- Posted by Randy Hendriks
- On May 21, 2019
- 0 Comments
Sales automation consists of automating manual processes to better leverage your time. Usually integrated with a CRM, sales automation tools can initiate conversation, create new contacts, and schedule outgoing emails. In this article I will focus on sales automation as it relates to outbound emailing.
1) Grow your contact list
One of the most effective ways to create a contact list is to invite visitors to your website to sign up for regular updates from your business. While this is certainly an effective way to collect emails, if you don’t already have decent website traffic, it can be a slow process. A second effective way to grow your contact list is to solicit emails through networking events, social media and asking for a business card whenever you meet potential prospects. A third way to grow your list is through researching potential contacts and collecting publicly available emails. This practice is in line with American spam law protection, as long as you are sending the contact information relevant their role and company. Canadian guidelines are somewhat more stringent, and require implied opt in. There are many tools available to help you search out email addresses such as zoom info, rocket reach, get prospect, and one of my favorites, Hunter IO.
2) Find an email sales automation tool
There are a variety of email tools available to help you engage with your prospects. If you already have an opt-in from prospects, I would suggest using Mailchimp. While I don’t consider it a true sales automation tool since you need to schedule each email separately, it is a free channel you can use when reaching out to less than 2000 contacts. Hubspot provides some great email marketing functionality built into its CRM system. It creates action paths for different yes/no scenarios, initiating emails based on certain triggers such as multiple opens and clicks. Recently I’ve been using Mailshake. This tool has been specifically designed for situations where you may not have any prior relationship with your contacts, and can also make sure your email prospecting list contains working emails that will be received. This is an important aspect to consider since bounce rates higher that 5 percent may trigger alerts that will divert your emails to spam folders. You can also send out multiple emails according to a follow-up schedule that you outlined.
3) Develop a script with maximum personalization and a good hook
You want to make sure your email script quickly moves to the value you are bringing to your prospect, addressing realistic pain points that they are experiencing. This can be done by forming a strong question in your subject line that you answer in the opening line of your email. You can identify other key elements of a good B2B email in my blog post. The Hubspot email builder will remind you to keep things short, with 100 words being the suggested length. Advisors at Mailshake have also warned about using certain words like “free” that will set off the spam alarms and setting moderate daily email limits. If you do have any further personal info that you’ve been able to find when combing through social media or your prospect’s LinkedIn profile, most tools allow for one by one email personalization as needed.
4) Use A/B testing
A/B testing refers to testing two different scripts or wordings. I’ve found this works best when you’re reaching out to a minimum of 500 contacts in any given campaign. You can test subject lines, value propositions, and even the time of day you’re reaching out to your prospects. In Mailchimp, the automation tool will send out emails to a preliminary test group and then proceed to send the complete campaign to the group the tested higher for a subject line or email approach. You can also run complete campaigns in parallel with different wordings to see which one had greater impact, informing future campaigns.
5) Follow up, leveraging lead scoring
Almost all email sales automation tools will provide analytics on things such as opens, clickthroughs and email responses. Good “rates” vary depending on industry. The greatest indicator of interest is a phone or email response from your prospect, which may occur at a .5 to 5% rate. If you’ve not gotten any email responses to a campaign all is not lost. You can use trigger events such as multiple opens and clickthroughs that imply interest, and a high lead score. Identify and follow up with these high lead score prospects first, especially when you have limited time for outreach.
While sales automation can save you time and eliminate tedious tasks, there is no silver bullet. It still takes a significant investment of time to develop good email scripts, and these should be integrated with a multi-pronged approach including engagement on LinkedIn and other social media platforms as well as phone call follow ups. If you’re looking for support in developing your outbound sales strategy contact us at VA Partners.