7 Effective Tips for Streamlining Manual Outreach

By Dmytro Spilka

Apr 17, 2024

Guest post by Cognism

A modern salesperson can totally automate their sales outreach if they want to.

They can download a contact list into a CRM and fire off a blast of generic emails in a morning.

Sounds easy?

Not so fast!

Thankfully for all our inboxes, most salespeople know it’s more effective to treat their prospects with respect and put some graft in.

That’s why, even in a world of slick integrations and richly featured CRMs, outreach consists of many manual processes.

There’s research and targeting to do, personalisation based on persona profiles, administration and repetitive tasks to complete, analysis to run and sequences to design.

It’s hard work and can feel like a distraction from the real job of booking meetings and talking to prospects.

That’s why it’s a good idea to streamline manual outreach. By finding ways to streamline some of those repetitive processes, you get the best of both worlds:

Personalised and thorough outreach with reduced time spent on non-selling tasks.

Here are 7 ways to effectively streamline your manual outreach processes.

1. Research and targeting

Prospect research and targeting helps a salesperson find the right prospects at the right time.

The right prospects are those that fit your ideal customer profile (ICP) and buyer personas.

Not sure what these are? We’ve got you covered! In a nutshell, your business should have:

  • One ICP – that’s the customer who’ll get the maximum value from your solution.
  • A broad range of buyer personas based on demographics, pain points, goals, needs or motivators.

These are the customers for whom your solution will provide most value and who will provide the most value in return.

Researching companies provides insight into their

  • Industry fit.
  • Financial suitability.
  • Readiness to buy.
  • Growth ambitions.
  • Geographical fit.

Of course, you’ll unlikely find many company prospects who score 10/10 in each category, but after careful consideration, you’ll home in on the ideal buyers for your business.

After the research phase is the targeting phase. This is where you try to learn about the prospect and which communication channel(s) you’ll likely reach them on.

A manual research and targeting process might include reading industry reports, online news searches, or studying social media activity.

There are a range of tools that can streamline this research stage. B2B lead generation tools provide an easy way to filter vast databases of companies and prospects, industry news and funding rounds and much more.

2. Personalisation is key

In a world of “Hi LinkedIn Member…”, crafting a sales outreach message that demonstrates you’ve taken the time to learn about a prospect provides an immediate credibility boost to your pitch.

It shows you’re serious about finding out if a deal would suit both parties. It provides a foundation of trust and connection and allows a professional relationship to develop.

Personalisation strategies

A personalised and impactful approach requires understanding your prospect through a framework of pain points and decision-making power.

According to Kyle Coleman, SVP of Marketing at Copy.ai, it pays off to research a prospect’s pain points at the personal level, the persona level and the account level.

Personal level pain points are the specific challenges faced by the prospect you’re contacting within their company. Their day-to-day struggles and frustrations might differ from the broader organisational issues.

Pain points at the persona level are common to a specific type of buyer within the organisation. A marketing director might have different priorities and challenges than the head of IT.

Account level pain points are the problems or strategic goals that the prospect’s company is trying to address.

Whether a prospect is a decision-maker should also guide personalisation.

Determine whether the prospect holds budget or decision-making authority. People without decision-making power are more likely to have pain points in common and require less research. Those with decision-making power could have more complex and unique problems and require more research time.

So you’ve done your research. The next step is to make it pop in your outreach!

Personalising your outreach

Use your knowledge of your prospects’ pain points to guide your messaging. Incorporate sales outreach best practice by linking your value proposition to the pain points and nailing your CTAs. You can also bring in social proof (such as a case study) to help your prospect visualise your solution.

Craft your copy to demonstrate that you intuitively understand their position. This makes your approach more persuasive.

Streamlining personalisation

Using company research tools like Cognism’s Chrome Extension can make the research stage easier. The extension accelerates contact research and provides actionable and relevant information to initiate a conversation immediately.

One more important thing!

Streamlining personalisation is as much about working out a worthwhile time investment for each prospect as anything. Use the decision-maker framework and support tools like intent data to assign time to research correctly.

Create an outreach template that will work for broad prospect groups while allowing elements of personalisation. This will help you scale up personalisation.

Top tip: Mail merge features can expedite this process.

3. Leverage templates (but don’t be robotic!)

There are many advantages to using templates in your sales outreach. A template can help:

  • Speed up sales outreach.
  • Reduce mental load.
  • Generate data on messaging effectiveness.

But don’t fall into the trap of over-automating. You don’t want your prospects to detect that you haven’t manually typed out your sales messages!

We can put the elements of a sales email or message into three categories: fully automated, semi-automated and bespoke.

Using tools with merge fields, you can fully automate personalisation of names, titles, company names and other relevant factual elements.

Draw from a plug-and-play persona-based playbook library to nail the value-related messaging and bring in the most relevant case studies. This semi-automated approach balances pain-point-based selling with efficiency.

The communication style is where you could introduce bespoke elements. Consider adapting your writing style and tone to match how you communicate and the style you think the prospect might respond to. There are lots of subtle social cues we can gather from someone’s online profile that automation will miss. This is make-or-break for sounding robotic or sounding human.

David Bentham, Cognism’s Inside Sales Director, agrees this is critical:

“Every channel open to salespeople is very competitive right now. Everyone is sending emails and LinkedIn messages, all day, every day! Personalisation is how you stand out in a competitive landscape.”

“Don’t be afraid to bring in some humour or anything that’ll help you get a conversation going. Be different from everyone else.”

For follow-up messages, a greater degree of automated personalisation is possible.

4. Automate repetitive tasks

Sales can include a lot of repetitive tasks.

Scheduling emails and follow-ups, logging calls in Salesforce, booking meetings, managing pipeline…these fiddly tasks can really harsh a salesperson’s vibe!

Thankfully, robots were invented for this exact reason! And the great thing is, robots are arguably better at these tasks than humans anyway.

So, automate away! Use your CRM tool as a starting point.

CRM tools often have email sequence-building functionality. Automated sequence-building makes it easy to scale up outreach by delivering personalised emails to a pre-determined schedule.

The use of automated outreach has a major benefit: data. It provides enough scale to generate useful data that can inform and improve your outreach.

The B2B sales tech space has automation tools and integrations for almost every part of the sales workflow.

5. Prioritisation and time management

Time management and effective prioritisation are two sides of a very precious coin.

A salesperson needs a strategy to decide which leads to follow to close the most pipeline. Deal size, interest level, buying stage, and sales triggers are all factors that need to be weighed up.

An ineffective salesperson might spend too much time chasing low-priority targets, such as packing the early pipeline or being distracted by a well-known company that isn’t a good fit.

Lead scoring is the process of ranking leads based on different attributes and data points. The goal is to assess their readiness to buy. It lets sales reps know which prospects are a priority to engage.

Equally and relatedly, a salesperson will have multiple plates to keep spinning; they must ensure they don’t neglect an essential aspect because it’s tedious or difficult.

Here are two common techniques:

Dedicated outreach blocks

Block out time in your calendar for focused outreach activities. Don’t let anything get you off track.

Distraction-free prospecting is the name of the game!


Similar to the above, allocate a specific amount of time for outreach tasks, such as email sequences, follow-up calls, or research.

This prevents you from getting bogged down on any one activity and keeps your day on track.

With everything set up, it’s time to…

6. Track and analyse your results

A big advantage of these streamlined outreach techniques is that they generate data.

Data means the potential to test and learn.

Metrics like open rate, click-through rate (CTR), click-to-open rate and reply rate provide insights into engagement and how effective your copy and CTAs are.

Emails sent, meetings booked and follow-ups conducted measure your prospecting activity levels.

Some metrics inform technical aspects of outreach:

  • Bounce rate measures the percentage of delivered messages.
  • Time to open can help determine the best times of day or days of the week to send outreach messages.
  • A device-usage metric can indicate whether you need to focus more on mobile or desktop.

Email analytics is a well-established part of the B2B sales ecosystem. Most platforms will have email analytics as standard.

Here’s a standard view of a HubSpot dashboard:


The options are too many to list, but you can consider Mailchimp or – of course – Cognism.

7. Use outreach sequences strategically

The quality of a sales sequence – the channels and frequency of the messages you send – can be as important and persuasive as the content of the messages themselves.

Everyone’s busy and has a million things to think about. Sometimes, a few gentle nudges or a reminder here or there is what’s needed.

At Cognism, we’ve spent a lot of time working out the optimal outreach cadence. We think this is close to optimal:


Timeline 2

The proof is in the pudding. Using this 30-day cadence, we saw immediate uplift, including:

  1. A 20% increase in meetings booked by SDRs.
  2. A new company record for meetings booked in a single month.
  3. Hitting 103% of the bookings target.

So go right ahead and stick that in your cadence planner. It’s on us. Just don’t forget the personalisation!

Streamlining manual outreach: the last word

A salesperson has a vast range of tools at their disposal to streamline every stage of their outreach.

You can harness the power of massive contact databases, deliver personalised messages, leverage email templates, automate repetitive tasks, and track and analyse results.

These tools are effective and let you spend more time on high-value activities.

So why not put these tips into practice and let us know how you get on? Follow Cognism on LinkedIn to get a discussion going!

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