Cold email is an excellent channel that B2B agencies can use to have more conversations with qualified leads and close new clients.

If you reach out with a personalized and relevant email, you’ll be surprised at just how many decision-makers are happy to respond and be willing to learn more about your agency’s services.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps required to do effective cold email marketing for B2B agencies. 

Whether you run a lead generation agency, paid ads agency, or any other type of B2B agency, this guide is going to help you go from zero to one with cold outreach.

  1. Why does Cold Email Work for B2B Agencies?

  2. How to Use Cold Email for Your B2B Agency

Let’s dive straight in.

Why does Cold Email Outreach Work for B2B Agencies?

Cold email is the perfect channel for agencies for several reasons.

Firstly, it’s personal. You can send a one-to-one message to someone in a leadership position and start a reply. There are no other channels that rival that level of interaction.

Second, it’s a good fit for businesses selling high-value contracts, like B2B agencies. For example, in a Facebook ad campaign, the main goal is to get in front of as many people matching your buyer persona as possible. Unfortunately, this results in a buying experience that’s less personalized on an individual basis.

On the other hand, cold email ensures every interaction you have with a prospect is completely personalized, as there’s no way you can automate a real conversation. 

Third, it’s a predictable channel. After sending several campaigns, you’ll have solid benchmarks for your email open rates, reply rate, and overall conversion rates.

If you know you can see a 5-10% conversion rate from your cold email campaigns, you can quickly scale up your processes and build a predictable sales pipeline.

As long as your audience and strategy remain consistent, you can see similar results from campaign to campaign. 

How to Use Cold Email for Your B2B Agency

1. Set Your Cold Email Targets

Before you send any emails, you need to determine your targets and set expectations for both you and your team.

The best way to do this is to work backward from your goals. 

Our cold email metrics compiled from millions of email campaigns show that if your cold emails are well-targeted, you can average an open rate of around 60%.

Out of those opens, the average cold email reply rates are approximately 10-20%.

From there, you need to look at your company’s sales lead to client conversion rate. If you typically see a 10-30% close rate, you know you need to send 100 emails to get between 1-3 new clients.

If your emails are targeted to the right prospects, and your agency’s services are ideally suited for your recipients, there’s a strong chance you see better results than that, though.

2. Determining Your Prospect List

The next step involved in your cold email marketing process is to determine who you’ll reach out to and build your prospect list.

This is potentially the most important part of the entire process. If your prospects are qualified, they’ll want to have a conversation with you, even if your sales pitch isn’t perfect.

It’s tempting to build a large prospect list and reach out to as many prospects as you can. However, most B2B agencies have a specific niche they work in, so this strategy of casting a wide net isn’t optimal.

Before adding anyone to your prospect list, consider this: if you closed them as a customer, would you be able to effectively deliver results for them? If the answer isn’t a resounding ‘yes’, leave them off your list.

To start, make a list of criteria that qualifies someone as a prospect. For example:

  • Firmographic details: does their industry, revenue numbers, growth rate, funding series make them a good match for your agency?

  • Technographic details: do they use any software that your agency can specifically help with?

  • Location: do you only work with clients in a specific city, region, or market?

As you build your list, add prospects to a spreadsheet, with all of the details you need on them. You can use our free prospect list template to ensure all of the details you’re collecting are relevant.

You don’t need to source your contacts manually. 

There are a variety of sales prospecting tools on the market that can help you:

  • Create prospect lists based on people matching your criteria

  • Find verified contact details

  • Export prospects into a pre-formatted spreadsheet

It’s always worth testing different tools before committing to any, but some good options include:

  • BuiltWith: identify what technology companies use on their websites. Perfect if you work with companies using a particular platform, like Shopify, WordPress, Salesforce, or similar.

  • UpLead: an affordable B2B prospect database that contains millions of prospect records that you can quickly filter through based on various criteria, such as company type, job titles, locations, and much more.

  • Skrapp: Find email addresses from LinkedIn profiles and when you’re browsing prospect company websites.

There’s no set rule for the number of prospects you need to add to your prospect list before sending a cold email campaign, but collecting 100-200+ prospects is a good start. It'll be hard to gather any meaningful performance data with fewer prospects than that in your list.

3. Setting Your Team Up with a Cold Email Tool

To run a cold email campaign, you need a cold email tool. Software like QuickMail enables you to automate your outreach and avoid spending all day in your email inbox. 

As well as automating your email sending, cold email outreach software lets you:

  • Automatically personalize emails when sending emails to multiple recipients

  • Send follow-ups if someone doesn’t respond

  • Ensure your emails land in the inbox with deliverability features

  • Manage email sending volume by rotating emails across different team inboxes

The first thing you need is a QuickMail account. You can get started with a free trial before committing.

After you’ve created your account and connected your inbox, you’ll be able to start adding your prospects and creating email sequences, ready to send to your prospects.

You can easily add your whole team to QuickMail and use inbox rotation to send campaigns from multiple inboxes, rather than having them all sent from one account. This helps ensure none of your team members are solely responsible for managing replies, as well as helping with deliverability.

4. Deliverability Tips to Land in the Inbox

Email deliverability is key to success. You’ll only get results for your agency using cold email if those emails land in your recipients’ primary inboxes. 

The first step to ensuring good deliverability is to set up your email account. This means doing tasks like:

  1. Create a cold email domain separate from your primary business email

  2. Add SPF and DKIM records to your Gmail or Outlook account to ensure email service providers know your emails are coming from your real account.

  3. Make your email account look legitimate by adding an email signature, profile picture, and a backup email address.

The idea is that your new cold email account will look as legitimate as possible to email service providers.

But, spam filters are smart and these steps alone aren’t enough to ensure every email lands in your prospect’s inbox.

Next, you’ll need to warm up your email address.

Warming up your email address shows ESPs that your email activity is legitimate and can be trusted. 

Otherwise, they’ll be suspicious if you go from sending zero emails per day on your account to sending hundreds of outreach emails per week, making it more likely that your emails land in the spam folder.

In the past, you’d have to run this process manually, sending emails to and from your colleagues. 

Today, you can automate this process with cold email warm up tools, such as MailFlow's free email warmup tool that integrates natively with QuickMail.

It’s free to use, and all you need to do is connect the inbox you want to warm up with the MailFlow Auto Warmer.

It will start sending, receiving, and replying to emails in the email warmer group. If your emails land in the spam folder, the Auto Warmer will automatically remove them from the spam folder and respond to them, showing ESPs that it was a mistake.

Over time, your email address will become trusted by ESPs and you can start sending cold emails to clients with confidence.

It’s best to leave the MailFlow Auto Warmer running for 2-4 weeks before sending any cold emails. That gives ESPs enough time to start trusting your account and removes the worry that all of your outreach emails will be sent straight to the spam folder.

To make sure your account is safe, use the Auto Warmer reports to monitor where your emails are landing.

If you start to see emails landing in Spam, you can pause any outreach campaigns and fix your deliverability issues before they cause a drop in your reply rates.

As your agency is likely to be running campaigns from multiple inboxes, you can add each inbox you use to the MailFlow Auto Warmer and warm them up simultaneously.

You’ll know if you ever need to remove one inbox from your sending schedule and can ensure you never miss opportunities because of deliverability.

5. Writing Your Email Templates

Your email templates are a crucial ingredient to cold email success. They’re what will incite curiosity in your prospects and start a conversation.

The key to writing a cold email template that converts is personalization. If you demonstrate that you’ve researched your prospect and can solve a problem they currently have, getting replies will be easy.

When writing your emails, you need to include some key points in your structure:

  1. A personalized introduction or opening line

  2. A brief summary of why you’re reaching out

  3. Social proof to show that you’re trustworthy

  4. A call-to-action that makes it easy to reply

You can add extra information to your emails, but in most cases, these four elements are enough. Elaborating too much will only dilute your message and make it harder for your prospect to skim the email and reply.

The next challenge is doing this at scale.

It’s easy to personalize emails if you’re sending them one by one, but how do you personalize emails at scale?

This will be done using your cold email tool.

In QuickMail, you can add attributes to your email templates. These will personalize your email to be unique for each recipient.

For example, writing “Hey {{prospect.first_name}}” in the QuickMail editor would turn into: “Hey John” when you send your email.

The attributes are taken from your prospect list, that we mentioned earlier. In that list, you’ll include all of the information you want to include, such as:

  • First name

  • Company name

  • Job title

  • Opening line

  • Custom P.S. line

All of these can be imported to QuickMail during the upload process.

Once the attributes are imported from your prospect list spreadsheet, you can start adding them to your email templates.

The attributes can then be added to your emails as you write them.

When you send your email campaign to multiple recipients at once, each email will be individually personalized, even if you send 50 emails at once.

Your agency provides high-touch and personalized services to your clients, so your cold emails need to convey that through your cold email personalization.

6. Scheduling Email Campaigns in QuickMail

As you know, your buyers are busy. Even if your email pitch is perfect, there’s no guarantee that every email will get a reply, even if it’s a good fit.

To maximize your reply rate, you need to follow up. 

Our data from millions of email campaigns shows that 55% of replies to cold email come from a follow-up.

To automatically follow up when you don’t get a response, add a new email step in your email campaign and choose your delay time between emails.

After your delay, add your next email step.

In there, you can write the copy for your following email. Once it’s ready, add your step.

You can add as many follow-up emails as you need. 

In each of them, add a new example of results you’ve generated, change your call-to-action, or try a new approach. 

In each follow-up email, make sure to add context so your recipient doesn’t need to read back through your previous emails to understand what you’re reaching out about.

7. Tracking Your Results

To understand if cold emailing is working for your B2B agency, you’ll need to track your results.

Like with any sales or marketing channel, the main cold email metrics that matter are the close rate and the amount of new revenue generated for your agency.

 However, there are some other indicators that will tell you early on whether your campaigns have the potential to generate sales for your agency.

  • Reply rate: This metric tells you how many replies you’re getting, either positive or negative. It’s an excellent benchmark for how engaging your emails are. Expect a reply rate of 20% or more if your prospect list is a good fit for your services.

  • Positive reply rate: This tells you how many of your replies are positive. It’s an even better indicator of how finely targeted your emails are than the overall reply rate.

  • Bounce rate: This tells you how many of your emails are bouncing. It tells you how good your prospect list is because if you have too many bounces, it’s a sign that the emails aren’t verified.

You can track all of your key metrics in your QuickMail dashboard. After sending a campaign, you’ll see every key metric in your campaign dashboard so you can get an overview of performance.

These dashboards include emails sent in a campaign from any team member, so even if you have three team members collaborating on a campaign, sending emails from their own inboxes, all of the metrics will still be compiled.

As well as that, you can easily see a snapshot of your campaign performance, even if you’re running outreach for multiple clients at once.

You’ll always know how your client campaigns are performing at a glance, without needing to jump through hoops to find the details you need. 

If you see a campaign underperforming, you can jump in and make adjustments.

It’s worth noting here that it’s not mandatory to track metrics like open rate and click-through rate in your cold email campaigns. Tracking these requires adding links and tracking pixels into your emails, which can harm email deliverability.

Tracking your results is vital if you expect to understand the ROI your outreach campaigns are generating for your agency.

Summary: Using Cold Email for B2B Agencies

Cold email marketing for B2B agencies is an excellent way to start conversations with potential clients and grow your sales pipeline.

It’s a good fit for agencies because your services will come with a high price point and in turn require a personalized sales approach. Cold email is one of the few channels that allow you to engage with decision-makers in a personal, one-to-one manner.

As long as your offer is personalized and relevant to the person you’re reaching out to, there’s a strong chance you will get a reply. If you don’t get a response to your first email, you can follow up automatically and boost your chances of having a conversation using QuickMail.

You can sign up for a free trial of QuickMail today to start growing your agency using cold email.