What cold B2B tactics have worked well for you?

I'm currently using LinkedIn Sales Navigator to find my ideal customer and connect with them for my project Remote Marketer Jobs - but I'm looking for other channels. It's costly, inefficient and there are a lot of obstacles and limitations.

But this is the only option I could come up with by myself.

Today, I read this indie hackers post about using Crunchbase & cold email to successfully grow a B2B project to $1M ARR and realised there are other options - I just don't know about them.

Would love to hear how other people have approached this hurdle with success! 

I'd like to hear about this as well as I'm just getting started selling B2B for #rmflags

So far, I feel like B2B sales is a relationships business, the cold calling/emailing part of it is very difficult. Speaking personally, 100% of the sales meetings I've booked have all been companies with leaders that already know me and have a decent degree of trust when it comes to my work.

Cold emailing didn't really work for me - I used AI to write some sales emails for me, made edits, and then used to find target customers + send emails to ~100 businesses, but the response rate was low and the responses I did get were "I'm not interested, never email me again." One guy even cited GDPR and said he would report me if I sent another email (no idea how accurate that is or if he can even do that, but I marked him as "do not email" in Apollo for that reason). I think most people just mark these sorts of emails as spam and/or archive them unless you've met them before.

That's also my experience.

Thanks for sharing, Ben!

I've had similar experiences so far...

I think because it's such a numbers game, its hard to tell if its the channel that isn't working or the approach until you've tried each one hundreds/thousands of times.

It's hard to get incentives right when there's so much friction too - maybe the right offer/email would make the channel blow open.

Yeah, you might be right - I'm willing to bet there's a bit of a numbers game involved too. I haven't purchased yet, so I'm only able to target 100 people max haha. That said, results might be different with 1k people or 10k people. I'm going to give it a shot once I finish a couple of sales demos to see what kind of customer feedback I'm getting and refine my pitch.

Are you looking for remote marketer jobs? Or are you compiling a list of jobs? If it's the former, then this workflow would work well for you since this is what I do.

I'm a content writer (specifically marketing SEO articles for SaaS companies, but I bring up other options like email marketing after the conversation starts). So this is done-for-you, 1:1 services and not for my membership/ARR or digital product offers.

So, first, I do everything manually because I'm not convinced people can't tell it's automated. (Maybe they can't, but I'd rather personalize as much as possible.) Plus, I don't use a cut-and-paste template. (I follow a flow, but it's not word for word.)

I do a combination of cold email + LinkedIn, but I don't pay for services because I'm trying to keep my expenses low, which means I don't use Sales Navigator.

If you don't already know your target audience, you need to figure that out first. Develop a clear brand strategy -- know your audience in detail + your key brand messages as they relate to your audience to show who your offer is for + why it matters to them. I've never seen anyone succeed without this first. You can have several target audiences (I do too -- I work with SaaS + wellness companies), but you'll want to make sure each are defined before doing any kind of outreach.

Here's the process I follow:

  1. If I'm feeling really lazy, I'll get AI to give me a list of 100 SaaS companies that fit my requirements. Then I go check out each company just to verify.

  2. I go to LinkedIn and search for the company and try to find a marketing manager, CMO, or CEO (in that order). Whoever I find first, I stop and that's the person I email first. I put in all their info in my Notion database (name, contact info, etc.) I've used LimeLeads for this since they give me free credits every so often.

  3. I connect with the person on LinkedIn, but I don't pitch them. They're not stupid; they can see in my bio that I'm a SaaS content writer. They know exactly why I'm connecting with them, but I resist the urge to pitch in the connection request AND inbox. (I ONLY pitch in email.)

  4. I scout out their posts, leave meaningful comments, and be unobtrusive but still visible. I'm also looking for a point of connection with them so I can bring this up in the cold email (which makes it not as cold). This part is the longest part, but I've found people aren't always willing to put in the 3-5 days of rapport building to extra-personalize their email, and that's why it doesn't work.

  5. I send the first email, making sure I mention that point of connection with them. I'll also send a Loom where I go to their website's blog and pitch 3 blog post ideas that fit really well with what they've currently got (but either just expands on the topic OR pitches a new angle they haven't talked about before). I make this part REALLY detailed but not too long (5 minutes MAX but I try to get under 3 minutes). I include a personalized article specifically written FOR THEM (this is literally the most important part) and my calendar link to give them the option to jump on a call.

  6. After 2-3 business days, I follow up with them and ask them if they had a chance to check out the complementary article I wrote for them and include the calendar link.

  7. After another 2-3 business days, I follow up again and ask what they thought of my pitch ideas and include the calendar link again.

  8. After 1 week from the second follow-up email, I send a "break-up email" where I say it's the last time I'm reaching out and I wish them well and they can still book a call with me if they're interested.

(All 3 follow-up emails are super important. I've landed clients on that last email so many times.)

If it's a larger SaaS company, I start with the marketing manager then repeat the process with the CMO then repeat it again with the CEO. Basically, just go up the corporate ladder where it makes sense. I've been hired by a CFO before, so don't discount anyone. Just tailor the pitch so it makes sense and brings value for the person you're emailing.

I also rely HEAVILY on my personal network (who I already know), referrals (from my network + clients), guest posts for visibility + authority, and repeat clients.

I also look at open freelance content writer positions on LinkedIn and other platforms, then apply directly there AND THEN follow up through email.

Okay, so since this process is NOT automated at all, obviously the limiting factor is how many cold emails you can send a day. Since it's ultra-personalized and you've already made a point to connect, you don't have to send hundreds a day like you would if it was purely templatized and devoid of personal value. I aim to send 10-25 a day (NOT including the follow-up emails), and I'm at capacity right now after a couple months of outreach.

I'm not gonna lie -- it's a hustle in the beginning, but that's the fun, competitive part for me so I like it. I've also been known to pick up the phone a few times AND walk into local businesses and have gotten clients like that too. Sometimes I like to let all my writing contracts end without getting new clients, just to have that fire under my ass again so I get an adrenaline rush to restart the process. 😂

Wow, this Is 😎, TNX for the detailed explanation!

You're welcome! I checked out your project and saw it's actually the reverse.

You could DEFINITELY still use cold email to your advantage, though. Make sure you're clear AF about who it's for, then position it as a solution to one of their critical problems.

(It absolutely IS a solution for people hiring freelancers because you can vet marketers to make sure they're actually experienced and provide quality work, which is something Upwork + Fiverr don't do.)

You also have a secondary audience (freelancers), and it solves a need for us too -- finding quality jobs without needing to compete on price and ditching the race to the bottom.

By considering your audiences (make sure to keep these marketing messages very clear and separate) and differentiating your service from your competitors' services, you'll have done pretty much 75% of the work.

The rest is visibility.

  • SEO (doing in-depth research to know which keywords to target, then create content to rank)

  • guest posting (on high-domain sites your audience (again be CLEAR about which audience and make sure your content is tailored to one or the other; no mixing) visits so they'll click). This also includes guest speaking on relevant podcasts + speaking at events, if you want.

  • cold emailing (you can cold email BOTH freelancers and corporations, just making sure you're tailoring your message for who you're sending it to)

  • email marketing -- this would LIKELY work best on freelancers who are more likely to download freebies + sign up for a list rather than a marketing manager, but position your service as a solution. (I can help you come up with valuable downloadables if you want to pursue this option. I already have some ideas!)

  • running ads (one ad for one audience). Start with a small budget to see how it runs. I'd target Facebook and LinkedIn first.

  • get on LinkedIn and create content that targets both freelancers and corporations (but one post per audience segment, of course). Being clever in your headline like: freelancers 🤝 agencies (or whoever your client is, specifically, to make sure you're found in search results.

  • partnerships with other database-type founders so you can leverage each other's authority and visibility. Plus, collaboration is fun, even if you're offering a similar service.

Let me know if you want to jump on a call to explore any of these in depth to create a killer strategy. I think what you've created has potential, and I'm definitely signing up as a marketer!

Wow Cat, thanks so much for sharing - definitely gonna take a leaf out of your book and try this! Really really appreciate the detail you've gone into here 🫶

If you're not interested in cold email (or cold calling or cold dropping in their business) and you have a mountain of cash to burn, you can try ads where you have an interest form for whatever you're selling then run through a cycle (you choose how long/short it is) til you can get them on the phone or you send them a sales page to pay.