As a marketer I must admit, we love templates.
I mean just typing the word t-e-m-p-l-a-t-e-s makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
The utility of them. The functionality of them. It really is a thing of beauty to be able to pass the buck to a salesperson with a shiny new template. No more repetitive requests. No more creating things from scratch.
But what about when my sales team doesn’t use the templates I’ve spent hours crafting? What does that say about me? Better yet, what does that say about them?
A template that goes unused is like a dinner reservation you show up late to. Why even bother with it in the first place?
That’s why in this article I’m presenting you with templates that my sales team here at PandaDoc 100% verifiably uses. And unfortunately for me, none of them are templates that I (or my team) have created. While we sure tried getting our templates used, long-term adoption was our pitfall.
Most of these templates I’m about to share with you were inspired by or borrowed from our friends over at HubSpot. The remaining ones were drafted by our sales-trainers and then polished by our designers. Turns out, the templates my salespeople use most, are the ones that they sought out, acquired, and developed on their own accord.
Funny how it works out like that sometimes.
Using Email Cadence Suggestions
If imitation really is the finest form of flattery, then HubSpot should be blushing right now.
That’s because Associate Manager, Demand Generation at PandaDoc, Jan Aclan, AKA the guy who architects all of our follow-up cadences, said that he turned to this article on cadences when he was first creating ours.
"Why would I build something from scratch without researching it first?” Jan asked me puzzlingly.
"I needed a cadence that had already proven successful for someone else, and HubSpot’s article had some awesome suggestions that I built into our playbook. Over time, I’ve tracked and refined everything we have based on results and scalability. Just like the article talks about.”
Here’s an example cadence that Jan built for inbound leads that came in from a research report.
Step 1: Email + New Thread
I’m reaching out since you’ve downloaded the _______ report we wrote with ________.
With ___ pages and tons of stats, it's a lot to go through.
I’d love to know what you thought about it! It's our first time putting together a report like that.
I’m curious, are you actively involved in improving your _________?
Step 2: Phone Call [Manual]
Step 3: Email + Bump [Automated]
I just wanted to send a friendly follow up and see if you got my last message. 👇
Step 4: Phone Call [Manual]
Step 5: Email + Bump + Haven’t Heard Back + Start a Conversation [Automated]
Haven't heard back from you on this yet.
Since you want only the best _____________, I’d like to start a conversation:
What part of your ______ are you focused on improving today? Where______ are you seeing the least production?
PS. Here’s some more content. This is our _____________.
Step 6: Phone Call [Manual]
Step 7: Email + Bump + Post Dial + Any Thoughts [Automated]
Hey [Prospect], I just gave you a ring. Any thoughts on this?
Step 8: Email
I’ve tried to connect with you a few times without much success. No big deal 🙂.
Just as a refresher, I want to learn how you handle _________ that comes from ___________.
Just please don’t leave me hanging!
As you can see, it’s not a complicated cadence for our reps to follow and it gets results. We use this template to reach as many contacts in a repeatable way that makes Jan’s life easier and his reps more successful at booking meetings.
Every template needs to be fine-tuned to meet your targets in your industry using your brand guidelines, so make sure to start conversations in a way that makes sense for your business.
Modifying HubSpot Discovery Call Questions For Us
Sally Weiss, Account executive at PandaDoc, closed a deal last week that sent shockwaves through our #saleswins channel on Slack. Here were a few reactions from her teammates.
These moments are pretty common for Sally and the way she works her deals. During a sales training session a few months ago, Sally was working on her pain-pulling techniques. She wanted to improve the way she gets prospects to recognize and emotionally react to their business challenges.
After a few back-and-forths with her teammates, she shared a tactic that she’d been using on recent calls that seemed to work for her style.
As it so happens, Sally uses this list of probing questions from HubSpot to guide her conversations when they might be falling flat. Sally reported that she’s modified these questions to fit the dynamic of what PandaDoc sells, and the needs of her prospects. A few of her go-to favorites include:
- Why are we talking now and not 2 months from now or 2 months ago?
- What prompted you to take this meeting with me now?
- When do you need this implemented by?
- What happens if we can’t hit that timeline. (describe our 60-90 day onboarding process and configure a reverse timeline.)
- Seems like you may be familiar with the vendor selection process for your company. What was the last software you bought for x?
- What was that process like?
- 4. Who is ultimately going to sign off on this? The head of x department?
- Who else would care that we had this conversation?
- Whose budget would this purchase come from?
- Which department is that exactly?
- Are you familiar with the pricing in our industry?
Pain Pulling Questions
- Tell me more about that.
- Can you be more specific? Give me an example.
- How long has this been a challenge?
- What have you tried to do about it?
- And did it work?
- How much do you think that has cost you?
- How do you feel about that?
- Have you given up on trying to deal with the problem?
Watching Sally in action is pretty cool. She crushes deals with her dual monitors up in front of her, while she talks with a prospect on video conference. The screen she’s not sharing with them includes a document where all of these questions are listed, just so she doesn’t leave anything on the table before hanging-up. She’ll even reference the visual infographic in the article as well.
Creating a "why _____” document for your prospects
If you type in "why HubSpot?” into Google, do you know what comes up?
It’s an informative, visually appealing destination for your prospects to evaluate your offerings.
HubSpot inspired our sales team to draft their own version of this. Then they worked with our content and design teams to spruce it up and turn it into an outward-facing template that any sales rep can personalize, send, track, and monitor inside the PandaDoc platform.
We call it the "Why PandaDoc” template and we use it in nearly every single one of our deals.
When I asked one of our leading Account Executives, Brain Greenfader, about how he uses this template here’s what he said:
"I love the way this looks and how it covers everything for our prospects. We typically send this to a prospect after a demo, but before an actual proposal. I use it to streamline my deals. I’ve been able to generate tons of these with 0 mistakes averaging about 20 seconds. I’ll often walk them through this document on the phone because it can spark conversations we might not have. This thing rocks.”
The key to a good first impression is sleek personalization. Our "Why PandaDoc” template uses unique tokens that easily sync with our CRM so we’re pulling in account information directly into the document and it’s always up-to-date. This is our cover page.
Another thing I really like about our "Why PandaDoc template” is that we detail the onboarding procedures in a way that is both detailed and approachable. This helps prospects visualize next steps.
What does the future of templatization look like?
We recently published a report on how buyers expect more personalization from sellers. While sellers understand the importance of personalizing documents for closing deals, most are still falling short of what can "wow” their prospects and lead to more deals won.
Sellers must craft a deeply unique sales experience that leaves customers feeling valued and appreciated during every interaction and that begins with templates. As we learned, it’s not about creating templates just for the sake of it. The most successful templates are born out of necessity and driven by sales leadership from the top down.
Here are a few areas I think we’ll start to see more templates being used:
- Chatbot conversation templates that are personalized based on behavior/emotion
- Templated website content based on past and current customer behavior
- Document generation and automation templates based on customer behavior
I know this isn’t a complete list. I’m curious what you all think. Where do you foresee templates making a major impact for the rest of the year?