How are you when it comes to using cadences? Do you focus more on email over the phone? When it comes to reaching your prospects, are you confident that you are using all of the channels available to you?
In this episode of INSIDE Inside Sales, Darryl is joined by one the 4 founders of the OutBound Conference, the unmistakable Jeb Blount. Darryl and Jeb go over the importance of using cadences as a part of your sequence and offer up advice that can drastically improve your success rate. They discuss tips such as taking advantage of personalizing emails, creating a wish list of dream accounts, as well as answering some of the questions and criticisms regarding using the phone in the age of email. Learn how to streamline and optimize your cadences on this episode of INSIDE Inside Sales!
Darryl Praill: How are you doing, folks? It's another week. Another week. Can you believe it? Another week is in the can and we're sitting here. I'm really excited. You know why I'm excited? Honestly to goodness, we've been overhauling the studio. It's going to sound exactly the same. If you're watching the video, it's probably going to look the same. You might notice is a little more depth of field going on. Most of the stuff is behind the scenes. I'm just so thrilled, I don't feel like I'm stuck in a closet anymore. So we've had my poor video team in here running cables and hanging lights and doing crazy stuff. Also, we can keep on bringing fantastic content to you. And it's amazing because what you do, and if you're like me, and I'm sure you are, you make the most of what you got. So this room we're in, that we like to call our studio, it's like the storage room that nobody wanted. It was full of crap. It's a freaking odd shape. It was horrible. It was horrible. But it was an opportunity. Out of something bad comes a possibility of something good. And then we transformed it into this great studio. And it's amazing because now today we get recognized globally for our content, our production quality, and everything else. I have more people coming to us and saying," How do you sound good? How do you look good?" Yada, yada. And I always say a plastic surgeon, but that's a sidebar. So that's the whole framework on out of something bad comes something good. And that applies to sales too, right? You think about yourself, you're sitting there and maybe you're doing something that's, let's just go with less than optimal. Maybe it's your cold calling skills. Maybe it's you're emailing open rates and click throughs and conversion rates. Maybe your subject lines suck. Who knows? We've all got these issues here that are really challenging. And the best part of being in sales, just between you and I, this is what I firmly believe, is that it's actually safe. I can actually turn to my sales colleagues and I can say," Dude, I suck at email. What are you doing?" And they're not going to go," Oh, I'm not talking to you, homie. Get your own skills. I don't care about you. I'm on my own. It's me versus you." No, even though we're both chasing quota, looking for president's club, that guy, that woman, will turn around and say," Here's what I do, Darryl, have you tried this?" It's that tribe, it's that community, and I absolutely love it. So out of something bad comes something good. You had a bad skill, you developed a relationship, you learned some stuff you didn't know, you applied it. Life is, boom, fantastic. That's what sales is all about. Constantly, constantly, constantly iterating and knowing what works for you. So I would ask you this, do you know what is bad for you right now? Or let's go with less than optimal. Do you know? If you don't know, either you're ignorant to your flaws, and hey, I know I've been ignorant to many of my flaws. So no judgment here. Or you're in denial. Hey, it's all part of the process, but eventually you have to accept it. Or maybe what you need is a third party person saying," Yo Darryl, this is where you're weak at." My boss would say I'm really weak at submitting my expenses on time, and he would be true, so you get the idea. It's that back and forth of working with the team to develop yourself. So why do I bring this up? I bring it up, all of it, because I was at a workshop recently and the presenter was going at length about how the whole playbook, the sequence, the cadence, use, whatever you want to in terminology. People are just sucking and you're killing your audience because there's so much bad cadences going on. Whether the frequency is wrong, the content's wrong, you're not personalizing it, it's wrong. And it's affecting you. It's affecting your quota. It's affecting your success. It's affecting your corporate brand. It's affecting your personal brand. And really, it's affecting your productivity. Ultimately, what it affects is your success and your career. What kills me about this is such an easy thing to fix. So I thought, who can I go who knows how to fix really core sales tools and tactics? And I thought, well, let me see. I know this guy, he's involved in a couple of books. Best- selling author, Fanatical Prospecting, Objections. The ultimate guide for mastering the art and science of getting past no. Inked, recently out. The ultimate guide to powerful closing and sales negotiation tactics that unlock yes and seal the deal. And I said," Yeah, that's the guy. I need to talk to Jeb Blunt of Sales Gravy." Jeb, welcome to the show my friend.
Jeb Blunt: Darryl, thank you so much, man. I'm so glad to be here. We've worked so hard to grab some time together. And you're talking about one of my favorite subjects, which is prospecting sequences and messaging around those sequences. And so many of the mistakes that salespeople are making today that are turning buyers off and prospects off and basically dampening their conversion rates on those calls. So thank you for having me on.
Darryl Praill: Oh not a problem, man. And for the audience, I got to tell you, chasing Jeb down has been a challenge, and that's cool, that means he's kicking ass. He's having success, he's busy as hell, he's got his new book out. I'm halfway through it, I haven't read the whole thing. Ordered it right away, my goal is to have it ready in time for the Outbound Conference, so I'm pretty thrilled about that. He's going to be onstage at Outbound. If you don't know Jeb and the Outbound story, he was one of the original four guys who was there, who has watched this thing just explode. So with all that training and knowledge and experience and talking to real people, let me just hit you upfront. What's the biggest issue or mistake, you run with this direction, wherever you want to go. Your scene today with sales cadences and how reps are doing them.
Jeb Blunt: I think the biggest issue, if I could give you one, it is that the sequencer cadence, so however we want to say that word, begins with an email versus a phone call. So salespeople are starting off with an email, and mostly emails that suck, and rather than just picking up the phone. So to give you an example of why this is a bad strategy, I'll just use a SAS company that my organization was working with. We were doing some training, but a lot of consulting with them. They're a startup company, they've got some DC money, they're trying to move faster, and they're using software like VanillaSoft to build out their sequences. And their marketplace is pretty large, they can sell to just about any business in the United States. So what they had done is, they'd gone out and bought lists of people that they wanted to sell to. And they were putting them into this machine, this sales machine that some moron had taught them to do. It was eight emails. So they sent eight emails and the last email was a kill email. So I don't understand the purpose of a kill email with just cold prospects that you're trying to qualify. That makes absolutely no sense. It makes sense if you're at the end of a deal and someone's gone dark on you, a kill email works really good there, but it didn't really work well in prospecting because you're going to have to come back to them at some point in the future on another sequence and call them again. But the problem that they had was, they were going into a pure cold list, sending eight emails. And frankly, if you're the prospect, by the time you got to email number five, you're pretty off because you're getting this spam that's coming to your inbox from people that you don't know. So we made a really simple change in the way that they were running their sequence. Well, two changes. One, we got rid of the kill email because that's just stupid. Makes absolutely no sense to send an email, a kill email, in a prospecting sequence like that. But at the very beginning, we started with a phone call. So we would set them up and we would say," Okay, we're going to take a list of 25 prospects and we're going to dial those 25 prospects and we're going to do it as fast as we possibly can to try to get someone on the telephone." And sure enough, we dialed 25 prospects, we're getting people on the telephone. When we get people on the telephone and they talk to us, they don't need to be in the sequence anymore because we were able to capture them. Then we took the people that we weren't able to get on the phone, and then we worked them into a sequence that was a sequence that included email, and included a telephone call, and included social media, and included going back to another voicemail to them. And we did the random sequence over a 14 day period until we had taken about half of those prospects out. So we had either disqualified them or qualified them in or we were running demos on them. And the other half of the prospects went back into the prospect database and then we ran another 25. So my message to them was, default to the phone because the phone is the fastest, easiest way that you're going to be able to talk to someone. It's easy. And if you leave a good voicemail message, you have a small chance, but you have a chance of getting a call back. And if you leave a series of voicemail messages, you have a chance to basically tell your story over time. And what I see now is, so many sales organizations, especially inbound organizations that are shifting to outbound, they're defaulting to an email first versus a phone. And so when I sit down with groups of people, that's where I began is, let's dial first then we'll start running a sequence after the first dial for the people that we don't get in touch with. And it just works because if I can make 25 calls, I can talk to three people, one of those three people is going to turn into a demo or discovery call and end up in my pipeline.
Darryl Praill: Okay. So what about the people that say to you," Nobody answers the phone, why am I starting off with a phone call? Because nobody answers the phone. But they're going to do an email, they're going to skim it, they're going to multitask in a meeting, respond to me." How do you respond to them? And then the second part of the question is going to be, voicemail. Who does voicemail anymore? Is that even relevant? So these are the objections we hear all the time. Over to you.
Jeb Blunt: So Darryl, nobody answers the phone that doesn't ring. That simple.
Darryl Praill: Love it.
Jeb Blunt: So people every day tell me," Nobody answers the phone." And every day in our Fanatical Prospecting bootcamps, every day... I've got a huge training team that are out in the street and they're working with our clients. People say the phone doesn't ring. So we say," Okay, that's fine. 15 minutes, 15 dial set, one appointment, go." And sure enough, we set appointments. Sure enough, people answer the telephone. We do this with military, because we work with military recruiters, we do this in commercial, and we do this across every industry you can possibly imagine. Because my firm is industry agnostic, so I can be working with sports one day, industry and manufacturing one day, software the next day. And people answer the phone. They just answer the phone. And one of the reasons they answered the phone is because the phone is attached to them. We all have these little things in our pockets and so we answer the phone. And it turns out, Darryl, the stats will tell you that more people are answering the phone today than they were 20 years ago. Because the phone's attached to them and because nobody is dialing the phone. So A) what I tell you is, if you tell me nobody answers the phone, I say, BS, people answer the phone." Oh, but Jeb, most of my calls go to voicemail." Yes, they do. That's how it works. Suck it up. Most of the calls went to voicemail in 1990, and most of the calls are going to go to voicemail today, that's a fact. So if your call is going to go to voicemail, you need to leave a voicemail. And yes, people listen to voicemails. And yes, people return voicemails because we see this every single day in our boot camps when we teach people how to leave a voicemail that will get returned. We're sitting in the call block, we're sitting in the training, because we're running live call blocks and dammit people's phones aren't ringing because people are returning their phone calls because they left a voicemail that someone would actually return. And, and this is important, so many voicemails are being translated into texts these days so that people are actually reading what you say. So voicemail has a way of being text or email if you send a good voicemail. So people will call you back from that. And, and this is important as well, because people are calling on cell phones, are answering their cell phones, and because there's so much spam that's coming to cell phones, here's what happens. If you leave a voicemail, it tells them that your call was important because you left a voicemail, and they're much more likely to call you back. Excuse me, so you increase the probability that someone's going to call you back. And like the great one, Wayne Gretzky said," You miss every shot you don't take." So if you don't leave a voicemail, there's no probability that you're going to get a call back. So this whole notion that A) people don't answer the phone and B) what's voicemail? It's all BS. It is complete BS, it's a complete excuse for people who are afraid to have conversations with other human beings. And Darryl, just so we're clear on this, I'm going to give you my top secret that I teach salespeople everywhere I go. And it is a top secret. The more people you talk to, human to human, the more stuff you're going to sell. And the last time I checked, you can't talk to somebody on an email. You need to have a conversation with them. And by the way, if you can sell your stuff over email, your company doesn't need you because I can hire a robot to do your job.
Darryl Praill: All right then let me ask this question. There are many people out there who are saying," Yeah, we're good. All I need is an email only sequence." There's many vendors out there that do that but I'm hearing you say multichannel. I'm really hearing you go all in on the phone. So when someone says to you," I just want product A or product B that just does email sequencing, nothing else." What guidance, what response do you have for them?
Jeb Blunt: Fire your sales team, hire a marketer, and go get a MailChimp account. I mean, if you just want to send emails to people, you don't need to have a sales organization. There's no purpose in that. I mean, just run an inbound marketing organization and just do that because all that is, I mean, when you say," I just need email," it's not an email sequence. It's not a one- to- one email, it's not an email to a prospect, it's bulk emailing. There's nothing wrong with that. I told you before, I've got over a million people on my list. I send emails out every single week. I sell stuff via emails and I sell stuff that I don't need salespeople to handle because people can buy directly off email. But that's not prospecting, that's marketing. So if you tell me that you need an email only sequence, my question is, why? What's the purpose in that? Because if it's an only email sequence, and the return rate on emails is two, three, 4%, what's the point? Why wouldn't you use all of the above? Why wouldn't you use every channel that you have? I mean, the entire purpose of software, like VanillaSoft, a software that basically helps you with sales engagement. Remember, we're trying to engage prospects. Is it the sequence allows you to use all of the prospecting channels that you have available to you. I mean, you can't use smoke signals, but if you can use those, figure it out. But it allows you to use everything. If you're only going to use a thin slice of the software, what's the point? So you have LinkedIn Navigator and plain old free LinkedIn. You have text messaging, which works pretty well with prospects that know you. So for example, if you're calling into a list of people that you've sold to before and not buying from you right now, but they have a relationship with the organization, then text messaging can work really well. Email works just fine. Email is a great medium. So is the telephone. And by the way, if you are a field sales organization, and there are tons of field sales organizations, so does going in person. So for example, if you ran a five, four, three, two, one sequence, you would make five phone calls, and that would be five voicemails if you didn't engage the prospect. Because as soon as you engage the prospect, they come out of the sequence. So if I made five voicemails, then I did four emails, then I did three social media touched, and I did two in- person calls, and I sent one snail mail or one gift over that period of time. Let's say I did that over 14 to 21 days and I did that with a highly targeted list, I'm going to increase the probability, and that's what we're really focused on with sales engagement. I'm going to increase the probability that I'm going to engage one of those targeted prospects through one of those channels that they like best. Of course there are people who prefer email. Of course there are people who prefer having a conversation. There are some people that are going to be more likely to engage with you in person or online, depending on what you do. So you want to use all the channels that you have available to you to give yourself the largest and highest probability of getting in touch with the right prospect at the right time with the right message.
Darryl Praill: Okay, Jeb, we see so many people messing up the emails. My personal biggest beef is when they're just sending out canned emails, no personalization, no context, and it's just a spam machine. That's the fastest path, if you're trying to sell me, to get yourself blocked. Junk, spam, unfollowed on LinkedIn, et cetera. So that's me, but you're the expert, you tell me. When it comes to cadences and doing the outreach and using the email channel, what's the one thing reps can do better or different to have more success?
Jeb Blunt: So I think you're exactly right, Darryl. So one of the big problems that we face is that you just get spam, spam, spam, spam, spam. And I'm pretty forgiving because I love salespeople, but there's a point where you can push me too far and you can hit me with too many emails and not get a clue. And I'm going to spam you. And my clue is, I'm not doing business with you via email, you need to talk to me at some point. That doesn't mean that you can't get my attention through email, you can, if the email is structured the right way. So number one is, you got to recognize that there are basically three types of emails that you're going to send. We talked about one, one is a bulk email. That is a email that goes from one person to many people, and that's typically marketing. So when you send out your newsletter or you send out an offer, or you send out anything that's really focused on bringing people in bound, that's a marketing email. It's bulk, one to many, and those bulk emails can get spammed out. They get unsubscribed because the message didn't hit today or you hit a person on the wrong day. They're going to get off your list. And you're sending those types of emails because you're list building and you're sending that through marketing. Another type of email that you're going to send is, you're going to send a customized, but a semi- customized, email. So if you are a sales rep and you have a big prospect base, and you're sending... High activity, so you've got to make 50 to 100 touches a day via phone, via email, whatever. In those cases, you're probably not going to have time to research every single prospect so that you know everything about them. So what you have to do is guess and infer what issues they may be facing. With those types of emails, it's best to focus on, are you going out to a role that is similar to other roles? So I'm sending out to CEOs or I'm sending out to directors of sales or I'm sending out to CIOs. And also you've got to intuit or think about, what exactly are they facing? What are the issues that they're facing? So that you can build out an email that may be particular to a marketplace or a vertical that's going to connect with most people. Those require some AB testing, because you're not always going to know what's going to work. So you'll maybe work with some small groups to see what gets you the best response. But those emails, they're not going to be always perfect for every single human being. The third group of emails are when you're working on a highly targeted list with conquest accounts or dream accounts. You're a salesperson and you work in large account sales. So you're going to have a limited database, you're going to probably be working across a wide array of stakeholders inside a single account, and you're going to be working up the ladder. So you may be working for middle all the way to the top or you're working from the top down. You're going to have only a couple of chances to get in and grab someone's attention. And those emails need to be customized and personalized to the individuals that you're sending those emails to. Now, if you've ever sent an email like that, you know that personalizing an email and making it right takes a lot of time. So you're typically going to be doing that with a highly targeted list of large accounts, where the stakes are pretty high and the risk of making mistake can take you out of the game permanently. Now with the last two types of emails, Darryl, so whether it's a semi- custom email or a permanently custom email, if you want to get a better response, there's a couple of things that you have to do. Number one is, you have to think about familiarity. And this is, by the way, it's where phone and voicemail and social media really come into play. So if you send an email and people recognize your name, or recognize your company name, in that case you got a better chance of getting the email opened. That's why running a cadence where you're leaving voicemail actually matters or when you're clicking on someone's profile so they can see you on LinkedIn. Those things matter. Familiarity makes a difference. That's going to get it open, that's part of it. The next part is the subject line and the first sentence. So when you look at a screen, especially a small screen, like a phone here. On a phone, when you open up the phone, you're going to see the subject line, you're going to see the first sentence. And those two things matter the most. Those are your hooks. So the first thing is a subject line, that needs to be something that's going to grab their attention. And you want that to be about them, not you. So if you said, for example," Sales Gravy is the greatest," they're just going to move off. It's not going to be about them. And that first sentence hook has to be about them and their situation. So let me give you an example. Let's say that I'm sending an email to CFOs who work in banking. So I might have an email with a subject line that says," Ernst& Young says the banking CFO has the hardest job in finance." If that was something that was there. Immediately, if I'm the CFO, that's something that connects with me. Boom, I'm going to grab that. The next sentence might say something like," Most CFOs in banking today are frustrated because of," boom. The first sentence is about me. The first sentence is about what I'm going through, the issues that I'm facing. So if you get those two things right, you're usually going to pull people in. People who get my attention and will say," Love your book." So if you want to get my attention, you write me an email says," Love your book," and if the first sentence is sincerely about the book, I'm going to keep reading. If the first sentence says," We're the biggest company that does this," I'm done. And oh, by the way, this is a really important thing. If it says," Hi Jeb," or," Hello, Jeb," I'm just deleting you because I know that you're just spamming me. So one of the things that I recommend that salespeople do is that they put the name of the person, Darryl, the same way that you would email a colleague. Because we're professionals, we're in sales. We're not saying hi and hello to people. And by the way, no else in business addresses you that way except for salespeople. So I would eliminate that. The next thing that you have to do is you have to have the very next paragraph. So after you had that first sentence, the very next paragraph has to relate to them and their situation. So when you're doing a semi- custom email and you're doing it, say, in a particular industry, you have to think about what the role you're going after. The role you're writing to. What type of frustrations, issues, opportunities they see. What emotions are they feeling? What's happening in their world? So stepping into their shoes. And the very next paragraph, you have a first sentence, next paragraph is all about them. Not about you, about them. Following that, you want to have a bridge. And all a bridge does, it's just a link. So it's a value bridge from relating to their situation, to what you can do to help alleve that pain, help them accomplish a goal, help them solve a business problem, help them achieve a business outcome that's measurable for them. What are you doing to help them? And how can you help them in their language, not your language. And then there's an ask. So the ask can be, let's get together. Let's meet. Here's something I want you to download. And I'm just going to run a sequence where you're downloading something then I'll come back in after you download, so I see that engagement there. That's one of the tactics you can use. But there's a call to action. And what I recommend to salespeople, if you're going to use a calendar link, so here's my calendar, pick something. I recommend that you say," I have time on my calendar 2: 00 on Thursday, from 3: 00 to 5: 00 or what have you. Or if it's more convenient for you, here's my calendar, click on that." So that you give people the option and it doesn't come off as you making them do your job. If that makes sense. So if we just go back and review that; you have the hook, which is the subject line, and the first sentence. If they're familiar with you, you're more likely to get an open email. As long as you haven't been completely annoying. Then you have a relate statement or paragraph that relates to them. Then you have a value bridge, how do you solve a problem for them? Then you have an ask. And you really want to keep this short. So on an email pf 250 words or less, and I would say if you can go less than that, 150 words or less. And then if you're sending an InMail follow the exact same process, except that you won't have a subject line and it probably needs to be even shorter. Try to drop it into 100 to 150 words so it's easy for people to consume. If you do those things, I promise you, guarantee you, that you'll double your conversion rate off of emails because suddenly your emails will be about them and not just annoying spam that's all about you, all about your product, and just doesn't even demonstrate that you care enough to do any type of research to customize the email to them.
Darryl Praill: My goodness, Jeb Blunt. I don't even know if he breathed in that whole segment. Bringing it, to talk about cadences and what you can do to improve your success rate. Love some of his points he's making, I love all of his points he's making, but the whole point about nobody answers a phone that doesn't ring. Gold, fantastic. Personalizing those emails. The way he breaks down the three different kinds of emails and knowing what you're doing and where to invest your time, spot on. His second bunch of emails there, where he's saying just pick a role, a persona. That just means your list needs to be highly segmented. I'm only going to do email cadences to the CRO in this industry, in this size company, and then I'll move on to the next one afterwards. So you can really nail that messaging, I love that. Invest your time in the wishlist, the monster list you want, those named accounts, those anchor accounts, those beachheads to really bring it home. That, my friends, is how you work a cadence. It is not a rinse and repeat laundromat. It's a use the tool to get what you want done and do it well. That is Jeb Blunt, you can check him out at salesgravy. com. He is the bestselling author of books like Fanatical Prospecting, Sales EQ, Objections, and his latest and greatest, Inked. Check them out. Jeb, thank you for your time today, sir. I am so glad you stopped by to say, hey. I'm looking forward to seeing you at outboundconference. com. But that folks, we're done, we're out of here. It's another week until we talk again. In the meantime, I wish you much success with your sales efforts. Darryl Praill here, VanillaSoft, I'll talk to you soon. Take care. Bye- bye.