Do you just have a cold emailing approach to your outbound prospecting or do you have an outbound system?
Gauge yourself against this optimized system below and let me know in the comments which one you have…
Cold email subject lines, cold email templates and opening ‘pitches’ have become the latest cold calling opening lines and elevator pitches.
The people that hunt for them do so because they just don’t have a strategy and are looking for the magic silver bullet that is going to open up any new prospect and make them want to engage with you.
That magic silver bullet doesn’t exist.
What will add more value to your business is building a proper Outbound Sales Strategy, based on cold email, that fully optimizes all of the individual components.
I will demonstrate using our proprietary ‘Outbound System Optimization Calculator’.
Phase 1: Optimize the Emails Sent
There are 2 parts to this:
Send more emails.
I don’t mean blindly just sending out more ‘spam’ style emails.
What I mean here is adding technology, systems and processes to enable an outbound prospector to increase the number of high quality outbound emails sent.
There are many ways to do this and some of the most effective are:
- By efficient prospecting research
- Leverage the best technology to research and send out emails
- A standard working week schedule
- Great coaching and mentoring
By careful attention to these core areas it is feasible to see dramatic gains in this area without a reduction in the quality of the cold emails being sent.
Figure 1 shows how a minor 20% increase in quality emails sent out from a person sending 500 hand curated emails per month results in an extra 100 emails sent out per month.
Dial down the bounce rate.
Many traditional list sources are tracking bounce rates of 40 – 50% and even services like Data.com can have bounce rates as high as 30%.
We constantly experiment with the myriad of new data services such as www.found.ly, www.aeroleads.com, www.salesintelligent.com, www.sellhack.com and www.ringlead.com/products/capture/ that create real time lists of email addresses. There are new ones springing up every day of these services so keep on top of my updates (sign up for my free video course here and you’ll get my update emails too). Even the best of them then have to be sent to services such as kickbox.io to serve as a sanity check.
We see bounce rates as low as 3% and averaging around 5% from combining the best of these services.
Figure 1 shows a 10% bounce rate which you really should be aiming for as a minimum. This has decreased from an assumed 30% starting position in an optimized outbound process (typically what most company’s we speak to have).
The total result of these 2 minor changes is a 54% increase in emails delivered.
Yet, few people are really focused in on these 2 areas!
Yes, I am aware that doesn’t take into account the technical elements of deliver-ability but that’s a different blog post by someone more qualified than me like this one from hubspot
Phase 2: Optimize Opens and Returns
There are 2 areas to focus on here:
Increase the numbers of emails opened:
This is the one that nearly everyone seems to be focused on.
If you are now mentally thinking… “So what are the best subject lines?” …then I’m going to disappoint you!
I’m not going to give you any magic email subject lines here and you can read on to understand why.
Besides, it isn’t all about the ‘magic subject line’ there are far more important things in play here. This area can be optimized by a number of areas:
- Subject line
- Day and time the email is received in their local time zone
- The display of who sent it i.e. a company or a person
The reality is these things will not have the biggest overall impact to your sales strategy but can be tweaked and leveraged to maximum efficiency.
Increase the number of replies:
Again this is the focus of most peoples attention with regards an outbound cold email strategy.
There are many things you can do to increase this percentage but the single most important is to focus on what your ‘Most Wanted Response’ is.
Are you giving people too many options?
Are you asking them to self service a meeting?
Are you giving 3 options in the hope they might like 1?
My opinion is the only response you should be seeking is to get someone to reply to you.
This gives you a strong reason to pick up the phone and speak with them. This art of speaking to people you’d like to do business with is a lost art and one many people seem to want to avoid.
If you avoid confusion and give a clear indication of what your desired course of action, or the thing you’d like the other person to do is, then your conversion will see dramatic uplifts.
You don’t need to be sleazy or manipulative here. It can be something as simple as
“How are you fixed for a 10 minute call late next week?”
And once you have your most wanted response you can optimize your cold email body text to make a significant impact on your prospect.
That’s a blog post in it’s own right but the most important areas to optimize for are:
- What are the benefits you address and/or the business pain or goal you discuss? (sales 101 I know, but it isn’t being done)
- What is your sales pulse i.e your follow up system? Are you only sending 1 email? If so you are probably only getting 20% of the responses you could be getting. A sales pulse of 4 – 8 emails will provide you with massive increases in your responses. The tricky part is managing the technology to do this without overwhelm and diminishing returns. Read on to find out our recommendations.
The total result of a tiny 10% increase in opens and a 150% increase in replies ( 15% to 38%) to your email (as shown in figure 2) is a massive cumulative increase of 324% or from 32 a month to 134 a month. And yes, a 38% response rate is pretty standard and achievable.
Phase 3: The Number Of Replies Converted To A First Call
This is a very large omission in many peoples outbound sales strategy. Don’t make it one in yours!
In our work with clients and the prospects we talk to, we tend to see around a 10% conversion rate from all replies (not just the ones that say “please contact me”) as an average. I wrote a very detailed blog post on how to do that and more, available here
In our example here in figure 3 an increase from 10% to 20% in conversions of these replies, takes the cumulative number of monthly first calls or Discovery Calls from 3 to 27.
That’s 24 NEW PROSPECTS ( a 750% increase) meetings a month extra with a few minor tweaks to the system.
This is very typical of the type of results we see in a business when they start focusing on their system and it reflects the starting and finishing numbers of a typical business before and after they optimize this section (based on 1 person prospecting).
And if you can’t quite agree with my whole ‘cumulative’ effect concept then serious focus in this one area alone can provide those type of returns.
With a tight script and process at this stage it is relatively easy to achieve a 40% + conversion on replies to your emails to Discovery Calls/Strategy Sessions.
I lay out our exact script in this blog post – how covert replies to cold emails which you should be able to implement to bring that level of return.
If you want to see a little more detail on how to build a system to deal with responses then we go through that in our FREE 4 part training video series available here – I strongly recommend checking it out.
Phase 4: Convert More Of Your Discovery Sessions/Strategy Sessions To Business
I’m amazed at how many companies we talk to don’t have a highly scripted first call or product demonstration that includes:
- Opening and scene setting
- Future Pacing desired results
- Business challenges impacting your area of expertise
- How these knock on throughout the business
- Analysis of where the prospect (they) are
- Analysis of where they want to be
- What they have tried that’s failed
- What they have tried that’s worked
- What is the return if they take action
- What is the cost of not taking action
- Linking your benefits to the right level of pain/goal
- Asking for a commitment or next stage
- Addressing concerns and knowledge gaps
- Asking for a commitment or next stage
Anyone who tells you that scripts aren’t needed is talking out of their ar#% and is probably a manager who has never actually sold anything in their life!
If you script, train and coach this area then you should be able to see a 100% uplift in your current conversation rates.
For conservatism we have used a 20% uplift moving from a 25% conversion to 30%
That cumulative shift brings us from 0.8 sales per month to a 8 sales per month or a 913% cumulative uplift (not 1000% due to 1 decimal place irregularities).
Stop and think about that…
Stop and think about that…
In the old ‘unoptimized’ system that is the equivalent of recruiting 9 extra salespeople.
Do I need to really paint the picture of how much of a time drain and challenge it is to recruit 9 extra salespeople?
Or what the cost would be?
Phase 5 Increase The Average Deal Size:
Without a systemized approach many companies aren’t equipped to confidently handle approaching clients that are capable of providing larger deal sizes.
There are a number of areas to focus on here:
- Getting the data and email addresses of senior execs
- Confidence and ability to connect your features to their level of benefits. Think overall shareholder value versus the way you product speeds up a certain process
- A way of demonstrating value why a senior person in a business should speak to you and not pass you down to a middle management team
- The ability to contact people prior to them seeking a solution and effectively educating them on the long range value of your solution as a fit to their long range business strategy
- The scripts, approaches and confidence to pick up the phone and talk to them
By focusing on these areas it is possible to double your average deal size as a business – but for you skeptics we have kept it at a measly 10% increase in average deal size…
So with a$5k deal size (one off or Average Lifetime – you choose) we have only increased the deal size to $5.5k which is a really very, very pessimistic approach…
The cumulative effect of all of this tinkering is an increase in monthly revenue from $4k to $44k assuming no time lag in closing business (hey, it’s a model!) or a 1020% increase in RESULTS.
Phase 6 Increase The Number Of People Prospecting:Pretty obvious right
Once you have optimized your process and it is delivering those type of numbers then infinite scale is achievable.
Most of the fastest growing companies in the world are using this process.
The moral of the story is don’t get sucked into the belief that an outbound cold email strategy is based on the power of the ‘pitch’ of the email template because you would be doing yourself a disservice if you did.
It may not happen overnight but the rewards are there if you are prepared to do the work. Or get help from someone that will do that work for you…
IF you want to know more about the 6 Step Outbound Prospecting system that delivers then register for and attend my free 4 part training course here
The training breaks down the 6 strategies in depth and shows you exactly how you can quickly and easily build an outbound prospecting system – whether it’s for 1 person or a complete team.
Registering for the training is easy. Just click the banner below, then enter your name and email or just click here