It only takes a brief early morning scroll through LinkedIn and you’ll see an “is cold calling dead?” post which, naturally, leads to further debate around the most effective prospecting methods. For now, I’ll steer well clear of this discourse as it’s entirely subjective.
Rather, in this series, I’ll discuss my most effective methods for initial outreach & the opportunities that I subsequently create as a result. What works, what hasn’t worked and so on.
Perhaps the strongest argument that a varied approach has worked for me, can be found in the four biggest opportunities I’ve created in the 7 months I’ve been at Kluster (worth noting all 4 are now clients):
1. Cold call to VP Sales
2. Cold email to VP Sales
3. Video to Sales Ops Director
4. Direct mail to VP Sales Ops
There is, however, one theme that remains common throughout the above successes; hyper-personalisation. By that, I don’t mean that I chuck prospects into “buckets” (as I’ve often heard them referred to) – instead, every outreach is tailored entirely to the individual I’m aiming to get in front of.
Anyone who has worked in sales development knows that the biggest challenge is in arranging that first, lengthy conversation. You’re not selling your product right away, you’re selling time – a precious commodity. So, how do you engage someone?
Applying the principle of hyper-personalisation to email, it’s all about the first line and not wasting words (think about the email notification in the bottom right of their screen).
1. Find something unique about that prospect’s personal or business life – an example could be a football team that they follow on LinkedIn or Twitter – get that in the opening line. For instance:
“Our CEO forecasted that Chelsea would finish on 72 points this season. While not completely perfect, if we can predict a turbulent PL season with that level of accuracy, imagine how close we could get to predicting your annual revenue”.
2. You’ve grabbed their attention, now lead into value (I tend to bullet point the quantifiable positive effect we have on sales volume, value, velocity for current clients).
3. Explain how that value is achieved through your proposition in as few words as possible.
Best case scenario you get a response. Worst case, they’ll remember your email amidst the usual debris they have to sift through.
If it’s the latter, you’re well positioned for when you reach them through another channel (if executed well, you may even be sent around the sales team).
That same tailored approach simply has to go into your first line on a call too. As an experiment this morning, I opened up my pitch with “we’re an AI-driven software provider” and it was immediately greeted with “I’m not interested” before I even mentioned what we do. In the following call, I began with “I noticed on your LinkedIn profile that you’re the go-to man for Salesforce reporting, forecasting and analytics…” and the reception was entirely warmer altogether.
Of course, there are a number of other variables this could be attributed to, but immediately they noted I was credible and I bought myself another 30 seconds to explain the proposition. And it’s amazing what a salesperson can do with 30 seconds…