Mythbuster Monday - Episode 1

We'll help you navigate the common pitfalls and assumptions that plague sales!


Mark Kosoglow: Welcome to Mythbuster Mondays, where we'll cover some of the common myths salespeople are telling themselves all the time and then we're gonna debunk them. I'm Mark Kosoglow, the VP of Sales at Outreach, and I've been running sales teams for the last 15 years. Inside times, outside teams, field rep teams, remote teams, and I've helped Outreach grow from zero to $25,000,000 in the last three years. Throughout my time here I've seen sales become more and more scientific. And if you're not ready to use data to improve your sales process, you're gonna get left in the dust. So let me introduce you to a couple of friends that are gonna help bring some science to your selling.

Pavel Dmitriev: Hi, Pavel Dmitriev, VP of Data Science at Outreach. I have a PhD in computer science from Cornell University, and I've been doing research in the field of data science, machine during, and experimentation for over 15 years. My research focused on trying to come up with new, more effective ways to scientifically evaluate our ideas and assumptions.

Yifei Huang: And I'm Yifei Huang, a machine learning engineer at Outreach. I have a PhD in economics from Cal Tech and extensive experience working on applying machine learning to improve sales efficiency. We know that you are probably using some of these myths to sell today, and even seeing some success. 

Mark Kosoglow: Myths are common in the sales world. Cold calling is dead, direct mailing doesn't work, book the meeting at the end of phone call. All these are assumptions that are based on anecdotal stories from the sales pit. One sales guy tells another sales guy what works and the next thing you know everybody's doing it.

Pavel Dmitriev: The way I personalized that email, the way a phrased that call to action, that was awesome. The data however tells a different story. At Microsoft where I worked before, we scientifically tested product improvements that were being proposed, and found that only a third were actually good for users and business. A third were neutral and a third were harmful. Think about it. You're proposing an idea that you think is good, and this idea is as likely to do harm as it is to help. What this tells is that we cannot trust our intuition. We should treat all ideas as hypothesis that need to be scientifically tested.

Yifei Huang: Outreach provides its customer with functionality called AB Testing. It allows us to scientifically test which email templates perform better. Our own sales team uses it to obtain big  improvements, sometimes doubling their reply rates they're getting from prospects. In this series, we will be using AB Testing to evaluate some of the belief in the sales world.

Pavel Dmitriev: We will take you through the science of the myth, explain how we tested it, and why it worked or didn't work for our sales team.

Mark Kosoglow: I'll explain what we've learned and show you how we've changed our own strategies and the numbers that moved as a result.

Pavel Dmitriev: Here are a few of the common myths that we plan to tackle in future episodes. Does embedding video in an email help?

Mark Kosoglow: Is it better to be more forceful and direct or more socially mindful in emails?

Yifei Huang: Also when we use thumbs up or thumbs down in a bumper email, do we actually get better results in terms of positive replies?

Mark Kosoglow: Stay tuned for the first full episode where we're gonna cover video in email. We've learned a lot from our experiments, and we can't wait to help you grow beyond the common pitfalls and assumptions that plague sales.

All: See you next Monday!