[This is a guest post by Jake Jorgovan of Lead Cookie]
For the past several years, I have used cold emails in various capacities to generate leads for my clients and my LinkedIn prospecting service, Lead Cookie.
Along the way, my workflow has consistently been optimized to the point where 95% of my cold email process is handled without my involvement. Through a combination of software automation and the support of other team members, I hardly touch the cold email process.
In this article, I am going to walk you through my exact workflow for automating my cold emails.
The process at a high level
Before I dive into the details of each step, let me give you the big picture overview of the tools and the process.
- A Google Doc is created to organize all target prospects and campaigns
- A virtual assistant takes the Google Doc and researches leads via GetProspect
- Zapier pulls leads from GetProspect into Airtable
- The Airtable “view” feature sorts leads into various campaigns based on list name, Zapier then sends leads into PersistIQ
- A virtual assistant cleans up company names inside of PersistIQ (Removes Inc, LLC, LLP, Corp., etc.)
- Virtual Assistant adds leads to proper campaigns
- PersistIQ sends out cold emails
- Sales rep monitors the inbox for responses and adds positive or neutral leads to our CRM, Pipedrive.
That sounds like a lot of steps, but here is the great part. I only touch Step 1 by defining the strategy of the cold email campaign. After Step 1, the process flows without me and warm leads begin to appear in our inbox.
Now let’s dive into each step in more detail.
Step 1) Google Doc
In order to streamline the rest of the process, I must first communicate to my team and the various software tools exactly what needs to be done. In order to do that, I have created a Google Doc that enables me to outline each target campaign.
List Name - This is important. My list name tells my virtual assistant what list inside of GetProspect to use. All future Zaps are based off of this list name.
LinkedIn Search Queue - I put together a search queue detailing the targets that I want to go after with a specific cold email campaign. I drop those links into this search queue and my team researches ~ 500 leads per day.
Status - This is for my Virtual Assistant. Each day they can log their notes and status in this column to keep track of where they are in their research.
You can see a screenshot of the work in progress below.
Step 2) Virtual Assistant researches leads via GetProspect
On a daily basis, I have a virtual assistant go in and work through the Google Spreadsheet. They take the search queues I give them and then research a total of 500 prospects per day via a tool called GetProspect.
Note that GetProspect is my current preferred tool of choice although in the past I have used Hunter.io.
Why I use GetProspect:
Great Interface - Their software has a great interface and lets you quickly add an entire page of LinkedIn search results in a matter of seconds.
List Names - You can add each lead to a different “List”. These list names become triggers for various zaps that move leads into different campaigns throughout this process.
Quality Emails - GetProspect returns 3 statuses for emails. Not Found, Unverified, Verified. When I send to only verified emails, I typically see a 95%+ delivery rate which is one of the best I have found for a cold email research tool.
Why I only search 500 leads
Technically, LinkedIn will allow you to research up to 1,500 profiles per day, but I have found if you do that day after day, you could potentially be flagged or incur problems with LinkedIn. At 500 per day, I occasionally see LinkedIn asking me to confirm I am not a robot, otherwise I have seen no issues after months of running this process.
Step 3) Zapier moves leads from GetProspect to Airtable
While my virtual assistant is researching leads, I have Zapier working in the background. Zapier has set up a trigger so that every time GetProspect succeeds in finding an email, that contact information is dropped into an Airtable.
Why I use Airtable in this process:
Airtable enables me to filter and sort leads. There is a feature in Airtable called a “View” which allows you to filter all of the inputs down to only results matching certain criteria.
When this criteria is met, the lead pops into a new “view” and triggers step 4.
For example: Let’s look at my “Lead Cookie - Consultants” campaign. I have Airtable filter all incoming results for the following information:
- Email Status - GetProspect Zaps over both Verified and Unverified emails. I filter out the unverified emails.
- List name - I only want leads coming in that say “Lead Cookie - Consultants” and not other campaigns.
This enables me to create multiple different campaigns in my strategy and Airtable automatically drops the leads for each campaign into the appropriate buckets.
Step 4) Zapier moves leads from Airtable view to PersistIQ
Once a lead hits that specific Airtable “view” then Zapier moves that lead over to PersistIQ.
Within PersistIQ I have created a custom field for “list_name” which enables me to sort leads within PersistIQ based on the appropriate campaign that they will go into.
Step 5) Virtual assistant cleans up company names
Once all of the leads have made it into PersistIQ, the virtual assistant will then clean up the company names. Many people fail to do this when sending a cold email campaign and it can result in a negative outcome.
Simply put, when you do mass email research with any tool like GetProspect, your company name/data will be a bit off.
For example you will have variations of the following tied to company names:
- A company may include their full tagline in company name
If you don’t clean up the names, it makes your email look obviously canned when you reach out saying something like “Do you manage lead generation for Acme LLC?”
A real person wouldn’t write LLC, they would just write the name of the company.
So in this step my virtual assistant cleans up all of the company names to make them look real when we reach out.
Step 6) Virtual assistant launches campaigns
Once the company names are cleaned up, my virtual assistant then filters the prospects using the following criteria in PersistIQ.
In Campaign: Not in any
Search the list name in the search box
This returns all of the individuals from a specific list that have not been added to a campaign. They then add those leads to the proper PersistIQ campaign which is set to auto send.
Step 7) PersistIQ sends out cold emails
Once the lead has made it into PersistIQ, then the software handles the rest. It automatically sends out emails, mail merges in names, and follows up if there is no response. It even catches errors before sending emails so I don’t accidentally send a message with “Hi, ”.
I set up specific campaigns for various targets and occasionally optimize the copy, but for the most part this is set it and forget it once it is up and running.
Why I use PersistIQ:
- Control - If I had to describe why I chose PersistIQ over other cold email providers, it is control. Their “Prospects” tab has in depth search functionality that gives you visibility into every prospect in your campaign and the status at any given point in time. With other tools, I felt like I just uploaded a list and then the software did it’s thing. With Persist, I know who is getting an email and when.
- Response Tracking - When someone responds to an email, PersistIQ automatically detects that and stops sending any future emails. This is a huge win. In addition to that, I can easily stop any other contacts who may be targeted at the same company.
- A/B Testing - PersistIQ has A/B testing which is another feature I love. If I am unsure about a specific market, I can run a test and then optimize over time.
- Simplicity - I can set up a PersistIQ account and start running campaigns in under 30 minutes. It’s simple intuitive and easy to use.
Step 8) Sales Rep monitors inbox for responses daily and adds to our CRM (Pipedrive)
On a daily basis, our inbound sales rep monitors the cold email inbox and categorizes leads accordingly. We add each lead to our primary CRM (Pipedrive) by using their Gmail extension.This enables us to create a new deal in our Pipedrive CRM directly from Gmail.
There you have it. That is my cold email workflow. It looks like a lot and it did take some time to setup, but at this point it is up and running and we are closing 2-4 deals every month that are generated via cold email.
Right now we are only researching 500 leads per day, although as soon as we are ready we can ramp this up to 1,000 or 2,000 leads per day. We can scale this system and increase our lead flow at will.
If I were still managing each step of this by hand, it would be nearly impossible. By investing in building this streamlined workflow, it has enabled me to scale output without changing my personal input.