Cold outreach guide for beginners - how to get started with AI

July 25, 2023

How much time do you spend manually writing outreach messages, personalizing your sequences, and finding new prospects?

Now imagine cutting that time in half, without sacrificing results.

That comes with embracing the magic of AI in your cold outreach approach.

In this article, we’ll give you the complete beginner’s guide to using AI in cold outreach. You’ll learn how it’s used, get resources to become an expert, and find the best tools to boost your sales strategy.

How is AI used in cold outreach?

Let’s start with the basics.

In sales, AI can be used to analyze historical sales data, market trends, and customer behavior to make insights. These kinds of insights could include customer preferences, better communication channels, personalized sales pitches, etc.

In addition to making insights and building strategies, AI can take care of manual tasks for you, like:

✅ writing cold emails and messages

✅ generating hundreds of personalized voice notes or videos

✅ enriching your leads list

✅ auto-populating buyer persona and ICP templates

All of this together helps you:

✅ automate tasks and save time

✅ make more accurate predictions

✅ optimize your sales performance

✅ stay ahead of the competition

Top resources to learn about AI

AI is a constantly changing field, so if you want to take full advantage of it, you’ll need to stay up to date with the latest tools and updates.

To help you with that, we did a roundup of the best AI resources to stay on the cutting edge.

Here are our top recommendations:

AI newsletters

#1 The Growth elite newsletter helps you unlock new sales growth, automate your manual processes, get better hires, and level up your game with AI.

The header for the growth elite newsletter. It says "The #1 resource to grow your business with AI. The top 1% of founders, entrepreneurs, marketers read Growth Elite so they are not left behind the AI revolution

#2 The Rundown is a daily newsletter that keeps you up to date with the latest news in AI.

The header for the Rundown AI newsletter. It says "The Rundown AI. Get the rundown on the latest developments in AI before everyone else. Join 200,000+ daily readers from Microsoft, Tesla, Nasa, Meta, and more."

AI YouTube Channels

#1 Guillaume Moubeche will give you AI news, ready-to-use prompts, and specific use cases that will help you boost your company growth.

The header of Guillaume Moubeche's Youtube channel. The banner image says "new videos every week." "join the top % of people using AI to grow their business."

#2 Matt Wolfe will keep you updated about the latest AI news, hottest trends, and tested tools.

The youtube channel of Matt Wolfe. the banner image says "AI, future tech, and Digital Marketing: Matt Wolfe." His bio says "AI, no-code, Tech, Futurism. I'm a tech nerd and talk about tech nerd stuff."

AI social media channels

#1 Kosherplug is a TikTok channel that shares viral news, life hacks, and tips around AI.

The tiktok feed of Kosherplug. It is a grid of 8 videos with still images and captions in yellow letters, such as "the new code QR code with AI" or "AI generated propaganda."

#2 Wgmimedia is an Instagram account that shares sensational clips, updates, and viral moments related to AI.

A screenshot of Wgmimedia's Instagram channel. It is a grid of 6 images that show different technical aspects with captions in thick yellow letters like "25 AI tools better than ChatGPT"

For a full resource list of newsletters, social media, and videos to help you get the most out of AI in cold outreach, check out these resources to learn about AI.

Getting Started with AI in Cold Outreach

Now you’ve got the information and resources you need to better understand AI in general, as well as how it can help you upgrade your cold outreach.

The next step is to put it to use.

Here’s how:

Define your target audience

First, identify who’s going to buy what you’re selling.

Understand who they are, what challenges they face, and how your offering meets their needs. By honing in on your ICP and buyer personas, you'll create messages that resonate and forge genuine connections.

You can use ChatGPT to create your buyer personas with this prompt:

You're a senior consultant with 20+ years of experience.

You're a master at creating the most unique and unusual growth strategies. You've helped the fastest-growing companies in the world skyrocket their growth and customer acquisition.

Your tone of voice should be actionable, no-fluff, approachable, casual, and storyteller.

Generate 5 detailed buyer personas for an individual who would be interested in [DESCRIPTION OF YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE].

The buyer personas should include the following information:

1. Name: (insert the name of the persona)

2. Position: (insert position or role of the persona)

3. Professional background: (describe the professional background, experience, or expertise of the persona)

4. Goals and objectives: (specify the goals and objectives that the persona wants to achieve in their professional life)

5. How they heard about [YOUR COMPANY NAME]: (indicate the channels or sources through which the persona became aware of your company)

6. Path to purchase: (describe the typical journey or steps the persona takes when considering and making a purchase related to your product or service)

7. Potential barriers: (identify the factors or concerns that might hold the persona back from buying your product or service)

Remember to provide sufficient detail and context to ensure the generated personas are accurate and useful. Please present the buyer personas in the form of a table.

For example, we ran this prompt for lemlist and got 5 detailed buyer personas. Here’s an example of one of them:

A screenshot of a chat GPT-generated buyer persona. The nae is David Patel, he is an Inside Sales Representative, coems from 3 years at a mid-sized software company, with the primary goal to enhance his sales performance and surpass his targets.

To dive deeper into defining your target audience with AI, use this guide on defining ICPs and buyer personas with AI.

Set measurable goals

Your goals and objectives will act as your North Star throughout your cold outreach strategies.

Determine the key performance indicators (KPIs) that matter most to your outreach campaign.

Here are some examples

→ the number of qualified leads

→ a specific conversion rate

→ meetings booked per week

→ revenue

Once you have clear benchmarks, this will keep you on course and enable you to measure success.

Choose the right AI outreach tool

Knowing your goals and how to measure them, your next step is to choose the AI tools that will help you achieve them.

But not all AI tools are made the same.

You’ll need to explore the features, functionalities, and compatibility of different tools to find out whether they suit your needs.

Consider whether they align with your outreach objectives and integrate into your existing workflow.

Seek tools that provide the best value for your investment while still meeting your requirements.

Here are some of the best tools we’ve found, to get you started:


SetSail is a Sales Data Layer that centralizes and interprets sales data across go-to-market teams and tools.

What’s in it for you:

  • use machine learning to detect buying signals and productivity patterns
  • access insights in your CRM, data lake, or via SetSail’s dashboard
  • improve sales rep performance via performance metrics and improvement suggestions
  • get an instant view of all your sales activity
A screenshot of the SetSail dashboard

Free trial

Paid plans:

  • Custom pricing

2.  Tavus

Tavus is an AI-powered video personalization platform.

What’s in it for you:

  • batch create thousands of personalized videos for your leads via variable data in a CSV file
  • directly embed CTA buttons in your videos
  • get automated GIF previews of videos to embed in campaigns
A screenshot of the Tavus tool, with a still of a personalized video. The text reads "David, check out this video I made. I made this video because I was really impressed with your background as a lead ML engineer at Google. Let's talk about your next opportunity."

No free trial

Paid plans:

  • Custom pricing
  • Starts around $400 / month

3. Clay

Clay is an automated sales prospecting platform that creates personalized messages via data from multiple sources.

What's in it for you:

  • enrich your customer data from 50+ data sources (tech stack, OpenAI GPT-3, Google, etc.)
  • identify qualified leads through data about the latest events, such as fundraising
  • add contacts to personalized campaigns in, your outreach tool, or CRM
A gif of's dashboard, showing the user uploading a prospect list

Free trial ✅

Paid plans:

  • Basic ($349/month)
  • Explorer ($599/month)
  • Pro ($800/month)
  • Enterprise (custom pricing)

4.  lemlist

lemlist’s AI sequence generator will help you create ultra-targeted multichannel sequences in seconds.

What's in it for you:

  • avoid writer’s block with custom copies
  • save > 1h per campaign with predefined steps
  • get 3x more replies with unique sequences
A screenshot of the lemlist AI sequence generator. Emails, linkedin profile visits, and other cold outreach steps are automatically populating the seqence.

Free trial ✅

Paid plans:

  • Email outreach ($59/month)
  • Sales engagement ($99/month)

To get the rundown on 4 more tools that can help you automate your outreach at scale, take a look at this list of the 8 best AI sales tools.

Your step-by-step guide to implementing AI in cold outreach

To give you a complete idea of what you can accomplish using AI in sales, we’re going to take the example of one of the top tools listed above: lemlist’s AI sequence generator.

Here’s how you can use an AI sales tool to save time and get more replies with less effort.

Step #1: Go to the lemlist AI sequence generator

[ ]  Open up the lemlist app (if you don’t already have an account, you can sign up to lemlist for free.)

[ ]  Create a new campaign (or choose a campaign you’ve already created)

[ ]  Choose to create your sequence with the help of AI

A screenshot from lemlist's AI sequence generator. The instructions read "Create your campaign automatically with AI. Give us the information for your sequence, and we'll take care of the rest!" Below that, there are fields to fill in, including: "We help [sales teams] in  [b2b agencies] to [book more sales meetings] by [providing a software that allows perosnalization at scale.] With this campaign, I'm reaching out because [prospect's company is hiring.] I want the campaign written in [English] with a [conversational] tone."

Step #2: Fill out the requested data

[ ]  Fill in your:

  • target audience
  • value proposition
  • trigger
  • language
  • tone of voice

Here’s what that looks like 👇

A screenshot from the lemlist AI sequence generator. It shows a drop-down menu where the user can choose between tones of voice: "conversational, formal, funny."

[ ]  Click “generate your campaign”

A screenshot from the lemlist AI campaign generator. It's generating a campaign, with the text "Creating your campaign automatically."

Step #3: Watch the AI magic happen

[ ]  Watch your sequence auto-populate with every step of your cold outreach campaign, including content and personalized variables.

A screenshot of a lemlist AI-generated cold outreach campaign. It is automatically popualted with emails, linkedin visits, delays between steps, and email content

[ ]  Add your prospects, choose a sender, and launch your campaign!

The key takeaways

Here’s a quick recap of everything you can do to harness the power of AI in your cold outreach:

  1. Use AI to craft personalized messages for your prospects, addressing their specific needs and interests to create a stronger connection and boost response rates.
  2. Let AI do the heavy lifting by automatically categorizing your leads based on key characteristics, saving you time, and helping you tailor your message.
  3. Automate your follow-ups to stay on prospects’ minds, increasing the chances of getting a reply.
  4. Thoroughly research AI outreach tools to find the perfect match for your needs, considering features, compatibility, and value for investment.

Embrace AI as your digital assistant, helping you connect with prospects on a more personal level, and optimize your sales performance.

P.S. If you’d like to create your first fully AI-generated sales outreach campaign right away, try lemlist’s AI sequence generator. It takes away the blank page anxiety and saves you hours per campaign.

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