Starting a sales campaign sounds deceptively simple.
All you need is a set of prospects, cobble together a few templates, put them in a tool like Klenty and you’re off to the races.
Yet, it’s only when you analyze your campaign performance a few weeks later, would you realize that succeeding in email outreach is a lot tougher than it sounds.
Most companies give up at this point without a clear understanding of what went wrong.
The truth is, getting email outreach right is a tricky proposition.
Do it right – you have the most cost-effective method of generating leads. Get it wrong and you may end up with no clarity on why you failed.
In this article, we’ve identified the 5 common mistakes in running your sales campaign and explained how you can avoid them.
- #Mistake 1: Targeting the wrong prospects. Your sales email campaign success fundamentally boils down to who you send emails. If you send it to the wrong people, the chances of achieving your goals are bleak.
- #Mistake 2: Ignoring email deliverability. Deliverability ensures that your emails land in your prospect’s inbox. If your emails don’t reach your prospects, how do you expect to hear back from them?
- #Mistake 3: Not having a multi-touch strategy You’re one of the thousands vying for your prospect’s attention. Why will they notice you until you make yourself visible through consistent follow-ups?
- #Mistake 4: Tedious, confusing email copy. The objective of a sales email is to get the person to take action. If your email copy is not sharp and compelling. it’s hard to get your prospect to take action.
- #Mistake 5: Not measuring your campaign performance. Measurement helps improve. If you do not pay attention to your campaign performance, it’s hard to tweak it for better results.
Without further ado, let’s get started on how you can perform these tasks perfectly.
Table of Contents
How to Run a Successful Sales Campaign
Reaching out to prospects by sending sales email campaigns involves a lot of experimentation, analysis, and evaluation to get it right.
1. Find the right prospects
If there’s one aspect that can largely determine the success of your email outreach campaigns, it is this – choosing the right prospects.
Only contacting prospects who have a real need for your product and striking a chord with them is what is going to get you results.
But building a highly targeted prospect list is no child’s play. In fact, it is the most critical task of any email campaign that requires you to identify your ideal prospects.
So, how would you describe your ideal prospect?
Use the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) framework to identify the set of prospects most suited for your product/service.
Ideal Customer Profile is basically understanding which segment of prospects are you able to nail with your product/service at this stage and focusing on this segment.
If you’re someone who’s just starting out and do not know your Ideal Prospect, then start by breaking your target market into 4-5 small sub-segments (could be based on industry/ location/ company size etc).
Here are a few questions to ask that can help you identify your Ideal Customer Profile.
- With which segment of prospects are you experiencing the highest conversion rate?
- Why are these prospects buying from you? What needs of these prospects does your product solve best?
- What are the common attributes of these prospects? For example industry, size, location, tech-stack used etc.
- Which set of people are you most successfully selling to? Are they CEOs or managers? What are they looking for?
Once you’ve figured your ICP, you can either go about finding leads manually or you automate the process of list-building using sales prospecting tools.
There are several sales prospecting tools available today such as ZoomInfo, DiscoverOrg, FindThatLead, etc to help you automate this entire process of list-building.
2. Deliverability guidelines
Once you have the list of prospects ready, the next step is to set up your email infrastructure. A well-setup email infrastructure ensures that your emails smoothly reach your prospect’s inbox.
Here’s a list of five crucial points to help you improve your email deliverability.
a. Use a good Email Service Provider (ESP)
Don’t make the mistake of using email marketing providers like MailChimp to send your sales campaign- as your mails will land in the “Promotions” tab of the inbox – and your prospect might not even open your mail.
Rather, use Email Service Providers like G Suite along with a sales engagement tool to improve your deliverability and open rates.
b. Start with a small volume of emails
Always begin your email campaigns by sending a consistent, small number of emails – around 5-10 emails – at different times of the day. Make sure you also get a reply to some of them.
Gradually, increase the volume of emails as you find success with the right messaging and prospects.
c. Create your SPF and DKIM records
The Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) are fundamentally two records, which, when added to your email server will significantly improve your email deliverability rate.
These two frameworks are actually security mechanisms that ensure your recipient it is actually you who is sending the emails and not anyone else on your behalf.
d. Verify your domain reputation
One important aspect of email deliverability is to check the reputation of your domain before launching your campaigns.
There are multiple online tools available today, such as Talos, Sender Score etc, to verify the reputation of your email domain as well as the IP of your SMTP server.
These tools will help you estimate your domain reputation and work on it at regular intervals.
e. Follow CAN-SPAM guidelines
Enacted in 2003, CAN-SPAM act is a law that outlines the rules for sending commercial emails and gives recipients the right to choose the kind of emails they’re sent.
Here are a few guidelines to help you stay CAN-SPAM compliant:
- Being transparent about stating your intentions to the recipients.
- Keeping away from any kind of false or misleading information.
- Making it easy for them to opt-out.
- Provide physical address a part of your email signature
3. Plan a diversified, multi-touch campaign
The Marketing Rule of 7 has it that a prospect needs to “hear” the advertiser’s message at least 7 times before they’ll take action to buy the product/service.
Same goes with your sale email campaign.
Even if each of your emails/ touches is filled with individual brilliance, it may take multiple attempts and touches before your product registers in your prospect’s mind.
In fact, research shows that a series of 4-7 emails sent in a sequence is likely to generate 3X times more responses than campaigns with just 1-3 touches.
Without a well-defined sales cadence strategy to map out how you’ll touch that prospect at least 7 times, your odds of success are pretty slim.
The most successful email campaigns are, as Heather Morgan calls it, “Pleasantly Persistent”.
The idea is to not just build a well-defined sequence of touchpoints – but also to add value in every outreach attempt you make.
Every sales interaction is an opportunity to make a great impression on your prospects. Use it wisely.
That said, email shouldn’t be your only foot soldier. Diversifying your touchpoints by using multiple channels such as LinkedIn, phone, Twitter, etc, is a better way to increase your visibility, raise awareness and generate a response in general.
Here’s an example of how a balanced cadence will look like:
#Day 1: Send the initial email
#Day 3: Send a connection request on LinkedIn.
#Day 6: Send the first follow-up email. Try sending a slightly different version of your first email – add a different value prop, address a different pain-point, send it at a different time of the day – to see what’s working.
#Day 8: Consider calling them/leaving a voicemail.
#Day 11: Try engaging with a slightly different touchpoint. Send an email again but let this stand on its own. Start fresh in this mail – don’t mention anything about the previous mails sent.
Avoid phrases like “Just checking in..” or “Did you see my last message” etc in this mail.
Just succinctly mention why you’re connecting with them and how can you help. Add a definite call-to-action in the end.
#Day 13: Engage with their content on LinkedIn/any social media
#Day 15: Send your second follow-up email. This mail can be a follow-up to one of your last emails.
But what matters here is not to merely check-in – but to add value. Provide a resource which your prospects might find useful, add a link to a nice blog etc.
#Day 17: Try sending an entirely independent email again – this should almost look like a fresh email. In case your prospect has missed out on all of your previous emails, this is a convenient way for him to catch up on.
Begin by stating the reason for connecting with the prospect, give a concise explanation of your value addition.
Provide some social proof to establish your credibility – like winning some prestigious award, working with some well-known firms etc.
Give a specific CTA if possible – for example, “Tuesday or Wednesday next day?”.
#Day 21: Send your third follow-up email. This mail can just be a request, asking your prospect to connect you to the concerned person in the organization, in case he’s not the right person.
Following-up fundamentally boils down to three things – relevance, persistence, and diversity.
Be extremely simple yet provide value in your emails. Consistently follow-up with your prospects but make sure you don’t annoy them. And finally, diversify your touches – don’t limit yourself just to emails.
But then, following up is a lot of hard work.
Particularly when you’re doing it at scale – manually keeping track of replies, bounces, etc is practically not possible – you’ll give up too soon.
This is exactly where a sales engagement tool like Klenty can help you with.
Klenty is a sales engagement software that sets up an intelligent follow-up sequence and automates this entire process of keeping up with your leads/customers.
When it comes to the follow-up sequence, there’s no silver bullet. You’ll have to experiment and iterate with your sales cadences until you find one that works best for you.
But in general, a recommended sales cadence would be to try 6-8 follow-up emails in the span of a month. Here’s a sample cadence which you can try along with the templates:
Day 1: First touchpoint
When you’re reaching out to a prospect for the first time with an email, be sure you include a rapport-building element (like the company name in this case) and clearly communicate your value proposition.
Wanted to see if we could help increase the number of your qualified leads and maximize the productivity of your sales teams.
Teams like [Company 1] and [Company 2] chose [Your firm] over [Company 1] and [Company 2] to send personalized emails at scale. By automating follow-ups, tracking engagement metrics and automating CRM updation, we help double your conversion rate.
I’d love to give a demo if you’re interested to know more. Are you free sometime in the next week for a quick chat?
Day 5: First follow-up email
A follow-up email is sent for a reason – you want the recipient to read and respond to your message.
So, make sure your email catches the prospect’s attention and provides them value rather than merely checking-in.
I know how busy you must be managing your team and helping them increase [job function]. I sent you some information about [product or service] a while ago and I thought this might be a good time to give you a practical demonstration.
I’ve created/attached a few guest logins/free samples/vouchers that you can use to access/sample [product or service]. Feel free to share these with your staff and colleagues. I’d be very interested to hear what they think of it.
I would really like to have 30 mins of your time as I feel we can really add value to your [area of operations].
Can we book a call or a meeting?
Day 8: Second follow-up email
A rule of thumb for following-up is to gradually increase the number of touchpoints and space them out equally. This helps you come across as less pushy and someone who’s genuinely trying to help the prospect.
I sent you an email a few days ago about [company name] and how I think we could be a great fit for you and [company].
Did you know that our clients report [a 43% increase] in [sales] when they use our [software]? We also offer [full training] and [a 20% discount].
If you’d like to hear about this in more detail, please let me know. I would happily spend 30 mins telling you everything you need to know.
I look forward to your response.
Day 12: Third follow-up email
If you’re still not getting a response from the prospect, try a counterintuitive effect something like this. This template will likely make them think twice before brushing you off – and will instantly differentiate you from an average salesperson.
I hate pushy salespeople, at the same time I’d hate to think I gave up on trying to help you when all you needed was one piece of helpful information I’d forgotten.
I strongly think that [your company] can help [prospect company] solve [challenge] by [product benefit #1] and [product benefit #2].
Let me know if you want me to jump on a call so I can walk you through what we do.
Day 21: Fourth follow-up email
In case you don’t get a reply after several attempts, you can try once again by showing absolute faith in your product’s fit for the prospect.
If you’re sending this mail to the right prospect, there’s a good chance of hearing back.
I understand your position, but I wouldn’t follow up with you if I didn’t strongly think that [your company] can help [prospect company] solve [challenge] by [product benefit #1] and [product benefit #2].
Let me know if you want me to jump on a call so I can walk you through what we do.
4. Get the messaging right – your email copy matters
Building a product that caters to the needs of your audience is one thing, but keep in mind that your audience may not be all homogenous.
You still have to figure out the right messaging for the different segments of your audience.
Your email copy, if done right, has the ability to transform your cold prospects into hot opportunities. A compelling email copy punches through people’s minds and persuades them to take action.
But for that, you need to get your messaging right. You need to attain a messaging market fit.
Just like product-market fit, attaining messaging market fit means figuring out the right message that resonates with your target audience.
Try addressing various pain-points, run different levels of personalization, provide different types of social proof – and figure out what resonates best.
Your email copy itself can be broken into various individual components. The subject, the value prop, the pain point, social proof, call to action, sign off etc.
The foundation of getting your messaging right is to experiment with each of these components.
Here we take a look at two sample cold emails and broke down on why we think they’re actually good.
Here’s the first one:
Hi [prospect name],
As a [Role] you must be super busy, so I’ll keep this short.
I work with companies like [business name] to help them [insert the main benefit e.g. get more signups]. What our clients like most about us is this: [main selling point eg. all leads on our platform have been qualified during the last 6 months, so the response rates are 2-3x the industry average].
[Prospect company] is on my radar because we’ve helped a lot of companies in [X space] with [business area].
I’d love to give you or a colleague a 20-minute demo. Would next Tuesday or Wednesday work for you?
Why we like it:
The primary goal of any cold email is to grab the prospect’s attention and get them to read your mail.
And this mail got it right.
By starting with a subject line that addresses the pain-point of the prospect, this mail intrigues the reader into opening it.
It then immediately builds upon the initial impression by crafting an empathetic opening line – something that instantly connects with the prospect.
Then the email swiftly moves into value proposition – quickly states the purpose upfront, only talks about what the prospect would be interested in and cites previous clients to demonstrate credibility.
Finally, it ends with a definite call-to-action subtly nudging the prospect into taking an action.
Here’s the second one:
Yes, I’m sending you one right now, but in my defense, it’s because you [requested more information on X/Y trigger event just occurred].
If you’re not interested in [accomplishing X results/discussing a relevant challenge or opportunity], please let me know so I can stop being a hypocrite.
Seriously, every time I click “Send,” it pains me. Help stop my suffering and find a time on my calendar here.
Why we like it:
Everyone likes some wit and humor. So, why not using them with your prospects as well?
This email does just that – and does it well.
The mail begins with a paradox effect here to get the prospect’s attention – by belittling/disparaging sales emails, while actually sending one.
But then the template makes up for it pretty well by explaining the purpose of reaching out – to provide the information requested by the prospect.
Then it uses this FOMO to instill the fear of missing out on the benefits of not using their product. Fear being a powerful motivator, this is likely to work in most cases.
Finally, the mail ends with a compelling, tongue-in-cheek line that could (hopefully) leave your buyer smiling.
And if you could make them smile, you’re halfway there already!
The takeaway from any sales email is pretty much the same – write like a human.
Keep in mind that you’re addressing a real person, put yourself in the prospect’s shoes and think if you’d want to reply to your own mail – that will put things into perspective.
5. Measure and optimize
You’ve put invaluable efforts into formulating your outreach strategy, compiling the prospect list and crafting the perfect email – now it’s time to analyze the effectiveness of your campaigns.
Here’s a roundup of metrics that’ll help you measure the performance of your campaigns:
Email delivery rate tells how successfully your emails are delivered to the prospect’s inbox.
It gives you the percentage of emails delivered out of the total number of emails launched.
A low deliverability rate could imply that there are too many invalid email addresses in your prospect list or there were some elements in the mail that alerted the spam filters of the major ISPs.
It’s important to craft a legible, genuine mail and send it to a verified prospect list to achieve a high deliverability rate.
Email open rate tells you the number of recipients who have opened your mail.
It is calculated by dividing the number of unique email opens (as in, the number of times prospects opened your email for the first time), with the total number of mails delivered.
The open rate provides valuable insight into how well your campaign is doing, compare it with your industry average and tweak it for better performance.
Click-through rate tells you how many prospects clicked on any link in the mail. It is calculated by dividing the total number of unique clicks with the total number of emails delivered.
If your CTR is low as compared to your open rate, it’s an indicator that your mail is not engaging enough. You might want to re-write your CTA to see how you stack up.
As the name suggests, this metric is the deciding factor of your email campaign.
Conversion rate tells you how many prospects are doing what you want them to do – so it is dependent on your campaign objectives – and varies for different campaigns.
Simply put, conversion rate tells how many people converted (number of people who subscribed to your newsletter, clicked on the CTA, watched a video in the mail etc) divided by the total number of people who were likely to convert (opened your email, visited your landing page etc).
The easiest way to get your sales campaign to work for you is to avoid making mistakes in these 5 most important components.
Making mistakes here are often the biggest hurdles separating a winning sales campaign from the one that fails to generate sufficient interest from prospects.
Avoid the 5 biggest mistakes and you are on your way to generating predictable, recurring sales leads.