A couple of months ago I decided to begin helping high-end retail businesses outsmart their competitors and attract highly qualified leads. The purpose of this was to help businesses reduce their cost, increase their conversion rate from traffic to qualified leads and positively impact their revenue in a big way.
To begin conversations with these businesses, and to validate my process, I began contacting high-end retail businesses across North America. With my schedule, it was hard to find time to build a list, write emails, send out emails, manage responses and book calls.
I knew there had to be a better way to reduce the time I had to spend in contacting these businesses and to scale the process.
Along the way I went through tons of great tools to help. I thought I’d share the tools I found that worked well so you don’t have to spend weeks or months combing through and testing software or services!
The first key element to effective sales prospecting is a good list of leads. I personally outsource a lot of this work now as I am selling a high dollar value service, so I like to contact owners, managing directors or CEOs right off the bat.
But if you just want to get started and you want the path of least resistance to increase the number of warm leads you’re seeing quickly, continue reading.
In the B2B space, there’s a ton of great services that can provide high-quality lead lists that can really kickstart your prospecting. I’ve personally used two of the below providers (SimilarTech & LimeLeads) to generate six figures in revenue and growing over the past few months.
The first to kick off are the lead providers that focus on technology as their filter. If you’re managing sales for an internet marketing company, you’ll be looking for people using things like AdRoll, Perfect Audience, Wix or other such technologies to contact and sell your services.
Datanyze, SimilarTech & BuiltWith are three I know of that have a great database of leads filtered by technology.
In the case where I used SimilarTech, I was going after sites that were using AdRoll or Perfect Audience. SimilarTech had a list of over 40,000 websites that were using those technologies with a contact email in their database. If I just needed the website, there was over 175,000.
There’s still some filtering and verifications you would want to do if you’re going to use these lists, but taking 15 minutes to get a list of 40,000 leads is a great deal. Especially when there’s tons of other lists you can pull from their database to use for joint ventures or other side projects.
Beyond technology based filtering, there are a handful of good lead databases that focus on industries or even have B2C lists.
My favorite at the moment is LimeLeads. It’s lower cost than most of the others listed below and they recently added names, phone numbers and addresses for all of their leads (this saves you a potential $0.01/raw lead in checking cost and tons of time). you get 50 free leads to start and then pricing starts at $39/month.
Beyond LimeLeads, some of the top players are ReadyContacts, SalesGenie (they offer consumer lists as well) and Hoovers. I’m not totally sure on the pricing, but the more information you get/need on the leads, the more you should expect to pay.
If you really want to build your list in a quick and dirty way, you can pick up a YellowPages or Manta scraper online for $10 – 20 and run it to build your list.
Filtering Your List
Now if you’ve purchased your list, you’ll want to verify the emails you have. This ensures the emails are deliverable to cut down on bounce rates. For any business that plans on sending over 10 sales emails a day, I HIGHLY recommend that you verify your emails.
Both of the services I’ll mention in a second start at $0.01 per email, so they’re not super expensive but will save you from getting all your emails spam boxed.
My go to email verifier is KickBox.io. They allow you to verify 100 emails per day for free, which is absolutely fantastic. If you go and buy a giant 10,000 person list, they still only charge $70 to get them all verified. Not bad at all considering they’ll tell you if each email has an inbox attached, leads to a catch-all inbox or just isn’t deliverable (email doesn’t exist).
If you are going to use QuickMail (more about QuickMail later in the automated emails section), they also have a built-in email verifier that starts at $0.01 per email as well. If you like simplicity and just want to work within one platform, I recommend it as Jeremy (the founder of QuickMail) is quite an awesome guy.
Let’s Get Emailing: The Semi-Automated Way
I’m going to start with telling you about two softwares to do semi-automated email prospecting and then tell you about the automated approach. There’s a reason to this madness and to put it simply, while you’re testing your email copy use the semi-automated approach.
Both of the softwares I’ll mention in this section offer a good length trial that will give you full run of their tools. The automated approach is a bit more restricted, so it’s best to enter into automation with your best foot forwards.
The first is Yesware. Yesware is a great overall email tool for tracking email opens, setting reminders and scheduling emails – but it also takes things a step further with bulk, personalized emailing right from a Gmail or Google Apps For Business account.
Yesware also offers a 30 day trial of their Enterprise plan, which is great by the way. You’ll be able to use Yesware to it’s full ability and send bulk emails, personalized with information from your lead lists to up to 200 people at a time. One of the best things is that the bulk emails can be a sequence of emails and tracking is done throughout the series.
Another software that has a similar offering is ToutApp. ToutApp like Yesware used a Gmail or Google Apps For Business account to send emails, but beyond that ToutApp also allows you to connect in any email server to send outgoing emails. ToutApp also doesn’t really have a limit to the number of leads that can be included in a bulk email, so it’s a bit better if you need to generate leads for a team.
Let’s Get Automated: Emailing On Steroids!
Now for the good part, automating your emails to fill the funnel.
For email automation I have a single recommendation that stands way, WAY above the rest. That recommendation is QuickMail.
QuickMail is a phenomenal tool to automate your email prospecting. They offer split testing of emails sequences on a per email basis, automated sequence starts, the emailing is based on Google mail and the importing of prospects is built on top of Google Docs for super easy importing and updating!
Let’s say you have a list of 10,000 contacts you want to get into a conversation with and have them book a call with you. If you’re running as a one man shop, that’s going to be a pain in the arse to separate the list and send emails in batches to keep from overbooking yourself.
QuickMail shines in this regard. You can import your entire list into QuickMail via a Google Doc, then setup a sequence of emails (I recommend 4 – 6 emails by the way, this captures as many replies as you’re likely to squeeze out of your list) to be sent to your list.
At this point you can use QuickMail’s scheduling feature to automate emailing to ensure you aren’t sending out too many emails that you won’t have time to answer.
Let’s say you’ll get a 80% open rate, 50% response rate, 30% call booking rate and assume you can handle 5 calls a day.
That means you’ll want to schedule a QuickMail sequence to be triggered with 42 emails out of your 10,000 contact group. This is what it looks like in QuickMail:
Here’s the agenda view – much nicer to see as an overview:
This basically shows that I’ll be sending 42 emails a day, Monday to Friday to a list of real estate agents using my email sequence that offers a free to attend webinar.
Once you setup this schedule you’ll never really need to go back into QuickMail again if you really don’t want to. At this point you’d be getting call bookings and replies on autopilot until your contact list has been used up.
Imagine that, no more lead parsing in Excel, no more worrying about not getting inbound leads…simple hot lead generation on autopilot!
Just above I mentioned automating the call booking stage, this is done using one of a number of softwares that handle giving a prospect access to your available calendar times so they can book their own call time.
I highly recommend Calendly, it’s my go-to calendar scheduling software and I use it in all my email sequences to book calls. It’s quite low cost, but I will admit, it doesn’t seem to play well with integrations…you’d need to automate using Zapier to identify new Google Calendar bookings and send them into your CRM.
That being said, Calendly is quite flexible for calendar scheduling and it even offers payment based calendar scheduling if you do consulting. The ability to have an unlimited number of booking pages is also quite a good feature since it’s a limiting factor for other options.
Other options that I see used often among those that rely on SalesForce or HubSpot are: ScheduleOnce and YouCanBook.me.
Getting On A Call
Finally, now that you have emails going out on autopilot with call booking links, it’s time to worry about getting on those calls.
There’s a number of options to do this, including just calling someone via a traditional phone, but I much prefer to record my sales calls to reference back and make notes. For this I use either Skype or Zoom.us.
I really like Zoom.us because everything is built-in, I can even run webinars using Zoom for half the cost of GoToWebinar and recording it automatic. The downside is that it’s software based, so the person on the other end needs to download Zoom for it to work.
The more mass appeal friendly one is Skype. Almost everyone has Skype on their computer by now and since it’s free, you can’t really go wrong price wise. The only thing I recommend is grabbing Ecamm Network’s Skype call recorder, it’s $30 and reviewing your calls will do wonders for identifying areas of improvement – it also saves you from having to take notes during a call.
That’s pretty much all of the software you need to automate your sales prospecting process. If you’re interested in learning more about connecting it all, writing high converting emails or scraping leads comment below. If anyone is interested in my process for generating leads also comment below.