Patricia McLaren, Co-founder and Head of Customer Operations at CopyShoppe
There’s been a lot of discussion around the possibility of automating sales development reps. Some people think they’ll be replaced by technology, and others believe the human element is a crucial part of their success.
Whatever your sales development stance and process is, there’s one thing that needs to be really thought out.
How they manage their time.
How they stay organized and prioritize their day is one of the biggest drivers of success. Your top performers likely have a strong system, whether they’re given the tools or creating them on their own. But how closely are you controlling this aspect of their role?
Do you give your SDRs full autonomy?
Are you shaping them into robots, giving them a rigid process to follow with every step handed to them?
Where do you draw the line?
This has been front and center in my world, mostly because I work with sales development teams to improve process, email messaging, and overall conversations they’re having with prospects.
This is what I hear way too often:
“I don’t use these emails given to me by my manager/marketing.”
“My management team is really old school, and I’ve never booked a meeting using their emails.”
“I write my own one-offs all the time because the ones I’m supposed to use aren’t something I would say.”
“I don’t get any messaging to work with, so I have to write all my own emails.”
“Nobody has changed these emails since I started working here.”
HOLD THE PHONE! Sales leaders, are you hearing this, or is it all happening behind the scenes?
Writing messaging is a piece of the SDR puzzle that shouldn’t be on their individual plates. If time management is a crucial part of the SDR’s success - how they break up their day, how they stay organized, how they prioritize their pipeline and tasks - their time shouldn’t be used for writing their own email copy.
If this sounds like your SDRs, a couple nightmares might be happening under your nose. You have no idea what is being sent by the SDR team. You can’t possibly track each email. There’s no way to scale what’s working if everyone is doing their own thing. If you’re using a Sales Engagement Platform like Outreach (and you don't have a clear process in place to police messaging), it’s likely a messy space full of one-off messages, tons of templates, and skewed data. Most importantly, valuable time is wasted and time is money, folks.
If sales leaders or marketers created your email campaigns and your sales dev team doesn’t use them, they wasted their time. On top of that, the SDRs are also wasting their time writing emails that might be sending out mixed messages to your prospects. It’s hard enough already to convey a cohesive brand message with marketing and sales in any sort of campaign.
Stop letting your SDRs write whatever they want. Instead, try these quick tips to clean up your email messaging:
Varied Sequence Design
Automated sequences can be an incredible help to your SDRs, but giving them 20+ sequences to use at any given time can become confusing. If you simplify the sequence count down to 2 or 3 they’ll really use, you’re already in a better place.
Figure out how many outbound sequences make sense for your organization, and stick to those. If you have varying use cases, industries, or personas, your sequences can be organized based on that. It’s also important to put yourself in the SDRs’ shoes and think about how their team is structured. If it’s separated by vertical, then it’s easiest to give them a sequence to focus on by vertical.
If you have one strong use case, stick to your sweet spot as your main prospecting sequence. At CopyShoppe, we recommend two sequences to start: One high-level and automated, to allow your SDRs to build their activity and receive constant responses in their inbox - less manual work for them, but less customization. Think of this as casting a wider net and letting the custom fields pull in the personalization data for you.
The other is a custom-touch, personalized sequence for top-tier accounts. While SDRs have activity running in the background with the general messaging, they’re spending the rest of their time on creative touch points, calls, social engagement, and crafting personal notes for the custom-touch sequence that can’t be automated.
With these straightforward options, you give SDRs clear direction for which sequence to use and when, while also giving them the ability to personalize and customize outreach without re-writing emails every time.
Rip the band-aid off. Give SDRs notice that you’ll be cleaning up the messaging in your Sales Engagement Platform, and either remove or lock the content you no longer want them to have access to. This means getting rid of the disorganization and one-off templates, and creating a standardized system they’ll use across the board (and you can actually report on). At CopyShoppe, we help organize your platform and create collections of snippets and templates for specific use cases that SDRs can plug and play. The sequence designs are used as the standard skeletons, and the snippets or custom fields tailor the emails specifically to the recipient. Less work writing each email, and more organized options to customize based on recipient.
In the Outreach platform, you can inject custom snippets organized by collection. If you sell into multiple industries for example, industry collections might work for you. Using one sequence, you can change up certain sentences in an email to resonate with the varied industries. Create a snippet collection for each industry and sentences that you can interchange based on who you’re sending the email to.
Healthcare: “We clean up electronic health records and save nurses time entering data, so they can provide better quality care.”
Telecommunications: “We help call centers automate data entry so they can answer more customer calls and solve their problems faster.”
However you can tailor your value prop, whether it’s by industry or use case, do so with collections. Your SDRs can plug and play as needed so they can customize an email rather than write a brand new one every time.
Refresh Your Messaging (More Than Once)
When’s the last time you updated your email copy? And whose responsibility is that anyway?
If this isn’t an initiative of its own, your SDRs have likely taken it on themselves at some point. Give them (and your Account Executives) their time back by updating messaging regularly.
How often you do this, and who manages this, should be outlined and agreed upon ahead of time. The performance data should be analyzed regularly, so changes to your messaging reflects what’s actually working.
It takes time to build a strong process around email messaging, but it’s too often overlooked. If you aren’t improving your campaigns, your SDRs are spending their time doing this on their own. Stop letting your SDRs take on the messaging project themselves! Empower them with a straightforward, organized process that is easy to follow and allows them to focus on
Who at your organization is handling email messaging now? Let us know in the comments!
How should you update your sequences? And how often?