You finish the final edit on your first-touch, mass prospecting email. You make sure all your customizable fields are set -- first name, last name, and company. You check to make sure you’re pulling in the correct prospects, and then you press “send.”
Voila. 653 emails sent out and it’s only 9:05 a.m. The responses are bound to come rolling in and you should land yourself a few nice deals. Right?
Maybe in an alternate universe. While it’d be nice if the above strategy actually worked (and certainly make your job a whole lot eaiser), the reality of modern sales is that trying to write a one-size-fits-all email is a complete waste of time, and a mistake that sales reps frequently make.
Why? Your company has buyer personas that outline what your ideal buyer looks like. Your years of sales experience have familiarized with you with the common types of business pain your customers face. Your product has a few core value propositions. Combine these three facts and you should be able to separate your target prospect list into a series of mix-and-match emails that are compelling enough to be sent to a few hundred prospects at once and still elicit a response.
While this thinking seems logical on the surface, you need to go deeper. Buyer personas, your expertise, and product knowledge can only take you so far. To craft an email compelling enough for your buyers to respond, you need to draw on all three resources and apply them to your prospect’s individual situation. And the strategy above just doesn’t cut it.
You’ve probably guessed the fatal flaw many first-touch prospecting emails suffer from: They’re simply not relevant.
Research from Vorsight shows that tailored, individual lead nurturing emails see a response rate that’s four to 10 times higher than email blasts. So while it may seem easier to send out email blasts, if you’re still prospecting by sending out mass mail merges where the only things you’re customizing are your prospect’s first name, last name, and their company, the only person you’re hurting is yourself.
While you think your email describing “challenges companies like yours face” is specific enough to warrant a response, buyers will immediately be able to tell if you haven’t put in the work of researching them first. It’s so easy to look at a Twitter feed, pull up LinkedIn updates, Google recent company information, or simply visit your prospect’s website. An email that includes zero references to any of those low-hanging pieces of information suggests one of two scenarios to your buyer:
You meant to send the email to only them, but didn’t think of doing even perfunctory research. Why should they expect you’ll put any more care into developing the relationship and learning about their problems?
You sent the email to dozens or hundreds of prospects, which is why you didn’t include any specific information.
Neither scenario is good for you. Either you tried to be personal but failed, or you just didn’t bother to put in the time to even try. Buyers don’t take kindly to being treated as replaceable, and they’ll take their business elsewhere.
The reason why this “spray-and-pray” technique -- a classic sales email mistake -- is still employed is simple: It’s easy. It’s easier to write one script and blast it out than to take the time to research each individual buyer and adapt a template to fit them.
But ironically, that desire to do more in less time is exactly what’s negatively impacting sales performance. You probably don’t need to send 250 prospecting emails a day. Some reps will protest and say their activity-to-close rates are low, thus requiring this type of behavior. Those reps probably don’t realize that their rates are artificially low because their prospecting is so untargeted that it’s highly inefficient. This creates a vicious cycle where salespeople churn out more terrible prospecting emails in an attempt to guarantee that X number of deals will close, which only alienates buyers and drives close rates down even further.
Sending just 35 high-quality emails will get you better results in the long run. Get really good at efficiently researching buyers, crafting templates that’ll save you time but are able to be truly tailored to your prospects, and you’ll start seeing a rise in your response rates.
Originally published May 10, 2016 7:30:00 AM, updated March 29 2017