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Effective email campaigns are the true workhorses of lead generation. They will generate many, many conversations that you can nurture into sales opportunities. Best of all, they bring back results at virtually no additional costs other than the time it takes to create them. Demand Metric News reported that email is the number one channel for lead generation, chosen by 78 percent of businesses surveyed.

Make sure you get the best return on your next email campaign by following these five best practices. These hard-won insights emerged from a one-on-one with SalesLoft’s Patrick TracySalesLoft builds cloud-based sales engagement platforms, so Patrick’s observations are based on email A/B testing and countless interactions with his sales-oriented clients.

1. Be Politely Persistent

Research collected by HubSpot revealed that 80 percent of sales require five or more follow-ups, yet 44 percent of salespeople give up after just a single follow-up. You can safely assume that your prospects lead busy lives. They may not have seen your first email or were interrupted while looking at it or they may have accidentally deleted your email without really reading it. Be polite, be relevant and don’t give up too soon.

2. Prepare Yourself With 3×3

Remind yourself that you have to earn their time. This is a bedrock concept, but it’s easy to forget when you get into the zone. A great way to stand out in the inbox is to do research up front and include personal details. Spend no more than three minutes per prospect and write down three pieces of unique information about each one. This can include where they went to school, news about their company, trends in the industry, etc. Save your notes on the target account and move on to the next one.

3. Keep the Subject Line Simple

In A/B testing, SalesLoft found that an effective subject line was: “[Company Name] + SalesLoft?” This sparked curiosity and made the email recipients wonder how the two companies might fit together. The subject line held their attention just long enough for them to read the first line of text in the email preview pane. That’s where the real action begins.

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4. Zero In on the Second Subject Line

The most popular email clients – Outlook, Gmail, Apple Mail, etc – default to a view where the user sees the subject line and then the first line of text from your email. Treat that first line of text as the second subject line. This is where all your prospect research pays off. Lead with a personalized reference to the prospect’s university, favorite sports team, industry news, etc. Make an immediate connection and then make sure there’s enough value inside the email that the prospect won’t regret opening it.

5. Fine-Tune Your Cadence

There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for how many touches lead to a sale. Mix your five or more follow-ups with other kinds of touches to stay in the prospect’s radar. SalesLoft recommends a personalized “cadence” of touches using email, phone calls, social posts and other creative channels. They found that it’s effective to schedule 20 touches over 30 business days for outbound lead generation. That goes beyond just email follow-ups. It includes interactions as simple as a follow on Twitter or sharing a curated article on LinkedIn. Stay alert and give the prospect valuable information they can use, even when it’s not about your company. After prospects finally do become customers, they will remember your personal touch.

Reviewing the 5 Best Practices

Do your prospect research quickly, write a punchy subject line and then add a relevant second subject line. After you send your emails, mark your calendar and be politely persistent. Take note of what prompted a response so you can fine tune the follow-ups and other touches that you have planned for each prospect. That’s all there is to it. Now you can get back to handling the rest of your business as the responses roll in.

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