Prospecting is always a hot topic in the world of sales and marketing. We’re always looking for ways to ignite sales teams with tools, best practices, and motivation to find and self-source more qualified sales pipeline.
As we write emails, leave voice mails and develop our prospecting outreach strategies, I’d like to challenge everyone to prospect like a human. Let’s write emails like humans. Let’s leave messages like we’re leaving talking to fellow humans. Let’s engage prospects like they’re humans, rather than records in a lead or contact database.
Put yourself in the shoes of the person receiving the email you are writing and voice mail you are leaving. Ask yourself:
How would you respond?
How would the email or voicemail make you feel?
What action and outcome do you expect?
Be mindful of every word, statement, and punctuation you write and say. Less is more. Speak in plain English.
Here are tips to write prospecting emails that project positive, action-oriented human energy:
Catchy Subject lines: I’ll argue that the subject line real estate of emails is the most important part of an email. We have exactly five seconds to hook our busy human recipients. Executives make a decision to reply, delete, or review emails later based on what’s written, or not written in the subject line. Be action oriented. Tie the words in the subject line to what’s going on in the world of person being emailed. I was introduced to the idea of leaving a subject line blank as it increases email open-rates by 8% too. Amazing.
Warm Introductions: Be human and use real words like hello, hi, and how are you. Be mindful of the context of the time of year, week, and day of the week. It’s great to keep it real by saying things like: I hope you had a great weekend and how is your summer going?
Insightful Stats/Questions: Pick a statistic or a quote that’s thought provoking and insightful. In a polite way, include it in the email to catch the attention of the buyer. We want readers of our emails to pause and think for a few seconds and say to themselves, “hmmm, I didn’t know that” or “wow, if we realized that benefit to our business, the results would be amazing.”
Proof Points: Share customer proof points that relate stories to industry, size of company, and business challenge. Inspire prospects to take action through the power of storytelling. Tell customer stories that are relevant, emotional and quantifiable.
Call to Action: Be clear and direct. Make the call to action short and clear. I was told once that an effective call to action is between two to five words. Also, we should only have one call to action per email.
Simple Signature: There is no need to include a long list of ways a prospect can contact us. I’d avoid including email, title, office number, fax, mobile number, twitter handle, LinkedIn profile link, and any other ways of contacting. Keep it simple with first name and last name and a best number to use like a mobile.
When leaving voice messages follow the same principles. Don’t forget to smile. Start and end with the person’s name you’re calling to make the voice mail that much more personal and real.
Tips for Sales Managers
Turn these ideas into action in weekly Sales Huddles. Besides this blog post, there are pre-packaged Sales Huddles on these topics with content, best practices and team-based exercises.
The best way to make these principles scale and stick is to have reps share their emails and voice mails all the time, giving each other feedback. Also, work together as teams to set prospecting goals and celebrate prospecting wins and accomplishments.
Elay Cohen is the author of SalesHood: How Winning Sales Managers Inspire Sales Teams to Succeed and the co-founder of SalesHood, a SaaS sales enablement platform and community for sales professionals. Elay is the former Senior Vice President of Sales Productivity at Salesforce. Recognized as the company's "2011 Top Executive", and credited for creating and executing all of Salesforce's sales productivity programs that accelerated its growth from $300M to $3B+ in revenue. The sales training and sales support innovations delivered over these years by Elay and his team to thousands of sales reps resulted in unprecedented hypergrowth. He also created the Partner Relationship Management (PRM) category.
Based on my experience leading Sales Productivity at Salesforce, accelerating revenue from $300M to $3B, we’ve packaged our proven methodology into SalesHood, helping client after client achieve record breaking revenue growth.