You’re ready to take your business to the next level and you know exactly what you need; the latest cold email software. It looks great, ticks all your boxes, and has the potential to skyrocket your sales faster than Elon Musk with a Tesla.
With great anticipation, you hand over your hard earned money, and then… it all fizzles out.
You can’t find your leads, trying to access the emails crashes the system and your sales team have nothing but complaints. You’re in a worse position than ever before while paying for the privilege of useless software. If you’ve never been through a software switch that hasn’t ended in literal tears, you’re one of the fortunate few.
However, if you’re like most of us, you have the first-hand experience of just how painful switching software can be.
Setting up a cold email solution with follow ups sent automatically can be a huge benefit to your business, but if you’re worried about making the switch then check out our handy guide.
It’ll ensure the process is not only painless but also brings real positive results.
Be crystal clear on your objectives
Why do you want new cold email software in the first place? What do you hope to achieve by switching software?
There’s plenty of good reasons to change, but there’s plenty of bad reasons too, so it’s important you take the time to sit down and make sure you’re clear on your objectives.
Is there a particular feature your current software lacks, such as automatic follow ups or collaboration options? Is your current software stretched past full capacity? Is the price too high for your requirements?
Or do you want to switch because it’s what your competitor uses and you’re sure that’s why they’re outselling you? Maybe you’ve been caught up in the hype and all those shiny lights have you with a case of FOMO (fear of missing out).
One of the first things computer programmers are taught is to analyze the problem they’re trying to solve and figure out the most efficient way to solve that problem, regardless of technology. Sure, a complex program might look nice, but sometimes all you really need is a pen and paper.
Do the same with your business.
Look at the problem you’re trying to solve. Write it down in big bold letters.
This is an ideal time to get your team on board. Talk to the key decision makers as well as the frontline staff, the ones who are using your current software. Get their input from the very beginning.
Chances are they’ll have insights you never considered and will give you a clear view of what your objectives and challenges are.
With your challenges fresh in your mind, it’s time to find the solution.
Your goal here is to learn all you can about what solutions are out there. A good start is to talk to others who’ve faced similar challenges and ask for their recommendations. What’s worked for others? What’s been a letdown?
A company may promise you the world on their sales page, but the first-hand experience from someone you trust is worth much more.
When you’ve narrowed your list of potential tools down, check out unbiased reviews to see what others think. For example, Reply has a 4.5/5 star average on G2 Reviews. In case you were wondering 😉
Once you’ve got your wishlist down to the top 3-5 solutions, learn more about them in detail.
What kind of requirements do they have? What’s their feature list? What does their support system look like? How much is it going to cost? Does it integrate with the rest of your software?
Where possible, download trial versions of their software and dig in. Again, get your team involved and have them try out the software. Get their recommendations. Is it intuitive or is it overly complicated?
Getting the opinions of the people on your team who use this kind of software is invaluable and, as an added benefit, the more they feel involved in the process, the more likely they’ll get onboard with the change.
I also recommend getting in touch with the software provider. Drop them an email or get on the phone with them and tell them about your objectives. Not only should they be able to confirm whether or not their software can help, but this communication should also give you a good idea of what kind of company they’re like to deal with.
Are they polite and friendly? Do they answer your questions promptly, or do they respond with canned answers? In short, are they the kind of company you want to do business with?
You’re likely to spend a lot of time dealing with them if you choose their software so it’s worth checking this from the start.
Give your team the tools they need
For a team to work well, they should be more than just a bunch of individual people with the same objective. They should be working together to produce better results than they could by working on their own.
Otherwise what’s the point?
When you’re responsible for a team, that means you need to consider a whole lot more than what the software does. You need to think about how it works in a team based setting.
This is going beyond looking at the best tool for your objectives, but also what allows your team to work together.
You can have the greatest salespeople in the world on your team with the latest cutting edge tools, but if they can’t work together effectively, then guess what? They’re not a team.
Even nature knows that teams need to coordinate. Worker ants use pheromones to let others know where the food is. Bees do a funky waggle dance to let the hive know where that pollen’s at.
Now, fortunately you don’t have to dance to let your co-workers know what to do next, but you do have to coordinate clearly and efficiently.
A team isn’t about how many people are working, it’s about how well people are working together. You could have a thousand people reaching out to your prospects, but if they don’t collaborate? No-one would know what anyone else is doing.
They wouldn’t know who to contact, when to contact them or why they’re doing it in the first place. Everyone would be doing their own thing, with some prospects overwhelmed and others missed out completely.
That’s not a team, that’s a disaster waiting to happen.
When your sales team are contacting prospects it’s essential they’re all on the same page. Strategy, tactics, messages and content all have to be agreed upon and shared. Anything else is a waste of time.
If you’re having to separately email your team members or manually update project management software to let them know when a prospect has replied, that’s far from ideal. It’s one step above using two tin cans and a piece of string.
When your team’s at work, they shouldn’t have to worry if they’ve remembered to update everyone with the information they need.
They should just be able to focus on doing their job to the best of their abilities.
So beyond looking for the best cold email outreach software, look for the best software for your team as a whole.
Look for software that allows effective sales team management and easy collaboration, and you’ll truly be making the most of your team.
Have a plan
I love heist movies, like Ocean’s Eleven or Heat. I can’t get enough of them.
Have you ever noticed though, the actual heist only takes up a small part of the movie?
Most of the time it’s George Clooney/Robert De Niro running around, getting all the details together: what’s the target, who’s on the crew, what tools they need, how are they going to escape. Why? Because if they just walked into the casino/bank without any planning, they wouldn’t get very far.
Hopefully switching your software over won’t be as difficult (or dangerous) as robbing a bank but there’s still a valuable lesson; if you want things to go smoothly, you need a plan.
You need to scout your location: where’s this new software going to be used? Who’s in your ‘crew’? If you have remote teams, how are you going to ensure they’re ready to use the software? What tools do you need?
Make your plan realistic. Consider what’s likely to go wrong so any problems don’t set you back too far.
By having a plan, with a clear timeline laid out, communicated to all your team, things are more likely to go smoothly.
Train up your team
When you’ve picked the right software for your particular requirements, you can get started on training the relevant staff.
I’ve seen way too many switches were the training hasn’t started until the day the new software comes online (if there’s any actual training at all). This is just a recipe for disaster. Instead, get your team ready for the change with a formal training program.
For a start, have a chat with your software provider and check out what training is included with the software. For example, Reply has its own online training academy to make sure everyone knows how to get the best out of all the features.
Remember, different people learn differently. A ring binder stuffed full of printouts will be overwhelming to most people so it’s usually better to provide bitesize training, where the team can easily digest key lessons quickly.
Videos can be an ideal way to learn, showing exactly how actions are carried out and allow us visual learners to pick things up quicker.
It’s worth making sure your team is also trained in the unique, advanced features of the software. It can be tempting to settle for just covering the basics but, if you want to make the most of the new software, it’s best to make sure your team is getting the most out of it from day one.
Otherwise, that valuable new feature may end up never being used.
Pack up all your old data
Imagine moving house. You may find the perfect new place to live in a great neighborhood but the biggest job by far is moving all your stuff from the old place to the new.
Just as you wouldn’t dream of moving in without making arrangements to move your belongings, you shouldn’t just fire up your new software without making sure your old data was taken care of.
Like any move, you want to make sure what you need is available, safe, and protected. You bubble wrap the fragile china.
It’s the same with your existing data, such as leads, contacts, and previous cold emails; make sure it’s all intact and properly backed up, just in case anything goes wrong.
Making a move is also a great time to reevaluate and get rid of any clutter you no longer need. How’s your data holding up? Are those leads still current or do they need updating?
There’s a saying in computing: garbage in, garbage out. The idea is if you feed rubbish data into a system, it doesn’t matter how good that software is, you’re going to get rubbish back.
Make use of the opportunity and give your new system the best start possible with top-notch data.
Make sure you’re fully committed
For the switch to work, you need to make sure the whole team is committed. It’s very likely that at least one person will be hesitant. People, on the whole, don’t like change.
Change means learning new things and stepping outside comfort zones. Some people will actually go to great measures to prevent change, whether by complaining every step of the way or refusing to use new software.
To prevent anyone sabotaging your switch, it’s essential to keep all your team involved from the very beginning. Make it clear why you’re changing and what benefits the new software will bring.
Listen to their objections and don’t just dismiss any negative comments. Encourage them to be active in the choice and they’ll be more invested in seeing it succeed.
Flick the switch
If you’ve followed your plan, you should be ready to start using the new cold email software.
Congratulations! But don’t celebrate just yet.
Even with the best software in the world, it’s very likely they’ll be some hiccups, problems that need to ironed out.
For that reason, it’s ideal to have a planned overlap, where the old system runs alongside the new. That way you can make sure that whatever happens, your sales team isn’t left with no way of doing their job.
This isn’t without complications, however. If left unchecked this could lead to confusion, or some of your team deliberately sticking with the old system. Make sure this overlap only carries on until you’re certain your new cold email software is running correctly.
Once you’re certain the new system is up and running, burn your bridges: remove the old software and make sure all members of your team are running the new software.
Review and optimize
Once you’ve had a chance to use the new software, it’s time to get feedback.
First of all, talk to your team. Most likely there will be problems but, if you’ve done all the steps recommended, there’s no reason you can’t sort them. However, you can only do that if you know what exactly the problems are.
The sooner you sort out the hiccups, the more likely your team are to embrace the new solution.
Additionally, take a look at the metrics from your actual campaigns.
Are sales improving? Are you getting the most out of the software? Circling back to the beginning, has the software met your objectives?
We don’t change software for the fun of it; it’s an investment and should always have a positive impact on your bottom line.
Don’t panic if this isn’t immediate.
There will be teething issues and it’ll take time to get up to full speed. But by having a plan, clear objectives, and involving your team throughout the process, you can make sure any problems are kept to a minimum and you can enjoy the benefits of your new cold email software.
Ready to try a new email solution?
Reply has been designed to help you make the most of your cold emails with a range of useful features including automatic follow ups and advanced analytics. Get in touch to discuss your specific requirements, or try it out for yourself completely free for 14 days.