Using Hubspot sequences for cold email prospecting

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New Contributor

Is it in line with Hubspot T&C to use sequences for cold outreach (i.e. people who didn't specifically provided content to be contacted)... But, complying with all the can-SPAM regulations

 

Thanks!

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HubSpot Product Team

@dkanika, no HubSpot tools can be used to email cold contacts. This is against our Acceptable Use Policy.

 

From a deliverability standpoint, cold outreach should be avoided to prevent damage to your sending reputation. By "cold outreach" we are referring to people who have not given you permission to deliver to their inbox. Putting email in there anyway will likely lead to spam reports, unsubscribes. More long term this practice will result in increased spam foldering, and increased soft bounces for your entire network. This practice also puts your network at risk to be blacklisted.

 

Sequences was designed for automated 1:1 email interaction. Using sequences to automatically email a large number of cold leads would enable you to cause this damage at an accelerated rate.

 

Sales professionals could better use their limited time focussing on inbound sales tactics, such as social selling, just for one example.

Community Manager

Thanks @paxton for sharing! 

 

@DXMarketing in the case where you're emailing after a phone call, you've already got a relationship going / contacted them previously so emailing as follow-up isn't a violation here. 

 

@dkanika I'm happy to clarify any confusion in our blogs, but do you perhaps have some examples of advice you've seen that seems contrary to our policy? Prospecting is an important part of the sales process, but doesn't imply that you're always reaching out to "cold" contacts. Thanks! 

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Regular Advisor | Gold Partner | HubSpot Certified Trainer

As far as I am aware, yes...that is OK.




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Josh Curcio

We help tier 1 & 2 manufacturers generate leads!
HubSpot Gold Partner & HubSpot Certified Trainer

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Occasional Contributor

Yes. Checked into this a while back. It's essentially the same thing as sending a single email directly to them. Kind of goes along with not being able to add an Unsubscribe link to one of your own email templates.

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Community Manager

Hi @dkanika, thanks for your question!

The CAN-SPAM act specifically targets marketing emails and the behaviors related to those practices. You should only be reaching out to customers who expect to hear from you, and have engaged with you in some way but @paxton is one of our Email Deliverability Experts at HubSpot, perhaps he'd be able to clarify some of the specifc policies and practices related to this question. 

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HubSpot Product Team

@dkanika, no HubSpot tools can be used to email cold contacts. This is against our Acceptable Use Policy.

 

From a deliverability standpoint, cold outreach should be avoided to prevent damage to your sending reputation. By "cold outreach" we are referring to people who have not given you permission to deliver to their inbox. Putting email in there anyway will likely lead to spam reports, unsubscribes. More long term this practice will result in increased spam foldering, and increased soft bounces for your entire network. This practice also puts your network at risk to be blacklisted.

 

Sequences was designed for automated 1:1 email interaction. Using sequences to automatically email a large number of cold leads would enable you to cause this damage at an accelerated rate.

 

Sales professionals could better use their limited time focussing on inbound sales tactics, such as social selling, just for one example.

Occasional Contributor

That's interesting, because it's little counter to what I read previously when looking to add an unsubscribe link to my emails. I generally call before sending an email, but I am using sequences to more quickly send follow up emails to my calls(voicemails). Is that allowed under the usage policy? 

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New Contributor

Thanks. While I understand what you're saying, I find it quite interesting that Hubspot doesn't allow this despite the vast amount of content related to cold emailing and prospecting (not inbound) on the Hubspot blog.

 

Thoughts on this?

 

Thanks

Community Manager

Thanks @paxton for sharing! 

 

@DXMarketing in the case where you're emailing after a phone call, you've already got a relationship going / contacted them previously so emailing as follow-up isn't a violation here. 

 

@dkanika I'm happy to clarify any confusion in our blogs, but do you perhaps have some examples of advice you've seen that seems contrary to our policy? Prospecting is an important part of the sales process, but doesn't imply that you're always reaching out to "cold" contacts. Thanks! 

New Contributor

"Your initial contact with new prospects doesn't have to be -- and in fact, shouldn't be -- completely cold. It can be incredibly useful to warm up your prospects before making the initial contact. You can increase your chances of a warmer reception by familiarizing the prospect with your name or your company affiliation before you make your first call or send your first email." 

 

https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/effective-sales-prospecting-techniques-you-should-be-using

 

 

"You can use the tool to help identify where on your site there are conversion opportunities as well as other businesses that may be interested in your product or services. The tool... provides you with your visitor's company name, location, number of visits, pages viewed, and more." 

 

- https://knowledge.hubspot.com/articles/kcs_article/prospects/what-is-the-best-way-to-use-the-prospec...

 

"Create a great series of sales emails designed to provide inbound leads with helpful information. Make sure you're moving beyond your regular sales pitch, regular request for a meeting, or product information. Remember, it’s about them, not you. Use this sequence to help prospects learn during their research and consideration phase, so they’re ready to talk by the time you get on the phone with them."

 

https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/lead-generation-alternatives-to-cold-calling

 

... and dozens more.

 

 

 

HubSpot Product Team

@hopehorner, those resources explain how to target demographics that are interested in your business. You can then use this information to write/create/advertise in a way that will bring more folks of the same ilk into your funnel.

 

After they give you their email address, you have permission to put stuff in their inbox. At this point the connect rate is higher, the opportunity (demo setup) conversion is higher, and the sales cycle is shorter.

 

By focussing on content creation, rather than email harvesting, or cold outreach you preempt deliverability issues down the road, most importantly permission-based email marketing just works.

 

Avoid deliverability issues with permission-based email marketing

The other side of the coin, outbound email marketing, "cold outreach", is being directly targeted by major inbox providers. Gmail and Outlook handle 60-70% of all inboxes out there and they protect inboxes from SPAM based on their user's previous engagement.

 

When your recipients ask themselves, "How did this company get my email address?" negative engagement results and Gmail is built to notice that. If negative engagement rates are too high they stop putting your email in their users inboxes. If recipients aren't opening emails then Google will see this as a negative indicator as well. Therefore as outbound email marketing increases, engagement decreases, and overall inbox placement decreases over time.

 

Gmail and Microsoft generally don't know the difference between your customers and prospects. If your cold outreach greatly outweighs inbound streams it gradually sacrifices your ability to deliver to everyone, including customers/evangelists.

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Visitor

Hi @nicolebrenner - I have the same questions as I am looking into HubSpot for CRM/Sales/Marketing as well and it's my understanding if you follow spam laws you're allowed to cold email though when I try to upload a list, it makes me sign/initial that it is not a cold email list. 

 

The reason we want to use HubSpot is for all of the capabilities and blog articles we've been reading, which are specific to cold campaigning like this one - https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/write-cold-email-get-response

 

I would like to use HubSpot though are not comfortable moving forward with what I'm reading in this thread when it pertains to cold emails.

 

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HubSpot Product Team

As a GDPR processor for many of our customers, and as the originator of inbound marketing, HubSpot apps are designed to send email to prospects that have given "consent with notice".

 

Truly "cold" email is also not sustainable from a technical standpoint... Gmail, Outlook, and all of the other inbox providers have nearly perfected algorithms to filter senders of email without consent. This will continue.

 

Also the blog post above was referring to attendees of an event that HubSpot hosted. These contacts would have a legitimate interest to hear from HubSpot, and therefore HubSpot would have a legal basis to email them one "cold" email. The word cold is used in a slightly different way in that post.

 

The type of email that is targeted by GDPR, Gmail, and other ISP's is email without consent, or legitmate interest.

Occasional Contributor

I read through the blog referenced and there doesn't seem to be anything explicit about getting permission to send that cold email. It's a tough dilemma knowing when you should reach out as a sales professional to a prospect that looks like they may be a good fit for your service/product. As a example, one of my customers recently acquired a competitor that we didn't work with. The competitor was going to remain under their own brand and my contacts didn't know who to contact. After a few call attempts, I started sending cold emails to the contact name I had been given by the receptionist with no response. Did my emails get filtered by Gmail or Outlook because I didn't have any previous engagement with this company? Who knows. 

 

If your leads are few and far between and your emails are getting blocked/filteredd, then I guess the focus needs to be on a high volume of quality calls, referrals, and networking to really drum up new business. It sounds like cold email is just not going to help anymore. 

Occasional Contributor
this whole discussion is too narrow minded. Of course it can be good to send an email without calling first. A call is often more disturbing than an email. Example. An architect is interviewed about a topic that relates to my business in the news. I reach out by sending an email to the person thanking for a good article and that I agree with his views. Anyony who claims that this not ok need to be less paranoid. A person could be busy and at least with with email you can decide when to look at it. You can’t do that with a call.. also some people can be hard to reach by phone so email is easier. It’s much more pleasant to get a regular plain text normal email than a newsletter style message full of design, images and html. That’s why I don’t like newsletter builders. They never keep it simple.
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New Contributor

OK....we like to use the hubspot prospector tool (tell you the companies that visited your website).  If we know that someone has been to our website from a particular company, but we don't know the person specifically who visited and we're able to find that person, are we allowed to upload that individual's contact info into Hubspot, and send an email from HubSpot to that individual indicating s"omeone visited our website and we're simply working to find the appropriate person?"

 

Second question, if we attempted to call and/or connect with a person on LinkedIn who is a new contact that has not heard from us before ever sending them a cold email, can we then send that person an email through hubSpot?

 

I think overall, we want to leverage "inbound" clearly, but sales is sales and how can salesmen expect to reach out to their list of targeted contacts through Hubspot when there's these rules within hubspot saying you really cannot ever email them unless they provide consent.  It's like they cannot provide consent unless you even contact them via phone or possibly LinkedIn.  

 

Would love clarity so we know the best course of action in how to manage sales teams who are calling and connecting with prospects on LinkedIn and individuals we're looking to engage with BUT never heard of our organization.

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HubSpot Product Team

Hi Justin, I'm not a lawyer and this is not legal advice but I would consider a site visit legitimate enough interest to send that prospect an email. The key to email deliverability is to have a system in place that removes that contact from your marketing after they do not engage with X emails. If they are just not that into your marketing email you stand to gain quite a bit by being the first to cut it off. When users need to unsubscribe or mark as spam to stop receiving emails from you that's the kind of info that feeds spam filters to start filtering your mail.

 

The types of lists that are certainly not OK are entire lists of attendees to trde shows that you did not host, bulk subscribing everyone in your Linkedin connections, things of this nature.

 

With that said there is definitely a gray area. Here it's up to your team to balance reach vs. prospect privacy. When the scales tip too far toward reach, that's when your deliverability can get burned.

New Contributor

Very helpful Paxton.  yeah, the idea is someone who cannot find from a company visited us, there's a need for us to find them.  And we would use the sequences tab.  If that person, doesn't repsond back, then they woudl stop getting emails from us.  

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