How to Master the Art of Cold Outreach in B2B Sales

2 minute read

Business-to-business (B2B) Cold outreach has been challenging for sales teams for over a decade. A recent survey claims that 23% of C-level executives are more likely to respond to B2B cold emails. However, narrowing down to a list of high-intent prospects who would be interested in your products is still a baffling task for many. 

Additionally, "Personalization" is often a glorified concept in B2B cold outreach, making things even harder. SDRs invest a significant amount of their time in personalizing the outreach messages. However, most of the time, they limit their personalization efforts to factors like the subject line, first name, and the prospect's company name. While these factors matter, sales reps often forget that the body of the email makes the real difference. 

The key factors associated with a successful cold outreach campaign are timing, platform, the prospects' intent, and messaging. If any of these elements are disrupted, your cold outreach campaign might not drive the expected results despite having enough potential. 

In this article, let's dive into the do's and don'ts of new-age B2B cold outreach. 

What is B2B Cold Outreach? 

Cold outreach in B2B sales is the process of reaching out to a business that doesn't have any context about your products and services. A targeted cold outreach campaign is where you know the prospect you are reaching out to is currently struggling with a challenge your products/services can solve. 

The primary goal of any B2B cold outreach campaign is to convert a prospect into a customer. 

Cold calls used to be the only mode of cold outreach, even a few years ago. However, technology has evolved, and the behavioral patterns of the target audiences have also changed. Hence, two new outreach modes have become popular in recent years - cold emails and LinkedIn outreach. 

Cold Calls 

Cold calling is one of the oldest and most straightforward ways to reach out to a prospect. Call them directly and explain about your product. The prospects are either willing to listen or reject your offer immediately. 

Cold Emails

A popular and affordable way to reach out to more B2B decision-makers in one go is by emailing them. This email should contain an introduction to your company, product, and how it can help them. It takes time to achieve responses from prospects through cold emails. On average, to get 1 B2B lead, you need to send 306 emails. 

LinkedIn Outreach

LinkedIn is a community of 63M+ businesses and 800M+ individuals. It is an excellent platform for sales teams to reach out to their B2B decision-makers, connect with them, observe their activities to understand their pain points, and finally send them outreach messages explaining how your product/service can make their lives easier. 

How to Find Relevant Contacts for a B2B Cold Outreach Campaign? 

Use LinkedIn Search 

There are two ways to leverage LinkedIn search: 

Case 1: You Know Your Prospect's Name 

Suppose you already know your prospect's name but don't know their contact details. In that case, you can directly type their name in the search bar. Once you open their profiles, you can find their contact details in their profile headlines. However, note that you can view the contact info of an individual only after you add them as your first-degree connection and they have an open profile. 

Case 2: You Don't Know Your Prospect's Name 

Suppose you don't know your target prospects' names. In that case, you must leverage the advanced LinkedIn search filters. 

Go to the LinkedIn Search tab and type a keyword. In this case, I have typed Founder. Now, without setting any filters, LinkedIn shows me the following search results: 

To make these search results more personalized, I added filters like - location, industry, and connections. You can customize your search further by adding more filters. 

Now, I will find more targeted results as I click on Show search results. 

However, this process takes time. To maximize LinkedIn's potential, SDRs should opt for LinkedIn Sales Navigator - an offering specifically designed for sales teams by LinkedIn. 

To go that extra mile with your LinkedIn cold outreach campaign, you can subscribe to LinkedIn Sales Navigator. It comes with over 20+ advanced search filters to identify your business's most relevant list of prospects. 

Once you finalize a list of prospects, Sales Navigator populates these prospects in your news feed so you can monitor the prospects' latest activities. However, businesses need an automation tool like Plena to utilize Sales Navigator fully. 

Buying Lead Databases 

Another way to make your multi-channel outreach campaign successful is by buying leads. Sales teams with empty pipelines or early-stage startups that need to generate revenue quickly can opt for this option. You can buy lead databases from tools such as Zoominfo, Apollo, UpLead, Salesfully, and Aeoroleads. However, make sure to evaluate the quality of these leads beforehand.  Or you could use AI tools like Plena that automatically choose the best and latest tool and validate contact information.  

Using Email Finder Tools 

Email finder tools like LemlistLusha, and Plena can pull prospect contact details from multiple sources. In fact, Plena goes that extra mile to collect prospects' contact details from LinkedIn and other social profiles, public websites, and over 12 other authentic sources. Sales reps can add their requirements to these tools to receive contact details from high-intent and targeted prospects, including email addresses, phones, direct lines, etc. 

The Three Pillars of B2B Cold Outreach 


A recent survey shows C-level executives respond to cold emails 20% more frequently than non C-suites. However, what matters is who is receiving your emails and how you can stand out in the crowd of other cold emails. 

The one-word answer to this question is - relevancy.  

Relevancy is all about finding the people who really need your product. It is about doing in-depth research on your potential audiences' and identifying their intent. If their pain points match your product's features, and they intend to make a purchase - that's when a cold outreach campaign can drive high-quality leads.

SDRs can use trusted sources like: 

  • LinkedIn and Twitter profiles and the latest activities of the prospects 
  • News portals like TechCrunch 
  • Official websites of the company
  • Individual blogs on Medium and other platforms to understand their prospects better. 

Afterward, they can incorporate all this information into their messaging to make it relevant. Below is an example of an appropriate messaging script: 

Notice how this message is brief, to the point, relevant to the prospect and sets up a problem exploration premise for the prospect. 


Timing matters. Sales reps want to reach their prospects when the prospects are actively searching for solutions. If your competitor's solution reaches your prospects before your sales team,  they will likely have a significant advantage. And this would reduce your future chances of converting the same prospect. 

Now, I understand that predicting when a prospect is looking for your services is difficult. However, with AI/ML-based predictive scoring models, it is possible to find high-intent and relevant prospects. Predictive algorithms can analyze prospects' behavioral patterns to identify when they are looking for a specific problem that your product can solve. 

Additionally, reps can observe the latest events, funding updates (Crunchbase), changes in leadership roles, and other factors to forecast when a brand is scaling and they might require new products and services. 


Personalization matters, but do it the right way. There was a time when an email that would address me with my name would sound like a "personalized" email. However, I eventually realized that most cold emails are so focused on getting the prospect's name right that they forget a more important factor - the email body. 

Hear it from Elise Bentley, VP Of Marketing at Tiugo Technologies: 

"With the increased use of AI and ML technologies in marketing, the so-called personalization 'basics' of adding a businesses' or exec's name to an email subject line or grouping businesses by vertical and segment are no longer sufficient as customers feel this is ingenious. On the other hand, over-doing personalization may scare off potential customers, and that's where the importance of striking a balance comes in. Regularly updating your data is one way to avoid over-personalization." 

Check this email, for instance: 

Do you find anything that can make it a personalized cold email? It is a random sales email that doesn't interest me as a prospect. 

Here's how you can personalize the same email script: 

Why does the above message stand out? 

  • It shows that the sales rep has observed that I am struggling with something 
  • The rep doesn't hard sell the product 
  • The rep is giving away a free resource to build trust; there is no sales pitch 

Why is LinkedIn Outreach the New-age Version of Cold Outreach? 

LinkedIn outreach is the process of reaching out to your target prospects through direct messages and InMails. LinkedIn is home to 65M+ business decision-makers and is slowly becoming the face of new-age outreach initiatives. 

Here are a few reasons why sales reps should definitely try out LinkedIn as a cold outreach channel.

High Affordability 

LinkedIn is a cost-effective outreach tool for B2B sales brands. Cold email tools are costly. Even though some affordable plans are available, you will miss out on significant features like custom templates, advanced reporting, customer segmentation, etc. 

On the contrary, LinkedIn outreach is free. For example, you can send your prospects a personalized note within 300 characters while sending a connection request. However, LinkedIn can quickly mark you as spam for sending too many connection requests. 

In that case, the alternative solution is to opt for Premium options. The Premium Business plan offers 15 InMail credits, while Sales Navigator offers 50 InMail Credits

However, LinkedIn Sales Navigator doesn't offer automation. But with tools like Plena, that is easily possible. By integrating Plena with Sales Navigator, sales reps can experience some additional benefits like: 

  • Automate your cold outreach campaigns 
  • Move beyond DMs and InMails, automate your engagement and endorsing activities as well 
  • Send 800+ free InMails per month

Smooth Delivery 

Gmail has strict guidelines; hence, any inappropriate word in your email subject line or body can send your email to the Spam folder. In 2022, 56.5% of total emails were spam. 

LinkedIn is comparatively a safer option. LinkedIn InMails generally don't go to the Spam folder and get delivered to your prospect's inbox smoothly. However, note that LinkedIn may be marking you as spam if you violate the terms and conditions. Additionally, you can send InMails to anyone regardless of whether they are your first-degree connection or not. 

High Engagement Rate 

Backlinko reported that the average open rate for cold emails can vary from 1-10%

LinkedIn, on the other hand, has a high engagement rate. LinkedIn InMails have a whopping open rate of 57.5%

Great Automation Possibilities 

LinkedIn Sales Navigator, powered with an outbound automation tool, can create huge possibilities. Sales Navigator can help the reps with a list of hyper-targeted prospects, while automation can initiate outreach sequences, making it easier for sales professionals to drive successful outreach campaigns. 

Tried and Tested Tips to Write High Converting LinkedIn Outreach Messages 

Here are a few best practices for writing targeted LinkedIn cold outreach messages: 

Keep the Message Concise, Contextual, and Direct 

Your LinkedIn outreach message should resonate with the prospects. 

❌ What not to do:

✅ Instead do this:

Create Urgency Through Your Message 

Urgency is a psychological trigger for the prospects and encourages them to act swiftly. Some best practices to trigger urgency in your outreach messages are: 

  • Adding time sensitivity 
  • Providing limited-time discounts 

Your message must include a benefit that will add value to the audiences and they won't afford to miss out on it. 

Include a CTA in the Message 

The goal of your outreach message is to encourage the prospect to take action. Without a CTA, the message will be incomplete and you may lose a high-intent simply because they don't know how to take action. 

Add a CTA like "Schedule a call" or share your Calendar link to expedite the process. 

You can find more tips on writing highly-converting LinkedIn Outreach Messages here.

Build Your Personal Brand to Project Yourself as a Thought Leader 

A great way to attract prospects is by building an authoritative voice on LinkedIn. Sales reps can post about their products, experiences, wins, case studies, testimonials, and learnings. All these will help you build a LinkedIn brand and establish yourself as an industry leader. Therefore, winning prospects' trust and booking more sales calls won't be difficult. 

"Building a personal brand on LinkedIn has been incredibly important to business development for Mighty Startup. We handle the most sensitive information a business has- financial data- so, trust and credibility are paramount for our clients.

By building a well-crafted personal brand, we've been able to work towards establishing that credibility and trust as an authority in B2B SaaS accounting and bookkeeping. A strong personal brand has given us the visibility to showcase our industry insights on everything from annual recurring revenue (ARR) and burn rate multiple to calculating runway and building a successful pitch deck.

By networking on LinkedIn, we've been able to build valuable relationships and generate leads, especially with the help of tools like Hifive (, which focuses on nurturing existing relationships to build new connections. Traditional sales tactics still work with enough volume, but our efforts were not so great initially when our SDRs lacked a strong personal brand. Relationship-led sales will continue to be key, especially with any B2B sales motion.

Startups can benefit from SDRs with a strong personal brand to help get meetings on the calendar, but B2B SaaS founders should be driving the sales until reaching meaningful milestones (1-2M ARR generally)." - Andrew Gauthier, Founder at Mighty Startup.

Let me explain this with an example. 

Gabrielle "GB" Blackwell is a famous sales influencer with a strong personal brand on LinkedIn. She had previously worked for brands like Airtable and Gong, has 28K+ followers, and received a LinkedIn Top Voice badge. All these make her a trusted sales content creator on LinkedIn. 

How to Capitalize LinkedIn Sales Navigator to Drive Your Cold Outreach Campaign Successfully? 

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is one of the best outreach tools based on affordability, level of engagement, and automation options. 

Here are the steps to make the most out of your LinkedIn Sales Navigator with Plena

Step 1: The sales rep needs to create criteria and add correct filters to the LinkedIn Search bar or Plena Chrome Extension. 

Step 2: Plena will help you identify the prospect profiles that match your ICP perfectly from a large pool of potential leads. 

Step 3: Plena will now cross-reference the contact details across various sources. 

Step 4: In the next step, Plena will initiate a LinkedIn automation sequence. While LinkedIn Sales Navigator can allow you to send 50 InMails per month, Plena's automated campaign will help you send 800 free InMails per month. 

To know more, Book a demo

Final Thoughts 

B2B cold outreach is evolving for good. Gone are the days when sales teams would perform lots of trial and error before reaching out to one high-intent lead. Thanks to worldwide digital growth, sales reps can now use platforms like LinkedIn and leverage lead-generation robots to run targeted outreach campaigns. 

As a next step, sales reps should start by exploring all the tools and strategies mentioned here and pick the most suitable for their organization. 

In this article, let's dive into the do's and don'ts of new-age B2B cold outreach and how to use platforms like LinkedIn and leverage lead-generation robots to run targeted outreach campaigns. 

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