By Brenna Lofquist, Marketing Consultant for Heinz Marketing
This blog post was inspired/updated from a previous Heinz Marketing blog post written by Matt Heinz “10 best practices for better cold calling”.
I am no sales expert but through my experience at Heinz Marketing, research I’ve done for clients, recommendations/project deliverables, and personal experience (being the receiver of sales outreach) I have developed quite a few best practices and tips for better sales outreach.
In the original blog post, Matt gives some great best practices on cold calling specifically but, I am going to dive into email as well. All of Matt’s tips are still applicable but there’s probably some sprucing up to do given the post was written in 2011.
You might be thinking, she’s a marketer, she doesn’t know anything about sales. While I have never been in a sales role and am no expert, as previously mentioned, I have the opportunity to view sales from an outsider’s perspective. Often times part of our engagement with clients includes reviewing their sales cycle process which includes everything from lead/opportunity stages and definitions, sales enablement (outreach sequences, templates, messaging, etc.), and new lead disposition sequences. I have an unbiased view when reviewing sales cycle processes because I don’t think about marketing versus sales, my objective is to figure out if the client has the most efficient and effective process in place to drive pipeline and ultimately deals.
Enough about my experience – hopefully I have given myself some credit and you might at least consider the tips I have for you. Anyways, here is my culmination of best practices and tips that I have come across during my time as a marketer.
Use a clear, direct, and catchy subject line
This might be a no brainer, but you’d be surprised some of the subject lines I’ve seen – come on people, at least pretend like you tried to be creative. This is the first shot you have to get the prospect to open your email.
What worked a few years ago likely doesn’t work today, you must stay up-to-date and remain in touch with consumers’ behaviors, needs, and interests. Depending on your audience maybe a statistic is more likely to grab their attention but, in some cases, maybe an emoji will do the trick. Either way, take a few minutes to really think about what’s going to grab the prospect’s attention.
Use personalization when possible, this is another great way to catch someone’s eye. Now a days with the advance of machine learning and artificial intelligence, you can leverage so much more data – so use it!
Personalization/customization when possible
This should occur in the body of the email too, not just the subject line – this also goes for calls as well. Instead of using a generic greeting (“Hi there”) include the prospects name. Adding in the company name or even industry is another way to let the prospect know you took the time to do a little research (or maybe you just have a great tool that helps you fill in that info).
Speak to specific pain points
Using customer empathy and identifying a specific pain point that applies to the prospect is likely to resonate with them more than just a general statement. You can then point out how your product or service addresses that pain point and the benefits for the prospect – this might not be applicable depending on where the prospect is in the buying journey so use discretion on when to speak about the product/service.
The prospect needs to feel like they can trust you and you aren’t just another sales person trying to pitch them something they don’t need. Try to incorporate existing customer stories or case studies to help establish trust. Bonus points if you can include something that relates to their company/industry. This also helps to provide proof of the benefits you mentioned/plan to mention.
Provide a clear call to action
Be very clear about the action you are wanting the prospect to take and make it simple and easy for them to say yes – no cryptic emails or puzzles. If you want them to download an asset that you think would be valuable to them, then say just that! Don’t try to over complicate it and avoid multiple call to actions – you don’t want to give your prospect too many things and take away their attention from the main objective.
Short and concise communications
This goes for calls and emails, pretty much any communications you have with a prospect – keep it short and sweet! If you are reading an outreach email out loud with a timer and it’s longer than a minute, you need to cut it down. Respecting your prospects time will also help to build trust. A great tip for calls: write an outline of what you want to say – it’s the best way to make sure you hit the right points during your call, and you can get an idea for how long your message will be.
Lastly, some quick tips specific to outreach calls:
- Choose the right time to call – a Yesware analysis of 25,000 calls shows that calls lasting more than five minutes often occur between 3pm-5pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
- Don’t talk at your prospect – use questions to connect early on.
- Don’t paraphrase what your prospect does – they already know what they do. Instead, impress them with how well you know their pains.
You have probably heard some of these tips and best practices before but, since we still see people with horrible subject lines and page long emails, I think it’s important to call them out again! If you are in a sales role and have other tips that have worked for you, I’d love to hear!