Nick's Journey to a 10 Million Cold Email Lead Gen Agency

Created On:
July 13, 2023
Updated On:
March 7, 2024
Vaibhav Namburi and Nick Abraham Interview

Have you checked your mailbox recently? If yes, how many emails have you ignored, and how many have you paid attention to? 

The numbers do not generally affect you but can excruciatingly disturb those who want to scale your business with email marketing. 

Worry not! We bring you the phenomenal conversation between Vaibhav Namburi and Nick Abraham (Founder, Lead Bird), unlocking solutions to unanswered questions, potential ideas, and solutions to scale your business with email marketing. 

Personalized or automated emails are the new game changer in the marketing world. Why not learn from the automation king himself? 

Nick set an example through his knowledge and agency about different tacts and approaches to achieve the desired marketing numbers. He is the founder and owner of Leadbird and runs, two of the very important product in the marketing industry. 

In this Q&A session, Nick is talking about his successful agency touching on the topics of cold emailing, the best tools to work with, ideal numbers one should look up to, and tips and tricks that fill the cracks in the game of cold emailing. 

Watch the video, where we talk about how to create an A/B test for your cold emails and what should you be looking for in the data. Watch Now!

Q1: Why Do People Pay You? 

 Nick: “Yes. So on scrubby, it's simply because we're the only solution in a market that can actually validate the catch-alls. When you know, what makes us stand out is that we've built a pretty full tech stack and use Smartlead as well. So it's really great.” 

“But we work on performance, so our clients pay us per every lead we generate. So, you know, it's kind of like eating our own dog food and making sure that we have to generate results for clients and not just kind of take on retainers like a lot of the other competitors in the space.”

Further, he said that their company is all about generating leads that are a performance-based model that they are getting paid for every lead they generate and not for the retention their competitors do.

So there is clearly an insight from the client's perspective that clients see more security in the performance-based model. This way, they are certain that there will be a potential result in the end, and they are just no longer standing on the edge. 

Q2: Why Did You Opted For a Performance-Based Model When Some People Are strongly Against It?

Nick: “Yeah. So I opted for it because our cost of goods is so low because we own the entire tech sector.”

Nick stated their presence in the tech sector makes the cost of goods low, which is one factor in choosing a performance-based model.  

He explained how it is tough to get leads even with decently precise cold emailing with a decent offer and good targeting. So choosing a model like this can be risky. 

However, another reason for them being successful, he stated, is:

“You know, the reason why we're able to get good results is because we'll choose and be selective about the clients we bring on. And if they have unique value props or just like a unique offer with a good target, like, you know, we're pretty good when I guess, when it comes to getting results”

He talks about the importance of selecting clients that have a unique offer and a good target then, they are pretty good at bringing results. 

Q3: What Are The Top Three Absolute Key Automation That an Agency Should Try When They Are Trying to Scale? 

Nick: “Yeah. So I would say onboarding, you know, you need to run a lot of automation through there. So like, just collecting all that information and putting it in the right places.

Further, he explained that onboarding is the primary step. Explaining how they intake all the client's documentation and set it up in one place, for example, the list of leads, etc., so that they are clear and there are no possible mistakes, and it forms a base. 

The second one he stated:  “The other ones I would say that are easy are reporting. So like, you know, making sure that the weekly reports go out. It's completely hands-off of the automated very easy to do.

Nick: “Third one, which is my personal favorite, is we typically do a checking call every month with our clients.” 

He explained how phone calls can help build a relationship with the client that doesn't look all formal. 

Q4: In One of Your Tweets You Mentioned That You Put Out 10 Million Cold Emails That is Not a Small Number. You Probably Have Insights That Almost 99% of The Market Doesn’t Talk us Through Some Data And How's That is Possible?

Nick: “Yeah. So honestly, I personally think I've sent more than 10 million. I just kind of put 10 million, as like a safe line number so I am not overboard.”

Further, he added how Collecting data can be a game changer and proved useful for his own agency.

Nick: “But you know what's been really cool the last six months because I used to not really collect a lot of data, and so we never really looked at a lot of different things. But then once we sort collecting data, it's like it's so much easier to know, like how to get results specifically since we work on performance”

Further, he added how collecting data gives a clear insight into the ratio or percentage of emails to be sent in order to reach a particular revenue target and how the data can’t be as relevant in longer runs but still, they want to experiment and explore the potential. 

Nick went on explaining all sorts of data they are tracking, like reply rates, positive reply rates, not interested reply rates, unsubscribe rates, and how many people are adding into the info sequence, etc, that help them for future referrals.  

Q5: For Someone Who is a Good Client And Has a Product Market Fit, What Are Some of The Good Metrics to Aim For What is a Good Open Rate, Positive Reply Rate, And Bounce Rate?

Nick: “Yeah. So, you know, it's, it's super hard to say, right, because every product in every is different. So whenever clients come to us, you know, I try to stay away from giving like a baseline metric that I try to hit because it really is completely different for each client.”

He suggested rather than having a baseline what he does is treat every client differently based on their respective markets. Rather there should be an improvement target month after month, according to Nick, obviously keeping the bounce rate as low as possible and reply rates at higher levels. 

This is good as rather than giving yourself a baseline, you improve over time and some companies may have high potential that can scale up your own businesses. 

Q6: How do You go About The Offers And Frameworks Asked By Customers That Never Work?

Nick: “Yeah. So like, kind of like what I said before like you would see the worst offer, and you just send enough cold emails, you're going to get some leads that come through the pipeline, but like, before I push a client to kind of like reposition or restructure their offer”

He further added what are some of the possible steps he takes, even if it's not his line of work, to build that kind of trust and relationship with the client, which is very, very important.

Nick: “What I try to do is just hit the bare bones, which is like, you know, on their rampage, trying to get them out of yourself, some sort of just cleaning it up and throwing more social proof on it, making sure that their LinkedIn profile is coming up, making sure that like they found, if they have a G2 review and like it's a bad review, trying to figure out ways to remediate that, just trying to clean up the things outside of the offer that will just kind of help them like have more of a brand presence outside.”

Nick: “I think it's like the initial thing to kind of hit out and then, like if you pull, your campaign still isn't working. What I try to do is try and find a whole bunch of industries that they have case studies in and then just try to present those case studies and target those like industries that the case studies are in.”

Nick: “And on the copywriting framework, I would say it's like, ideally, your first email is a super direct response. Great. But if that's not getting results because it offers the word or generic or is just a little saturated, not strong, what you could do is just like make the email want, be just super conversational, and just like focus on getting a reply and then put a lot more work on the inbox management to convert those replies into leads or just like something that can belong in your pipeline.”

As Nick explained, apart from cold emailing ways such as – improving clients' social presence and building social proofs, basically trying to eradicate things outer the offer can also help in generating leads. 

Q7: What Are Some of The Tools That You Recommend For Cold Emailing Plus Management?

Nick: “Yes. So, you know, we've built our own e-mail platform. We had it for about a year and a half. Right, And we ran it and, you know, use other tools on the market as well.”

Further, he explained by giving an example that how there is a problem with ordinary tools and how his own tool was not enough in some cases!

Nick: “And then, like, there are situations where, the recipient, they may have bad even under the record going back, and it goes into your inbox a spam folder for your email saying the platform is not going to capture that and they're massive bots. Yeah, you know, people that email you outside of the thread, there are just so many scenarios that some master inboxes don't capture at all.”

“Yes. And so like, you know, when we're using our email to us, convince like everything is good, and then we log into the individual inboxes, and we're like, oh, wow. I think we might have lost over 40 to $50000 opportunities from people requesting info that we just never get back. And so I prefer to keep them separate just to be extra safe.”

He suggested different tools that are versatile in several ways, for example, mass emailing and managing the emails, and he himself is a fan of:

Nick: “And so if you have under 100 inboxes, you could use Google Send and just kind of forward everything into there. If you have over 100 inboxes, then you will need something like a Shared inbox like Trust what we use and what I recommend. And so yeah, that, that's the kind of tools I'd use on a vaccination site and then emails I think we're using Smartlead.”

Q8: What Are The Three Changes You Made in The Past Three Months That Have Had The Highest Impact in Moving The Revenue Needle For You?

He mentioned below three changes that changed his entire working process that was not much effective earlier:- 

Firstly, he said that he used to be a huge believer in keeping a short and lean team. He further added that hiring skilled people and paying them accordingly can take over certain areas of your business 

Nick: “We have a phenomenal copywriter and a phenomenal inbox manager. And, you know, I think that has been one thing that's kind of like taking me out of a lot of the fulfillment stuff. So that has been a huge driver”

The second thing he suggested adding social proofs:- 

Nick: “And then the other thing has been just collecting as much social proof as I can. So like the last three months ago, we had zero testimonials on our site. Right now, we have 12 on G2, five out of five stars. Like, all we're doing right now is just trying to build as much social proof as possible.” 

Rightly anticipated by Nick, as an average consumer reads at least 10 online reviews before taking a decision, and 88 percent of the people trust these reviews as personalized suggestions. 

Thirdly, Nick emphasized upon building select partners: 

Nick: “Yeah. And then the third thing would just be like we found some select partners that want to white label our service.”

Q9: How Do You Handle Blacklisted Mailboxes? 

Nick: “Yeah. So we'll try to just burn it and move on. I would say for the most part, but like I'm entirely sure if that's the greatest idea, to be honest here. And so we're also looking at like different alternatives.”

The answer by Nick is pretty self-explanatory do blacklist mailboxes deserve enough attention or not or if there can be a possible alternative in the case.

Q10: How Does Your Configuration Roughly Looks At The Present?

Nick: “Yeah. So we've adjusted it a little bit, and we're still kind of playing with it. I think a lot of changes have happened really recently, and so, you know, it's been kind of a weird game recently, but I try to do like a 1 to 1 match with our warm to old emails and keep the center volume in books under 60 per day. So we're doing 30 warm and 30 cool.

Further, Nick added that he is trying to experiment if this approach really helps, stating that this month they are testing it with all of their clients.  

Q11:What Are Your Thoughts on The Open Rates Right Now? Do You Think They Are Important or Not?

Nick: “So, I think from a cold email perspective like you don't really need to worry too much about open rates. I think the biggest thing is inbox placements asked and checking for you like you know where your inbox thing. I think that will always be the golden standard for testing.”

Nick emphasized inbox placement more and suggested that open rates are not really an issue from a cold emailing perspective. 


In this interview, Vaibhav and Nick discussed multiple aspects of cold emailing and automation as to what roles, factors such as data collection and social proof play in the arena of cold emailing and generating leads from zero.

Converting potential customers and making a presence for your business can take a hard troll sometimes. In this conversation, there was mentioned some of the best techniques to avoid it. 

Nick talks about alternatives and potential steps a lot if an offer or framework given by a client is not good enough, you can go the other way around to increase the leads, either trying to make their social presence solid or finding the related industry that they have case studies in. There is an insight into cold and warm emails, different tools and strategies from cold emailing, and an automation agency (company) perspective.  


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Author’s Details

Tanmay Shukla

Tanmay is a SEO Content Writer at Smartlead. His zeal and enthusiasm in writing led him to the path of being a Content Writer. He has been advancing in this field by possessing more knowledge and skills. His constant endeavor has made him a whiz in SEO, Creative Writing, and driving sales through writing.


Edited by:

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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?

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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"?

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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?

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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?

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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?

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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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