Cold Outreach Sequences: Formulas for Success

Distributing your sales content as effectively as possible

David Berardi
4 min readJan 5, 2021


It’s the question that every business development organization is trying to answer — is there a magic combination of emails, linkedin messages, and phone calls that provides the highest probability of setting a meeting with any given prospect?

The short answer is no.There remains a constant push and pull between mass outreach and personalization; reps want to send as many emails as possible while maintaining that “human” feeling that can be just as important to a sale. Tools like Outreach and SalesLoft make it extremely easy to send emails en masse, but organizations have to be thoughtful about what a good sequence really looks like and how its success can be measured. .

Account Tiers

The first thing to do when creating or evaluating your outreach strategy is to think through some of the impactful differences between potential prospects. In almost any sales org, you can divide your prospects into three categories: Enterprise, Mid-Market, and SMB.

While prospects across these different groupings may have some similarities, their company structure will often be drastically different, requiring your sales strategy to be tailored and adaptable.

Enterprise or Top Tier Outreach

Enterprise outreach should target accounts that are:

  • The largest or most reputable players in your target market
  • C Suite or VP Level, Decision Making Personas
  • Help you win “aspirational business” from players who look to your enterprise partners as industry leaders
  • Typically 500+ Employees

We recommend using a 60 day timeline for enterprise outreach. Here’s an example of what that might look like :

  • 8–10 Emails, 25% Automated
  • 4–6 Call Steps
  • 3–4 Linkedin Touches
  • 1 Gift Step (optional)

Things to note:

This sequence should always include more personalized outreach in the beginning. Try using a manual step in those first emails with a custom subject line and an email body that shows prospects you’ve done your research. As your sequence goes on, it can get more automated and less personal.

For top accounts, you can also consider sending a small gift. This added thoughtfulness can be extremely effective in eliciting responses. We recommend cookies, company swag, or even a nice bottle of wine!

Mid-Market or Mid-Tier Outreach

Mid-Market outreach should target accounts that are:

  • Medium-sized, reputable names in the space
  • Director Level, VP Level, C Level
  • May have less complex vetting and procurement procedures than enterprise accounts
  • 100–499 Employees

For mid-market, we recommend a 45 day timeline, with a sequence that looks something like the following:

  • 4–5 Emails, 50% Automated
  • 8–10 Call Steps
  • 5–6 Linkedin Touches
  • 1 Gift Step (optional, for C Suite only)

Things to note:

You’ll notice that our recommended sequence for Mid-Market is both shorter and more call heavy. Typically, Mid-Market prospects will have more availability than an enterprise C Level Executive. You can get responses much faster and much more reliably.

Additionally, because mid-market accounts also have the widest range of companies, many sales organizations will break these accounts into two tiers: MM1 and MM2. This helps them get even more specific in how they communicate.

SMB (Small, Medium Business)

SMB outreach should target accounts that are:

  • Newer or smaller companies
  • Prospect may be an “influencer”, rather than decision maker
  • May be handled full-cycle by BDRS
  • Under 100 Employees

We recommend a 30 day timeline, with a sequence that looks something like the following:

  • 4 Emails, 100% Automated
  • 1 Call Step
  • No Linkedin
  • Send to Marketing after 30 Days

Things to note:

An SMB sequence should be highly automated, not very personalized, and fairly short. It is recommended that a company handles SMB accounts through some combination of marketing, automating signups or as much of the sales cycle as possible, and BDRs working the accounts full cycle as a way to hone their selling abilities.

You should limit the time you spend here, but make sure to not to completely neglect the segment.

Put into Practice

In practice, any Sales Org worth its salt will look at their total addressable market and divide them into segments, each of which demand varying levels of outreach and attention in general.

On the Business Development level, this allows for the highest priority accounts to receive the highly personalized attention that they need while smaller accounts receive more automated, hands-off outreach.

Lastly, remember that these are just recommendations and guidelines. After a certain amount of time, you may find that in your particular industry, Enterprise Level Accounts are extremely responsive to Linkedin and not so responsive to email. Great! Shift your attention to Linkedin outreach and play with the numbers. Sales is a game of experimentation and adapting.



David Berardi

David is the Business Development Team Lead at Rhino, a fast growing startup based out of NYC.