Seventeen. That’s how many emails I unsubscribed from today. 

Noted Analytics sponsored SaaStr Annual last week in San Mateo, CA so I went and met a lot of different software vendors. And here comes the wave of generic emails flooding my inbox.

As sellers, we have to do better. Unless we want the robots to take over. 

Did you just come back from SaaStr or Inbound? Going to Dreamforce? Here is how to follow up with those leads so they become part of your qualified sales pipeline and not just another “unsubscribe”.

Step 1 – The Research

Start the organization process by listing out ideal customer profile (ICP) connections you are not currently engaged with. Use LinkedIn to do your research. I may be going against the grain here but do NOT send a LinkedIn connection request. Nobody likes a request and pitch – so let’s not continue to work against ourselves.

Capture whatever technical data is most important to you, like sales team size or revenue. Document it in CRM. Sure, it’s easy to use a Google Doc but then you are creating more work for yourself as these targets turn into Leads, Accounts, and Opportunities. The goal of your research is to create a case for why you are reaching out. And as you engage, keep track of progress in the CRM. We have found that win rates are 3x higher when leadership coach deals from the CRM. Plus, if you read my previous blog you know 66% of sellers want to be coached

 

Noted Analytics Home Page

 

Step 2 – The Follow-Up

Take a nap, slow your roll, chill dude. Because while the conference is taking place, the emails are piling up for everyone in attendance. The first work day after a conference is just like the first day coming back from vacation. There is an avalanche of messages to dig out from. So don’t pile on. Give people time to catch up. Plan to start your follow-ups later in the week. 

Step 3 – The Message

This is all about your messaging. You HAVE to lead with their problems here. If you are pitching with your product, you are not going to get the response you want. Which of the two messages below do you think will resonate most with a prospect?

#1 Hey Brain you mentioned your team was dealing with really long cycles and when you look at their CRM you have no notes to review. Do you have time on Thursday to learn how to get that resolved? 

#2 Hey Brain remember that awesome tool I showed you that manages your bookings for the day? Do you have time on Thursday to discuss that more?

Message #1, all day. So lead with the prospect’s problem.

Step 4 – The Ask

Sellers often assume that the ask for a meeting is an in-direct ask for the prospect’s money. Don’t get me wrong, the money conversation will eventually happen in the sales process. But what sellers are asking for upfront is the prospect’s time:

  • Time to meet for an initial conversation
  • Time to engage other prospect team members for follow-ups
  • Time to procure, purchase, and onboard a new solution
  • Time to commit to change and manage its progress 

Time is often a much bigger hurdle to getting a meeting than concerns about money. The best way to stay ahead of this is to keep the conversation focused on solving their business problems. Ask questions and document their current state (i.e. where they are today). Learn more about their future state (i.e. where they want to be). Your goal is to expose the gap between these two worlds. Perhaps, the gap is bigger than the prospect even realized. This is how you prove to your prospect that, whether they go with your solution or not, you are providing value in exchange for their time.

In Conclusion – Close the Loop

You had the meeting. You know the size of their problem and the time/energy required to make the changes. Congrats! This is a fully qualified opportunity. You started with a list of prospects in a spreadsheet and followed a process that built a real sales pipeline. Having done this in CRM, sales leadership now knows which events produce results. They’ll double down on their investment where it bears the most fruit. And you’ll be in a prime position while your competition is landing in the “unsubscribe” email SPAM jail fighting for crumbs.