The Best Sales Touchpoint Email Cadence
The words “sales email” and “touchpoints” are evil — pure evil — because of the context in which “touchpoint” is used. Managers feel pressure to see reps making “X” number of contact attempts per week.
“How many new touchpoints have you made in total?”
“How many times did you attempt/touch each prospect on your list?”
This kind of requirement leads reps to type, “What is the best sales email cadence?” into Google.
The results can be disastrous.
Accountability for Spamming
Most sales managers hold reps accountable for spamming. You can call it volume of outbound attempts at new customers. And, yes, it's vital to aggressively prospect using email, LinkedIn/social and telephone. All channels.
But are sellers being held accountable for spamming?
My experience working with reps proves: 99.5 percent of the time “you need X touchpoints per week” encourages good reps (who know better) to start spamming.
It also forces reps who don't know better to start spamming ... and to fail as sales professionals. Habit formation is key. Bad habit formation is deadly to the individual and organization.
Worse, I see top-performing reps who know a mass, templated, “touchpoint” approach won't work still doing it. Because they need to follow orders, and unfortunately have very little freedom to explore what works.
The Freedom Box
The last thing you want to do with great reps (and reps who have the potential to be great) is to micro-manage their activities. Instead, manage their activities and keep them moving full steam ahead. But also out of trouble as they find their way forward. So how to balance? Freedom.
Forbes contributor, Jim Keenan created the “freedom box” several years ago.
“If the results are there the employee has all the freedom they want. They can do anything they feel is necessary to be successful,” says Keenan.
The box is big with lots of options. Reps have lots of freedom to innovate on what works.
“They can attack their job in any fashion they see fit, leveraging any approach they want. They have full autonomy,” says Keenan.
“Keenan's 'freedom box' shrinks as a function of bottom line results for each rep and gravitates towards activity management as the freedoms (and the results) decline,” says sales manager coach David Masover.
“In other words, there is a reciprocal relationship between freedom and results.”
Accidentally Forcing Reps to Spam?
By not allowing reps enough freedom to experiment, fail and learn from failure we all lose. Including customers who need our products/services. Sellers end up spamming, failing and developing failing habits.
“Let’s be clear — you can’t manage results. You can only manage activities that lead to results,” says Masover.
Are you/your reps feeling free enough to try new approaches — in a world that demands creative ways to grab attention and hold it?
Forcing reps to spam using cold email approaches built-to-fail is a poor way to manage reps. It sabotages results. If you cannot give sellers proper cold email and/or prospecting training at least give them freedom to experiment!
“I am managed closely for things such as touchpoints,” says an email from a tired, yet hopeful, seller this week.
I get a few of these each week — from sellers who are smart. Capable. Hard-working. But handcuffed.
“My managers are ok with me doing my own thing on the side as long as I can keep up,” says my latest diligent sales rep.
In other words, “As long as I can keep up — making my spam numbers!”
Beware: Holding sales reps accountable for volume of sales prospecting emails sent encourages spamming.
Better Meetings, Not More
Most sales professionals are measured on dials, emails sent, responses gained and appointments set. Especially inside sellers. But the true power of digital is helping sellers close more often by reducing wasted-time on phone or face-to-face qualification.
Qualification process can be improved using email and social. However, this takes a shift in goals: Placing quality of meetings above quantity of meetings. And this takes a commitment to giving reps freedom to experiment with scripts and communications techniques.
Inside or field sellers should not be gunning to set meetings faster. Instead, measure speed at setting qualified meetings ... meetings that close more often because they are held with buyers who are ready to buy.
Resist the temptation of asking, “What is the best sales email cadence?” Avoid using touchpoints as a cover word for spamming. Be aggressive, but be smart. Develop an aggressive way to communicate that honors prospects' time and gets the consideration you deserve.
Consider going slow, not rushing your meeting.
In fact, consider pushing back on meeting requests coming from prospects. Qualify them. That's the power of a good email cadence ... or sequence of qualifying messages.
The best sequence of email messages to send after the prospect says, “I'm interested” is a sequence of questions that further qualifies your eventual meeting.
What do you think?