The results are in from our sales email March Madness challenge are in, and much like actual March Madness this year, they're full of surprises. So many surprises that no respondent got more than 4 of the 6 questions correct! To help crack the code on sales emails, I chatted with resident outbound email expert and Director of Sales Development, Steve Ross, to figure out why certain content drives positive responses and why others flop.
Want to learn how to crack the code on email content that converts? Read below for detailed answers to each question. You might not win your bracket pool with this, but crushing quota is a much sweeter prize.
This is a case where reply rate alone doesn't tell you the whole story. If you were looking at reply rate alone, you'd probably think that template A is our winner. However, what kind of replies are you getting here? Template has almost three times as many unsubscribe requests as Template B. Additionally, Template B has a higher positive reply rate. This is important because positive replies tend to convert at a higher rate than objections. When assessing success as maximizing positive outcomes while minimizing unsubscribes, Template B is our winner.
Why Template B won: Template A has a strong subject line, so it might get more opens and therefore more replies. However, it's not as personal as Template B. Template B is personalized and very value-driven, which likely results in more positive outcomes.
Question 2 is a little different from our first question - both the overall reply rate and the positive reply rate tell the same story. Template A wins by a landslide on both positive reply rate and overall reply rate.
Why Template A won: Template A is direct and to the point, whereas Template B is more passive and beats around the bush a bit. Additionally, the phrase "just checking in again" might make the recipient look back through the thread to read your previous emails, where they can learn more about the value you're delivering. After all, the goal of a bumper reply is not to reiterate your entire opening email, but rather to bump the thread back to the top so the recipient can scroll through.
Template A is the clear winner here, based on both reply rate and positive reply rate.
Why Template A won: Template A teaches us a strong lesson about appealing to the human nature of your buyer. We sell to sales people who have all been in our shoes, and we're able to connect with our prospects on a deeper way because of that. Find a way to appeal to your target buyer in this same way -- not just to sell something, but on a more human level.
Template A is our winner here again. Did you just get a flashback to that moment of anxiety when you got the same multiple choice answer three times in a row when you were taking the SAT? Plain and simple, Template A drove more replies, including positive replies.
Why Template A won: The "thumbs up" method strikes again, and it's clear that it's a strategy worth exploring more. The brevity here is what makes it so effective. For one, the recipient can reply in just a few words rather than composing an essay, which makes it easier to get a reply. Additionally, as a bumper reply, the purpose of this email is to bump the thread up and allow the recipient to scroll down to read more. Simple works here.
Template B is the winner in another case where you need to optimize for the right replies, not just any reply. Whereas Template A has a higher overall reply rate than Template B, more of those replies are unsubscribes and fewer are positive outcomes.
Why Template B won: It may sound simple, but the name recognition of LinkedIn can grab a prospect's attention. Moreover, mentioning LinkedIn makes it clear that you did your homework, and that you got this information from a legit source rather than pulling from a mystery list. One thing is clear, and it's that it is worth doing some more research on mentioning LinkedIn vs not!
Yet another reply rate plot twist here! While Template A had a higher reply rate, Template B delivered a higher positive reply rate and lower unsubscribe rate. Also worth noting: Template B resulted in a higher objection rate. While positive replies are obviously worth more than an objection, because they convert easier, objections are extremely valuable as well, much more so than an unsubscribe! When handled correctly, objections can be great conversation starters with future new customers (PS you might have seen this example in our recent Machine Learning webinar).
Why Template B won: Template B establishes a friendlier rapport by acknowledging that inboxes fill up, rather than being pushy about getting a reply. Template B also closes with a very value-driven statement about exploring use cases for the prospect. The recipient has more incentive to reply when they know you're going to deliver value to them.
For more information on what we're doing with machine learning, check our our announcement and watch our on-demand webinar recording.