Guide to Choosing the Right Cold Email Outreach Tool in 2024: 7 Steps

Created On:
September 18, 2023
Updated On:
March 14, 2024
cold email tool checklist

We all know emails can provide a whopping revenue if you have a detailed email campaign planned, warmed-up and ready to launch it with a good cold email software.

But how to choose the perfect cold email software?

Yep, that’s a million dollar question, considering how the cold email market is crowded with hundreds of tools right now. 

That’s exactly what I am addressing in this blog post. I have made a list of features you must check before buying a cold email tool. Here’s a quick preview of the cold email tool checklist:

  • Automation
  • Omni-channel outreach
  • Compatibility with existing features, such as your CRM
  • Email warm-up and A/B testing
  • Detailed analytics
  • Review
  • Pricing

Let’s dive in for more details.  

Cold Email Tool Checklist to Find the Right Outreach Software

#1 Automation

Cold emails are generally sent in bulk, around 1000s per day. To ace cold email marketing, automation is a necessity. This feature helps you automate many processes in sending cold emails using AI. 

So, when it comes to cold emailing tools, understanding what automation means and what an AI-based tool can accomplish is crucial before making your choice.

Here’s a list of the automation features you should consider

  • Email scheduling
  • ESP matching feature
  • Auto-adjusting email sending volume
  • Automated bounce leads detection
  • Personalization using spintax or spin tags
  • Follow-up 
  • Email verification

Let's delve into further details on each of these crucial points. 

Email Scheduling 

The lead list of a cold email campaign contains thousands of potential customers who belong to different parts of the world. And, because you are trying to sell to strangers, timing is super important. 

Here swoops in email scheduling to save the day. 

Email scheduling is a vital automation feature that allows you to time your cold emails strategically. It means you can set the exact date and time when your emails will be sent. 

This feature is valuable to reach your recipients when they are most likely to check their inbox, increasing the chances of your email being opened and read. 

For example, if your target audience spans different time zones, a good cold email tool will automatically adjust the sending time to match each recipient's local time, ensuring your message arrives at an optimal moment.

ESP Matching Feature

Advanced cold email tools, such as Smartlead, come with ESP matching feature that optimizes your email delivery by aligning your sending pattern with your leads' Email Service Providers (ESPs). 

This means emails are sent from matching ESPs like Gmail to Gmail, Outlook to Outlook, etc. The system automatically adjusts the sending allocation and prioritization based on the ESPs of your leads and your attached mailboxes. This feature enhances your email deliverability and user experience without any extra effort from your end.

So, while picking the right tool for your outbound emails, it’s super important to look for ESP matching or similar features. 

Auto-adjusting Email Sending Volume

Adjusting email sending volume is crucial to ensure maximum deliverability. Advanced cold emails tools automatically detect mailboxes undergoing warmups and adjust the sending volume of your campaigns dynamically. 

Once the campaigns are finished, the AI auto-adjusts the warm up sending patterns back to optimal levels. While subscribing to a cold email marketing tool, keep an eye for this feature. 

In Smartlead, this feature can be enabled at the campaign level and individual mailbox level, improving email deliverability and campaign performance.  

Personalization Using Spintax or Spin-tags

Personalization in a cold email tool involves automating the insertion of recipient-specific information into your emails. This could be as simple as addressing the recipient by their first name or customizing the content based on their interests or past interactions with your brand. 

An effective cold email tool offers “spintax” or “spin-tags” feature allow users to create multiple variations of a single email message by using syntax like {word1|word2} to automatically generate different text combinations. This helps personalize and diversify email content for outreach campaigns, reducing the likelihood of triggering spam filters and also maintaining a human touch. 

Follow-Up Sequences

Follow-up sequences automate the process of sending additional emails to non-responsive recipients. 

For instance, if a recipient doesn't reply to your initial cold email, the tool can automatically send a follow-up email after a set interval, nudging the recipient to take action or engage with your message.

Automated Bounce Leads Detection

In a cold email campaign, there are always some emails that bounce. If you keep sending emails to bounce emails without cross-checking the reasons behind it, it might affect your deliverability. 

The automated bounced leads detection feature in cold email tools simplifies lead management by automatically moving bounced leads to a specific subsequence. This ensures that you still have a chance to re-engage with potential customers. 

Email Verification

Email verification is a crucial automation feature for maintaining the quality of your contact list. When you import new contacts or send out emails, the tool should automatically verify the validity of email addresses. It checks if the email addresses are active, properly formatted, and not on a blacklist. By automatically filtering out invalid or risky addresses, you can improve deliverability rates and avoid spam traps, ensuring your emails reach the intended inboxes and comply with email marketing regulations.

Incorporating these automation features into your cold email campaigns can significantly enhance your efficiency and overall success in engaging with potential customers and prospects.

#2 Omni-Channel Outreach

Cold emailing tools with omni-channel outreach feature allows you to reconnect with bounced leads through multiple channels. It automatically creates campaigns for the leads that you have access to their social media handles or phone numbers. 

You can also customize your re-engagement strategy with flexible subsequence options including omnichannel steps, such as phone calls or LinkedIn DMs, or even manual actions.

#3 Compatibility with Existing Tools

Ensuring compatibility between your cold email tool and existing software is crucial. If you rely on a CRM like HubSpot, Salesforce, or Pipedrive, it's wise to choose a cold email solution with native integration. This streamlines your workflow, sparing you the hassle and expenses of manual connections through tools like Zapier or APIs.

Before subscribing to a cold email tool, consider the integration type as well:

  • One-way integrations, like SalesHandy, simplify contact list management.
  • Two-way integrations, offered by tools such as Smartlead, allows you to seamlessly transfer data between the cold email tool and your CRM, such as HubSpot. 

With the 2-way integration, you can generate fresh leads within your CRM, integrate warm leads based on their interactions, and update CRM leads with confirmed details. It also transfers prospects from your CRM to your cold email campaign. This two-way integration makes managing your leads and campaigns more efficient and effective.

Incorporating a compatible cold email tool ensures seamless operations and maximizes your marketing potential. So, always check the cold email tool’s compatibility with existing tools before buying it. 

#4 Email Warm-Up & A/B Testing

Email warm-up is the process of gradually increasing the volume of emails sent from a new or dormant email address to establish trust with email service providers. A/B testing, on the other hand, involves sending different versions of emails to a subset of your list to determine which one performs better.

Checking for these features in a cold email tool is crucial as they significantly enhance email deliverability. Warm-up ensures your emails are less likely to end up in spam folders, while A/B testing helps optimize content and subject lines for higher open and click-through rates. 

Both features together ensure your email campaigns reach their intended audience effectively, making them indispensable for successful email marketing.

Tip: Make sure the cold email tool isn’t charging extra money for warm-ups. Many cold email tools, like Smartlead, offer unlimited warm-ups and A/B testing. Go for a tool like that.

#5 Detailed Analytics

Before you invest in a cold email tool, it's important to check its reporting and analytics features. These dashboards offer a comprehensive view of your email performance, displaying key metrics such as 

  • Number of emails sent
  • Open rate
  • Clicked rate
  • Response rate
  • Bounce rates, etc.

Beyond these fundamental metrics, an effective cold email tool should delve deeper, providing insights into the number of leads you've contacted, how many emails were opened, the clicks generated, the replies received, and even the count of positive responses.

By actively monitoring these numbers, you gain valuable insights into what's working and what's not. This data empowers you to make informed decisions, and optimize your cold email outreach efforts, driving higher conversions.

So, add reporting and analytics as one of the parameters in your cold email outreach software checklist.

#6 Reviews

Before subscribing to a cold email tool, always check out the following websites for reviews:

  • Trustpilot
  • Capterra

Checking reviews by existing customers or previous users can help you understand the pros and cons of using the tool. It will provide a deeper insight of the tool from a user’s point of view. Try to analyze if the tool aligns with your needs using the available information.

Another great platform to check recent reviews of a cold email tool is LinkedIn. There you will find your competitors and peers who are already using the tool. Take note of what they have to say and make your own decision.  

#7 Pricing

Pricing is the most important factor to check before subscribing for a cold emailing tool. There are tools like Outreachbin that offer pricing plans against the number of email accounts they provide. But, there are also tools like Smartlead that offer unlimited email accounts on every plan.

Check out the below points in the pricing plan you are subscribing for

  • Number of email accounts
  • Warm-up 
  • Number of active leads
  • Number of emails you can send monthly

Every tool provides pricing plans in at least three categories. Go through the details and pick the right pricing plan that suits your budget and outreach goals. 

Final Thoughts

If you go through the above checklist, I am confident you will land upon the perfect cold email tool for your business. 

The goal of a cold email software is to send 1000s of emails to cold prospects and successfully land in their inboxes. It needs strong AI-based automation features to do that. 

Most cold email tools come with essential features such as warm-up and A/B testing. So, to judge the efficiency of the tool, always check its automation features in detail. It must come with:

  • Email scheduling
  • ESP matching feature
  • Auto-adjusting email sending volume
  • Automated bounce leads detection
  • Personalization using spintax or spin tags
  • Follow-up, etc.  

If you are looking for a cold email tool for your B2B business, check out our cold email checklist for B2B success. Smartlead provides all the above features along with unlimited email accounts and warm-ups. The pricing starts at as low as $39/month. 

Thanks to its efficiency, there are Smartlead users who have even achieved a positive response rate of 61%. 

Decide wisely. 


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Author’s Details

Rajnish Das

Rajnish Das is an in-house writer at SmartWriter and SmartLead. She writes product-oriented, data-driven content for B2B SaaS audiences and educates them on marketing and sales topics. Her expertise includes outbound marketing techniques like cold emailing and LinkedIn outreach.


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Frequently asked questions

General Questions

What is Smartlead's cold email outreach software?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

Smartlead's cold email outreach tool helps businesses scale their outreach efforts seamlessly. With unlimited mailboxes, fully automated email warmup functionality, a multi-channel infrastructure, and a user-friendly unibox, it empowers users to manage their entire revenue cycle in one place. Whether you're looking to streamline cold email campaigns with automated email warmups, personalization fields, automated mailbox rotation, easy integrations, and spintax, improve productivity, or enhance scalability with subsequences based on lead’s intentions, automated replies, and full white-label experience, our cold email tool implifies it in a single solution.

How does the "unlimited mailboxes" feature benefit me?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

Our "unlimited mailboxes" feature allows you to expand your email communications without restrictions imposed by a mailbox limit. This means you won't be constrained by artificial caps on the number of mailboxes you can connect and use. This feature makes Smartlead the best cold email software and empowers you to reach a wider audience, engage with more potential customers, and manage diverse email campaigns effectively.

What do you mean by "unibox to handle your entire revenue cycle"?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

The "unibox" is one of the unique features of Smartlead cold email outreach tool, and it's a game-changer when it comes to managing your revenue cycle. The master inbox or the unibox consolidates all your outreach channels, responses, sales follow-ups, and conversions into one centralized, user-friendly mailbox.

With the "unibox," you gain the ability to:
1. Focus on closing deals: You can now say goodbye to the hassle of logging into multiple mailboxes to search for replies. The "unibox" streamlines your sales communication, allowing you to focus on what matters most—closing deals.

2. Centralized lead management: All your leads are managed from one central location, simplifying lead tracking and response management. This ensures you take advantage of every opportunity and efficiently engage with your prospects.

3. Maintain context: The "unibox" provides a 360-degree view of all your customer messages, allowing you to maintain context and deliver more personalized and effective responses.

How does Smartlead ensure my emails don't land in the spam folder?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

Smartlead, the best cold email marketing tool, ensures your emails reach the intended recipients' primary inbox rather than the spam folder. 

Here's how it works:
1. Our "unlimited warmups" feature is designed to build and maintain a healthy sending reputation for your cold email outreach. Instead of sending a large volume of emails all at once, which can trigger spam filters, we gradually ramp up your sending volume. This gradual approach, combined with positive email interactions, helps boost your email deliverability rates.

2. We deploy high-deliverability IP servers specific to each campaign. 

3. The ‘Warmup’ feature replicates humanized email sending patterns, spintax, and smart replies.
4. By establishing a positive sender reputation and gradually increasing the number of sent emails, Smartlead minimizes the risk of your emails being flagged as spam. This way, you can be confident that your messages will consistently land in the primary inbox, increasing the likelihood of engagement and successful communication with your recipients.

Can I integrate Smartlead with other tools I'm using?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

Certainly, Smartlead is designed for seamless integration with a wide range of tools and platforms. Smartlead offers integration with HubSpot, Salesforce, Pipedrive, Clay, Listkit, and more. You can leverage webhooks and APIs to integrate the tools you use. Try Now!

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

What type of businesses sees the most success with Smartlead?

No, there are no limitations on the number of channels you can utilize with Smartlead. Our multi-channel infrastructure is designed to be limitless, allowing you to reach potential customers through multiple avenues without constraints.

This flexibility empowers you to diversify your cold email outreach efforts, connect with your audience through various communication channels, and increase your chances of conversion. Whether email, social media, SMS, or other communication methods, Smartlead's multi-channel capabilities ensure you can choose the channels that best align with your outreach strategy and business goals. This way, you can engage with your prospects effectively and maximize the impact of your email outreach.

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

Do you provide me with lead sources?

Smartlead distinguishes itself from other cold email outreach software by focusing on limitless scalability and seamless integration. While many similar tools restrict your outreach capabilities, Smartlead offers a different approach.

Here's what makes us uniquely the best cold email software:

1. Unlimited Mailboxes: In contrast to platforms that limit mailbox usage, Smartlead provides unlimited mailboxes. This means you can expand your outreach without any arbitrary constraints.

2. Unique IP Servers: Smartlead offers unique IP servers for every campaign it sends out. 

3. Sender Reputation Protection: Smartlead protects your sender reputation by auto-moving emails from spam folders to the primary inbox. This tool uses unique identifiers to cloak all warmup emails from being recognized by automation parsers. 

4. Automated Warmup: Smartlead’s warmup functionality enhances your sender reputation and improves email deliverability by maintaining humanized email sending patterns and ramping up the sending volume. 

5. Multi-Channel Emphasis: Smartlead places a strong emphasis on multi-channel outreach. You can reach your prospects where they are with the LinkedIn outreach feature.   With Smartlead’s cold email automation software, you're always one step ahead in your outreach efforts, enjoying the freedom to scale your initiatives and seamlessly integrate with other tools—all while maintaining a focus on maximizing the impact of your outreach.

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

How secure is my data with Smartlead?

Ensuring the security of your data is Smartlead's utmost priority. We implement robust encryption methods and stringent security measures to guarantee the continuous protection of your information. Your data's safety is paramount to us, and we are always dedicated to upholding the highest standards of security.

How can I get started with Smartlead?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

Getting started with Smartlead is straightforward! Just head over to our sign-up page and follow our easy step-by-step guide. If you ever have any questions or need assistance, our round-the-clock support team is ready to help, standing by to provide you with any assistance you may require. Sign Up Now!

How can I reach the Smartlead team?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

We're here to assist you! You can easily get in touch with our dedicated support team on chat. We strive to provide a response within 24 hours to address any inquiries or concerns you may have.

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