Outreach, in my view, the hardest task a salesperson does. If you ask me to get in a room with prospects and network, I’m like a kid in a candy store. If it’s giving a sales pitch, I’m in my element. Even entering notes in the CRM is not hard, just boring.

The challenge I find, is when I know I’ve a product or service that my prospect will love, is  frustrating in not being able to pitch them. So starting and continuing a dialogue with a prospect, the outreach, is the toughest part of sales. So how to send a powerful introductory email or a nurturing email to a prospect who is overwhelmed by Salespeople like me?

There are two scenarios we should discuss, firstly the cold introductory email, secondly the nurturing or checking in email.

Both have one similarity, we are looking for a response, more information, meeting request or a referal, it’s not a branding exercise. To that end the email has to stand-out from the hundreds already in your prospects inbox.

So we know “Checking in” emails are not the way to go, I think prospects have a filter on the phrase “Just Checking in”… Straight to spam:)

More recently companies like Outreach.io and Salesloft have developed technology for sequenced or automated email sending. These products certainly help with the time it takes to manually email prospects and they provide templates based on successful subject lines and content.

In many ways they are a victim of their own success. Since it’s so easy to send templated emails there is a tendency to send more. Put yourself in your prospects’ shoes they’re getting  6 sequenced emails from you and let’s assume 3-4 sales people sending them 6+ sequenced emails.

Firstly, it’s a little overwhelming if not irritating; secondly, they soon figure out the catchy, subject lines are programmatically created.. Makes them feel special:),

Listen, it works so I don’t want to be too disparaging, but I do believe there’s a lifespan to these approach. Remember when Groupon and Livingsocial started Daily Deals emails. Then everyone else followed, our inboxes got pummeled…where are those guys now?

Sales has always been about relationships, in the old days before electricity:) we used to have rolodexes with our Prospects and their Families Birthdays. The first thing we used to do in the morning was call them wishing them or the their family.

In today’s world where there is so much more information about your prospects and their companies online, there is a better way is to be more personalized in your outreach, the way we like to think about it is, “Intelligent Outreach”

Most good salespeople try to do this, but it’s time consuming, bouncing around social sites, Linkedin, Twitter, Google… If you’re a hard core salesperson Youtube, Instagram, Pinterest, Medium, Spotify, SnapChat, anything to get an edge.

Do you know there are over billion people on social sites not called Linkedin Twitter and Facebook. Many of those billion profiles are your prospects. Lazy salespeople, just focus on Linkedin, since researching other sites is immensely time consuming.

While we’re on the subject of finding social content as Intelligent Outreach, let me address the elephant in the room. Isn’t it a little creepy mentioning a social post a prospect posted?

The general rule of thumb is if it’s public, they probably would be flattered if you mentioned it. You’ve taken the time to research them and the fact it’s public they’re telling the world look at me. Can anyone reading this tell me they don’t get flattered when their social posts gets likes, comments, i.e. attention. The feeds into a larger discussion about how we as humans need attention, but for now, if it’s public it’s fair game.

That being said,  you have to make your own decision based on your relationship, the content and how risky you feel.

Bear in mind as Millennials, who have large social footprints, get into more senior positions this is going to a bigger opportunity.

If you want to be risk free, I’ve a solution for you, comment and/or share content with your prospect based on the company’s social posts, not on their personal posts.

So what does an Intelligent Outreach solution look like?

Firstly, it would have a stream of all the social posts your prospects and their companies have posted. Think Facebook, but instead of your friends, posts from Contacts and Companies. There should be some intelligence to let you know when a post is something you really should be aware of. Then it should suggest a personalized response, even better find an interesting article you could share on the subject. All this reduces the challenges of researching and customizing an email.

The next phase of Outreach is here and it’s Intelligent.

#marketing #sales #salesautomation #socialselling #salesforce #crm #sharetivity

Ankesh Kumar

CEO and Founder of Sharetivity