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Lead Nurturing and Prospecting emails that Make Me Scratch My Head and Go Hmmm….

lead nurturing

richardsonsalestraining18 November 2013Blog

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It seems I hit a nerve with my blog post Is Email on Life Support as a Sales Effectiveness Tool. It has become one of our most popular, and it continues to generate conversation and discussion on social media.

As sales and marketing professionals, we have seen the declining effectiveness of email for prospecting, lead generation, and lead nurturing. Yet, it remains a necessary tool in our arsenal.

As SVP of marketing at Richardson Sales Performance, I get my fair share of sales calls, and I receive quite a number of lead nurturing and follow-up emails after I download a white paper or article. I don’t always open the emails, or spend much time with them if I do click to open because I usually only want the download. But if something interesting catches my eye, I read on. The lesson here for marketers is the need to target and engage prospects from the get-go, starting with the email “Subject” line, then quickly leading into the right message and value statement.

Here are a few real-life examples of lead nurturing and prospecting emails I received that didn’t deserve to be opened, but once read, just had me scratching my head and saying “Hmmmm…."

“I found you through Google search engine. Did you see my last email? I am writing you today to remind you about our SEO capabilities.”
Really? You found us through a search engine and you want to sell me on your search engine capabilities?  Hmmmm….

“I’m hoping to talk with you about doing some telemarketing for Richardson Sales Performance Group.  I know your business is complex, but we can actually do it better than you and at a much lower cost than your internal team can.”
So let me get this straight. Your team of untrained professionals is going to be able to sell Richardson Sales Performance’s complex services over the phone better than our own team? Hmmmm….

“I have sent you a couple of emails but have not heard back from you. I wanted to call you to follow up but you seem to be on the “Do Not Call” list. Would it be OK to call you?"
No, it’s not OK, that’s why I’m on the list.  Now, what do you say? Hmmmm….

“Hi James, is there 10 minutes we could have a call in the coming weeks?”
I know we are all trying to cut the amount of text down, but this was the entire email. I have no idea who he was or what he wanted. Hmmmm….

“Hi {first name}, I sent you an email but I did not receive a response from you. I’m curious if you have read my previous email and want to take this initiative further."
Dear Salesperson First Name – I have no real idea who your company is or what they provide. How well did you really prepare for this prospecting email? Hmmmm….

“Hi, Follow up on my last email, just wanted check with you if you got a chance to review my lasts email?"
Huh… I have to respond to this person? Please make sure you proofread your emails. Hmmmm….

“I am sorry to bother you, but would you mind referring me to the person in charge of your sales training? We are a leading sales training company and would like to train your team. Thanks for the help and have a great day!"
I am sorry, but do you know Richardson Sales Performance? Did you research us at all? Look us up on LinkedIn? Anything? I actually received a call from this person as well. He was very surprised when I told him what Richardson Sales Performance does. Hmmmm….

I have been in this industry a long time. Because of this, I tend to hold sales professionals to a higher standard than most when it comes to communicating, prospecting, and lead nurturing. I may be a harsh judge, but I rank 70%-80% of the emails I receive as below average in sales effectiveness.

While marketing automation products provide the tools for mass communication, they’re not smart enough to make sure those communications are effective or even well written.

It’s up to you to target the appropriate prospect, develop a message that delivers value and insight, write an email that engages the reader, proofread that email for any mistakes, and test the technology to make sure it works as intended.

Don’t treat prospecting and lead nurturing as just a box to check in your strategic marketing plan. You need a well thought-out process if you have any hopes of making a good impression on the prospect and driving action. You may not receive a response the first few times, but if you’ve done your homework and have the right combination of target/message/value/timing, you just might begin to see your own email inbox fill with responses.

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