What’s New With Cold Emailing


Great question! I’m excited I found this right now as I am nearing the end of an in-depth platform review. But first, let me try and shed some light on the situation:

State of the union – cold emailing

Canada has the anti-spam regulations CASL, the U.S. has the CAN-SPAM Act and there is a new reform to regulations in the EU, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which is causing a lot of discussion in the B2B sales/marketing communities. Download the entire legislation here. (Also find an easier-to-understand report from fieldfisher here explaining the e-marketing requirements of the EU states).

What is GDPR?

“GDPR is a regulation that requires businesses to protect the personal data and privacy of EU citizens for transactions that occur within EU member states. And non-compliance could cost companies dearly. Here’s what every company that does business in Europe needs to know about GDPR.” – Michael Nadeau, Senior Editor, CSO

3 most important things to know about GDPR in the context of e-marketing

  1. Contact and other personal data used in an e-marketing campaign need to have been collected for that purpose specifically.
  2. Contact (data subject) needs to be able to exercise their right of access, right of erasure, right of rectification and right of opt-out without any barriers.
  3. Data processors (data providers) need to provide a data processing agreement to their customers defining the scope and purpose of the data processing.

The use case we’ll be discussing

  1. Data + Email Campaign Management
  2. High-value targets
  3. Focused, nuanced audiences
  4. Customized dynamic email body copy and subject lines
  5. CRM integrations to add/update contacts/leads based on email interactions

The contenders

  1. Found.ly – Based off of an email scraping tool, Found.ly now offers email sequence-building/sending and ad hoc email lists. They are the cheap option in terms of data and usage.
  2. Growbots – One of the first to provide an easy-to-use UI with both grabbing and sending capabilities. They captured huge market share with their offering early on. The UI/UX in Growbots is great, and they provide data for you.
  3. Growlabs – Very similar to Growbots – with some differentiators. The UI is good, and the Salesforce Integration is excellent.
  4. Hubsell – This platform, out of Germany, was built under the most strict email regulations so it has everything you need to avoid spam filters. It also differentiates from these others by doing their data research for you ad hoc (gathering fresh verified leads for you as you order them, instead of having you pull them down from a pre-filled database).

The stats

Coming soon…

Discussion

Beyond the key points charted above, there are a few key differentiators among each, as well as downsides to consider:

Autoklose

Good

  • Company industry criteria can be quite in-depth with SIC code filters to use in certain industries/verticals.
  • Creation of custom fields specific to your business (e.g. how many times a user did this in your app or on your site) which can be pulled from your CRM

Bad

  • Data coverage is only in the US
  • Bounce rate is in the mid and upper double digits
  • Very little customization options for email copy

Found.ly

Good

  • Pricing is their key competitive advantage.

Bad

  • They will add emails which are only determined by pattern-recognition (first_name.last_name@gmail.com)

Growbots

Good

  • Pre-loaded sequence templates for you to use and customize.
  • Great UI/UX makes the on-boarding easy.

Bad

  • Bounce rate can the double digits which
  • Content customization is limited to mainly static placeholders.

Growlabs

Good

  • Bilateral Salesforce integration allowing very easy syncing of data
  • The dashboard has a great UI/UX
  • Pre-loaded email templates you can customize for your use case.

Bad

  • They are strict about emailing B2C and will not allow uploads of or sends to any personal emails.

Hubsell

Good

  • On-demand researched data which you can cherry pick in the approval stage delivered with 20+ variables containing categorical data per row.
  • A copy can be customized based on categorical data such as gender, seniority, industry, department and more using an if this then that logic.
  • Among the lowest bounce rate with auto data credit reimbursement

Bad

  • Steep learning curve makes adoption rate slow.
  • On the higher end of cost per prospect

The conclusion

Thank you for taking the time to review this research. My team and I spent hours gathering it. And, you are still owed a recommendation…

My current recommendation for most cold-emailing use cases is going to be Hubsell.

To add context my conclusion here is why Hubsell has been the best for the most recent projects I’ve been involved in:

  1. Data Quality – Hubsell’s ad hoc data gathering has increased the quality of data a ton. An anecdote to put into perspective how important the data is; when I used Growlabs, their data filter provided me with tons of mismatches which translated into more of my time excluding contacts from filters sometimes over 5000 in total. Further, when I would upload my own data, which I gathered from a very good source, they would scrub out over 70% of the contacts for their own reasons (my sense is they hoped to force me to buy more from their DB). Using Hubsell, I spend very little time approving contacts and am able to load my own verified data.
  2. Copy Customization – Using Hubsell’s dynamic text, I am able to create one sequence for multiple personas in a company/vertical (using IF/THEN statements). I can even go as far as to send one version of the copy to women and an entirely different version to men. This practice is necessary when sending in languages where verbs are conjugated differently based on gender, but can also be useful for other language/tone customizations.
  3. Customer success – Hubsell’s team has been the most help with onboarding needs as well as best practices. They have gone above/beyond – being both supportive and helping with strategy.

GDPR Compliance – Lately this has caused all other platforms to remove their EU contacts from their databases entirely. Hubsell built their platform under EU’s strict emailing guidelines and had planned ahead for GDPR so their system is much more valuable under these new regs.

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  • It is a pleasure to work with Alex. He has always gone above and beyond what was expected. He is great with SaaS growth strategies and allows me to accomplish a lot using my limited bandwidth.
    David Greenbaum
    CEO of Onplan.co