One of the biggest perceived challenges people have setting up a cold email system is how to manage the process of sending the emails and then dealing with the responses.

Well, worry no more. In fact you shouldn’t have worried because your fears were unfounded.

As most fears are…

When you read this blog post, I’m going to show you EXACTLY how to set up and implement an outbound cold email program-  no matter what size of business you are.


How To Set Up If You Are A Consultant or Small (but growing business)…

I’m amazed at how many people still don’t operate with a CRM or Sales Automation software. If you don’t have one…


If you have one you already pay for and don’t use, or you don’t use one at all, then I suggest you seriously consider Contactually.

This isn’t an all around CRM review.

Quite frankly there are absolutely hundreds of CRM out on the marketplace right now. I remember when you’d be satisfied to get 60% of your required functionality from a CRM and now it’s more likely to be a  97% requirement!

In many ways Contactually is much like many other CRM system but where it really shines for me, with what we are looking to achieve, is the  outbound prospecting capabilty buried in their ‘PROGRAMS’ feature.

The programs feature is effectively what i call a drip campaign or sales pulse and what is also known as a sales cadence.




With the program you can create a chain of events or multi step contact points.

So you can say send an email, wait 4 days and send a different email, wait for 3 days and send a 3rd email, wait 5 days and create a task to give them a call.  One of the great features that helps with outbound cold emailing is that you can specify the exact time to send the email too.

You get the gist..



And the automated actions are quite extensive as the list on the left shows. You can even add a task to add follow them on twitter. You used to be able to connect with them on Linkedin but there is a well know issue with the LinkedIn (caused by Linkedin) connection at the moment that has stopped this feature.

This allows some serious multi-touch contact points which are largely automated.

There is no limit to the number of touches you can add to a sequence.


The Bucket Concept

One of the brilliant ways that Contactually operates workflow is via their bucket set up.

You classify people by buckets rather than statuses such as lead and prospect. You can then set different characteristics and even automate different programs (automations as above) depending on what bucket they are in

So when we set up a workflow for a client for an outbound cold emailing system the buckets we set up would look something like this:

  • No Contact
  • In Outreach
  • Responded
  • Completed Outreach No Response

contactually buckets

And we can even make it more granular for you to see exactly what is going on in a few different ways:

  • Based on what email they are on: If you have 5 emails in your outbound process, you may want to see exactly how many people you have on each email stage at any time. That’s easy. Just create a bucket for each one. Add an extra process in the program feature that says ‘when send email number ?’ move to bucket called ?. An example: You send the very first email to a contact in the bucket – NO CONTACT and as soon as that is sent you set an automation to move them to the bucket called – EMAIL 1. Just repeat that for every step.
  • Based on their reply: You could create buckets based on their reply to your outreach emails. So if someone replies ‘send information’ you could add them to the bucket ‘Information Request’ which will follow-up with a drip campaign around that. WARNING: If you know anything about my system though, you’ll know that I recommend calling every response rather than following up by email.

Starting Automations:

You can even start the program when you import data.

So you assign your standard 21 day outreach program to the ‘NO CONTACT’ bucket and set it so that whenever you add people, by a manual creation or by importing them, the automation triggers.


My Recommendations For Contactually:

Best for: Consultants and smaller business just getting into CRM or cold emailing

Strongest Feature: The automations or programs by a long shot – for what we do

Alternatives: None really. There are hundreds of CRM’s but for value for money for a small outbound capability that is easy to set up and automate, it has no real competition.

Email Sending: This is handled by your email provider which is generally gmail.

Plan To Go For: Professional @ $49 per month on an annual basis  Click here to get a free trail

Reason Not To Use This Method: If you are scaling more than a few hundred outbound emails per month and/or you want an integrated telephone line in the CRM.


How To Set Up If You Are Larger And Growing Business

If you are looking to scale up your operations then here are some fantastic tool and processes to allow you to do that quickly and easily.

Let’s start with the technology.

Scaleable Outbound Cold Email Systems

It may surprise you to know just how many of these systems are on the marketplace. More are springing up every month, as the concepts behind cold email as a B2B lead generation strategy gain momentum.

Here are 3 of the best:

  • – Best for zapier connection to other apps
  •  (purchasers of my system get 60 days free of this system) – best for stand alone capability
  • – Best for Salesforce integration

I’m going to walk through the process of setting up a campaign using which is where the following screen shots came from.

Importing Data:

A really neat feature of quickmail is the importing from Google spreadsheet capabilities.

What this means is you can create a spreadsheet in Google and associate it with a Group or bucket of people. Once EVERY day, the system will look at the spreadsheet and add any new contacts into the right group in the cold emailing system.


There are no limits to how many different import schedules you can create.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Create a spreadsheet for every Industry which get allocated to a corresponding outbound campaign with a specific email template for that Industry i.e. Manufacturing, Retail and Finance
  • As above but with lazer precision by further separating out by industry and location i.e Manufacturing in USA, Manufacturing in the UK, Manufacturing in the Middle East
  • Based on the technology you know they use based on services like Datanyze. You can have an import for people who are Marketo users, people who are Hubspot users
  • As above but with lazer precision i.e. people that use Salesforce, Marketo and Toutapp


big idea

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Have You Grasped The Capabilities Yet?


The opportunities for you to take this feature and scale your operations are huge.

It doesn’t have to be you, or even an internal employee building lists for you. You could use sales admin, work from home mums and even overseas outsourcers to provide list building capabilities for you.

All you’d ever need them to do is access a Google spreadsheet.

Never worry about them getting access to your main outbound prospecting system.

Cool, eh?

The rise of tools to quickly build lists means outsourcers would probably be better than your own sales people and prospectors in building these lists too. There are already outsourcers on places like with the skills to operate systems like salesloft,, ringlead, and salesintelligent.  Some of these are include free as a bonus in my online training which you can find out more about here:





Once the data is imported into its relevant bucket (list) in the system you can run multiple different schedules of outbound emails campaigns.




And if you’d like to go a step further in your personalization, try this.

The cold email systems generally come with custom fields that you can create to use however you see fit in your email templates.

“So what could I do with that to win more business?”

I hear you ask…


custom filed


  • References: You could create a field called references or clients. When your sales admin or outsourcer is manually reviewing the prospects website, they could pick 1 or 2 customer references from a list 5 you give them that are the best fit for that particular business for name dropping, obviously! The company they research might be Salesforce. From the list of 5 existing clients they could determine that the names most likely to resonate with the prospect in that company are Pardot (salesforce company) and Marketo. You can use this in a template like this — ‘We have provided the same results for [Reference 1] and [Reference 2]’ which becomes ‘We have provided the same results for Pardot and Marketo’
  • Triggers or specifics: You can construct formats of sentences that will result in a 100% unique email being sent out. The examples in the image above are [Trigger] Came across URL, [Trigger] I came across and [Trigger] which means that. These can construct a sentence: [Trigger] I came across [Trigger] Came across URL [Trigger] which means that. Say you have an outsourcer or sales admin tracking me that sentence could be- “I came across your brilliant article about setting up a cold emailing system here: which means that you are definitely interested in new sales enablement tools”  – So that sentence has been 100% constructed from a template and will be specific to the individual every time. Specificity = Results
  • PS: Add something in personal like their football team or hockey team. Whatever it is that interests them. So that could be – I can’t believe United finished so low. Better next year? – which would obviously relate to their social profiles stating they were a United supporter.

Small steps like this add up to massive incremental gains on outbound prospecting.

Do you think it is routinely possible to get 50% + response rates?

Try the above and tell me it isn’t!


I strongly suggest recording how people responded to cold emails in groups based on their response. In Quickmail we do this by the use of tags.

We group all similar responses by a descriptive tag like ‘Please Contact’.

This allows us to build calling lists and then track success through the system based on their response.

Top Tip: Trace all of your first meetings back to the response tag. If they are all coming from ‘Please Contact Me’ then your team need more training on how to handle the other harder responses such as ‘I’m not interested’ . This calling script will get them there 



Live Events

As your cold emails begin to be sent out you can build up a view of live events as they happen. You can see who is clicking on links and opening emails. Hold back from calling them saying:

“I can see you clicked my email just now. Want to talk?”

Wait until they reply first.

Don’t forget that if you have followed my sales prospecting system to the letter then you will be sending them a minimum of 4 emails over time.

If they don’t reply after that you can filter people based on their level of engagement so you can call them.

live events

Data Quality

I’d definitely recommend checking out this blog post ‘How To Optimize An Outbound Cold Email Process For A 1000% response’ which demonstrates the cumulative effect of small changes throughout the system.

One of those changes we focus on in our outbound prospecting consulting is the data quality. Many of the ways we build lists give us bounce rates i.e. not delivered, as low as 1%. Traditional list brokers data can be as high as 40%.


Spam Reports And Metrics



The system lets you track all of your important metrics such as open rates and reply rates down to the individual email. Most systems will also allow you to test different parts of the campaign such as subject line or body text to see what gets the most results.

Many people worry if this approach gets people annoyed and if people complain.

Occasionally they do. You can never, ever get away from that.

BUT…. if you are worried about spam complaints you are doing something wrong.

Here you can see this is the 4th email and it has had 188 people open it and a ZERO un-subscribe or complaint rate. Even after 3 previous emails and this being a largely templated campaign with little customisation (trialing the system with less than perfect fit data}no one was offended by the approach.

[PS – The subject line of that email is ‘Appropriate Person?] I absolutely recommend you do not use that as it has been overworked and flogged to death……]

Link To Anything With Zapier

Some systems are designed to be standalone, others are tightly integrated with salesforce and others play nicely with zapier. (use this link to get extra ‘free’ credits).

To clearly demonstrate an end to end solution I’ll show how to join Quickmail to other CRM solutions.

Zapier is like a conduit that allows you to easily connect many different software system. Instead of having to wrestle with API’s and custom coding, zapier has kindly created a whole series of standard links between different software systems for us.

You might have one of the cold email system mentioned above but want it to talk to you existing CRM system. That’s pretty  simple to do.



Here I’ve instructed Zapier to send any prospect that replies to an outbound email in Quickmail to the CRM Base as a Contact (it could also be a lead but I prefer contact as it’s easier to add them to a calling list).

I didn’t mention earlier but most of these systems recognise when someone has responded and stops any future emails which is a massive time saver…

..and much more….

So effectively you can have 2 people managing 2 different parts of the system. 1 operating the cold email software and 1 operating the CRM side. Prospects automatically get added to the CRM when, and only when they reply.

Setting Up A CRM like BASE For Outbound Calling

The reason we cold email is to get people to reply so we can pick up the phone and call them. To help us it seems to make sense that we want an easy way to do that…

Defining Call Lists In Base By Tags

Remember the concept of tags I introduced earlier?


lead list

Well, go back if you have to…

It’s important…

Because you have tagged people based on how they responded (either the cold email system manager or the CRM system manager) you can create lazer targeted calling lists based on their response.

The productivity gains and results you get from this approach will be huge.

Calling Lists

Now you have the ability to filter people based on their response you can set about calling them via the inbuilt VOIP phone system in Base. This is the main reason why I strongly recommend Base.

Their VOIP, in built telephone number is based on twillio  but unlike many other systems, it really is plug and play. It is fully integrated and comes with all plans – even the $20 a month plan.



Setting it up is a breeze…

No creating an account in twillio and copying the settings over…



Base is great value for money and offers some brilliant calling features such as a built-in dialer. This allows you to add anyone to very specific calling lists. The dialer will then work through that list calling one after another without interruption.

This provides huge outbound momentum and brings great results especially because you can now call everyone who has given the same response.

A full script you can swipe that will work EVERY time is available by clicking  here

And I go deep into how to use it in my free advanced prospecting training available when you click here

feature requests

My Recommendations For Base:

Best for: Small teams and scaling. VOIP calling fully integrated. Giving to an outsourcer to make the calls for you.

Strongest Feature: VOIP integration

Alternatives: especially at the top end plans of Base this becomes a viable alternative.

Plan To Go For: entry level is good @$25 per month BUT you need the $125 for the full auto dialer. It’s a shame as the mid range $75 has loads you wouldn’t need so if they took that out and added the calling features into the $75 plan this would be a no brainer.  Click here to get a free trail

Reason Not To Use This Method: If you already have an existing CRM you love and/or have fixed telephony already in place.


Action Plan:

  • Construct your cold email templates to allow personalisation as I have shown you
  • Place a job for someone to build your hardest to find list for you – however they see fit on upworthy
  • Take a spin on all the services mentioned that have free trials and see how they could work for you
  • Make a plan to send out 100 emails to cold prospects within 7 days to see what your responses are
  • Come back and let me know….
  • Register and attend for my Free Advanced Sales Prospecting Training

Registering for the webinar is easy.  Just click the banner below, then enter your name and email to reserve your spot.