10 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Cold Email Agency

By: Jack Reamer |
 September 2, 2022 |
Deciding if it’s the right time to take on a cold email agency, can be quite a big decision.


Well, firstly if you hire the wrong agency you are going to lose money… And if you hire an agency when you aren’t actually ready for it, you’re going to lose money too.

So it’s imperative that you ask yourself these questions before choosing a cold email marketing agency.  

In this way, your business will grow with qualified leads that convert, bringing you a greater return on investment.

(Another option is to give Linkedin outreach a try (especially if you aren’t getting the results you would like from cold email). At Salesbread we have seen greater results for B2B business with Linkedin lead generation. We specialize in both cold email and Linkedin lead gen. Read this article to see if your business is a fit for Linkedin outreach.)

Want 1 lead a day? Let’s talk.

Is it the right time to invest in outbound sales?

The BIG question that you need to ask yourself before hiring a cold email agency is: “Is it the right time for my company to invest in outbound sales? (Ie: Hire a cold email agency)” 

Remember that not every business is in the right position to hire an agency at the very minute. 

The reason?

Newly formed companies might lack the resources or funds to onboard a lead generation agency, or perhaps they might know who their ideal target market is. (And this is totally okay because these things do take time.)

But, in order to get an idea of who your buyer persona is, you need to first monitor your sales for at least 6 months.

The reason for this is that it will give you an idea of WHO is buying your service or product.

By identifying patterns, it will help you figure out who to target.

For example:

  • Are all your buyers in the same industry?
  • Do they all have similar budgets?
  • Are they located in the same area?
  • Do they have the same number of employees?

If you don’t know who your target audience is or who is buying your product, then that’s a huge problem.

You need to let the cold email agency know exactly who to target so that your campaign generates qualified results.

Otherwise, if you hire an agency, you will unfortunately just be wasting money, because they won’t be able to get you the right leads. 

Another option is to allow the agency to figure out your target audience for you, but this takes time. 

And time costs money.

So, if you can figure this out on your own, you will save on costs. 

A bit more on how to know exactly who to target…

If you don’t have the right target audience, you are going to go after people who are not interested in what you are selling.

It’s like selling beauty products to hardware shop owners. – It ain’t gonna happen.

But besides this, you will also need to have a proven product or service that you are selling. 

There needs to be a key pattern in your sales.

You should already know who your customers are, who is buying, and have a customer base that is tightly grouped.

You also need to know if the people you are targeting have the budget to buy your product

Here are some extra questions that you can think about when trying to build an email list and figure out a pattern of who is buying your product/service: 

  • What similarities do these customers have?
  • What is your ideal customer profile?
  • What kind of buyers are these? 
  • Are they all serving similar kinds of clients? 
  • Are they all funded? 
  • Are most of them using a particular technology?
  • Are most of them at a certain growth point?
  • Are most of them hiring for a certain role when they engage with you?
  • Do most of these buyers have a specific job title? If this is the case, try and narrow that down to five job titles or less to go after.

Remember to always keep it simple at first. Once you have found patterns, you can then narrow this list down to one or two segments.

Only hire a cold email agency if your customer base is at this level. 


Well, for two reasons:

1: You will save money (This is especially important if you’re a new startup

2: You will see results really quickly. (Within the first week)

Once you’ve asked yourself these questions, and you know the answers, read on for the 10 questions that you should ask before choosing the right growth partner for your business.   

Question 1: How long will it take to generate our first lead?

If you have the right buying persona, a good agency will bring you results within the first week. 


The number of clients who get their first lead within the first 24 hours

For example, at Sales Bread, 92% of clients get their first lead within 24 hours of our launch date. 

But it’s also important to note that the first week is usually the slowest when it comes to bringing in leads.

But as you grow your prospecting sequence, and refine your email messages and follow-up emails, then by week 8 you will have plenty qualified leads. 

SalesBread has a proven track record of 1 lead a day (or booked meeting) for our clients, and we know that if your target group is right, then you will see results within the first week. 

If an agency says it might take a while, then you need to find out why.

The right cold email agency will bring in leads from the get-go.

Question 2: Will I own my cold email domain?

Let’s say you owned the example.com domain, and the agency went out and bought all the .org, .net, for your business.

This is a problem because it takes away the control you have over your brand. 

Of course, you wouldn’t want them to use their own cold email domain, but you should rather provide the domain for the agency.

If a lead generation agency wants to hang on to a domain name, that’s a red flag.

They are not domain resellers.

You should always own the domain names yourself and discuss the domains with the lead gen company beforehand.

It would be better to go to the agency and say that you have five domains, for example, and that they can work with these domains during outreach.

Buying domains are relatively affordable (10-20 bucks each), so save yourself the hassle and instead purchase them yourself, instead of having the lead gen company do it for you. 

Tip: Use https://instantdomainsearch.com/ to find and purchase your cold email domains easily.

If you don’t have any domains yet, you could ask the cold email agency to purchase them for you, but make sure that you own them. 

If the lead gen agency can set up everything, this might be good in the sense that they can take care of small technical details, which could affect your deliverability rate. 

NOTE: The agency should NEVER own your domain.

Here is a great resource that shows you exactly how to set up your own email domain

Question 3: What sending volume will you use to reach my lead generation goals?

Having a conversation about volume and goals is really important.

For example, you wouldn’t want to hire salespeople who spam thousands of prospects in the first 3 weeks and leave you with a bad sending reputation. 

(Imagine having most of your prospects hit the unsubscribe button before you can even say the word spammy.)

So an indepth conversation about cold email strategy beforehand has to take place.

If the agency says that they send thousands of sales emails, this should set off an alarm bell in your head.

You also don’t want them to burn through your entire list within 2 weeks. 

Effective cold email campaigns should send out low-volume/ highly personalized emails. (When you personalize emails, you will get greater open rates, which in turn leads to higher response rates.)

Ask them: How many prospects will be contacted each billing period? (Look for a few hundred sends per week as a max limit.

It’s also vital that you give the agency the right goals.

For example, you might ask that the outreach campaign secures at least 15 booked demos every single month. You then hang up the phone call and hope it happens. 

But this could potentially lead the email marketing team to spam thousands of prospects, hoping to get you those 15 booked appointments. 

So talk about the entire process from that first email to the end of the campaign.

You could even ask to have access to the agency’s dashboard for your cold email outreach campaigns to check what’s happening, whether it’s once a month, quarterly or weekly. 

Side NOTE: Quickmail.io suggests sending emails in slower sequences because this will ensure a good sender reputation. 

This is important because if your emails keep landing in spam then your prospects are not going to see it. Leaving you with big “cold email agency” bills and no money in the bank from hot new leads. 

Don’t make this mistake and be burned by companies who promise to send out thousands of emails a day. 

Question 4: What type of leads will you be getting from this company?

Remember that there are different types of leads.

Some leads are openers to a conversations, other leads may mean booked appointments.

You need to get very clear about what the agency means by “lead generation.” 

Double-check if the company is just getting people to respond to your products or if they will actually book the appointments for you. 


Leads that we generated for our client Harry Morton from Lower Street Media:

Below is an example from one campaign that we ran.

As you can see, the leads that we were generating for our client included booking appointments, not just conversation starters. 

This campaign had great results, have a look at our stats: 

Connection Requests Sent

Prospects who connected

Positive Replies

To break this down, it means that our connection rate was 45.2% and our positive reply rate (prospects who booked a meeting) was 38.5%.

Please note the connection message, the follow up message and the prospects replies below.

We set up all the appointments for our client in this specific case study

To read more about this campaign, click here

Here are some of the replies that we recieved from prospects:

1. Hi Harry, nice to meet you. Let’s find a time to chat; I’m very interested to hear more about your podcast. Below is my calendar. Pick a day/time that works for a 15 minute virtual coffee, and we can chat. 

 2. Hello Harry. Would be glad to hear about it. Thank you

3. Hi Harry. Sounds great, give me a call at your convenience.

4. Hi Harry. My favorite marathon was my first LA marathon. The first is always memorable. I’m happy to chat about an interview. I’ll check available dates on your link. Best

5. Hi Harry – I just picked a date and time on calendly. Looking forward to it! Let me know if you have any questions or if you need anything from me beforehand.

6. That would be great, Harry. Would love to discuss.

7.  Would be interested in discussing. Like most lawyers, I like talking and helping others.

8. Thank you so much! That sounds wonderful — can you send me your podcast details? I will check it out today!

9.  Let’s talk! Can you send me an email with more information, and we can get something scheduled ?

Question 5: What does the contract look like?

Ask the agency what the contract entails (If there is one.)

For example, will you be locked into a contract for 3 months, 6 months, or a year?

At SalesBread, we don’t lock our clients into legal contracts because it’s our results that will get the client to stay. 

There are reasons to stick around for three months; things do ramp up after the second month, as it does take time to get those follow-ups going.

BUT you should be happy within the first two weeks.

Successful cold email campaigns should see results within the first 2 weeks, if not, then you should be wary. 

Also, find out if they use standard cold email templates or if they personalize every email.

What’s their CTA, which marketing tools do they use? Finding all this out before signing anything will help you make a wise decision. 

Therefore have a very clear discussion on the minimum engagement process. Ask what the minimum reply rate will be over that period to figure out what you can expect realistically. 

You should also have a discussion about what happens at the end of the campaign.

For example, find out:

  • Who will own the domain?
  • What happens to the inbox?
  • Is it easy to transfer?
  • Will you own the assets that you want to own?

Its really important to get a crystal clear idea of what you own and what you don’t.

Question 6: What assets will you own after the engagement?

Besides owning the domains, what else should you take ownership of? 

Well, it’s important to take ownership of all the passwords.

For example, if the company uses cold email software for your campaign, ask for those passwords.

Also, ask for the passwords to the inbox and the domain that it’s registered on. 

The reason for this is that when your contract ends with the agency, they should give you all the info so that you can run your own in-house prospecting sales team

Find out if they will be willing to share this information with you at the end.

Question 7: What expectations should you set for this partnership? 

Note: Before we answer this question, the best would be for you to have some lead generation experience with your business and understand how the game works. 

Perhaps you ran some of your own campaigns in the past and were able to collect enough data to get an idea of what to expect, and then ask a lead gen company for extra help. 

If you haven’t done this before, it might be a good idea to run one or two of your own campaigns. 

And ask yourself these questions:

  • What was the best cold email?
  • Did it work?
  • What didn’t work? 

If you can, send this information to the cold email agency. This will help them identify what works and what doesn’t for your company.

The more information you can provide the better the outreach campaigns will run. 

They can then take these metrics and blow your results out of the water, getting you high-quality leads. 

It would be even better for you to have an inbound strategy before approaching the cold email agency.

If your SEO, digital marketing, content marketing, and social media pages are gaining traction, this means that your brand’s name is already out there.

Outbound will seal the deal with cold calling, cold emailing, or even Linkedin outreach. 

Back to the question

In all honesty, it really depends.

We can’t say exactly what you should expect because perhaps you have an amazing product or some new tech that deals with people’s pain points immediately, making everyone want it. 

You might also already have an established “brand following,” meaning that people know who you are and might be more likely to buy what your selling. 

Your product, your target audience, and how new you are in the market will affect how many leads you can expect. 

Running some campaigns yourself beforehand will give the lead gen agency a lot of firepower to use.

Be wary, though, if they don’t ask you how you have been generating customers to date. 

This is a fundamental question that shows the lead gen company what’s working for you. 

Even if you go to trade shows, or use Instagram to generate clients, using a specific pitch, let the lead gen agency know about it. 

This will help them understand what’s working for you and who they can target. They can then add your copywriting/pitch in the email copy that they send out, especially if it has been working.

Also, consider quality vs. quantity. Be careful of telling the agency that you need X number of leads per week. This might lead them to cold emailing tons of people, but still no conversion rates, instead, a bad company name due to spam. 

Therefore, instead, focus on quality. 

Keep asking the agency to review what they are doing for you. Ask for stats and set up meetings to stay in the loop.

To summarise this section:

  • Have an upfront discussion about expectations. Keep this as a baseline to judge how they are performing.

  • If you can, run some cold email campaigns beforehand on your own. Or gain a deep understanding of how the process works so that you can have realistic expectations. 

Question 8: What should you provide in order to have more qualified leads coming your way?

Remember that the agency you choose has never worked for you before.

So give them lots and lots of data points. 

A detailed analysis of your current buying customer is critical; This will help the agency target the right people.

Remember that the more specific you are, the more qualified leads the agency will bring in for you. 

This will also allow them to set up a strategy for you; if you’re happy with their strategy, you can let them run a campaign. 

9. How much will the lead generation service cost?

The cost varies from agency to agency, but many companies have similar pricing.

So payment really depends on what pricing module you’re talking about.

For example, some companies charge per lead (This is not advised). 

According to research on today’s cold email services and lead generation agencies, you should be comfortable with spending between $2000 – $5000 per month for well-done cold email outreach and lead generation services. 

(Be cautious of lower-end services as they won’t be able to invest in personalization or quality prospecting data.) 

So know where you’re at in your business. What you can and can’t afford, and most importantly, how much are these leads are worth to you. 

If you don’t know your close rate from lead to new deal and where that deal ends up over the lifetime of the customer, then it will be hard to justify spending thousands of dollars a month on lead gen.  

You have got to know the value of your customer and the value of each lead that comes in. 

10. How do you find a good cold email agency? 

The last question is, how do you find a cold email agency?

You can ask your network on Linkedin, Google some of the top results, ask your colleagues, or friends who they have found to be good cold emailing agencies.

Asking to review some case studies is also important because this will help you to make a great choice, as you see exactly how campaigns were run and what current clients have to say about the agency. 

By interviewing some of the top cold email agencies, you will be able to find one that suits your needs and budget. 

If you want 1 lead per day…

Make sure to hire an agency that has a conversation with you about control & ownership, payment structure & strategy, and the quality of the leads that you will be getting.

Know the rules and take your time to review every step. 

As the decision-maker of your company, hiring the right agency is a critical step that can bring in those high-quality leads and take your business to the next level. 

You can expect 1 qualified lead or booked appointment per day when partnering up with Salesbread.
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