How to Prospect Leads for Your Next Cold Outreach Campaign

Justin McGill is the Founder of LeadFuze, an outbound marketing platform that automates lead discovery and outreach to generate more top-of-funnel leads.
  • October 11, 2018

We (LeadFuze) have partnered with Sujan and Mailshake for a while. Now, we’re officially integrated with their awesome email tool. This blog post provides a way to visually share what that means for you.

Throughout the post, I’ll show how to get the most from LeadFuze + Mailshake when it comes to sales.

You may have seen “cold outreach” and thought, “Does that mean I spam leads?” Or you may be wondering if it even works.

Good news. No, cold email does not equal spam.

But does cold email make sense?

There are seeminly endless articles saying yes and no, but history shows that if a certain sales strategy doesn’t work, it stops being used.

Cold email gets you in front of your ideal target customers.

The problem is most (like almost everyone) gets one of three things wrong.

  1. There isn’t a narrowed down buyer profile / customer profile / buyer persona
  2. Poor data and bad prospecting habits
  3. They send a sales letter to a cold contact

Let’s go deeper into these issues.

Figuring Out Your Favorite Customers

Think of your favorite customer for a minute.

Who’s been paying you month after month without raising one single complaint. Maybe they’ve sent you a couple other buyers just like them.

  • What industry?
  • What roles?
  • Are they spending money somewhere (e.g. Ads)?

We all want to replicate those perfect deals, right?

Let’s see how we can find them with LeadFuze!

Who Are You Targeting and What Industries?

Hypothetical: A marketing agency sells a productized-service to increase the number of positive reviews for local businesses.

In LeadFuze, you’d login, head to the “Leads” screen and begin to look for your target roles and industry.

Let’s use the “Restaurants and Bars” industry as an example throughout to keep us on topic. It’s a great niche due to the fact that reviews make or break small, local eating places.

For the roles our hypothetical business would use, it’s going to be the owners. But I’m including anyone over marketing and operations. Doing this increases the number of leads and also brings in regional companies with a small executive team.

The owner will likely be the shot caller, but it’s good to get the emails of influencers too!

Take a look at the gif below and you’ll see what you just read played out in the app.

Other Data to Include in the Search for Your Ideal Buyers

Agencies (and any business for that matter) who have too broad of a focus end up with lackluster messaging.

It’s niching until it hurts that can really focus your outreach and get responses.

Here are a few things that could help you narrow down your lead results to the best of the best.

  • Ad Spend: If a lead is already spending money in similar ways to what you offer — they’re more likely to listen to someone who can yield better results.
  • Employee Size: Businesses that are too small may not have the budget. Too big and they may have an in-house solution for what you offer.
  • Hiring: A company that is hiring for a role in your industry could be convinced to hire out a service instead.
  • Tech Used: If leads are using marketing software products, they may want help getting better results.
  • News and Updates: Checked announcements, publications and press releases. Anything that can let you know this company is looking for solutions.

Here’s the LeadFuze interface going through these same factors.

Note: It’s a good idea to start with a broad search narrowed by only a few of these categories (i.e. industry/role/size). The other factors can help you target the low-hanging fruit, but won’t be a large amount of contacts.

Start the Search

If you were doing this manually, you’d have to start with a list of leads and begin to enrich that data on your own. Going to social profiles, using several tools and sites to find everything. Luckily, LeadFuze does that for you.

You input the details and hit search. Then, the app brings up the number of leads who match your search (see below gif).

Note: You can see that I limited this search to roles, industry and employee size. This particular search yielded 3,417 results. These are owners or operations/marketing execs at restaurants and bars with up to 10 employees.

If you like this search, you can actually save it and come back again and again as you utilize the contacts.

Account Based Marketing Search

I’m a big fan of coming up with a dream 100 list. Essentially, it’s the 100 different accounts you dream about landing for your business. So, these are bigger companies that could dramatically improve your revenue and profit.

This is just one use of account based marketing (ABM).

You’re targeting specific brands; trying to build out the profiles of potential decision makers and all who could eventually influence him/her.

ABM searching is also great for outreach (aside from sales). We’ve used to to find the right person for content partnerships and syndication channels.

The steps are simple:

  1. List out the companies and names of individuals you’d like to find.
  2. Input what you know into LeadFuze (gif below).

Creating the Right Offer

Knowing the email addresses of a couple thousand contacts that fit your buyer profile is awesome. But they won’t do you any good if you can’t get them to respond to you.

Getting them to talk to you takes an offer.

By offer, we don’t mean what you’re selling. It can at times, but 90% of sales emails are vehemently self-promotional. Every hour, thousands of businesses send copy/paste sales pitches in their emails.

You Have to Deliver Value

Initial outreach is about starting a dialogue. Getting them to talk to you is easier than keeping a conversation going. For that, you have to prove that you have something worth talking about.

We suggest having or creating something that is worth a look (to your prospects) — then give it away for free.

Here are a few ideas of what could be your offer:

  • Consult: Service businesses could offer a free consult or audit to show a business how they can benefit from what you do.
  • Content Exchange: We’ve done many-a-guest post from reaching out to people we want to use LeadFuze.
  • Resource: Quality ranging from a blog post to a custom tool (e.g. things like NerdWallet creates).
  • Invite: Live events or webinars make great icebreakers for leads. Those who show up are giving you a clear sign they want to talk.

Don’t Forget the Follow-Up!

MailShake can do all of the emailing and follow-ups within the app. Meaning, there’s no reason your leads should only get a single email.

Follow-up emails are a great way to expand on your value proposition. Our restaurant review example could be something like some facts about how bad reviews hurt revenue of local businesses.

Btw, MailShake has an incredible follow-up resource. LeadFuze’s own Damian Thompson is featured in it too!

Key Tips:

  • Try to keep all your outreach emails between 2-4 sentences.
  • One main call-to-action (CTA) for each email.

Improving Cold Email Results by Testing Everything

After a few hundred emails are sent, it will become clear where you can stand to do some testing.

Here are the key performance indicators that we look at:

  1. Open rate — 30% or above
  2. Click-throughs between 2% and 5% (or better)
  3. Response rate between 2% and 5% (or better)

Further Reading: Here’s a massive guide with over 50 different things to split test specifically for cold email outreach.


Success in any outreach campaign requires knowing your target market and having something they want to engage with (aka, your offer). It’s up to you to find out the who and the what.

MailShake and LeadFuze are the tools to help you get those answers faster and then scale your efforts for better results.

Justin McGill is the Founder of LeadFuze, an outbound marketing platform that automates lead discovery and outreach to generate more top-of-funnel leads.

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