Updated on January 6, 2018
A good friend called me the other day and had just started using Toofr for his new consulting business. Like any good friend, he had some candid feedback for me about Toofr. What works and what doesn't, what's confusing and what's not. But most of all, although he's a really bright guy and knows both sales and customer success, he felt stranded after he got his emails.
In essence, he asked me, "Now what?"
Here's a post to answer that question for him and any of you who also struggle with what to do once you have your emails.
First thing's first: Use drip software
You need to send multiple emails to each person on your prospect list. At least five, maybe seven or eight. You can refine it based on feedback from your list. Run experiments! But keep this in mind:
Rule #1 of inside sales: Do NOT feel shy about contacting your prospects multiple times.**
If you only send one email to each prospect, then you're not maximizing your list. Not even close. In fact, I've found that over 80% of replies come on the second and third touches. The subsequent ones merely squeeze out the last 20%.
I suggest you follow this drip email sequence template:
- State the pain you solve
- Polite reminder about the first email
- Request for intro to someone else
- Test a variation on the pain described in the first email
- Test an aggressive promotion or statistic
- You can google what might go into each of those emails. I can’t write them for you here (and if I did, I'd be lying to you, because each business solves a different pain, and whether or not you get a reply depends on how well you describe the pain.)
Point is, don't write about features. Features are meaningless until you've hooked the prospect by identifying their pain. This is sales empathy at its finest.
Writing about features is essentially writing about yourself. It's boring, so don't do it. You need to write about your audience, get into their shoes and walk around a bit. If your emails do that, you'll close deals.
The "drip software" I mentioned does a few great things for you:
- Lets you write drip templates that can be used with info like first names, company names, and anything else you want merged into the template automatically. This means those five emails I described above become templates and your lists get merged into them.
- Lets you string the templates into a sequence, spaced apart by as many days as you want. A sequence might look like this: -- Day 1: Send Drip 1 -- Day 3: If no reply or bounce, Send Drip 2 -- Day 7: If no reply or bounce, Send Drip 3 -- Day 10: If no reply or bounce, Send Drip 4 -- Day 14: If no reply or bounce, Send Drip 5
- Detects and suppresses replies, so you don't have to worry about engaging with a prospect and continuing to drip them (that's embarrassing).
- Tracks your open and reply rates so you can tell which templates are working the best. You probably won't get your template right on the first go, so this data is critical to helping you refine them.
If you're just getting started, this is all you need to know. Once you're operating at scale, or if you have some legacy infrastructure, you'll need to make sure you've suppressed existing customers from your lists. I suggest you suppress by domain. It's a big world out there — plenty of other people to hit with cold emails. If you want to expand an account, that's best done with good old fashioned relationship sales.
Here’s a list of drip campaign softwares Toofr recommends:
In no particular order, these are all reputable companies and some are founder friends of Toofr.
Next, maintain a good low bounce rate
Here’s where Toofr can also help you out.
Keep your bounce rate low by only sending to high confidence emails at first. High for us is over 75. You shouldn't see bounce rates above 5% if you stick to this threshold.
As you ramp up volume, you can introduce lower scoring emails until you settle on a tolerable bounce rate with whomever your sending provider is. For most companies, though, they want bounce rates under 20% (at the high end) and 5% (most conservatively).
The benefit of letting your bounce rate flex is a bit is you're able to collect more data and better refine your templates. That's the trade-off: bounce rate vs data. It’s up to you and your sending vendors to figure out where that balance lies.
Finally, use a CRM
You'd have to be crazy to run a good drip campaign and not use a CRM (customer relationship management) program to track your conversations. Don't be cray.
CRMs these days are not very expensive (the one I recommend is actually FREE) and provide innumerable benefits. Among them are:
- Record of your conversations. You can actually store every email you send to your prospects in the CRM automatically and quickly be able to reference that when they write back. This is essential if you have more than one person doing sales because your whole sales team can see the email thread, not just the one who sent the emails.
- History of your pipeline. When someone writes back and wants a demo, or signs up for a trial, or calls and asks about your "custom" or "enterprise" plans, you need to associate that person with a revenue figure. This is what the Opportunity or Deal object is in most CRMs. Use it! Ultimately your pipeline and your close rate (Opportunity Created to Opportunity Won ratio) will tell you whether or not your cold email operation is successful.
- Reminders to follow up. More often than not, your cold email campaign will work wonderfully, and then you have the challenging task of managing dozens of high-value conversations simultaneously. Even Gary Kasparov couldn't do this, so use software! It's no longer automated when the drip is done, and you need help.
Here's the list of CRMs Toofr recommends:
For me there's a clear winner in this list (unlike the drip campaign list, which are all pretty great and priced the same). And that winner is HubSpot. It's free, it's powerful, and it's unlimited. How great is that? And I had the pleasure personally of switching off of Salesforce to HubSpot (saving $40,000 per year) with no love lost.
So that's it, folks. In summary:
- Use drip campaign software to maximize engagement with your lists
- Keep your bounce rate low
- Use a CRM to follow up with your replies
And that's how you use Toofr to maximize your sales flow.