on to the next prospect who is an ideal fit for our solutions.”

To tailor your email promotion messages for a no-pressure approach, following these tips: 

  • Aim to educate: Share key insights about your company, such as who you are, who your customers are, why you exist, what you offer, and how your offerings positively impact your customers. 
  • Personalize your messages: Any data that is available about a prospect is ammunition for bringing a personalized approach to your email messages. For example, you can address by name, site relevant industry statistics, and share successes of similar business clients.
  • Present a problem scenario: Prospects like to know you have experience in their industry, so mention how your company works with many companies in the same industry, and cite them by name if you have permission.
  • Supply a solution: Don’t just tell prospects that your solution is great – show them. Leverage case study data to prove you’ve positively impacted other companies. 


Want more tips? Check out these short guides on how to level up your emails:

Step 3—Use and refine a multi-step cadence

It’s no secret that an effective email marketing campaign involves more than just sending a single email. 

A multi-step cadence that utilizes multiple channels is your best bet. 

Shay recommends incorporating social media connections, texts, and calls into your approach. Every positive response on those channels can be followed up right away with another email. 

Here’s an example:

Day 1:
Send an introduction email to your prospect.
Send a LinkedIn connection request.

Day 3:
Follow up with an email to schedule a call. If the call goes to voicemail, follow up with another email.

Day 7:
Send an email that includes a resource, such as a blog post or whitepaper.

Day 10:
Send a personalized Linkedin video message that addresses any objections or questions they may have raised in previous interactions.
Follow up with an email to schedule a call.

Day 14:
Follow up with a final email that offers a limited-time discount or incentive to encourage them to take action.

However, the question remains. How often should we send emails to our prospects?

It’s kind of the “Goldilocks challenge.” If you send too many you risk annoying your leads. If you don’t send often enough, you risk losing the attention of your leads and your sales momentum. So what is the “sweet spot”? 

There’s actually a really simple fix — make a smart guess, test it, and refine it.

“What I recommend is to become a sort of email scientist. This means determine what you think the best email cadence is and then test it. If prospects respond negatively to too many emails, send less. If you seem to lose their attention, send more emails. Keep testing until you feel that you’ve achieved an ideal pace — whether that’s every three days, once a week, or every other week.”

Simple and effective tips, tricks, and templates to enhance your email marketing results.

Step 4—Analyze your email open rates and responses

Email performance metrics are like feedback.

You not only want to consistently measure how many people open your emails, but also whether your emails have the intended impact – measured through clicks and replies.

Opinions on good email open rates range widely — from 5% to 60%. But the trusted source, HubSpot, has found that B2B emails have an average open rate of 30%. 

In our recent study of B2B marketing trends, where we surveyed B2B marketers in tech specifically, the average email open rate was a low 14%.

With those numbers in mind, you can then make adjustments to your emails that could improve your results. Then track the results again. And continue the process until you’ve achieved ideal results. 

Here is a general guideline to use for email open rate evaluations:

  • If your open rate is 60% or higher and you’re seeing at least 10% responses, you’re doing great! Keep it up. 
  • If your open rate is falling between 30-50% and your responses at under 5%, consider sending them a different email. 
  • If you’re not getting an open rate higher than 20% and you’re getting few or no responses, it’s time to reevaluate your subject line, send times, and messaging.

And apart from the quantitative stuff, keep a close eye on additional insights too, like replies and questions.

“As your emails gain traction and get more responses, pay attention to what questions come up. Pull out of them what might be going on in their business that makes our solution the right fit. You can use that insight to determine if there's any way you can tweak your messaging in future emails to elicit better conversations with your prospects.”

Step 5—Use negotiation strategies to close more deals

The final step in a successful B2B email marketing lead generation campaign happens after they open, read, and respond to the email offer. 

It’s the act of getting the sale. 

There are several negotiation tactics that work better than others, and Shay recommends these four:

  • Use active listening: Pay close attention to the other party’s words, tone, and body language. Reiterate what you’ve heard them say to show them you understand their challenges and needs.
  • Acknowledge prospects’ emotions: When you understand another person’s emotions and acknowledge them, it helps you build trust and a stronger rapport
  • Ask calibrated questions: These are designed to gather information and move the negotiation forward without making demands. 
  • Avoid making concessions: This means to never merely respond to a prospect’s request to send them something. If you do, you’ll likely never hear from them again. You need to know that there is an actual interest in your solutions and in continuing the buying journey. 

Send your first cold email for free!

You don’t need to have cold feet when it comes to cold email marketing. You can dip your toe in the water to see how it works for you with our free ViB Emails trial

Using our email marketing services, ViB Emails, we’ll send your email to up to 75,000 in-market and qualified technology buyers in our ViB Community. This is a $1,000 value — at no cost to you. 

Contact us to talk about how to take a cold email out for a spin!

Need more info to get started with B2B lead generation?

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