Cold outreach has evolved faster in the past couple of years than ever before. And we can likely expect big changes in 2022. But what exactly will those be?
How should you approach cold outreach in 2022? What new channels should you test? What should you double down on?
We reached out to some of our favorite cold outreach experts to collect their perspectives. Here’s what we discovered.
Video is already table stakes in cold outreach, but making your videos more personalized and interactive will be the name of the game in 2022.
She also says that cold outreach should be more personal, relevant, and fun if you want it to work. And video, when done well, checks all of these boxes.
But it will go beyond personalization. Creating videos that prospects can interact with will give you an extra edge.
Interactive and personalized video content lets you have more dynamic conversations, even if they have to be asynchronous. Tools like Vidyard and Tolstoy help provide a more human connection digitally. (In fact, I even used Tolstoy to gather contributions for this post.)
AI will be more prevalent in 2022. But don’t worry, sales friends. AI isn’t here to take your job. It’s here to help you with menial tasks that take away from more strategic work.
According to Leslie Venetz, “The question is: How can we use AI to enable our reps to spend the majority of their time on meaningful, strategic activity?”
The robots are here so you can focus on the human aspects of cold outreach while AI tackles the repetitive tasks that you shouldn’t be wasting your time on.
“There are lots of tools coming out to help rewrite emails and social content,” says Tom Slocum, Co-Founder of RevLeague and Community Manager at RevGenius. “I think you will see a lot of reps lean into it. You also see AI stepping in on the data side and empowering reps to reach out with the right message to the right person at the right time.”
Camille Trent agrees that AI writing tools will be more prominent in 2022. “AI copywriting tools will get more play,” she says. “Checking spelling, personalization, length, etc.”
AI can be your writer or your editor depending on where you need the most help. And it can coach you on creating more effective cold outreach. Mailshake’s own SHAKEspeare AI email writer spins up your email for you, while tools like Lavender provide real-time coaching while you’re writing your cold emails.
“Automate the crap out of anything text-based,” says Reisert. “AI is writing pretty good copy now. Let the bots do that thing and learn how to pick up the phone and actually call people, have conversations with them.” By 2023, he says text-based outreach will be managed more and more by bots and humans will be focusing on inserting themselves and reaching out at the right time.
We’re becoming increasingly digital as a society (even more so now that Omicron is spreading). We tend to go from screen to screen to screen. So it makes sense that most cold outreach tries to capture attention digitally. But a big part of cold outreach in 2022 will be breaking through the digital noise with physical interruptions like direct mail.
“Physical will work really well,” says Thibaut Souyris. “Send some kind of physical gift in your mix.”
“I’m also a fan of handwritten notes,” says Leslie Venetz.
I polled LinkedIn (I know, I’m sorry) to see what the sales community at large thinks the big cold outreach trend will be in 2022 and the results leaned toward direct mail.
And direct mail is proven to work. According to data from Postal.io, email outreach with gifts attached get an average 63% open rate, 83% click rate, and 92% gift acceptance rate. And conversions increase 3x when you integrate offline components into sales and marketing cadences.
The best channel will be wherever your prospects are already spending their time.
“If my audience is somewhere, well then I am missing the boat if I am not spending time in those channels trying to engage my audience,” says Ryan Reisert. “Pay attention to any new communities, social platforms, and event spaces.”
And since where prospects hang out is different for different industries, and even different on an individual level, you’ll need to validate your best channels before you build your sequences.
According to Reisert, many of today’s cross-channel sales sequences assume that the prospect will actually be reachable across each channel: email, phone, LinkedIn, etc.
“The first step is to validate each of the channels,” says Reisert. Then, he says, you should find the right person on your team for each task. The best cold callers do the dialing. The best copywriters tackle email. And on and on.
Leslie Venetz also notes that sequences will focus on fewer, higher quality touchpoints. “The best sales professionals I know strike a balance between creative outreach that works and not crossing the line with our prospects.”
“Knowing that the probability of a reply decreases with each additional email,” says Venetz, “we need to start each sequence with a highly relevant and personalized email + phone call double tap.”
And, of course, whatever channel you’re using, Tom Slocum reminds us to make sure to “drop more gives to the prospect than asks.” Remember that you’re there to serve, not to sell.