Sales outreach – Defined
As opposed to inbound sales, where leads that come to you via website, blogs, marketing materials like brochures etc., outbound outreach is a process where you proactively approach prospects who you know fom meeting and events and reach out to them through cold-calling and emails. In short, you actively reach out to people about you whom you know very little. And by far the most commonly used and scalable outreach method is email.
Email is not dead.
Today, prospects are swamped with promotional messages from numerous channels. As a sales rep, you have to find a way to cut through the noise. Yet it continues to serve as the essential communication channel for brands and has stood the test of time in the face of social media and any other method of mass communication. 61% of companies generate more than 10 per cent of sales from email.
And yet, as a sales professional, you’ve got to keep finding ways to reinvent the wheel. No rule book prescribes a set model for email prospecting. The only rule is to keep re-inventing out-of-the-box solutions by keeping an eye on for changing technologies and tools.
Pro-tip : Leverage artificial intelligence, machine learning and abundance of data at your disposal to break through the clutter
It is no secret that we’re living in the age of personalization. Customers don’t want just service. They want everything customized, from their experience at a hotel to their data plan. A personalized email improves click-through rates by an average of 14%, and conversion rates by an average of 10%, according to The Aberdeen Group. Personalized subject lines are 26 per cent more likely to be opened according to campaign monitor.
Mass emails, simply don’t work. Personalized emails are relatable, friendly and show prospects you’ve done your homework.
How to Ace Personalized Outreach
Going beyond name
Personalization has to go beyond addressing each prospect by their name. As a sales professional, you must consider each prospect’s individual choices. Your new-age prospects want “tailored” emails that add real value, specifically to them. It is your job to empower them to make the best decision, and hopefully, that means closing with you.
- Open with a greeting that is unique to a prospect’s life: Ex – I heard you at XYZ event and thoroughly enjoyed your talk on ABC. Subject line: Fanmail alert! Loved your talk at the ABC concert
- Address unique pain points in your emails: Go beyond a general understanding of your prospect’s problems to force-fit the solution – your product, and genuinely empathize. Use social media to know them better and tailor your message accordingly. Subject line: Peter, this email holds the key to your sales bonus.
- Make it about them: From reviews to references, testimonials and more, customers spend enough time researching your products before buying. Provide content that adds value to them through reports, whitepapers or ebooks. Subject line: <free tax-saving tips inside>: You don’t have to pay such high taxes every year!
- Use case studies from similar industries: One size does not fit all. Customize your pitch with information relevant to their area of work. Subject line: John, just making this one change increased <a competitor firm’s> revenue by 10%
“Personalization is pointless without knowing the individual. Understand the dreams, hopes, and fears that motivate your customers then hit them where it counts.” – Paul Gillin
The next wave in personalized email prospecting:
(Source: Wyzowl Report)
Videos can breathe new life into your comatose sales emails. It is possibly the next best thing to face-to-face, one-on-one meetings. With video, suddenly your cold emails don’t seem cold anymore! It is as personal as it gets and it works. Here’s proof:
- Only including the word “video” in email subject lines can increase open rates by 19% *
- Adding video to an email can increase click-through rates by up to 50%*
- As per research done by Gong.io, 41% of all closed deals had one thing in common – they used a webcam.
Why video works in sales emails
- It stays with you far longer: “People retain only 10% of what they read as opposed to a whopping 95% when they watch a video” says Socialmediatoday.com. Visuals stay with us much longer than anything you may have read.
- It builds trust: Video is the next best thing to meeting someone in person. It engages the viewer at multiple levels, including tone and body language, which account for more than your words do. Our non-verbal cues convey what we feel and remove the ambiguity of impersonal, text-based communication.
“With video, I can see your sincerity. I can tell that you care, I can get a feel for you as a person.” – John Barrows, sales professional & advisor
- Faster: The human brain processes visuals much faster than text, which means you’re using up less of your prospect’s time with a video email. Videos also impact your overall sales cycle and turn-around time.
Create videos easily
Let’s begin by busting some myths: creating videos is an elaborate, expensive, and a time-consuming process.
Creating full-blown television ads may require a significant amount of expertise and resources. However videos for sales are accessible and straightforward. Look out for tools that not only help you create, personalize & share videos for outreach easily but also seamlessly integrate with your primary or secondary sales platform, which is a huge added advantage.
Be sure to read the best practices before shooting your video. Be creative! You could use a whiteboard to highlight critical points to make the format more engaging and dynamic. Enable autoplay and captions so prospects can view the video with their sound off!
How to use video for sales: some best practices
While you can fake a text email or even a phone call, try not to fake on a video- unless you’re an amazing actor (then perhaps, you’re in the wrong profession!), because it will show. An overly scripted and animated introduction by you will seem gimmicky and your prospects will likely be put off.
Your body language and tone account for 93% of what you’re communicating, leaving only 7% for your words. So make notes, prepare, but feel free to go with the flow and be natural while recording the video. It lends authenticity and helps a prospect to connect with you instantly.
Customize the message
Having said that while the production is not rocket science, let’s understand the content portion for the video. Few quick tips for customizing the message:
- Avoid jargons: Use words that you’d use in a regular conversation and don’t over-complicate your message and be accessible
- Include Names: Mentioning or adding prospects name or company name in the video amplifies the personal touch.
- Include CTAs, annotations and polls within the video to keep it interactive.
- Show them their product or website during the video.
- Keep it brief: Prospects love it when you value their time. Give a quick brief about the video right at the beginning. That way, they can choose to watch it or not.
- Use case studies: Quote an example where you have solved a similar problem for a different client.
- Ask for feedback and implement them in your next interaction. Show prospects that you are willing to help them in every way possible.
Measure and Track
Any content effort is half-baked if you can’t tell what works and what doesn’t. Use tools that enable you to track drop-off and engagement. Don’t just stop at open and click-through rates, dig deeper to understand how you can alter your message, tone and presentation.
The good news is that video consumption is already very high that prospects are attuned to it and prefer this mode of communication. What’s even better, videos are now easy to create, edit and distribute. The only bad news here is, you could miss the bus if you don’t embrace this trend.