Did everyone somehow forget that their sales prospects were humans too?
How did we reach the point that people think a 10-15% open rate is “good,” and that a 3 paragraph long email with a 2% response rate was awesome?
Yes, sales is a number’s game, but people seem to have forgotten that there’s a living breathing person on the other end of the inbox.
Everyone is looking for the fastest and easiest way to increase their sales revenue. There’s a hope and belief that there’s some kind of “hack” which will magically triple sales, but if you don’t have your sales fundamentals right, even the best automation software won’t make a difference.
There’s 3 mistakes I see almost every sales person making over and over.
The #1 Reason Why Your Cold Emails Suck: You Don’t Understand Your Audience At All
Please don’t bother sending cold emails at all if you’re not going to take the time to define who your buyer persona is.
How can you expect to write cold emails that get responses if you don’t even know who you’re emailing?!
Sending a cold email campaign to a list of 100,000 crappy leads you bought from some sketchy website is usually a bad idea to begin with. Not doing any work to clean the list and segment it by title or other firmographic criteria is just lazy and is guaranteed to flop.
Why on earth do you want to send this much volume?
Because you want to get 100 responses and you only have a 0.1% response rate?
This is a terrible plan.
Spamming the internet might help you fill your pipeline with leads in the short-term, but is not a sustainable strategy and burns through valuable leads.
It’s basic resource management: there is not an infinite supply of leads, and if you spam with a high enough volume you will quickly run out of leads (although your mail server will probably get blacklisted way before that).
Instead of polluting everyone’s inbox with untargeted garbage, which can destroy your business’ reputation in no time at all, why not take a more thoughtful approach and focus?
Yes, sales is a number’s game, and sending on-one-one individual emails isn’t time or cost-effective, but neither is throwing spaghetti on the wall and praying that it will stick.
Winning sales organizations have one thing in common: they understand the importance of velocity.
There is a trade-off between speed/quantity and results/quality, but there is an optimal point where you can get the maximum volume for the most results/responses, and this is the point of optimal sales velocity.
I know this because I insist that our clients send a lower volume of emails to a laser-targeted list, and still get them more total responses than they got sending to a large untargeted list.
Example: One of my clients wanted to send 10,000 emails, and had a 0.2% response rate. This means they got 20 responses for every 10,000 emails.
I sent 223 emails and got them 38 responses.
Instead of burning through their entire list, my targeted email campaign only used 2.23% of their regular list and got them almost twice as many results for the same amount of effort.
The #2 Reason Why Your Cold Emails Suck: You’re a Terrible Writer Who Needs to Learn Basic Copywriting
I’m collecting a treasure trove of terribly written emails in a folder labeled “LOL BAD emails.”
And clients, friends and colleagues send me dozens of new ones to add to my collection each week.
I realize writing isn’t everyone’s strong-suit, but do people really think they can copy-paste generic email templates that were written over a decade ago and still get results?
They’re not horrible templates, but they’ve suffered the plight of the “tragedy of the commons.” Any working professional who has been around for a few years can recognize these “classic templates” a mile away, and send them straight to the trash.
And then there’s the emails that look like short novels.
One of the worst cold emails I have seen had more than 1652 words!
I doubt anyone would actually take the time to read through this email unless they had a “twisted obsession” with bad writing like I do.
And of course you have the same dozen or so mistakes repeated over, all of which leave prospects racing to hit “delete” or “spam.”
Copywriting takes practice, but I seriously wonder if anyone actually reads what they wrote (or what someone wrote for them) aloud to themselves before they press send. If they did they probably wouldn’t be sending this garbage.
The #3 Reason Why Cold Emails Suck: You’re Using the Wrong Tools & Misconfigured Your Mail Server
Even the best cold emails can have deliverability problems if your mail server isn’t correctly configured.
This wasn’t something I was closely paying attention to and checking, but a few of my clients recently had very low open rates, which made me suspicious. I always have at least a 35% open rate (and that’s on the low side), and they had around 9% opens or less.
I was perplexed and frustrated.
My copy was good and their business was amazing.
I immediately assumed that they had a garbage list, and so I asked for another copy of the CSV they had been sending to take another look. But there was nothing wrong. It was a good list.
I was baffled for half a day.
And then I asked them to add me to their CSV and do a mail merge to my email address.
Suddenly it all made sense. By analyzing the header data from the email they had merged to me I realized their servers had been horribly misconfigured.
It’s an honest and simple mistake that was easily corrected, but the effect of this error had almost completely tanked their campaign.
As soon as this problem was resolved they started to get about a 10% response rate.
It was crazy what a difference it made.
Spammers obviously suffer from major inboxing and deliverability issues, but even I was amazed at what a big impact a 5-minute tweak had on their email campaigns’ results.
(I’ll be writing a blog post and doing a webinar on this very topic soon, so stay tuned!)
Surprise Announcement: We’re Writing A Book About Cold Email!
I’ve been meaning to create a book and course on cold-email for a while, but as the business grows and we take on more clients this always took a “back-seat” to other priorities.
I’m pretty good about blogging and writing each week, but creating an entire book seemed like a daunting task Haley and I never had enough time for.
And then I remembered my collaboration on the sequel to Aaron Ross’ Predictable Revenue Book, titled Tripling Your Sales. Aaron released the book in 3 bite-sized pieces that created the sequel to his best-selling e-book, and that seemed so much less daunting.
The Salesfolk team is pleased to announce that we will be coming out with our Ultimate Guide to Cold Email e-book in late August.
The first of the three guides is called: “The Human’s Guide to Writing Cold Emails.”
It’s full of actionable advice that will help you write cold emails that don’t sound spammy or seem like they’re written by a robot.
You can learn more about it here, or check it out for yourself by downloading it using the form below:
Don’t be a robot! Get the guide!