Reaching prospective clients will be more challenging in the future. I know, you think it’s difficult enough now, but the regulatory environment is going to become more restrictive. You should expect something like the EU’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) in the United States. Other regulations being considered would make it more difficult to make robocalls or share contact information without permission. It is illegal to send mass texts to people without their consent. Organizations sending messages without including an opt-out option for contacts to reject future communications may face penalties. As a consumer, you may like these regulations, but as a salesperson, they should strike fear in your heart. To understand why, we must consider the communication environment we share with our prospective clients and target audiences.
Outbound marketing resembles the spray-and-pray tactics of the past. This B2B sales strategy involves bombarding contacts with calls, emails, and InMails, regardless of whether they are ideal or less-than-ideal customers. When we talk about the importance of persistence in sales, it’s crucial to understand that this is not what persistence means.
Data can help us understand why the spray-and-pray approach to outbound sales fails. Before examining the data, it is imperative to note that most of this direct outreach is transactional. Compared with conversational sales, transactional outreach makes it more challenging to connect with decision-makers. You can be sure you will experience a low open rate on cold emails. Expect cold calling potential customers to also become more difficult.
Email Open and Response Rates
HubSpot says the average open rate for B2B sales email is around 24 percent, a number that would make any salesperson proud. However, this means the waste percentage is a whopping 76 percent of communication. Some sales organizations might point out that emails are essentially free, making them easy to rely on as a main sales strategy. Data from InsideSales reveals an even lower open rate of 18 percent. This means 82 percent of emails find their way into spam filters or trash bins.
These sales statistics are only part of the email story. When analyzing outbound sales, we must include our cousins in marketing. Their goal is to promote the sale of goods and services. Additionally, they participate in the B2B sales process on the front end. Radicati Group reported that 306 billion emails were sent each day in 2020. More than half of these emails must have ended up in my inbox. They estimated that 124.5 billion marketing emails were sent. Mailchimp suggests that marketing emails have a 2.5 percent click rate.
Cold Call Answer and Success Rates
HubSpot reports that cold calls answer at 4.8 percent, for a 95.2 percent waste rate. They also report that B2B salespeople make 52 cold calls each day. Cold calling always yields low returns. However, cold calls yield the highest revenue, mostly because they are synchronous, allowing conversation. Prospective clients can see caller ID when their phone rings. This makes it easy for them to reject or ignore the call. Tell me if this is true for you: Do you refuse to answer phone calls that start with your area code because you already know it's an offer for car insurance or a scam to lower your interest rates? In The Lost Art of Closing, I provided a B2B selling rule called the Trading Value Rule. This rule states that you must trade value to earn a continued conversation with a prospective client. This rule ensures the client knows a meeting with you will not be a waste of their time. The reason no one answers the phone is because they don't want to waste their time. Wasted time is the ultimate pain point for busy people who use their time wisely. The Trading Value Rule will improve your results by 30 percent to 40 percent when booking first meetings.
LinkedIn InMail Statistics
LinkedIn is the premier social media platform for business, but every day, my InMail fills up with attractive Asian women who want to "learn from me." These are fake profiles peddling some scam, so I block them and report them for harassment. There are also the lazy cheaters who automate LinkedIn cold outreach. LinkedIn says these have an open rate of 15 percent, but a waste rate of 85 percent. If LinkedIn removed fake profiles and automation, cold outreach on the platform would be much more effective. At issue here are the many spammers and scammers sending emails without regard for buyer intent or any kind of strategic prospecting process.
Sales automation does what humans resist. It sends communications repeatedly without concern for the person on the other end of the messages. Automation harms the sales reps and sales teams who could create real value for their prospects. It’s all too easy for a prospect to mistake a genuine message that offers something valuable and relevant for another piece of spam, especially when they’re trying to purge their inbox of dozens of unsolicited messages. The spammers, automation programs, and salespeople who send these poor communications get in the way, making it hard for you to start a conversation with your dream clients.
What To Do Now
The most significant action salespeople and sales organizations need to take is to assess their cold outreach approach and eliminate poor, ineffective sales strategies. Instead, replace them with communications that create value for your prospective clients. Less frequent, more valuable communications are better than bullying your prospective clients into submission. Consider this question: What does it mean to make your outreach helpful?
You might also communicate with your prospects to assure them that your messages will be valuable and that you won't bury them with touchpoints that waste their time.
Cold outreach strategies can be effective, but they need to be carefully crafted to ensure value for prospective clients. The most logical action salespeople and sales organizations can take is to assess their cold outreach approach. They can eliminate ineffective sales strategies and replace them with communications that create value for prospective clients.
- Analyze your current cold outreach approach to identify ineffective and poor sales strategies.
- Replace those sales strategies with communications that create value for your prospective clients.
- Communicate to your prospective clients that your messages will be valuable and won't waste their time.
- Track and measure the effectiveness of your updated cold outreach strategy to ensure it creates value.