Women in Sales Blog

They all Told me I was Insane ... Taking the time to Write Personalized Prospecting Emails is Smart

Posted by Dec 9, 2014 5:28:00 PM Ali Powell

Don't believe what every sales trainer tells you. Most sales training, sales advice, etc say the same thing about prospecting. They all tell (at least used to tell sales reps) to just send out templated emails and use template scripts in the prospecting process. 

Using scripts and templates in the sales process is a thing of the past. (I said it, and I believe it). To be today's moden sales rep you need to adapt and use personalization and research to pull in the prospect. 

Template sales emails don't work

Every job I have ever had including this one started with sales training which included templates for emails, scripts for our connect calls, scripts for our exploratory calls, scripts for demos, etc. Script, script, template, template. Yuck.

I never actually really understood this process of sales templates.  If we were trying to win their business why would we start out in a generic way....? I will say that if you are a new sales rep at a company that you just started at there is value in having some direction. You will want to see examples of how that company conducts their sales process, how are their sales reps having conversations now, how do you leave a vmail, send an email, etc. The reps that have been there for a while have the experience that you can benefit and learn from.

Make sure that you take that sales training direction into consideration but give it a human twist of your own.  Traditonal sales training puts way too much emphasis on just getting things done to get things done. There are typically productivity numbers that they need you or want you to hit. So you crank away and start to make as many phone calls and send as many templated emails as you can. Well, I personally think that sales orgs today should allow sales reps to get to their number however the heck you want. If you can get there, let the rep do it their way. Don't tell them they have to do it a certain way or hit certain productivity numbers. It shouldn't be about how the rep does it or how many times they do things in a day. I would look at bottom number of how much revenue this way of prospecting is bringing into the company and judge the rep on that. If someone is succeeding or overexceeding their number, leave them alone. Let them do their thing because something is working. 

Don't focus solely on the productivity numbers in prospecting. 

Enough of the speed dialing. Enough of sending gross, template emails. They don't work. At least I don't think they do. Any time I get a non personalized, non researched email from someone I ask a question back like "does this actually work for you?" A lot of times the emails have poor spelling, say something incorrect about me, are reaching out to the entirely wrong person where I have nothing to do with what they sell, tell me that I work at a company I don't work at (I think that might be an email marketing problem)....Anyways, don't do template emails in the sales process of prospecting process. You aren't going to get a good response from an intelligent person that way.  I want to work with intelligent people who have a reason to talk to me. A blast template email is not going to yield those kinds of people I would like to have as customers. 

How to stop sending spammy emails in the sales process Taking time in prospecting is important. It will provide value throughout the whole sales process. 

I can spend 30 minutes to an hour doing one outreach to one company. Some sales trainers or sales "professionals" might tell you that is stupid and a waste of time. I don't think so and I can prove that from doing it this way for over 4 years now. I don't care how long something takes me. I have to make the decision in the first place to want to work a company or a lead. That process even takes time because that takes considerable amount of research to know I have a reason to work the lead. Once I make that decision then it is done. I know for some reason I want to work it. Now I need to put in the effort to get a yes or no to want to talk to me. 

If you want to put in effort and see better results from your prospecting and sales outreach you should keep these best practices in mind: 

  • When you decide you want to work a lead really decide it. Make sure it is something you would like to actually call. Do you actually want to help this company for some reason? Once you make that decision be ready to put in effort to reach out to them. Your goal of prospecting is to get some kind of response. Whether they do want to talk or don't want to talk is really not the important part. The important part is that you put effort into it and that effort will come across to the prospect and they will likely want to talk to you more than someone who reached out in a generic, boring, same old way as every other rep out there selling something.
  • There are probably a handful of really, really good sales reps out there...are you one of them? Do you want to come off to the prospect as intelligent and hard working as you really are? When I say good sales reps I mean ones that actually care about their process, and don't just do  things to do things to hit a productivity number for the day.  HubSpot has a lot of great sales reps who care. I know that they exist. But, from what I can see from spammed and template email outreach that I get all the time there are alot of bad sales reps out there. If you actually are a good sales rep, don't you want your prospects you are reaching out to to see that? Take the time to make sure that the company you are working will see that you care from the beginning. Don't make your  chances of getting a meeting worse by sending a stupid note that has no meaning to the person that you are reaching out to. 
  • I don't send any kind of blast emails or template emails, ever. Yes, ever. Not in prospecting and not in the sales process for follow up emails. I don't even use our own email marketing and lead nurturing software for sales prospecting. I personally believe that marketing automation is best used for nurturing once someone is in the sales process. I belive it is meant to push someone through the sales process, not get them into it.  I think that the sales rep should do research and start to reach out using one off communication methods. Nothing templated, nothing mass. Instead, take your time to write emails that are personalized to that person and to that company that you are working.
  • If you put in the time and effort you will see better results. When I have time to do prospecting I always get answers. That is because one email, one vmail, one tweet, one linkedin message, whatever it is could take me 30 minutes just for one company. That is fine to me.  That is a good use of my time because the research I did can be used over and over again as I follow up after my first outreach.
  • Be human and reach out like a normal person with some reason to maybe help. Don't act like a robot sales person. State why you are reaching out and the research you have done. Then state why you think you can help and why you thought that maybe your research would mean that your outreach could be timely or helpful. 

People said I was crazy or insane to be spending so much time on my outreach. Spending way too much time on personalizing things, and I remember thinking they were wrong. I would show them they were wrong and they needed to think differently about prospecting.

I think the mentality of fast prospecting is all wrong.

I will continue to do what I think works and will continue to think about the prospect always in prospecting. The prospect comes first, not me or my time. If it takes me a whole day to do a good job reaching out to a high quality lead I will do it.

You are doing your job as a sales person so you can help someone. If you really believe in what you sell you should want to do good research to bring in good opportunities into your funnel. Those first connect calls with leads you decided to work at some point might become customers. Put some effort in and who cares if the other sales reps think it is a waste of time. Just show them your results. Who's insane now? 

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Topics: sales prospecting, prospecting, timely selling, timely sales process, more human sales process, more human sales prospecting, personalized sales process, doing research in the sales process

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