It is important to acknowledge that a sales representative could, a couple of years ago, email the CEO of a company and use a default template that pretty much stated: “Could you connect me with the buying decision maker at your company?”. However, times have changed and nowadays it is highly unlikely that your message will get through with so much noise in people’s inboxes, especially if there’s no phone follow-up. That being said, emails are still a necessary tool for sales communications, and will remain an important piece of any lead acquisition strategy.
The mass email disease
Aaron Ross, the author of Predictable Revenue, first introduced the automated contact strategy, in 2011, which was a time when mass email outreach was still a fairly new technique. Afterwards he voiced the concept of a calculated, volume-driven approach to significantly impact a company’s sales. However, over the past five years, consumer demands, expectations, and technology have shifted so much that click-through rates average in the low 3%. Customers are less willing to spend time on marketing and sales emails.
Now more than ever, email marketers and sales representatives need to understand that prospecting and lead engagement will be greatly influenced by different channels. Therefore, sending an email to a prospect becomes extremely strategic, as well as identifying the need to use different engagement techniques.
Marketers and salespeople are in constant motion, and the instinct to rely on email fundamentally comes down to productivity and effectiveness. Most assume it is easier to reach quotas and goals by mass emailing a large contact list. Unfortunately, sales is not just a numbers game anymore, it is also about conversion and establishing a non-transactional relationship. A relationship where the sender can clearly articulate how they can resolve the recipient's specific problem or at the very least, educate on issues relevant to the latter. Email should always be done with purpose. If salespeople develop a strategic approach towards emailing prospects, they increase their chances of connecting with a receptive lead.
How to increase email efficiency:
1. Personalize the message:
The Aberdeen Group identified that personalized emails can improve click-through rates by 14% and conversions by 10%. Always have a tailored message specific to the recipient within the first line. Do your homework by researching your prospect on social media to develop a sense of what their needs may be. With that information you will be able to create a concise and personal intro.
2. Leave the clichés behind:
Do not drop someone’s name into the subject line, as this does not translate into personalization. Recipients of email marketing are extremely aware of ways to automatically fill in names in emails and know that this is a technique used to attract attention. Did you know that a prospect will likely associate a name in the subject line with spam? Efforts at being “funny” with follow up techniques; such as asking individuals if they have been in the wilderness to explain their unresponsiveness are also ineffective. Both of these strategies can leave a negative perception with your potential customers.
3. Reach out to potential customers through different channels:
In order to move a deal forward quickly and reliably, you should reach out using different channels of communication. Send emails, but also follow up with a phone call. Calls are much harder to dismiss in the same way people ignore emails. Phone calls are a great way to build relationships and identify underlying needs. Emails and calls, when used together, are proven to be a way to humanize the sales cycle. In fact, a study found that leads who are first engaged through email are 16% more likely to being reachable by phone.
4. Establish a rhythm:
Studies shows that the optimal number of attempts to connect with a prospect by email is five. In order to remain relevant in a lead’s mind, a sales person must strategically create interval times to send those emails in order to avoid overwhelming the potential customer. Decision makers are busy and often handle different responsibilities, which is why striking a balance between initiating a conversation and chasing them is an art and not a science. Be respectful and strategically space your five emails to reach success.
Email is a key sales communication tool and no one can argue against that. However, using it effectively is an art. Follow the four rules outlined above to make the most out of your outreach attempts.