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Weapons of Mass Personalization: Tools and Tactics for Hacking Outbound Sales

On our blog two weeks ago, we talked about The False Promise of Automation and the Misconception of Personalization. Last week we shared a 5-Step Formula for Sending Highly Personalized Sales Emails at Scale. Now that we’ve laid the groundwork and have a good foundation to build a scalable system for sending highly personalized emails at scale, we’re going to get to some of the fun stuff-- tools, hacks and tactics. We’ll cover some templates you can plug-and-play into your outbound campaigns, some small tweaks that make a huge difference, and the hottest and newest sales technologies to help you scale personalization.

 

Advice from the Experts: John Barrows and Craig Elias Weigh In

I recently talked to both John Barrows and Craig Elias separately, and their best advice for creating highly personalized campaigns without spending an inordinate amount of time on the research was the same: use trigger events. Once you have completed the previously laid out steps, it’s just a matter of putting some small systems in place. Here’s what that could look like.

First, create a field in your CRM or variable in your outbound platform called “trigger event.”

Next, set up a system to monitor your key accounts for major events, such as:

  • Merger or acquisition
  • Product launch
  • Litigation
  • Expansion
  • Hiring of a specific role related to what you do
  • Etc.

Some of the most powerful ways to monitor these events are LinkedIn, the company’s website and Mention.com (my favorite). You can also check out other effective alternatives to Google Alerts.

Now, start creating a message around the value your product or company brings to that trigger event for each buyer persona. Drawing inspiration from John, here’s one of my templates:

Hi ,

I recently noticed that . .

I wanted to reach out because we help companies . We've already helped achieve .

Do you have 15-20 minutes to explore how we can help {} do the same?

Thanks,

Craig shared an invaluable piece of information with me around trigger events: depending on industry and geography, some of the data suggests that a change in vendors is triggered by changing account managers 28% of the time.

I repeat… 28% of the time!

Craig recommends the “1-2-1 Approach”: a single line explaining why you’re reaching out - two sentences to give a little more detail - then one last sentence with a yes/no question. It could look something like this:

Hi ,

I’m reaching out because .

I know sometimes that causes people to want to switch vendors to get . I wanted to see if you would like to make more informed decisions quicker.

If this is of interest to you, please let me know either way?

Thanks,

Just as voicemails get deleted in 10 seconds or less, emails get deleted just as quickly. The goal is to have someone read and respond quickly, so it’s imperative that you make it short/brief enough and don’t leave them thinking, “I’ll deal with this later.” As a mentor of mine use to say, “Later = never.”

Hacking Personalization

As they say, the devil is in the details, so before sending your emails, take a closer look at those details. These are smaller, contextual subtleties that are picked up by the subconscious and make your communication look and feel more personal. This will increase readership without changing the content of the message itself.

There are many things to watch out for when writing your cold emails that, when avoided, will make you sound less automated and more human. Here’s a quick checklist that each of your emails need to pass in order to give them the best chance of catching your prospect’s attention and getting a reply.

What is the tone of your email? Write in a conversational tone. Does it sound like a conversation you’d have with a friend? Pretend that’s what it is. Always use contractions unless you’re trying to emphasize a specific point. Write in the first or second person, using pronouns like “you” and “we” and “I.” Each sentence should flow right into the next. Avoid jargon.

Who do you sound like? Don’t sound like a salesperson. If it walks like a salesperson and quacks like a salesperson, then it must be a salesperson. And frankly, people love to buy, but hate to be sold to. At any sign of being sold to, your prospect’s defenses go up. B2B sales reps know this principle but think for some reason it doesn’t apply to them. However, a person is still a person whether buying in a personal or professional setting.

Is it the right length? Keep it concise and to the point. People are already short on time, and their inboxes are already overflowing. The last thing they want to read is another long email. How many times have you saved an email for later? Have you read it yet? Look at each sentence and each individual word and ask, “Does this add value to the email?” If not, or even if you’re not sure, delete it.

What value are you offering? Offer value at each and every follow up touch. Is there an irresistible offer in the email, one they can’t say no to? This could be a relevant piece of news, a good blog post, a new business insight, etc. That’s how you can send 10 (or more) emails without worrying about becoming a nuisance.

Who is it about? Make it about your prospect. Why should your prospect pay attention to you? Don’t go directly into an introduction of who you are and a pitch for what your company can provide. And don’t just list features, but rather paint the picture with benefits. Did you use the word “you” more than “I”?

Are you being thoughtful? Is it obvious that you dedicated time and care to learning more about your prospect? Peruse their LinkedIn profile and look for hints of his or her personality, along with any attention-grabbing keywords. Follow your prospect on Twitter to determine what type of content he or she consumes and shares. It’s pretty obvious which reps in the screenshot examples above took the time and care to find out more about me.

 

Weapons of Mass Personalization

Ok, here’s what you’ve been waiting for -- the latest and greatest tools and technologies for creating highly personalized messages. Try each to find what works best within your workflow.

First, check out the new PersistIQ Cold Email Generator. It will help you quickly and easily create entire outbound campaigns targeted towards certain buyer personas. 

Next, I already mentioned Mention.com, but it’s worth referring to again for trigger event personalization. They have a 14-day free trial, so set up some alerts for your target companies or keywords in the niche you’re selling to and start launching some outbound campaigns.

Some other useful tools that will help you in the research phase are Connect6 and Nimble. Connect6 can help you find key people. When you hover over a social profile you can see not only contact information, but also a graph showing all of your shared contacts. It collects all of a prospect’s social profiles in one place, making it efficient and effective while doing the necessary research before reaching out. 

You can then power up Nimble to get a look at a prospect’s recent social media activity. You’ll see any news articles, recent blog posts or newsfeed updates, all in one place about that one person. You can take it a step further and leverage social selling by warming your prospect up before sending them a cold email. Nimble lets you follow or like or comment on your prospect’s social media activities without ever having to leave the platform.

A recent discovery I believe has a lot of potential is Data Miner. It’s a scraper that extracts data out of HTML web pages and imports it into Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. Start off by using some advanced search tactics on LinkedIn to build a targeted list of prospects that meet your buyer personas. Then use Data Miner to scrape the entire page of search results. You can also click into each prospect to visit their profile and extract even more relevant data.

Hemingway Editor is a killer app for helping you with readability and flow when you’re writing your emails. Think of it as like a spellchecker but for writing style. It will check to see if your writing is too dense, if there’s a simpler alternative, if you’re using unnecessary adverbs, your writing grade level and more.

Another app I’m really excited about is Crystal Knows, which was introduced to me by John Barrows, and helps you communicate with your prospect in the most appropriate tone. At the intersection of social, technology and communication, Crystal Knows analyzes a prospect’s social profiles and reports on their personality profile, giving you insight into the best communication style.

Then, to make sure your emails actually matches the tone you’re intending, throw your email into Tone Analyzer. This will give you a sense of how your email is coming across to your target by dissecting your message and provide you with a set of scores for different emotional and overall tone rating.

Finally, I’d be remiss not to strongly advocate for my favorite outbound sales platform, PersistIQ. In a nutshell, the PersistIQ platform will help you streamline your workflow and give you the ability to send out truly personalized communication at sale.

Conclusion

It is my hope that the last 3 blog posts have made you think about personalization differently. In fact, I hope more broadly, you think about outbound sales differently. Personalization is a beautiful thing, and, when used correctly, can have a powerful impact on your efforts. Remember, customization is NOT personalization. Although it’s not right for every business model, most sales teams will highly benefit from taking the extra time to focus on doing the research and crafting the right personalized message. Most importantly, if you want to scale personalization, you need a solid process. Only after you have that in place can you begin to look at the tools and technologies that will help you get there quicker.

At PersistIQ, we've helped countless companies launch highly personalized campaigns at scale helping them achieve 25.1% reply rates 10x more productivity.

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Stay tuned for more of the latest in outbound sales best practices and methods.

This post was brought to you by PersistIQ.  Our software empowers salespeople to easily convert prospects into a qualified pipeline and create personalized outbound campaigns at scale.  See how PersistIQ can help you make your own sales efforts more effective today.

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