7 Outbound Sales Blunders Your SaaS Company is Making Right Now

Is your SaaS company making one of these 7 sales bluders? 

Maybe not… But after 5 years of sales consulting and running outbound campaigns for SaaS companies, experience tells me that if you’re like most sales teams, you’ll find something that can be improved in this short list.

Don’t worry. I’ve included how to fix these blunders (with examples) so you can get even more results from your outbound efforts.

Enjoy!

Not following up enough

Fact: In a typical SaaS cold email campaign, 66% of replies happen after the 1st email.

And about 20% of all replies happen after the 3rd email.

What’s the lesson here? You’re leaving money on the table if you don’t follow-up 4+ times.

Now, you’ve heard about the “power of follow-ups” before. And yet, some of us SaaS hustlers still hesitate to send that 5th follow-up email. Why?

We’re afraid that people will get upset if we contact them too much. So we settle with a 3-step email campaign and hope for the best.

Meanwhile, other SaaS companies are getting positive replies on the 12th follow-up email! Still not convinced? Check out the stats behind a campaign that the Reply.io team pulled together:

7 sales blunders: Reply screenshot

See that? 24 out of the 138 replies came in after the 3rd email! (17%) 

Okay. Now that you’re ready to level-up your follow-up game, here’s what to do:

  1. Acknowledge that some prospects WILL send you rejection emails. (Don’t panic, rejection is simply part of the sales game.)
  2. Track your positive replies to determine how effective your follow-ups are.
  3. Add plenty of time between your 3rd, 4th, and 5th follow-up. (120 hours is a good start.)
  4. Create follow-up emails for your sequence until you have at least 5 total follow-ups. (Hint: Mention a new benefit and call-to-action in each follow-up email.) 

Writing “selfish” cold emails

Hate to break it to you…
…But your prospects don’t care about your company.

I know. Your product is amazing. But guess what?

Your prospects, like all humans, are mainly interested in one thing: Themselves.

And that’s why mistake #2 is all about writing “selfish” cold emails. Because there’s no faster way to lose a prospect’s attention in a cold email than to start talking about yourself.

Let’s look at an example of a selfish cold email.

Example #1 The Selfish Email

Sales tactic from EmailsThatSell

Hey Jim,

My name is Jack and I work for EmailsThatsell.com.

We help SaaS companies like {{Competitor1}} and {{Competitor2}} bring in warm leads from Fortune 500 companies, even if they just launched or have a 1 person sales team.

I’d love to get your feedback on our new “LinkedIn Lead Gen Tactic” that’s turning cold prospects into demo-ready leads on autopilot. 

Can I explain how it works?

Best,
Jack


Jack Reamer
Founder | EmailsThatSell.com

See how the entire message is focused on my needs? Yuck!

“My name is…”
“We help…”
“I’d love…”
“Can I…”

So let’s take the same message, and turn it into a Prospect-Focused Email:

To make sure this next email is all about my prospect, I’m going visit their company website and see exactly which kinds of accounts they’re targeting. I’ll find 2 companies that are a perfect fit and call them {{Jim’s Ideal Customer1}} and {{Jim’s Ideal Customer2}}.

Example #2 The Prospect-Focused Email

Landing customer like {{Jim’s Ideal Customer1}}?

Hey Jim,

Nice work hiring {{Company}}’s first sales person!

Since you’re in growth mode, you might want to try out a new “LinkedIn Lead Gen Tactic” that’s helping similar SaaS companies bring in 40-50 warm leads from companies like {{Jim’s Ideal Customer1}} and {{Jim’s Ideal Customer2}} every month, even with a one-person sales team.

Would you like me to share this quick sales tactic with you?

Best,
Jack

Jack Reamer
Founder | EmailsThatSell.com

See what I did there?

Same message in both emails. But one is written “selfishly” and the other is written for the prospect. And there’s a BIG difference when you compare the total positive replies generated.

Ready to start writing Prospect-Focused cold emails? Here’s my favorite copywriting hack:

Before you write another cold email, repeat after me:

“Prospects don’t care about me or my business.”
“Prospects don’t care about me or my business.”
“Prospects don’t care about me or my business.”

Last tip, delete any sentence that starts with “My name is…” (Prospects can read your signature if they get curious.)

Going for the sale too soon

Who wouldn’t want a working “Buy Now” button in their cold emails?

Hi Michael,

Want to buy what I’m selling?

buy now button

 

Thanks,
Jack

Jack Reamer
Founder | EmailsThatSell.com

That would make this here “sales thing” soooo much easier, right? I mean, if this actually worked, you could…

  • Cold email a prospect.  
  • Make a sale.
  • Repeat until you own that beach house in Fiji.

 

7 sales blunders: beautiful beach

Newsflash: B2B sales don’t work like that.

You know that. And I know you’re not using “buy buttons” in your cold emails… (Right?!)

But asking prospects for too much is a common blunder for any SaaS outbound campaign. So, if you want more replies, the first and easiest change you can make is to dial back your Call-to-Action.

It works like this: The more you ask of your prospect, the lower your response rate will be.

CTA commitment level

For example, easy, low-commitment CTA’s like “Any interest?” will have a higher reply rate than high-commitment CTA’s like, “Book a 45-minute Demo”.

The Fix:

Instead of asking for a demo, think about your cold emails as a powerful way to start a dialogue.

In other words, instead of asking for the meeting right away, try easier-to-reply CTA’s like:

“Is this worth looking into?”
“Is XYZ a priority for you this quarter?”
“Reply YES and I’ll send it over”
“Would you be open to a quick 10-minute chat next week?”

Bonus: Download a few hundred other cold email CTA’s, sorted by commitment level, at Emailsthatsell

Not Enough Personalization

Here’s the bad news:
Today, if you’re serious about getting prospects to reply to your cold emails, then you have to use more personalization that just {{FirstName}} and {{CompanyName}}.

Now for the good news:
Right now, most SaaS companies still aren’t sending emails with enough personalization. Which means if you take the time to personalize your cold emails, your messages will get noticed… and your competitor’s emails will get ignored.

Thor

So what kind of personalization should you include?

For starters, try adding a custom introduction sentence and/or a custom P.S. Then, if you want to get fancy, try adding merge tags for {{City}}, {{Industry}}, {{Interests}}, {{Features}}, {{Similarities}} so your email “fits” each prospect like a hand-written note.

“Wait, this sounds like a lot of work. Does this really work, Jack?”

Yes. And here’s the proof:

We wrote 2 cold email campaigns to get the founders of big time SaaS companies on our Sales Podcast. One campaign used a custom intro sentence, and one did not.

Reply rate for the campaign with custom intro sentence: 48% (All the replies were positive.)

Reply rate for campaign without custom intro sentence: 10%

With Custom Intro Sentence

Featuring {{CompanyName}} on podcast?

Hi {{FirstName}},

{{Custom Intro Sentence}}

Mind if mention you and your company on my sales podcast?

We don’t often feature companies, but this is our 100th episode and we wanted to do something special.
Best,
Jack

P.S. I love companies that thrive without giant sales teams, and I think our audience would benefit greatly from hearing your story.

Without Custom Intro Sentence:

Featuring {{CompanyName}} on podcast?

Hi {{FirstName}},

Came across your cold email template on GoodSalesEmails today while looking for inspiration. Loved it.

Not sure you’ve heard about my sales podcast yet, but we’re doing something special for the 100th episode and I wondered if you’d be okay if I shared your story with our audience.

Just reply with a quick story on how cold email has impacted your growth and we’ll put you on the show.

Best,
Jack

P.S. Happy to plug your company during the show and raise awareness of your product, too.

Jack Reamer
Founder | EmailsThatSell.com

Here’s your to-do list if you’d like to send emails with more personalization:

Take 100 prospects and write them a personal intro sentence. I recommend writing 1 genuine compliment about their product or company in the intro sentence. Something like, “Congrats on getting 80 5-star ratings on G2Crowd” can work nicely.

Then, press send and monitor your reply rates :)

Settling for low open rates (50% or below)

Your cold email campaigns should have more than 50% open rates. (Ideally, it’s between 60-85%.) If you’re getting less than that, you need to focus on your deliverability.

Fortunately, there’s a few steps you can take to get your opens back under control.

How to improve your cold email deliverability (Ultra-Quick Checklist)

Cold email deliverability is a topic worth its own post, but here’s a few important steps you can take to get a healthy open rate:

  1. Open rates have more to do with your overall email deliverability than the subject-lines you’re using. Do less subject-line A/B testing, and more testing with tools like MailGenius.com or GlockApps.com to find out what needs to be done.
  2. Add personalization and multiple variations to your campaigns. (Variety is very good for inboxing.)
  3. Test sending with Outlook if you’re currently using GSuite to send cold email. (Right now, Outlook is getting more opens than GSuite for cold email — by a landslide.)
  4. Warm up your new cold email domain by sending emails to your friends, colleagues and existing contacts. (Just make sure they reply to your emails.)
  5. If all else fails, try sending with a new cold email domain. (Tip: Let your new domain sit untouched for 30 days before you start warming it up and using it to send cold emails.) 

Writing weak CTA’s

This is me after I see a weak Call-to-Action in a cold email:

To understand why, let’s talk about the 2 types of CTA’s you can use:
Weak CTA’s and Direct CTA’s.

Weak CTA’s will single-handedly kill your reply rates.

Direct CTA’s work. (This isn’t theory. Using clear, strong Calls-to-Action comes from well-tested direct response marketing.)

Examples of Weak CTA’s:
I can share more if you’re interested. Let me know!
If you want to talk, I have availability this week.
You’ll see the PDF attached. Hope it helps!

Examples of Direct CTA’s:
Reply “YES” and I’ll send more details.
Is this a priority for you this quarter?
Are you the best person to speak to about this?

See the difference?

Weak CTA’s are easy to ignore. Direct CTA’s tell your prospect exactly what to do.
Please, if you remember one this from this article, let it be this:
“Write clear CTA’s in your cold emails!”

Not doing outbound

Of all the mistakes listed here, the worst one you can make is not doing outbound. (Unless, of course, you already have too many leads to handle.)

Why? Don’t get me wrong, I love me some inbound leads. They can be easier to close and come in on autopilot once you have a strong inbound channel set up. But do you expect 100% of your SaaS subscribers to find you first?

Or if there’s a segment of your market that you’d like to crack, outbound can help you reach them before they become aware of your solution.

Best case: You’re capturing leads using a nice balance between outbound sales AND inbound marketing.

“Oh, so Jack is saying outbound has zero negative consequences! Yeah! Let’s send all the emails!!”

cat and keyboard

Not so fast. Anytime your brand comes in contact with a prospect, your reputation is at stake. If you don’t respect opt-outs, or if you send terrible salesy outbound messages, it could backfire on you. Solution: Do it in-house or work with an outbound agency that’s aligned with your brand.

Comments? Questions? Leave your thoughts below or message me at Emailsthatsell.

Jack Reamer

B2B SaaS Lead Generation Expert

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