A Popular, Yet Failing Cold Email Technique
It's shocking. Sales teams across the globe are telling prospects, "You should invest in what I sell — because this research says so" and expecting to start conversations. But using research as a means to break the ice in cold email is a non-starter. Unfortunately, most sales teams are using this failing technique. Often because they're under pressure to send non-personalized, cold emails to large numbers of contacts ... in hopes of starting a conversation.
Targeted (one-to-many) email prospecting is not the best strategy to start conversations with B2B decision-makers. Tailored (one-to-one) earns better response rates. Yet targeted campaign-style messages are used by most BDR/SDR and digital demand generation teams.
2 Quick Examples
One of my students emailed me: "I think I have a good hook from a research perspective to get a prospects attention that also aligns with the service I offer."
His idea is a common one: Write an email containing research as a means to compel his prospect to open a discussion with him.
For example, an opening email like this:
"Andy, IDC reports more that 90% of retailers are focused on improving their digital customer experience. Are you among them?"
Here's another example from a different student:
A customer service benchmark report released revealed 80% of businesses believe they provide excellent customer service, however only 8% of customers agree.
Expectations of customers are at an all-time high. Customers are busy, multi-tasking, on-the-go and are more sophisticated than ever before. Loyalty is built with positive interactions over time, therefore it is a continuous process to earn a customer’s loyalty.
It is expected by 2020 that the customer experience leader will be the key brand differentiator over product and price ... "
Why Research Fails to Engage Customers
Pushing research at clients via email is ineffective because decision-makers are:
- bombarded with long, mail-merged email "written at them" rather than quickly provoking them;
- not swayed by research being used in a persuasive context;
- often not aware of a problem to be solved (the pain has not yet surfaced);
- already aware of the facts presented in the research;
- not interested in being persuaded by a rep's cold email message!
Telling prospects, "You should consider X solution because Y research says so" is a non-starter. Pushing information at customers works far less than provoking them.
"People generally opt in to receive marketing newsletters, but no one chooses to get cold emails. This simple fact is one of the most important differences between the two," says cold email expert, Heather Morgan.
Morgan reminds us also how cold emails arrive without context. This is often the first time prospects have heard from you. Further, "you haven’t yet earned their trust or attention yet," she says.
Context is key. Why talk at when you can talk with? Why push when you can pull, attract the conversation to you?
What You're Really Saying to Prospects
Sending research to customers (without being invited to) says to customers, "I'm biased to convince you ... but know you won't believe me ... so here is someone else to persuade you."
The technique is weak. It attempts to persuade and convince.
Jeff Molander is the authority on making social media sell. He co-founded the Google Affiliate Network in 1999, and has been selling for 18 years. Jeff is adjunct digital marketing faculty at Loyola University’s business school, a social sales trainer and author of the first social selling book, Off the Hook Marketing: How to Make Social Media Sell for You. Most social selling trainers teach the value of engaging customers and providing relevant content. Then they demonstrate the technology. But no one tells you exactly how to produce leads and sales—using a proven, systematic approach to content. Until now.