Nov 30, 2018 | Sales Best Practices

Streamline and Shine: How to Double Your Sales Email Response Rates

Audrey Weber, Associate Editor, Expat Extraordinaire 's Avatar

Audrey Weber, Associate Editor, Expat Extraordinaire

Most limits aren’t limits. That’s why Olympic records get broken and all-time-highs in just about any field get pushed further up every now and then.

Sales is no different. If you’re a sales manager or have been an SDR for a while, you know that even the finest playbooks can still be tweaked here and there to squeeze just a little more efficiency, or produce a few more responses and deals than the team usually achieves. Nothing unusual. Besides, small increments should be expected and worked on all the time.

However, aiming for bumps that come in multiples (2X or 3X your performance) is another matter. When the numbers already look optimal, setting ridiculously high targets might sound cruel and impossible, especially if your sales team already consists of veteran players and your tech stack already includes top-of-the-line software.

Or is it? Is the impossible possible?

Well, with the right outbound strategy and training, you can 2X your SDR team’s performance!

Sam Nelson, one of Outreach’s sales development leads, demonstrates how you can achieve such massive results in the aptly named webinar, Prospecting in Ludicrous Mode. Charged with training and ramping new sales development reps, Sam’s team is referred to as the “Agoge tribe” at Outreach (named after the rigorous training regimen young Spartans undertake before they become full warriors). These fresh-faced SDRs tend to be more open to radically new ideas, so the team serves as an incubator for playbook innovation and testing new sales hacks. Their plays drive many of the phenomenal sales achievements at Outreach.

Here are some tactics to help you pull off similar feats at your company:

Drive ridiculously high response rates

The key components to generating healthy response rates are:

1. Make a strong entrance.

2. Deploy a tight follow-up play to prevent high-value prospects from falling through the cracks.

Make the first two lines of your first cold email hyper-personalized, and repurpose this hyper-personalized information or experience as your platform for calls. Never sound like a robot or automated email!

Think of this as an early investment that will generate compound interest.

You don’t need to personalize everything but make sure that when you do, the attempt will likely impress the prospect and lead to a bankable connection.

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Create an effective sequence playbook for outbound calls and emails

Your job is to find the perfect combination, frequency, and sequencing of email, phone, and social media engagement for each buyer persona.

The Agoge Sequence (fully featured in the webinar), for example, implements an opening email, several middle emails, social touches via LinkedIn, calls, a breakup email -- in total 15 steps executed over a one-month period.

With a playbook of highly effective outbound sales sequences, you can create an SDR assembly line with Outreach and 2X your team’s output.

Build a prioritization cheat sheet

One does not simply hyper-personalize emails and engage with everyone -- you need to prioritize so your team is investing time and resources in the right decision makers.

Make it crystal-clear which prospects to prioritize, personalize, and engage — and those to put on the back burner.

For example, one great trick is to create a color-coded prioritization chart (broken down by role/position, department, industry, etc.) and display it prominently on every rep’s desk.

Simplify your outbound process for easy SDR training and high productivity

It is far better to have SDRs develop a strong understanding of the most important points at the beginning than require them to have skin-deep knowledge of every sales development scenario, sequence, and concept — including those that have a low likelihood of popping up.

Outreach uses only seven sales development sequences that all fit on a small note card displayed on every SDR’s desk. This cheat card provides SDRs quick access for how to execute next steps for each sequence.


Want to go deeper and learn more about the Agoge Sequence? Watch Sam Nelson’s webinar, Prospecting in Ludicrous Mode. He’ll show you how to make a strong entrance early in the game, implement hyper-personalized messaging at scale, unleash the power of follow-ups, and make your referral performance shine.

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