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How Adjusting Our Email Pitch Boosted Our Referral Rate from 1.5% to 17.5%

How Adjusting Our Email Pitch Boosted Our Referral Rate from 1.5% to 17.5%

"I am 6 months into my new job and new role as Marketing Director at WorkCompass, A B2B SaaS firm selling Performance management and appraisal software. I am the first marketing hire coming fast on the heels of the first sales hire Colm. So what’s the perfect pitch for our audience? I had no idea!"

I am 6 months into my new job and new role as Marketing Director at WorkCompass, A B2B SaaS firm selling Performance management and appraisal software. I am the first marketing hire coming fast on the heels of the first sales hire Colm.

So what’s the perfect pitch for our audience?  I had no idea!

The boss Denis had no idea. He had been selling the software to his extended network of contacts for the last year building up the business.

Colm? Nope, he had been hitting his rolodex (is that still a word?) for the last six months. 

Ok so we didn’t know the pitch.  What job role are we selling to? Mmm, ‘everyone’ is not the answer I was hoping for.

The company had been making great sales and customers were loving it but the well of Denis and Colms  network was fast running dry.  We needed to identity the perfect pitch and audience.

First step is a sales prospecting  model. We went with the Predictable Revenue model as described by Aaron Ross in his book. Aaron worked with SalesForce from the early days as they refined this model for their sales team and built SalesForce into the behemoth it is today.

At its core it is pretty simple. You do not send out a cold prospecting mail looking for a sale. Instead you send out a request for help asking to be referred to the right person in an organisation. This internal referral then turns a cold contact into a warm one.

The importance of going with a model like this is that it is proved to work for many sales teams.  It removed one unknown from the sales process and moves us closer to finding our pitch.

Next is job role. Based on existing customers and guesswork  we decided to target Managing directors of companies of a particular size. We built an off shore team to research company data in one market and put together a contact database. Some of you may flinch at this part but wait. We spotted  one particular result  over and over again that totally amazed me.*

At this point is becomes a process of trial and error.

We started sending out 1000 cold emails a week. We chose a 1000 so that we would have a decent sample rate to measure response to different pitches. Our first couple of pitches got barely any response.

About a month into the process and we got our internal referral rate up to 1.5% based on the following mail:

Hi << First Name >>,

My name is Colm,  I’m an Account Exec with WorkCompass. We help companies like << Company >> improve their staff performance levels.

I'm researching your company to see if you are a good fit for a solution like ours and would like to talk to whomever at << Company >> is responsible for the annual performance review process.

If that’s you could we set up a call?

If not could you put me in touch with the right person?

I appreciate the help!

Best,

Colm Mac Giolla Rí

UK: +44 20 8133 3021

Then a week or two later we hit gold.  The pitch resulted in a jump in internal referrals to 17.5 %.

Poor Colm was swamped.

We made a few changes to the pitch which you can see below. Some of them obvious, some less so.

Subj: Quick Request

Dear {!First name},

I hope you do not mind me contacting you.

I am from WorkCompass and we specialise in improving the performance of teams with our online performance management and leadership software.

I was reading about {!Company} and I believe there are some interesting synergies between our companies.

We work with great companies like Musgrave and Uniphar and you may have seen our great coverage in the Harvard Business Review before Christmas.

Would you be interested in having a quick phone call?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,

Colm Mac Giolla Rí

Client Relationship Director

Phone: 020 8133 3021

We made it a bit more personal, changed the value proposition, added some reference clients and press and changed Colms job title to something more approachable. We also made the phone number to something which looked more local to the market. We also got our lead team to target companies of a larger size where the managing director was a more strategic role.

With the improved response rate we scaled back the number of prospecting mails we were sending every week from 1000 to 100 so that Colm could focus on optimising the rest of the sales funnel.

We continue to optimise and test the pitch each week and slowly increase our internal referral rate.

Now I will admit I did get a bit cocky after seeing that result over a few weeks. So I sent the same pitch to CEOs instead of managing directors. The referral rate bombed down to 4%. A good lesson that the perfect pitch is very much audience dependant.

*The most amazing result  I noticed with the Predictable Revenue prospecting model is that even when we were sending out 1000 mails a week, we did not get one single abuse complaint. Not one!

I have been involved with opt in weekly newsletters that did not manage that.

 

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Sunday, 16 December 2018
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