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Boost Conversions with “Email-First” Cold Calls, with Conor Lee [Episode 395]

Conor Lee, is Founder and CEO of HipLead.


HipLead helps B2B sales and marketing teams scale their outbound sales, by providing very high-quality targeted lists. They consult with organizations to help run high-performing outbound sales.

Conor discusses SaaS team “email-first” cold calling. Cold calling without email is extremely cold. HipLead ran tests that showed “email-first” cold calls produced a two-to-three times increase in prospect-to-meeting rates.

The first 0-9 seconds of a call serve to put the contact’s defenses up. If the client has read an email, and is expecting a call, the SDR has a reason to follow up, and it eases the transition to the topic of the conversation.

A pithy subject line is relevant, with industry specifics, or client specifics, or asks a relevant engaging question that matters to them. It passes the Turing Test.

HipLead usually creates a matrix of the audience, their industries, why their industries care about this, and relevant body content. They make a second matrix of contact role to company size, and a matrix of pain points by organization role.

The matrixes are divided granularly so that the pain point matches the group of contacts. It may not resonate with everybody, but it produces a predictable response rate. The more information provided, the better the response.

A/B testing of emails is essential to measure results, and there is a cumulative effect with continuing A/B testing and branching on the positive side. The copy needs to evolve.

Andy wonders exactly what Connor meant when he said that 20 years ago, selling was simpler! Conor meant today there are a lot of channels and tools being thrown at salespeople, and it’s a lot to balance. A key skill is prioritization.

HipLead tags emails as interested, neutral, not interested, take me off your list, and no reply. They prioritize calls to the interested, and the neutrals, before not interested. Call everyone that replies, except for asking to be removed.

If the list is very targeted, send out 50 at a time, and call everyone who opens it. Call each within 20 seconds, if possible. Call no later than five minutes after they open it.