Sales Prospecting Techniques: Get More Replies with Less Touches
Author: Jonny Miller, BombBomb
Posted: September 9th, 2019
In a recent HubSpot study, 42% of sales representatives identified prospecting as the most difficult part of the sales process. And sales prospecting techniques aren’t easy to just “pick up.”
And can you blame them? Think back to your days as a salesperson. Did you struggle to get your clients’ attention? Did you go out of your way to consistently call your prospects, send elaborate emails, or even hand-deliver exciting packages but never receive a response? This is a challenge so many representatives face.
Not to mention the fact that our prospecting teams – our business development representatives (BDRs) – are often the unsung heroes within our organizations. They work tirelessly to land meetings for our account executives and salespeople. And in many organizations, these representatives are also newer in their career.
Being faced with the challenges of getting attention and generating meetings is no easy task for someone new to the sales floor. And as a sales leader, you need to give your team all the possible guidance and tools you can to help them be successful.
That’s why we’ve pulled together a sequence formula you can give your team to help them generate more responses with less touches. Touches can be defined as emails, voicemails, and direct phone conversations. For this sequence formula, we suggested phone calls and voicemails, emails and video emails, and LinkedIn outreach – because these are the tools we’ve observed to be the most useful in sales prospecting.
In the article below, we’ll go over our favorite sales prospecting techniques within each tool. We’ll also show how it should be used within that tool, and when. At the conclusion, you’ll be able to access a downloadable PDF with a sequence formula you can implement with your team.
Want to skip the article and get straight to the sequence formula?
Text Based Email
– Sales Email Subject Lines
– Cold Email Subject Line Examples
– Sales Email Copy
– Cold Prospecting Email Template
Video Email: Get Personal & Show Visualizations In Your findings
– Personal One-to-One Video
– Social Proof Videos
– Videos That Get Attention & Provide Value
– Product Overview Videos
Social Outreach – How to Use LinkedIn for Sales Leads.
– Help Your Team Members Create a Solid LinkedIn Profile
– Encourage Them to Establish Relationships First
– Advocate That They Remain Active
– Help them Get Comfortable Creating Easy Content
Phone Calls and Voicemails – The Art of Cold Calling
Download – Sales Prospecting Sequences That Convert
Text-based email is probably the medium your BDRs feel the most comfortable with and it’s a great place to start your sequence. Moreover, according to Copper’s “Big List of Sales Email Statistics for 2018,” eight out of 10 prospects want to talk to sales reps via email over any other medium [Copper]. But that being said, we all know how challenging it is to get your lead’s attention inside of her or his email inbox. However, persistence, personalization, and strategy will help your team thrive.
The best way to do this is to get your prospect’s attention with an eye-catching subject line. Our Chief Evangelist, Ethan Beute, and Chief Marketing Officer, Steve Pacinelli, ran a quick training series earlier this year and one of their topics was “How to Get More Email Opens and Plays.” In this training, they provide several great tips on how to create high-quality prospecting emails. The first topic they discussed was, of course, subject lines. They believe the key to creating successful subject lines is to make them personalized and/or have them evoke curiosity.
• Personalized: Do your homework! Connect with them on LinkedIn and actually read their posts (more on that later.) See what interests them. Find as much information as you can about your prospects and directly speak to them.
• Evoke Curiosity: Steve explains, “Consumer psychology is driven by what people don’t know. We don’t know something, we gravitate toward figuring that out.” Create engaging subject lines that deviate from the norm, challenge the status quo, and encourage people to open your email.
Below, we’ve pulled subject line examples that are personalized, evoke curiosity, or both.
– Mike – See the attached SEO plan created for your team at BombBomb!
– Ethan – Your podcast yesterday on customer experience was PACKED with value
– Hi Candy – Congrats on landing that partnership with Target!
– Here are two reasons why you shouldn’t open this email
– Wouldn’t it be great if …
– Allison, your website looks great but …
You’ll notice that some of the subject line examples we offered above promise value. We have a mantra that we live by here at BombBomb. It’s simple – “Be of value, and abundance will follow.” The most successful sales teams work hard to find the right-fit customers and provide them with actual value. They truly believe their product can help the individuals they are reaching out to and genuinely want to see all of their customers succeed. So on that note, let’s talk email copy.
So now that you have a plan for your sales email subject line, let’s talk through copy.
The sequences our BDRs have seen the most success with start out with one simple text-only email. So let’s define simple. According to HubSpot, “Data suggests the ideal length of an email is between 50 and 125 words. Emails this length had a response rate above 50%. A similar study found emails with approximately 20 lines of text, or about 200 words, had the highest clickthrough rates. When in doubt, keep emails short and under 200 words.”
So while you want these emails to be brief, it’s also important to continue the personalization aspects we discussed in our cold email subject line section. However, there is a delicate line to draw with personalization — especially in initial reach-out. I recommend training your team to find common ground with their prospects — whether that’s the university they attended, towns they’ve lived in, sports teams they love, or even mutual connections. Have your team mention common ground in the closing line of the email. You shouldn’t advise them to start off the email with personalization because it can sometimes rub people the wrong way. But if it’s light and is mentioned towards the end of the email, it can go far! In fact, personalizing your emails with custom snippets can double your reply rate [Copper].
It’s important for your team’s sales email copy to be brief as mentioned above, provide value, and contain a call-to-action (CTA). Another important item to add to your sales emails is high-quality questions. In fact, emails that include one to three questions are 50% more likely to get a reply compared to those that do not include any questions [Copper].
Now let’s talk through a CTA. We actually don’t believe in sending too many text-based emails. Because of this, it’s important for you to create text-based emails that are less direct than some of your other touches. In fact, your BDRs would be better off in an initial cold email send if they made their CTA soft. A good example of a soft CTA would be a guide download or a quick quiz to help your prospect determine if their team is ready to implement the product you’re selling.
Now that we’ve talked through ideal tactics to implement, I wanted to share a cold prospecting email template that hits all the points we made above. This will help you get an idea of the types of emails you should have created for your team.
As you can see, the email is brief with a subject line that provokes curiosity and is personalized. It also asks questions, has a soft CTA, and finally ends with slight personalization.
Video email is an incredible way to interact with your prospects and allow your sales team to set themselves apart. It will help them each stand out as an individual – a human being with intrinsic value – instead of an emotionless text-based email asking prospects for their time and resources. And it’s a tool many of your competitors are not yet using.
Video has also become a crucial component in the buying process. In fact, seven in 10 B2B buyers watch a video sometime during their buying process [HubSpot.] While we advocate only sending one plain text email for your initial reachout, video email is something we encourage using multiple times inside of your sequences or cadences. There are four types of videos we suggest using in your cadence.
1. Personal One-to-One Video
After sending a simple, text-based email, the next email you should have BDRs and SDRs send is a simple one-to-one video. These videos will humanize your team and help them increase their chances of building legitimate relationships with their prospects. Because your team has most likely not established rapport with a prospect yet, it’s better to keep these videos under 60 seconds. Animated previews display the length of your video right on the preview/thumbnail, clearly showing your recipient the time commitment required to watch your video. When that time is displayed in seconds rather than minutes, decision-makers are more likely to click rather than ignore.
These videos should be personalized so your future clients can see that your team took the time to specifically create a video just for them. A good way to do this is by creating a personalized thumbnail or Animated GIF. When your video email is sent within BombBomb, it will appear in your prospect’s inbox as an animated preview, which is a loop of the first three seconds of your video. Many of our users have seen great success using a whiteboard and writing their prospect’s name, company name, or other relevant information that will entice them to click.
Now that you know how long your video should be and how to personalize your animated preview to entice the click, let’s talk about the contents that should be inside that initial video email. For outbound leads, I suggest creating a simple framework for your team that they can use for initial one-to-one video sends.
As far as the text for the email itself, we’ve created a graphic down below that your team can use as a guide for each of their video sends.
In their video, they should address…
a.) A problem or pain point you know your prospects might be having
b.) The solution you can offer them
c.) The results your solution could help them see
d.) A call-to-action
While these contents will definitely help your team’s videos perform well, what is most important is that your team is genuine and lets their authenticity shine through. Don’t let them get caught up in perfection. It’s their stumbles, their “ums,” their smiling faces, and even laughter that will appeal to prospects and help them feel taken care of by your team.
2. Social Proof Videos
In the section above, we walked through the importance of discussing the results your prospects could see if they implemented your product or services into their workflow. While it’s one thing for prospects to hear potential results from your team, it’s a completely different story when they hear it from actual past or present clients. Research shows that 91% of people regularly or occasionally read online reviews, and 84% trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. And they make that decision quickly: 68% form an opinion after reading between one and six online reviews [Inc.]
And that’s just from reading online reviews. Think about how much more of an impact watching a review could have on a lead. Through video, prospects can actually see the customer, hear their pain points, and relate to them.
Incorporating a video testimonial into your sequences can be an easy video to send early on in your prospecting. It’s the soft call-to-action your team can thrive off of. Simply sending a video, asking prospects to watch it, and tracking which ones did can help them better qualify higher-quality leads.
3. Videos That Get Attention & Provide Value
Now for the fun videos. We’ve already discussed the importance of using animated previews or thumbnails to get prospect’s attention. There are so many ways that you can use these animated previews to both get your client’s attention and provide value.
Our clients have found great success in utilizing our screen recorder feature right off the bat so whatever website they are viewing shows up in their animated preview. In many situations, they will send videos to their prospects with their LinkedIn profile in the background, like in the animated GIF below.
While that’s a great example of a video that will help you get attention, you can also use the screen recorder feature to provide value. For example, let’s say your team sells SEO services. Have the sales representatives send videos to potential clients with their websites in the background using a screen recorder service. Have the reps speak to their website and give potential clients actual, tangible tips that are personalized to them and they can immediately take away from the experience. Give them SEO information that they would have never realized on their own to showcase a need for them to source further information from a professional in your industry.
This can be done for a variety of different industries. The point is for the business development representative to not only bring valuable information, but to also stand out with the video recording and showcase your company as industry experts.
4. Product Overview Videos
Did you know that 90% of users say that product videos are helpful in the decision process? [Hubspot] At BombBomb, we’ve seen customers in a variety of industries find success creating quick product demo videos. This can vary from a quick mobile video to show off a new car that’s available, to showcasing a piece of furniture, or even a software demo. Each type of product has a different application you can use to demo it.
With BombBomb’s video inbox mobile application, users can pause and restart a recording in one continuous clip. And they can also flip from the front-facing camera to the rear-facing camera on the fly — while recording. If your team sells a digital product, the BombBomb Screen Recorder is a perfect tool to quickly record and send a customized product demo to target contacts. Your team will even be able to share their screen and webcam simultaneously, and can even switch back and forth between their screen and webcam being full-screen in real time, allowing them to replicate an in-person demonstration.
If you have a produced product overview/demo video that’s already been created, your team admin can add it to your team’s library to send to your prospects. If your team is sending a “one size fits all” video like this, be sure to customize the text that accompanies the video within the email so that it doesn’t feel like a blanket message.
Example of a Video Outreach Email That Converts!
Meet April. April sent this video email to one of her previous customers just to reach out and see how he was doing. Check out her email below and the response she got immediately after.
I’m sure you’re not surprised to see LinkedIn on this list of prospecting touches. In fact, your team is probably already using LinkedIn to prospect. And that’s most likely because you know it works. It’s the medium where our BDRs see the best results.
But alternatively, most of the prospecting messages I receive on LinkedIn are poorly crafted. There is an art to this process and I promise you that if your team is sending automatic cold messages hours after connecting with a prospect on LinkedIn, they’re doing it wrong.
There are four main points to keep in mind when creating your LinkedIn processing plan.
1. Help Your Team Members Create a Solid LinkedIn Profile
Before your team starts connecting with customers, you’ll want to make sure they have a professional profile that represents themselves and your company well. If you have a Social Media Manager on staff, it could be worth it to have them do a presentation on how to create a quality LinkedIn profile. They could even help your sales team craft their headlines, summaries, and maybe even take professional photos of each representative.
2. Encourage Them to Establish Relationships First
Just like we discussed in our section on sales email copy, you don’t want your team to start with a hard CTA or evident personalization right off the bat. Just like in any relationship you begin, it’s better to ease into it. Make sure your team members are joining relevant LinkedIn groups and connecting with right-fit customers. If they start to find great future prospects in these groups, then they can send each individual a personalized connection request explaining that they are both a member of the same group and wanted to connect.
3. Advocate That They Remain Active
Once your team starts joining these groups, encourage them to become active members by asking thoughtful questions and engaging in conversations. Once they start connecting with these individuals, it will be easy for them to continue the conversation by commenting on all of their updates and new content. As soon as they’ve officially established a relationship and had a meaningful interaction, then they can start personalizing their messaging and asking for appointments.
4. Help them Get Comfortable Creating Easy Content
Commenting on their prospect’s posts is one thing, but having them create their own relevant content is a whole other beast. If you have a Marketing team pumping out highly relevant blog posts, ask them to help write copy for each blog that can be used by your team when they post the article onto their pages. Another idea is to determine talking points that you believe are relevant to your industry and encourage your team to create simple videos around these topics. If you’re in touch with the industry you’re selling to, create a simple video yourself a few times a week and share the video with your team so that they have example content and topics that they can speak to.
Now we reach one of the most challenging aspects of prospecting: cold calling. According to Hubspot, it takes an average of 18 calls to actually connect with a buyer. And while we understand that number is frustrating, cold calling is a necessary component of your sequences. However, it doesn’t need to be the main focal point of your outreach. Chorus.ai analyzed over 1 million cold calls made using sales engagement products like Outreach and, in their findings, determined that the most successful sequences included four phone calls over a 20-day time period [Source].
Just like many of the other touches we’ve gone over, the key to cold calling is personalization, authenticity, and providing value. Train your team to do their research. Ask them to track down key information about each prospect. What is their day-to-day like? What are the common pain points people in their position tend to feel? Speak to those.
Tone and authenticity are also extremely important in cold calling. You won’t want your team to seem nervous but, alternatively, you don’t want them to seem overly confident. Inspire them to speak in a warm tone and be professional, but not be afraid to be themselves.
Moreover, you’ll want to train your team to start with a soft interaction. How would you feel if you walked into a store and an associate immediately asked you about your size and started pulling items for you based off it? So often as sales managers and representatives, we forget the importance of building relationships. You wouldn’t ask someone to marry you on the first date, so make sure your team isn’t starting off phone calls by asking prospects if they’re in the market for a new CRM. Instead, have them do their research and ask softer questions. “I saw you just landed that new major client – congratulations! How is that relationship going?” Or “I just read your blog post on sales prospecting tips for software companies. What did you mean when you said XYZ?”
Finally, because you’re mixing in phone calls with LinkedIn outreach, text email, and video email, your team can use their cold calls as an opportunity to tie back to the other touches they’ve been making. For example, let’s say your representative sent a LinkedIn request to someone you’ve already interacted with. Make sure they mention that request in the voicemail. The same can be said with video email. Have your team call a prospect and leave them a voicemail telling them that they’re going to send them a video to help them put a face to the name. This helps with brand recognition and, of course, makes the interaction feel a bit more human.