One of the best ways to improve your craft is to check out what your competition is doing. If you get to know what’s working for everyone else (or at least the success stories), you can avoid many pitfalls when it comes to your own company.
So, when I set out to find out how we could improve our sales and marketing cadences around 6 months ago, I knew that I’d have to gather data. A lot of data.
By the time I was finished, I’d signed up to 281 SaaS companies (including the Montclare SaaS 250 and some of the top startups in AngelList) using the details of a fake Vodafone employee and analyzed the 1,000+ emails and voicemails I received in return.
While I won’t go over everything I learned right now (we’d be here for days) I will highlight five of the core takeaways I gathered to help you convert more of the leads you generate.
If you want the rest of the data (including a Slideshare summary and copies of every email and voicemail I received), check out Inside SaaS Sales – a site we set up specifically to house this data. Otherwise, read on!
#1. Send an email every day
First up, you need to keep in regular contact with any potential lead who signs up. This both reminds them that you’re there and builds the connection they have with you.
Although tactics obviously differed based on the company, the majority of companies (41%) sent us one email per day until they stopped contacting us.
Other companies averaged out to sending one email per day, but instead took a staggered approach. A great example of this is Salesforce.
Their team sent us two emails per day for the first two days, then one email for the following four days, and then one five days after that as one of their final touch points.
This is a great way to strike while the iron’s hot (aka, when the lead first signs up), but to avoid drowning them in sales and marketing emails if they aren’t interested.
#2. Don’t send the same kind of email two days in a row
Although most companies sent us one email for every day of their sales cycle, it’s important to make the distinction between marketing and sales emails.
Too many marketing emails and the lead’s attention could be split between offers or they may not have the drive to take action on your product (depending on your copy).
However, too many sales emails and most people will also be put off. Doing this makes your sales efforts very impersonal, and they will feel like they’re not being valued as a potential customer.
That’s why sales teams on average only sent one email every two days – the rest were marketing emails.
#3. Leave a voicemail (if it’s worth it)
Assess whether the lead’s value is enough to warrant the time and effort to reach out and call them. If so, it’s also worth your time to leave a voicemail if they’re unavailable or don’t answer.
I’ll say straight-up that not every lead is worth following up on in this manner (the resource investment can be massive depending on the number of leads and size of your team). A massive 74% of companies analyzed didn’t leave voicemails, which gives a clear picture of the kind of investment we’re talking about.
If you’re not sure whether voicemails are for you or not, compare the resources you have to the potential gain from the lead.
Does your sales team have time for another call? How much would a call effectively cost in terms of time spent and the sales rep’s wages? What would such a call prevent them doing, and how valuable is that action?
Also, don’t forget to look at how successful voicemails have been for you in the past to get an idea of how likely the gamble is to pay off.
#4. Stick with leads you voicemail for longer
If you have a lead that’s worth voicemailing, it’s also worth sticking with that lead for longer. This was shown by the sales cycle of companies who left voicemails being 160% longer than those who didn’t.
In other words, if these companies left a voicemail, they kept trying to convert us for 1.6x as long.
Now, I know that this data could be due to a number of reasons. It could just be that the companies who had the resources to leave voicemails just had a longer sales cycle. Maybe a few took special exception to us since we were a high-value lead.
Either way, if you think that a lead is worth the investment to leave a voicemail after failing to call them, then chances are you have the resources to stick with that lead for longer. You’ve put the work in, so don’t throw it away at the slightest resistance!
#5. Use (or at least consider) marketing automation
Marketing automation is a fantastic way to save time and money – it lets you queue up your emails long before they ever go out and is an absolute must-have for any team looking to scale.
Any kind of business process automation is vital for those looking to grow quickly without running a major risk of imploding.
However, to back up the point, a massive 67% of companies used marketing automation to send their emails. An even more shocking 39% only used automation – there were no salespeople involved.
In short, if you’re not using some kind of automation to take the strain off your team, you’re missing one of the biggest shared tricks in SaaS sales cycles.
Don’t make the same mistakes as everyone else
While all of these points are useful, if you only take one thing away from this post today, take away this.
Don’t make mistakes that someone else has before you.
It might sound simple, but this simple principle will take you a long way in almost anything you do.
Whether you’re looking for a way to improve your sales cycle or you’re trying to build a blog, do your research beforehand and search for what others have to say on the subject. Someone out there will have published their own experience on the topic, and learning that takes you one step closer to success.