The top CTA mistakes to avoid in B2B cold outreach messages

The best performing campaigns at hubsell from us and our customers had messages with strong Call to Actions. The job of a CTA is not to charm or convince the reader, which should be achieved by the rest of the message. It is to confidently and smoothly advance the relationship.

Unfortunately, it is common to make mistakes in the CTA creation process, which I have made as well. So, in this post, I would like to share with you the top CTA mistakes you want to avoid in B2B cold outreach.

Before I start breaking down each mistake, here is the list of unwanted CTAs for reference:

  1. the non-existent CTA
  2. the lack of focus CTA
  3. the obscure CTA
  4. the too aggressive CTA
  5. the jargon-mania CTA

1. the non-existent Call to Action

According to a study by WordStream, emails with a single call-to-action increased clicks by 371% and sales by 1617%.

A decision maker has a busy schedule so you have to show clear intentions in your cold messages. Not having a CTA in your message shows the prospect that you have no clear direction for the interaction and that you do not value their time. Therefore, include a smartly placed CTA in every message you send.

Bad examples

“Hope to speak with you soon”

“Looking forward to hearing from you”

“Thank you in advance.”

Good examples

“When would you be available for a short call in the vein of seeking a fit and sharing my insights with you?”

“Would you like to see how our solution helped our customer X explode their growth?”


2. the lack of focus Call to Action

Each prospect may take upon one CTA’s request instead of another. But do not fall into the trap of adding too many CTA options in the message to satisfy all of the interests. For the prospect, fewer choices are easier to pick from. Therefore, do not ask the prospect to book a call, download a pdf and visit a case study in the same CTA. Choose one at maximum and stick with it.

Tip: if you want to see which CTA performs better, then do an A/B test

Bad examples

“If you want to know more about us then check out this ebook or visit our website. For any inquiries reach out to us by phone or reply to this email.”

Good examples

“What are the following steps on your end?”

“What did you think of the case study on our customer?”


3. the obscure Call to Action

Obscure CTAs are better than having none at all or having too many. But they often lack aggressiveness. A message without a clear specific action for the prospect to take is not standing up to its potential. The CTA needs to compel the reader to respond immediately with as little effort as possible.

Bad examples

“Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.”

“Should you be interested please contact us.”

Good examples

“Is making your sales team more productive something you are focusing on in the next year?”

“Would you be keen to hop on a quick call next week? I would love to learn more about your goals and explore a potential fit.”


4. the too aggressive Call to Action

Using too aggressive CTAs in a new interaction is not appropriate. That is because B2B sales takes time and requires the involvement of multiple stakeholders to make a decision. Therefore, only use certain aggressiveness in the CTA when you have seen signs that the prospect is ready.

For example, the first message’s CTA’ aim is to get a response and a conversation going. It would not be ideal to try to schedule a demo straight away.

Bad examples

“Can we hop on a call tomorrow so I can show you what our solution can do?”

“Would you be interested in buying our solution?”

Good examples

“Is this something {{companyIdname}} would like to focus on in 2018?”

“Is it currently a priority to fix (insert issue)?”

“Do you resonate with any of the points made?”


5. the jargon-mania Call to Action

The jargon-mania CTA is a common mistake among eager salespeople that want to show their knowledge by including as many special words as possible. A few buzzwords here and there can help your case and show your years of expertise. However, convoluted sentences with unnecessary words will require the prospect to think harder.

A general guideline is to simplify the text as much as possible while keeping the syntax intact. Show an understanding of the industry with smartly placed wording.

Bad example

“Would you be available for a demo call so I can show you how our software technology can help you lower your CAC by 25%?”

Good example

“Would you be available next week so I can show you how we can help reduce the costs of acquiring new customers?”


Conclusion

The Call to Action of your messages is a key influencer of how the prospect will perceive you. It is the difference between them executing the task you requested or deleting your message immediately.

In B2B, calibrating your CTA in each email is critical to getting the right reactions. Hopefully, this post has provided insight on what not to do. Here are the key takeaways from this post:

  1. the not-having-a-CTA – a CTA needs to exist to give the interested prospect a sense of direction
  2. the lack of focus CTA – having too many CTAs is harmful because it inserts the difficulty of choice into an otherwise easy process
  3. the obscure CTA – too laid back CTAs do not incentivize the prospect to reply promptly to your messages
  4. the too aggressive CTA – aggressiveness is valued but only at the right time, when the prospect is ready for the next level
  5. the jargon-mania CTA – excessively showing off your knowledge is tempting but should be avoided to get the message across more effectively


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