Categories
Tactical Selling

3 cold message sins (and how to stop doing them)

3 cold message sins (and how to stop doing them)

In today’s issue, I’m going to share 3 cold message sins I see when training SDRs, and how to stop doing them.

These sins are almost always the results of new reps using poorly crafted templates.

And in most cases, SDR leaders and sales enablement never had to prospect, or did it too long ago to stay relevant.

Here are the top 3 sins I see when I meet SDRs:

Sin #1: Not being concise enough

Writing a cold email or a cold LinkedIn message is about two things; stopping prospects in their tracks, and getting them to read what you wrote.

Unfortunately, most SDRs I meet confuse cold outbound with essay writing. They write long emails, filled with value propositions, features, and filler words.

When prospects receive an email or a LinkedIn message, they quickly scan them to decide if they should keep on reading or ignore. And when your message is too long, they simply ignore it.

What to do instead?

I alway recommend writing short messages, maximum 125 words. Your prospect should be able to read the message on their smartphone, without scrolling. Use short sentences and jump lines between each sentence.

Look at the two emails below. Which one are you more likely to reply to?

Long email
Short email

Sin #2: Focusing on your offering only

When you start a new job as an SDR or as an AE, you’re trained on your offering, its features, benefits, USPs, why it’s better than your competition, and so on.

You’re almost never trained on the problems your offering is solving for your customers, however. And this is the explanation behind all the crappy cold outreach prospects receive.

When you focus on your product or solution, you bore prospects out and they end up ignoring you.

Your prospects have been hired to do a job, and there’s almost always a gap between their goals and reality. Reducing this gap is what they care about. They couldn’t care less about what you are selling, but they’ll care about solving their problems.

What to do instead?

Leading with the problems your prospects may be facing is how you improve your reply rate.

Think about how infomercials are focusing on problems before proposing a solution. There’s always a black and white part where the narrator focuses on how the current product leads to terrible results.

Your goal is to create the same effect by leading with typical problems your prospects may be facing. Google “{Prospect} problems 2022” to find typical issues your prospects are trying to solve.

(Note: You can also check The Cold Message System if you want to discover the messages that get me a 38% reply rate and a 27% meeting rate.)

Sin #3: Inserting a meeting link too early

Finally, a cardinal sin I see too often is the premature use of meeting links in cold outreach.

Your job is to start conversations, not to book meetings at all cost. A meeting link (think Calendly, Chili Piper), is a productivity tool. Something you use to facilitate the process of booking a meeting when both parties agreed to it.

When you use a meeting link as a call-to-action, you’re asking too much from your prospects too early. It kills your chances of starting a conversation.

What to do instead?

Ditch the meeting link in your cold outreach messages. You can use the following framework to:

  1. Explain why you’re reaching out

  2. Show prospects you understand their problems

  3. Tease a potential resource

  4. Ask to reply to access the resource

When you get a reply, navigate the conversation with a reciprocity resource and only share your meeting link when the prospect agreed to a meeting.

In conclusion

Getting replies from cold outbound messaging is harder than ever. You need to optimize the content of your messages, as well as the format. It’s all about your prospects and their problems, and never about your offering.

So keep in mind:

  • Write short messages

  • Focus on prospects problems

  • Ditch the meeting link

I hope this helps!

P.S. When you’re ready, here are 5 ways I can help you.
 
  1. Build your outbound prospecting system from scratch here (230+ students)
  2. Write cold messages that get a 38% reply rate and 27% meeting rate here (40+)
  3. Book me 1:1 or for your team here
  4. (NEW!) Sponsor my newsletter & get 3K+ eyeballs on your ad!

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Categories
Tactical Selling

How I structure my daily prospecting block

How I structure my daily prospecting block

There are two things I look forward the least in a typical work day. My 10 minute workout, and prospecting.

Yet, I know these two activities keep me healthy and wealthy.

In consequence, I have created a system to tackle these unpleasant tasks.

In today’s newsletter, I’ll share how I structure my daily prospecting block (I won’t share the workout routine though 😂 ).

Step 1: Start with follow-ups

Most replies I get come from follow-ups. And I found that starting with them is a good way to prime the prospecting pump and finish my prospecting block faster.

I start by opening my prospecting tracker, where I store all the prospects I contact, as well as the status of my outreach.

As I use a pre-defined sequence, I don’t need to find a new trigger when doing follow up, I just focus on sending the message, based on the sequence I have built.

Outbound sequence example

This first step allows me to create momentum as each follow-up is done quickly, which gets me motivated (I love having the feeling of achieving something).

Daily effort: 5 minutes

(Quick hack: I love drinking coffee in the morning, so I created a habit of preparing one, putting it on the next to my computer, and drinking it only when my follow-ups are done. As I like my coffee hot, I’m extra motivated to get this task out of the way!)

Step 2: Find 5 new prospects

Now that all my follow-ups are done, I’m ready to find new prospects to contact.

I have calculated that contacting 5 new prospects per day would allow me to book 2 outbound meetings a week, which is what I need to reach my targets.

I start by finding prospects who fit with my ICP in the people who visited my profile, my recent followers, or people who commented/reacted on my posts.

It’s sometimes enough, but in most cases, I cannot find 5 people. When that happens, I look for influential people who speak to my ICP, and I locate interesting prospects in the comments/reaction section of their posts.

I did a detailed article about this tactic a few weeks ago.

Daily effort: 10 minutes

Step 3: Add them to my sequence

Now that I have a list of potential prospects, I add them to my sequence.

Adding them means sending a first touchpoint, based on our connection level on LinkedIn (1st or 2nd), and using a trigger to justify my outreach.

If we aren’t connected, I’ll drop a connection request mentioning why I’m reaching out. If we are connected, I’ll drop a prospecting video or a LinkedIn voice note.

In terms of message content, I typically use the following structure:

  • Trigger: A problem-oriented piece of information – John, noticed you also liked Charlotte’s post about boring hybrid events.

  • Question: A question related to the trigger – What do you think of the solution she proposed?

Daily effort: 10 minutes

And these are the 3 steps I used to structure my daily prospecting block. I’ve been running it for almost 2 years, and I get a consistent, 38% reply rate and 11% to 27% meeting rate (it varies based on the time of the year).

 

TL;DR:

  • Step 1: Start with follow-ups

  • Step 2: Find 5 new prospects

  • Step 3: Add them to my sequence

Hope this helps!

Thibaut

P.S. When you’re ready, here are 5 ways I can help you.
 
  1. Build your outbound prospecting system from scratch here (230+ students)
  2. Write cold messages that get a 38% reply rate and 27% meeting rate here (40+)
  3. Book me 1:1 or for your team here
  4. (NEW!) Sponsor my newsletter & get 3K+ eyeballs on your ad!

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Get my free, 4 min weekly newsletter. Used by 5.800+ salespeople to book more meetings.

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Get my free, 4 min weekly newsletter. Used by 5.800+ salespeople to book more meetings.

Categories
Tactical Selling

5 steps to building your Q4 pipeline

5 steps to building your Q4 pipeline

In today’s issue, I’m going to share 5 steps to building your pipeline for Q4 and beyond.

If you can replicate this system, you will have a clear idea of what needs to be done to reach your target, and how realistic they really are.

Unfortunately, most SDRs don’t do this exercise, and they end up missing their targets, or they prospect without predictable results.

Building your pipeline is how you take control of your career.

Without a solid prospecting system, a few challenges arise:

Challenge #1: You have no control: you’re at the mercy of your marketing team, the economy, or seasonality.

Challenge #2: You have no visibility: you’re not able to gauge how close or far you are from reaching your targets.

Challenge #3: You become anxious: as you have no way of course correcting, you start worrying about reaching your goals.

You can overcome all of these challenges by building your pipeline early.

Here are 5 steps you can follow do to just that:

Step 1: Find your real target

Knowing your real target is a lot harder than it seems.

In some sales organizations, you may have multiple targets to reach, which makes it harder to understand what’s expected from you.

My advice; find the number that has the biggest impact on your commission and focus on it. You’ll often find it in your compensation plan.

If you’re an AE, you may be compensated on the MRR, ARR or bookings you bring in. If you’re an SDR, you’re often compensated on the meetings you book, meetings held, or opportunities generated.

Go find the number that stands out and focus on it. This is your real target.

Step 2: Convert it into a number of prospects

Now that you know exactly where you want to go, you need to understand the effort required to reach your target.

I recommend focusing on a number of prospects to contact.

In the example below, I have to perform 124 discovery calls per quarter. With 20% of no-shows, I need to book 155 calls. With a 33% meeting rate, and a 55% reply rate, I need to contact 855 different prospects in order to reach my target.

Conversion table

(Note: If you’re interested in running these numbers, go check my Sales Process Calculator).

Step 3: Divide it by the number of days remaining to work

Having a clear activity target is good, but knowing exactly how many prospects to contact daily is better.

The third step is quite simple; find out how many working days remain in the quarter and divide the number in step 2 by that number. Make sure to deduct days off and public holidays.

For example, at the time of writing, there are 58 working days remaining. I have planned 3 weeks of holiday until the end of the year (including Christmas), which gives me 43 working days in Q4 (58 – 15). With the example in step 2, I would need to contact 20 prospects every day (855/43 = 19,9).

Step 4: Protect your schedule

Dedicating some time to prospecting can be challenging. Between internal meetings, customer calls, and incessant notifications, you waste a ton of time and energy on secondary tasks.

I recommend protecting your schedule with time blocks. Find the time of the day when you’re the most productive, and put a 30 – 60 min blocker. Make sure this blocker is at the same time every day so your colleagues and manager know you won’t reply during that time.

Ideally, your blocker should be at the beginning of your work day, around lunch time, or towards the end of the day.

Here’s an example:

Time block example

Step 5: Execute

Without this last step, nothing you did before will be of any use.

Executing means showing up every day, following up, finding new prospects, and contacting them.

That’s what I call a prospecting routine, and it’s the number 1 reason SDRs succeed or fail. Without building a daily prospecting habit, you’ll find yourself with varying levels of motivations, and your results with be inconsistent.

Here’s how you can execute daily:

  • Time block

  • Mute all your notifications

  • Focus on your follow-ups first

  • Find new prospects

  • Contact them

And these are my 5 steps to building your pipeline for Q4 and beyond.

TL;DR:

  • Step 1: Find your real target

  • Step 2: Convert it into a number of prospect

  • Step 3: Divide it by the number of days remaining to work

  • Step 4: Protect your schedule

  • Step 5: Execute

Cheers,

Thibaut

P.S. When you’re ready, here are 5 ways I can help you.
 
  1. Build your outbound prospecting system from scratch here (230+ students)
  2. Write cold messages that get a 38% reply rate and 27% meeting rate here (40+)
  3. Book me 1:1 or for your team here
  4. (NEW!) Sponsor my newsletter & get 3K+ eyeballs on your ad!

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Get my free, 4 min weekly newsletter. Used by 5.800+ salespeople to book more meetings.

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Get my free, 4 min weekly newsletter. Used by 5.800+ salespeople to book more meetings.

Categories
Tactical Selling

5 traits of successful SDRs in 2023 and beyond

5 traits of successful SDRs in 2023 and beyond

In today’s issue, I’m going to share the 5 traits of successful SDRs in 2023 and beyond.

I thought about writing this guide after taking part in the Sales Performance Growth Summit. I joined a session about the biggest challenges facing sales leaders in 2023, and these 5 traits stuck.

When I started working in sales, being an SDR was just an entry-level job, and the ambition of most of them was to become an AE. Nowadays, being an SDR is an opportunity to create skills that can be used for a lifetime, document them, and open a sea of opportunities for financial, and personal development.

Here are 5 traits of successful SDRs in 2023 and beyond:

Trait #1: They protect their time

Being a successful SDR is 80% activity, and 20% creativity. Which means most of your time should be spent prospecting. Unfortunately, in most sales organizations, a big part of your day is be wasted in meetings, chatters with colleagues, or breaks.

Successful SDRs know they won’t reach their targets if they don’t create a system to protect their time.

A good way to do so is creating time blocks. You can do it by identifying when you’re the most productive, and add a blocker into your calendar. I recommend adding 1 to 3 blocks of 60 minutes minimum per day. Ideally, your blocks should be at the same time every day, so your colleagues can predict when you’re available and when you’re not.

Here’s an example of a time-blocked schedule:

Time block example

Trait #2: They prospect every day

Prospecting isn’t super glamorous. It’s a lot of repetitive tasks, yet it’s the lifeblood of every sales organization. If you can’t create enough activities, you won’t book meetings, and you’ll lose motivation.

Filling your time blocks with a constant flow of prospecting activities is how you avoid that problem. I recommend dividing your monthly goals into daily activity to get more control over your outcomes.

For example, if you’ve identified that you need to create 600 touchpoints (calls, emails, LinkedIn messages, etc.) per month, you need to divide it by the number of working days (in general 20 per month). In our example, you’ll need to create 30 (600/20) activities per day.

It’s a lot simpler to deliver 30 touchpoints per day every day than skipping days and having to play catch up.

Trait #3: They focus on the basics

There are a few basics when it comes to prospecting; knowing your Ideal Customer Profile, understanding their problems, and using them in your messaging.

A lot of SDRs I meet have no clue who their ICP are, what problems they are trying to solve, and how to communicate them properly. They end up pitching about their solutions, focusing on features, and getting no responses.

I recommend SDRs to build and ICP matrix (the type of company, and the job title), list problems and symptoms for each type of prospect, and use them heavily in their messaging.

Open your prospecting sequences and check if there’s any mention of what your solution does. If it’s the case, you’re most likely focusing on features, and killing your reply rates as a result.

(Note: Go check The Cold Message System if you need to create messages with 38% reply rates).

Trait #4: They document their journey

For a few years now, more and more SDRs have been documenting their journeys on LinkedIn. Sales leaders are realizing that employing reps with an audience is a great way to build brand awareness, start more conversations with prospects, and book more meetings.

Think about 5 sales influencers you’ve recently heard of. Chances are most of them are/were SDRs. I’ve interviewed many of them and they all attributed building a personal brand as the key to their success.

Documenting your journey as an SDR is great way to build an audience. Quite simply, it helps people who are a few months behind in their careers, and they engage with your content. As a result, it gives more visibility to your profile, and gets decision-makers familiar with you.

As an example, my brother has been working as an SDR for 3 months, documenting his journey every day, and he’s already receiving requests to coach SDRs by people who follow him.

Trait #5: They keep experimenting new tactics

Finally, successful SDRs understand that the tactics that work now, likely won’t work in the future. As they get discovered, they quickly get adopted, and prospects become numb to them.

A good way to avoid losing your edge is to create an experimentation system for your sequences. I recommend following this structure:

  • Define the scope of your experiment
  • Define one metric that you want to influence with your experiment (e.g. connection request acceptance rate)
  • Define your assumptions for the experiment
  • Define success thresholds
  • Run your experiment in 2 weeks sprints

Here’s an example of my Prospecting Experiment Canva:

Prospecting Experiment Canva

It’s important to note that experimentation shouldn’t prevent you from focusing on the basics. Experimenting is often more interesting than repeating the same tasks over and over, but without enough activities, the best tactics won’t get you to your targets.

And these are the 5 traits of successful SDRs in 2023 and beyond.

TL;DR:

  1. They protect their time
  2. They prospect every day
  3. They focus on the basics
  4. They document their journey
  5. They keep experimenting new tactics

Hope this helps.

P.S. When you’re ready, here are 5 ways I can help you.
 
  1. Build your outbound prospecting system from scratch here (230+ students)
  2. Write cold messages that get a 38% reply rate and 27% meeting rate here (40+)
  3. Book me 1:1 or for your team here
  4. (NEW!) Sponsor my newsletter & get 3K+ eyeballs on your ad!

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Get my free, 4 min weekly newsletter. Used by 5.800+ salespeople to book more meetings.

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Get my free, 4 min weekly newsletter. Used by 5.800+ salespeople to book more meetings.