Recently, I had a conversation with a client that echoed an increasingly common refrain I’ve been hearing from salespeople and sales managers.
“Kendra,” the client started, “we’ve been executing email prospecting for a while and we’ve been experiencing great results, but suddenly we’re finding it very difficult to generate responses. I think we’re doing everything we need to do, but our response rate is dropping and we’ve only secured three new appointments in eight weeks. Has the strategy for email prospecting changed? Is there something I’m missing?”
Unfortunately, my answer wasn’t what the client wanted to hear.
While the client’s falling response rates — from 30-40 percent to 12 percent or less — could have been due to a typical seasonal slump, it was more likely that his initial email prospecting success had simply been the product of low hanging fruit. And after that flow of “easy” targets dried up, the client was back at square one.
So, what was the real problem?
With this client (and many others we work with), it was all about focus — or lack thereof. Far too often, sales organizations attend an email prospecting webinar, study best practices, or quickly read through a resource like my Email PowerProspecting eBook and assume that they’ve figured everything out.
While those resources can provide an immediate boost in response rates (one of my client’s secured 10 new appointments in six weeks using the framework in my eBook), there’s one key ingredient that many salespeople forget about — and it’s absolutely critical to long-term email prospecting success: Hyper-focus.
Today, it’s more critical than ever before to be hyper-focused on highly defined micro-segments of prospects. Why? Because, in order to grab the attention of prospects and attract their interest enough to secure an appointment, you must send concise, personalized messages that quickly convey value. Without that, you’ll never achieve sustainable email prospecting success.
The recommendation I made to the client I mentioned above was to periodically re-examine his microsegments and ensure his email messages aligned with his targets. If you’re experiencing similar response rate dips, the solution is to look at who you’re sending emails to and what you’re saying to them. Is the messaging hyper-focused and specific to each contact’s needs? If it’s not, then it’s unlikely you’ll hit the response rates you’re hoping to achieve.
We still live in a world of mass communication where it’s easy for generic, untargeted messaging to get lost in the shuffle. To stand out, you have to be different and, more importantly, relevant. Hyper-focusing your email prospecting on smaller, very specific microsegments of contacts is one great way to do that.