Outbound prospecting to cold accounts is tough sledding. You could fill a building the size of the Royal Library of Alexandria with all the books, audio recordings, videos and blogging devoted to the art and science of outbound sales. And, while many offer some strong insights, that library would hopefully meet the same fate as the one in Alexandria.
Long gone are the days where “phonebook + telephone = $$$.” Thankfully so. Now, both mass and targeted emailing carries the day. At Prialto, we’ve cobbled together a strong program based on various concepts, including those offered by Aaron Ross & Marylou Tyler’s Predictable Revenue model. But as with all business methodologies, this model focuses on the process. At the end of the day, implementing that process could take much more manpower than you’d anticipate.
Ross & Tyler, for example, recommend doing mass emailing through Salesforce.com’s Sales Cloud. While Salesforce can be an incredible tool for organizing, reporting and gaining visibility into a company’s sales pipeline, its mass emailing functionality is nearly inadequate. Here’s why using Salesforce as they encourage will lead you into an administrative vortex.
Good luck getting new contacts into Sales Cloud in the first place. Ross & Tyler’s approach involves emailing 500+ contacts a week. Though you are emailing these contacts many times (in a polite/professional manner, of course!), the process still involves uploading at least 1000 new contacts a month. Enter Salesforce’s “Import Wizard.” This wizard is no Merlin, unless you’re thinking of Malory’s Merlin (in which case, bravo!) in that it’s an evil wizard. The Import Wizard has 7 steps, a finicky dupe-catcher and will time-out a lot.
Your emails will look like mass emails, and that is not ideal. Why do Salesforce’s email layouts require mile-wide borders that screech with a lack of intimacy? I have no idea, but they do and if you want to send a mass email with hyperlinks and HTML tracking, they will look like mass emails. Why is this not ideal? Have you ever received a “Happy New Year” text message from a friend that was clearly sent to several dozen people at the same time? Does it seem impersonal or unnecessary to you? That’s how your mass email recipient will look at your cold outreach email.
Enjoy updating and creating fields required to track your emails? When an email goes out and get the desired 7-9% response rate, there are two immediate reactions; “Yes! A bunch of new people to connect with!” and then “Crap! 2+ hours of today will be spent updating Salesforce!” Before I even get to responses, I have to pull a view with six different filters, double check that and then queue them together (aka mass update a field.) Then come the responses… You have to update contact status, the account status, change the activity type, create a task to follow up with them, change the new field that counts the number of emails the target has received and create a new contact if they referred someone. I don’t actually do any of this, because I have a Prialto Productivity Assistant (do you? Why not silly?). But if I did, it would take all morning to update, respond and track this outreach. By noon that phonebook would be looking mighty nice.
HTML tracking… really, that’s it!? Did your recipient click on the link you included? Did they forward it to a colleague? Did that person cruise around your site and spend 5 minutes looking at your case studies page? You will have no idea. All you will know is if they responded to it or if they opened it. What if they responded by saying “no thanks,” but spent 10 minutes looking at your pricing page? That would be nice to know that so you could send them an ROI explanation to help them understand the value of what you do. Alas, all you get is HTML tracking.
You're not naturally organized, so you'll miss parts of this admin upkeep and your prospects will notice…and think less of you. "And you were doing so well..." That's an actual reply I got from one of my prospects. I had sent him a cold outreach email the week before, he responded quickly with interest and within 20 minutes of sending him the email I had a great qualification call with him and I was scheduling a demo. Unfortunately, in my self-congratulatory afterglow, I forgot to change one field on his contact record. The result was that he slipped through my filters on the next mass email, received it again and I ended up looking like a hack. Was I a hack? Kind of... but this is what happens when you overload salespeople with admin.
Without serious administrative support to back you up, sending mass emails via Salesforce is a near fail exercise. Even if you use a mass email plugin that connects to Salesforce on the backend, the administrative work we’ve laid out here will still need to get done to make your CRM effective. And while five hours of admin work may be more effective than eight hours of cold calls, it doesn’t motivate your sales people in the sales.
To get your time back and to make this strategy effective, you'll need to distribute and delegate the administrative tasks. Predictable revenue comes from a team, not from a one-man sales department.