What to Do After You Receive a Response to Your Cold Email (5 Step Process)
Jonathan Grana — Feb 16, 2018
You should be excited, right?
You just got another reply from your cold email campaign.
Reply rates usually hover around 5%, so every single response matters.
But hang on.
Getting a reply is just the beginning of the sales cycle.
Out of all these opportunities, you will probably end up converting 5-10%.
What do you do after the reply - to boost your conversion rates?
The best sales teams follow a sales process.
In this article, I will cover a 5 step process that will help you close more deals.
Every step in your sales process should be guided by four objectives.
The last thing you want is to chase leads who will never buy. Or those who do buy, but churn before the account becomes profitable.
I’m talking about leads who are simply not a good fit for your product - insufficient budget, no pressing need, or having a frustratingly convoluted procurement process that’s just not profitable for you.
Chasing after too many leads will leave you with less time to invest in those that are the best fit. Therefore, you must qualify your leads before you move forward.
Map the Key Decision Makers
No one decides alone.
Whether it’s a three-person startup, or a Fortune 500, every purchase decision will involve a group of people. You ‘ll need to map the decision-making landscape to figure out who is calling the shots.
Understand Specific Challenges
What are the exact challenges the company is facing? This will help you position your product as the perfect solution.
At each interaction stage after the first email, you must gain the prospect’s trust and move them to the next stage – a call, a demo or another discussion.
Before we look at the process, let’s take a step back and check out your cold email. This will help us establish context.
The objective of your cold email, should ideally be to initiate a discovery call. Not a demo.
Because the lead might not be ready for a demo. Ask for too much, too early on, and you will lose the lead.
I noticed on your careers page that you’re hiring a lot of people for prospecting roles.
Would you be interested in a solution that slashes your prospecting time by over 70% and saves you a bundle in salaries?
Interseller is an all-in-one automated prospecting, email finder and outreach tool, that makes prospecting and outreach a breeze.
We have helped companies like Foursquare, Squarespace, Compass, Honey and many more substantially reduce their time invested in prospecting while getting way more qualified leads.
Would you be open to a quick call next week to discuss how Interseller could help your team?
In this particular process, you want the prospect to agree to a call. You could suggest a couple of time slots, but what if neither of them work out? If he can’t pick a time right away, chances are that he will never reply to your email.
So how do you get him to choose a time on the first shot?
Use an appointment scheduling tool like Calendly in addition to sharing two time slots. It’s integrated with your calendar and displays all the free slots you have over the next few days. Your prospect will be able to book a time with just a few clicks.
Great to hear that you want to know how Interseller can make prospecting a breeze for your team.
I would love to discuss this over a 15-minute call over phone/ Skype/Zoom.
Would Wednesday at 10 am or Thursday at 3 pm work for you?
If not, you can use this Calendly link to choose a convenient time.
What if they don’t schedule or reply?
Wait for a couple of days and follow up. Try suggesting a couple of time slots at a different time of the day. That often does the trick.
Once the prospect does schedule a meeting, it’s homework time.
Use this interval to know as much about the company as possible.
Start by looking into what the company does. Dig into their website, product pages, press releases, media coverage blog posts, etc. Check out reviews and what people are saying about them on social media.
Understand what they do, what’s working well and what’s not. This information will give you a decent idea about the different ways in which your product can help them. Besides, the prospect will be impressed to see that you have done your research - setting you apart from the competition.
Next, check out your prospect’s social profiles and any articles they might have written. The more you know about their background, the better you can tailor your pitch to suit their personality and preferences.
Don’t ignore personal details. If you find something you have in common with the prospect, that’s a great way to break the ice during the call.
Finally, use the company’s team page and LinkedIn to map the company’s decision making landscape.
The pro version of Calendly sends automatic reminders to the prospect. That will save you the trouble of following up yourself. You can also use tools like Boomerang or email reminders in your CRM to help you stay on top of meeting reminders.
Don’t try to wing this call.
You will only have 10-20 minutes. So be prepared with a sequence of items that you must discuss.
Use the first couple of minutes to break the ice and get them talking.
This is where your research will come in handy. Mention something you both have in common. A connection on LinkedIn, a topic you are both interested in, a restaurant you have visited in their city, etc.
Can’t find anything in common?
No worries. Spend ten minutes reading up about something they are interested in, and just ask them about it. Usually, they will do all the talking. All you have to do is listen!
Mention the gist of what you know about their business. For example, you could say:
So your company has a marketing automation solution for mobile apps, right? And you are looking to expand in Europe this year?
This helps set the stage for the discovery questions that you will ask next. It also makes them feel confident that they are talking to someone who understands the world that they operate in.
Remember to phrase your discovery questions based on the four objectives I shared earlier.
Here are the most important questions you should be asking:
How do you handle [X activity]?
Notice that I haven’t begun by asking about a challenge. Rather, I have started off by understanding their processes and watching out for hints about frustrations.
If they point out a challenge, great. If not, ask the next question.
What tools are you currently using?
Before you can talk about what your product does, you need to know what they are currently using. Only then will you be able to make a comparison.
How is that working out for you?
Yet another open-ended question.
Avoid replacing this question with a leading one like, “What challenges are you facing with the tool.”
It’s a qualifying question. If they express their challenges without you asking, it probably means that they are a warmer opportunity.
What kind of challenges are you currently facing with prospecting?
By now, they have been talking for a while and have built up a momentum. They would now be comfortable enough to share their frustrations.
The question is about the challenges in general, and not about the tool. This will give you a bigger picture.
How big a challenge is that?
If it’s significant enough, great. If not, ask about other challenges until you arrive at one they are sufficiently frustrated about.
Who is impacted by the challenge/ these challenges?
This question helps identify the stakeholders in the process. People who are impacted will have an incentive to support purchasing your product. You will want to include some of them in the next discussion/ demo.
What are you currently doing to address this challenge?
This helps compare their existing solutions to your tool. Use this information later on to present the advantages of your product over their approach.
Presenting a solution
Mention a specific benefit of your product and how it will help.
You should talk about a case study of a customer who had a similar problem and how your solution helped them. For example - at Interseller we like to point out that on average our users see less than 5% of emails bounce back, a 4x improvement over our clients’ previous email providers.
How would it help if you could [achieve the same result]?
Is this approach something you would like to try out?
Schedule a demo
It’s time to clearly establish what sort of authority your prospect has over the decision-making process. Ask:
How would other people feel about this solution? AND
Who are the different stakeholders who would be involved in trying out this solution?
If he/she is not a key decision maker, you need to get access to the people who are. Ask for a follow-up call or a demo with someone who will call the shots.
Try to fix a time for the demo before ending the call. If that doesn’t happen, you will need to keep following up until you do get an appointment.
There’s an easy way to screw up the demo.
Go over every single feature!
Feature dump is a trap you want to avoid. Instead, just focus on the key problems that they have spoken about, and demonstrate how your tool solves those problems.
Only share more if they want additional details.
Narrate a Story
A compelling demo should be able to paint a picture of the user’s experience - the classic before and after story.
Take the prospect through the experience and frustrations of trying to get the job done in their usual way.
“You spend hours searching for email ids using Google, Hunter, etc. and you finally have a list.
Then, you spend another two hours setting up the campaign.
Finally, you hit ‘send’
And what happens?
Out of 100 emails, you get 30 delivery failures!”
And then show them the good life - how using a certain feature gets the job done much more effectively, and makes their life less stressful.
Are they ready to buy now, or do they need to see more?
Find out by asking:
How well would this address your challenge?
To wrap up any loose ends, also ask:
“What else would you like to know?”
What if they are not ready to advance?
Ask them what challenges they see. Then explain how your other customers deal with those situations.
I can see that you would like an integration with your CRM. We don’t have that yet, but we have several clients who use a Zapier integration and it works perfectly. We will be happy to help you set it up. Does that work for you?
Advancement / Closing
If they are ready, close with an offer of a free trial, a one month subscription or whatever is appropriate for your product.
Of course, whether they are ready to close or not depends on their decision making process as well as how complex the implementation of your product is.
Accordingly, you should ask for the next step – a more detailed demo, a demo with a bigger group of people, or a proposal.
The most successful sales teams follow a process. That keeps them more productive, maintain standards for sales rep performance and predict their pipeline. Use these guidelines to build your own process.
And to make the first part of your process - prospecting and outreach - super-easy, get in touch with Interseller.