Here’s the deal. Cold email, done correctly, is an amazing mechanism for starting a dialogue with a stranger.
In sales, we love the cold.
Cold calls. Cold emails. Salespeople pride themselves on their ability to take frigid interactions and swiftly make them warm.
There are endless amounts of tips and tricks to do this. What people fail to realize is their own networks might hold the key to higher conversion rates.
When you’re the founder of a company, there’s an endless amount of these kinds of interactions. You have to get comfortable with the cold.
It’s also why the savviest among us founders have figured out; it’s a lot easier to start warm. It’s time we share this notion with our sales teams.
It’s something sales rarely talks about that founders use regularly: the warm intro.
“I get cold, but what makes an intro warm?”
Instead of reaching out cold, warm implies that there’s some level of familiarity.
Building a brand on LinkedIn is an excellent example of a way to warm relations with prospects. They’ve seen your name and what you think and care about. You’ve built familiarity without having to formally meet.
A warm introduction is similar. In a warm intro, you're introduced to someone through a mutual connection. You’re utilizing the mutual connection to create a familiarity bridge.
They already have a warm relationship, so you’re more likely to see the conversion.
Think about it. Are you more likely to take a call with me if I reach out to you or if your friend suggests we have a call?
Your friend, of course. One, you likely trust them more than a stranger. Two, you likely feel a sense of reciprocity towards your friend.
You might argue, "it doesn't scale."
But has your team actually tried systematizing the use of warm intros? Also, if it gets you higher quality conversations, does it matter?
The key to any successful sales mechanism is to establish a scalable process around it. Here are some steps you can take to easily enable your sales team.
1. Prioritize Mutual Connections in Research
LinkedIn can be an incredibly powerful tool for sales when used correctly. This starts with ensuring everyone on your team is connected on the platform. This kickstarts your company's network effect.
Next, have your sales teams go to the company pages of their target accounts.
LinkedIn will showcase the 1st-degree connections on the company’s page. If you click on the list of employees, you can quickly filter the list of contacts who are your second-degree connections.
Have your reps take note of the connections. Have them ask the following questions as they vet connectors:
Who would you be comfortable reaching out to about making a connection? If they’re not warm to you, it’s probably not a good fit.
How close do you think the mutual connection is with your ideal customer profile? If they are your ideal customer, great. If they aren’t, how distantly related are they? If it’s too far of a stretch, it might not make sense.
Insider tip: The folks in finance know everyone.
Don’t make your reps try to guess how warm their relationship is with the prospect. That’s the next step.
2. Check the Connection
There are several nuances to this. For the most part, the initial email to a connector can be fairly templated even if it’s only templated by heuristics.
Here’s an example of a heuristic styled template:
Hey *Warm Connector*,
*Friendly intro like “how’s it going”/ something personal between you two.*
I checked out *company* on LinkedIn, and I saw you were connected with *Prospect*.
How well do you know *prospect*?
I was hoping you could make an intro. *Reason you want to connect with Prospect*
If I send you an easily forwardable note, would you be open to passing it along?
Thanks in advance,
The tones in your email should seem very unassuming. The key to this note is getting a sense of how well they know your prospect. Also, getting it across to your connector that you believe you can add some value to the prospect.
Both are equally important, but nothing should be assumed.
Plenty of people have thousands of connections on LinkedIn. Sometimes these efforts will come up dry.
3. Have Your "Forwardable" Ready.
A “Forwardable Email” is just that: it’s an email that can easily be forwarded to your connector.
Recognize that when the email is forwarded, the rep should not be included. A proper forwardable doesn’t put unneeded pressure on the prospect. You want your prospect to opt-in to the conversation.
If they don’t accept the conversation, that’s a strong signal; the prospect is not ready to move forward.
A good forwardable should cover most of the same points as the request to your connector. A forwardable is easily templatized.
Hey *Warm Connector*,
Appreciate you offering to connect me with *Prospect*. Included some info on *your company* below for context.
*Short elevator pitch*
Their connector will likely craft their own version of a pitch on your reps behalf. If they make the connection, be sure reps know to follow the next two steps.
4. Save their Inbox (the BCC)
When they make the connection, reps need to thank their warm connector and politely BCC them out of the thread.
The connector doesn't want to stay in the conversation. Spare their inbox.
A good template to start the response,
Thank you for making the connection, *Warm Connector*. I'll keep you posted outside the thread. (Bcc'd).
*Prospect*- It’s great to be connected.
When would be a good time to connect early next week?
If you have a Calendly link, I’m happy to find a time that works for you. I can also send over my Calendar link if that’s easier.
Don’t presume they want to use your reps’ scheduling links. Offering the link might take an extra step, but it reduces your risk of rubbing prospects the wrong way.
5. Follow Up with Your Warm Connector
People forget this step, but if you ever want the warm connector to make a connection again, this is key. Reps need to know that relationships are built in the follow-up.
Remind reps to let their connectors know how things went. Thank them! This is how you create real connections and real buy-in from others in your sales peoples’ success.
It may seem like more steps than expected, but utilizing these steps as part of the sales process not only makes your team’s selling feel more human, it creates connections that convert.
Warm intros will never replace a well written cold email. In combination, if done correctly, they can lead to a better sales culture and process all around.