New to Sales? How to Learn Cold Email as an SDR

If you’re a fresh SDR hire, or were made the one responsible for outbound email campaigns not so long ago, then this article is for you. I feel your struggle. Outbound can be pretty intimidating at first.

You need to read and practice a lot before you’re able to do it confidently. With this post, I want to show how to learn cold emailing.

It’s been 5 months since I started working at Woodpecker and through all this time I managed to learn a whole lot. When I went through the recruitment process, I only had a slight idea about cold emailing.

I knew about cold calls because I interned at a customer research company that was doing cold calls for its business.

I was familiar with the basic premise of cold calling – to make a sales introduction call to a business professional who has never heard about your offer before. So I imagined cold emailing a prospect would work in a similar fashion.

Having joined the marketing team at Woodpecker, I took it upon myself to read each blog post that Cathy wrote, with no exception. It was a daunting task, bearing in mind that there was close to a hundred entries.

It also didn’t help that I was reading the blog posts in the reverse order, from the latest post to the oldest one. And if you look at the release dates, some of those blog posts tackle complicated technical matters.

Thankfully, Cathy has recently written A Comprehensive Guide to Cold Email that serves as a good starting point to the blog, as well as the whole cold emailing shebang.

If you don’t know where to start from, I strongly encourage you to print out that post and put a mark next to the blog post that you’ve finished reading to stay organized.

It really pays off to read the posts in the exact order that Cathy put them in, especially since the issues with email personalization and deliverability come last and by far, they are the most difficult to grasp and master.

But here I am today, and I can say that I’m now confident about my outbound knowledge.

And in this very blog post, I wanted to share with you the exact steps I took to understand the outbound perplexities, and how you can do it too if you’re just starting with cold email outreach.

Books and e-books to learn cold email basics

While I was still engulfed in the blog entries, I was given a copy of “Predictable Revenue” by Aaron Ross and Marylou Tyler.

It basically teaches you the modern way of cold emailing. You’ll find a ton of useful advice there, and above all else, it will clarify the concept of cold emailing to you. You can skim through the review of Predictable Revenue by Casey Kerr on Aaron Ross’s blog.

That was not the sole cold emailing resource I had to soak in. I’ve read The Fool-Proof Guide to Cold Email, an e-book by SalesFolk, together with Jamie Eilerman’s e-book 100K Cold Email Prospecting.

Moreover, I familiarized myself with Bryan Kreuzberger’s Breakthrough Email concept, which tells you how to identify a decision maker with cold emails. And last but not least, I’ve read our 15 Cold Email Templates with Cathy’s commentaries on why they work.

When I was immersing myself in my studies of cold emailing, I was working on a glossary of outbound terms.

That’s because I work in marketing which means that I should know how to verbalize all the concepts involved in outbound. Nevertheless, I urge you to come up with your own glossary for outbound, as it helped me internalize what I’ve learned throughout all this time.

How to practice before your first real campaign

Of course, no amount of reading will make you a cold email expert if you don’t practice. That’s why all the new people hired at Woodpecker at the same time that I was were given a task to work on together.

We were supposed to execute an email outreach campaign to all the people who had used Woodpecker for the trial period, but they hadn’t upgraded their accounts when the trial was over.

It wasn’t exactly a cold email campaign, as they knew Woodpecker and were familiar with the tool, but it gave the three of us an opportunity to hone our outbound skills.

This experience was extremely valuable. I learned how to write an opening email copy, a catchy subject line and what to look for when personalizing the message for each prospect.

What’s more, I took part in the training of our newly-hired outbound team. We learned how to search for prospects, and write snippets and CTAs.

Having somebody review your cold emails and follow ups made me a better cold email writer today. Thus, I would recommend you to show what you’ve written to somebody and ask them for advice.

Those people don’t have to be cold email experts. They can have a very basic understanding of cold emailing or even no understanding at all.

What matters is that they are willing to assess whether you sound as a real human being talking to a real human being. That’s because when you’re unsure about yourself and your writing, you forget that you’re writing to a real person and you may come out as robotic.

You don’t have to plunge into writing an email campaign right away. You may take small steps and write to a singer, writer or a business person you admire – that’s just to get you going and realize that writing to strangers is not really that much trouble.

What’s in it for you?

You might feel overwhelmed when you first hear about cold emailing and what it entails. The whole process may seem convoluted.

You may feel discouraged from learning about cold email. However, I strongly believe that when you dedicate some of your time to reading the resources I provided here and applying it in practice, you’ll slowly transition into a cold email professional.