How Ashby Launched an Outbound Motion that Quadrupled Meetings

Cole D'Ambra, Head of Demand Generation at Ashby, needed to scale marketing's outbound motion while keeping a healthy domain and high deliverability. Here's how he used Apollo to skyrocket Ashby to 460% more replies and 4x more meetings.

5 Minute Read

Written by Janet Choi

Published Tuesday, September 5, 2023

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You need to reach a certain scale to understand what’s working and what’s not, and that’s almost impossible to do without Apollo…there is no reason not to give it a shot for your outbound.

Cole D'Ambra

Head of Demand Generation at Ashby

Cole D'Ambra, Demand Gen team of one at Ashby, faced an enemy familiar to many companies — the spam flag. While battling deliverability issues, he had to figure out how to get an automated outbound program off the ground.

Ashby is an all-in-one recruiting solution — combining applicant tracking, analytics, and automation to enable talent teams to be exceptional at what they do. With customers like Notion, Duolingo, and Quora.

As the business had eyes on moving upmarket, Cole was confident he knew how to run more personalized outbound to effectively reach out to Ashby's higher-value target accounts at scale, but something needed to change in their tech stack first.

"I can run a pretty sophisticated outbound motion as a single marketer," he says. "But you need to have the right tools."

Read on to learn how Apollo became that right tool to repair Ashby's deliverability and improve open and reply rates so much that meetings increased by 4x.

A False Start: Not Getting Into Inboxes

At first, Cole used HubSpot Sequence for his outbound campaigns. But within just a few weeks of launching the sequences, deliverability health plummeted. 

"We thought that would be the easiest way to go about it, but we ran into quite a few limitations," he reports.  

The culprit? There was no way to control the rate of email delivery. If too many emails all go out at the same time, they look like spam to inbox service providers (ISPs).

"For instance, if you wanted to sequence a hundred people from a single outreach inbox," Cole explains, "the only way to automate it is to have all 100 emails leave at the same time." 

A Deliverability Makeover Multiplies Opens, Replies, and Meetings

Ashby's sales team was already using Apollo to find and do manual outreach to prospects from its 260M+ contacts. Cole decided to move his scaled outbound model to Apollo too.  

He went into Apollo's Mailbox Settings to limit the number of emails that get sent per day and per hour, as well as set a time delay between emails. 

Ashby could now reach prospects at scale without looking like a spammer. "You're able to touch hundreds of prospects with just two hours per week, whereas in HubSpot that wouldn't be possible."

Cole could also easily segment thousands of accounts based on technographic and firmographic data to target Ashby's ICP, without having to move data back and forth between tools. "Having the data in the same platform you're sequencing out of streamlines the whole process. It made sending emails from Apollo a no-brainer."

Getting set up was also a no-brainer, especially thanks to onboarding support on implementation and deliverability. "Implementing Apollo was extremely easy. It took 2 hours of work to move everything over from HubSpot to Apollo based on the recommendations," remembers Cole.

The results are impressive — with numbers increasing across the board while email sends increased by 50%: 

  • Deliverability improved with an inbox placement rate increase from 62% to 96%.
  • Reply rates increased from 1.5% to 8.4%.
  • Open rates increase from 32% to 51%.

And at the end of all those improvements? A 4x increase in meetings.

Implementing Two Strategies to Drive Engagement

What was Cole putting in those emails to multiply meeting rates?

First, he used Apollo's technographic data to learn and reference the prospect's current tech stack. "We could speak to the pain points they were most likely experiencing."

Then he A/B tested different taglines, subject lines, and messaging to see what resonated — which also helped email sequences be less likely to be flagged as spam.

"Instead of the exact same email coming out of the same inbox a few hundred times a week, it was seven iterations across four different inboxes," Cole explains. "And that increased deliverability significantly. With Apollo, we were able to test multiple email variations without any additional work."

With Apollo, we were able to test multiple email variations without any additional work.

Cole D'Ambra

Head of Demand Generation at Ashby

Making Better Data-Driven Outbound Possible

As the makers of an all-in-one tool themselves, the Ashby team appreciates the collaboration and transparency that comes from go-to-market teams working in the same platform.

"We're able to take a more data-driven approach to helping each other understand what's working," says Cole.  

Sales reps can go into Apollo and see which subject lines are working best for a specific cohort of accounts, for example. And Cole can easily research what one-off emails are getting positive replies to inform his automated program without bugging the sales team.

Having a tool like Apollo makes it easy to launch and scale a fully automated outbound program, even as a single marketer like Cole. 

"You really need to reach a certain level of scale to be able to understand what works or not and that's almost impossible to do without Apollo. — there is no reason not to give it a shot for your outbound."

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About Ashby

Founded in 2018, Ashby is the all-in-one recruiting platform that consolidates your ATS, Analytics, Scheduling, and CRM to help you unlock hiring excellence. Trusted by companies including Opendoor, Figma, Notion, Deel and Modern Treasury, Ashby works with teams of all sizes to run a fast and efficient hiring process.




San Fransisco


100 employees

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