How to 7X Your Email Reply Rate

Tukan Das is the CEO at LeadSift, where he helps B2B companies identify more relevant sales based on buyer intent.

In today’s episode of The Salesman Podcast, Tukan explains how to massively increase your cold outreach reply rate and turbocharge your sales prospecting efforts.

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Featured on this episode:

Host - Will Barron
Founder of Salesman.org
Guest - Tukan Das
The CEO of LeadSift

Resources:

Transcript 

Will Barron:

Coming up on today’s episode of the salesman podcast.

 

Tukan:

When you’re sending personalised emails with certain triggers, their name, and take the time to craft that message versus sending email, which is more generic saying, ‘Hey, saw you do this, it fits your title. Do you want to talk?’.

 

Tukan:

The results are drastically different, meaning, when we send a generic email, we get less than 1% positive reply. So, from less than 1% in a generic email spray and pray, to more of a tailored and personalised, it goes anywhere between five to 7%. So, quite a bit of difference, and we’ve seen that consistently, over a two year period of time.

 

Will Barron:

Hello Sales Nation, I’m Will Barron, host of the Salesman podcast, the world’s most listened to B2B sales show. If you haven’t already, make sure to click subscribe, and with that, let’s meet today’s guest.

 

Tukan:

Hey, my name is Tukan, I’m the CEO and co-founder of Leadsift, originally from India, came to Canada 16 years ago. Background is in computer science, more around machine learning and natural language processing. But for the last six and a half years, I’ve been doing Leadsift, and focusing very much on sales, and some product stuff.

 

Will Barron:

This episode of the show, with the legend that is Tukan, we’re diving into, why we shouldn’t perhaps be spamming individuals over 500, a thousand emails a day with automated tools, and how we can use trigger events, how we can use buying intent, and other signals in the marketplace, to essentially outreach with people who want to be outreached to. So we get the right people at the right time, so we can have more engaged, useful sales conversations, and a whole lot more. Essentially, we are diving into the future of B2B selling here.

 

Will Barron:

And so, with all that said, let’s jump right in.

 

Data on the Effectiveness of Generic Versus Personalised Cold Emails · [01:43] 

 

Will Barron:

Is there any data that shows that cold outreach of emailing and spamming the heck out of as many people as possible, day-to-day, is more or less effective than sending customised, conscious emails to people, who actually might want to receive them, as opposed to just filling up people’s inboxes?

 

Tukan:

Yeah, that’s a great question. To be honest with you, there might be some industry stats out there, I’m not aware of it, but from our own example, we do a lot of outbound prospecting, using our tool and via email. Some of the stats that we have seen, well so far, is when we are sending personalised emails, with certain triggers, their name, and take the time to craft that message, versus sending email which is more generic saying, ‘Hey, saw you do this, it fits your title. Do you want to talk?’.

 

“When we send generic emails, we get less than 1% positive replies, I’m not saying replies, I mean positive replies, i.e. they raise their hand to take a meeting and things like that. So, from less than 1% in a generic email, spray and pray to more of a tailored, personalised, it goes anywhere between five to 7%. So quite a bit of difference.” – Tukan · [02:43] 

 

Tukan:

The results are drastically different. Meaning when we send a generic email, we get less than 1% positive replies. I’m not saying replies, I mean, positive replies, they raise their hand to take a meeting and things like that.

 

Tukan:

So, from less than 1% in a generic emails, spray, and pray to more of a tailored, personalised, it goes anywhere between five to 7%. So quite a bit of difference. And we’ve seen that consistently over two year period of time, across different company sizes. So yeah, there is a big difference.

 

Positive Reply in Personalized Emails is the Difference Between Struggling to Hit Your Sales Quota and Crushing Your Target · [03:13]

 

Will Barron:

That is the difference between… Five X more pipeline coming in, is the difference between struggling to hit your target and absolutely just annihilating your sales target, isn’t it?

 

“There is that fine balance. You do have to be sensible, thoughtful, and put yourself in their position and send a well-crafted email sequence, but at the same time, not going so personalised that you’re spending all this time doing amazing research and then sending only five emails.” – Tukan · [03:40] 

 

Tukan:

That’s true, that is true. But one key thing though, to keep in mind is, I think there could be paralysis by analysis. You might go in and super personalise every single message, and you might send maybe five emails in a week. That’s not going to do it. So, there is that fine balance. You do have to be sensible, thoughtful, and put yourself in their position and send a well-crafted email sequence, but at the same time, not going so personalised that you’re spending all this time doing amazing research and then sending only five emails. That needs to be, also mentioned when thinking of personalization.

 

Will Barron:

Sure, and perhaps we can come on to that later in the conversation, of the time spent versus deal size, or an account cap, a market cap of that potential deal as well. Because I know with me, in medical devices, I could go in and do very easily, 10, 50, one camera sales systems, which be 50 grand a pop or what I’ve done in the past. I could do one deal, for four or five million pounds, and that would just smash my target in one go.

 

Will Barron:

So there’s, multiple elements to all of this. But, with that said, I think it’s not an unreasonable assumption, that if you are sitting there using tools to spam out emails, there might be a better way to go about things. So with that said, if we want to reach out… Because this seemingly makes total sense, it’s common sense. We want to reach out to people who are likely to want to receive the email or the conversation at least.

 

Will Barron:

We want to reach out with, perhaps some kind of insight, that makes them go, “oh, I want to speak to this dude, this lady,” rather than going, “oh, spam.”, eject this person from LinkedIn and never speak to them again.

 

Telltale Signs That a Buyer is Ready to Buy or At Least Willing to Listen to a Sales Pitch · [04:30] 

 

Will Barron:

So with all that said, and this is clearly a leading question, given the product and everything that we’re going to talk about here, how do we know when we should be reaching out to someone? What triggers are there and what should we be looking out for, in the marketplace that go red flag, this person might be… We might be able to help them.

 

Tukan:

Yeah, no. That’s a great question. That is, sort of the holy grail. If only everyone knew before reaching out, that this person has a propensity to buy from you at this point. Problem solved, right?

 

“The reality is there is no single solution out there that can actually tell you confidently yes, that this company or this person within this company is actually in the buying journey right now, and they want to listen to you. There isn’t any solution like that, unfortunately.” – Tukan · [05:34] 

 

Tukan:

The reality is there is no single solution out there, that can actually tell you confidently yes, that this company or this person within this company, is actually in the buying journey right now, and they want to listen to you. There isn’t any solution like that, unfortunately, but that being said, there are different triggers or signals of intent, that gives us an indication that these people are more likely to be in the buying journey, than reaching out to every single head of IT in this whole world. A signal could be as simple as someone in your buyer persona, talking to a competitor, that could be an interesting signal.

 

Tukan:

Why are they talking to that competitor? That might be something going on. It could be someone hiring for a relevant role or growing their team. That could be a signal that they might need your solution. A signal could be someone researching on a topic, that caters to your industry, in an industry publication. That could be a signal. There’s a bunch of different signals to look at.

 

“You’re not just reaching out to everyone, you’re reaching out to people that have done some kind of action, shown some kind of trigger that prompted you to reach out because you think you can help them.” – Tukan · [06:48] 

 

Tukan:

All that is doing, is giving, nudging you towards that goal, saying there is… Hey, you’re not just reaching out to everyone, you’re reaching out to people that have done some kind of action, shown some kind of trigger that prompted you to reach out, because you think you can help them.

 

Will Barron:

It seems, well not seemingly it has dramatic, and there’s data on this. Sales has changed, now with the internet, there’s unlimited information. Buyers can do their own research and that part of the sales process, which salespeople used to have under lock and key, that they used to be in control of, the people used to have to come… This is before my time in sales, but people had to come to us to get the information, to make a buying decision on, whether it’s you versus someone else, whoever’s going to tender on whatever it is.

 

The Ideal Customer Profile: How to Identify Potential Buyers that are Already in the Buying Journey · [07:30] 

 

Will Barron:

That’s all clearly gone. The fact that everyone has unlimited information in the internet age that we live in, but this is also reversed, right? In that we have way more information about buyers, than perhaps we ever have done in the past. So with that said Tukan, how can we, how do we know when someone has gone through one of these triggers or when one of these signals has been peaked or activated, how can we track down some of this, so that we can build a system around it?

 

Tukan:

Yeah. So the first thing that I would do is, have a pretty clear idea of your ideal customer profile or your buyer persona. At a high level, that would mean, what kind of companies are you going after, companies meaning, which industries that you cater to. What kind of typical titles use or buy your solution, have a good idea about that, and then if there is any regional limitation, you might only sell to US, or English speaking countries or something like that.

 

Tukan:

Those are the key three things, Table Stakes that you first need to have an idea on. Now, once you have an idea of that, let’s take the example of someone selling, to an IT department. Within our IT department, these are different titles; VP of engineering, head of IT, director of network infrastructure, stuff like that, and you sell to companies, within the B2B software space or telecommunication space, and you also have an idea of what size of companies can potentially buy from you.

 

Tukan:

Once you have that, then what you start doing is… That’s when the trick comes in. The temptation might be, all right, now I know my buyer personas. These are head of IT folks within B2B software companies and telecommunication. Go to LinkedIn, let’s get a list of all of them, or any other contact data provider and just mass email blast them. That’s what I think, is not good.

 

“Not everyone is in the buying journey, not everyone is actually looking to talk to you right now because they don’t have that need, and there are some stats that say, at any given time, only 3% of your buyers are actively in the buying journey, meaning they’re thinking of buying now. It’s a very small percentage. Another 40% are starting to think about it. As a salesperson, as a marketer, our job is to figure out what that 40%, or that 3% looks like so that I can be there when they start thinking about it.” – Tukan · [09:20] 

 

Tukan:

I think that’s what we’re talking about is, rather than blasting everyone, because not everyone is in the buying journey, not everyone is actually looking to talk to you right now because they don’t have that need, and there are some stats that says, at any given time, only 3% of your buyers are actively in the buying journey, meaning they’re thinking of buying now. It’s a very small percentage.

 

Tukan:

Another 40% are starting to think about it. As a salesperson, as a marketer. Our job is to figure out what that 40%, or that 3% looks like, so that I can be there when they are start thinking about it, and there are different ways of figuring that out. So I’ll go over a few of the tactics that we have used successfully, and we have, sort of productized it. But the beauty of this, all of that information, or most of this information, is publicly available. So, you can actually, as a salesperson can start doing this from day one, yourself manually.

 

Tukan:

The first thing is, have a pretty clear idea of who your competitors are. Once you know that, then monitor every activity of your competitors, meaning check their blogs, check their all their social profiles; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, any of those… Quora, any of their channels. Monitor their head of sales, head of revenue, head of customer success. Monitor, track all of them.

 

Tukan:

You can use LinkedIn Sales Navigator and see who is talking to them or vice versa. That’s a pretty good indication of you saying, ‘oh, the head of IT at this organisation started recently talking to the head of customer success on Twitter.’ For example, that’s a very interesting signal to have, right?

 

Tukan:

Or on LinkedIn, I remember a funny story back in the day when we first started Leadsift, we were doing slightly, something different in the marketing space. I remember there was another friend of mine, I knew him. We were connected on LinkedIn, he was also selling a similar product. One day he blocked me from LinkedIn. So I sent him an email. I’m saying, what happened? I don’t see you on LinkedIn. I can’t even go to your profile. He was like, I had to, because what you guys were doing, was anytime I was connecting with someone in the agency, head of marketing in the agency, you guys would follow up with them.

 

Tukan:

You were looking at my LinkedIn connections, to do competitive Intel. That’s one simple way of… Not ruining your friendship, but tracking competitive intelligence. So, that’s a signal that you can get.

 

Tukan:

Second thing is tracking keywords, using Twitter, HootSuite, right? There are a bunch of free tools where you can put in a keyword or a topic around your industry, and see people who are talking about that. That’s a great way of saying, these people are actively thinking about it. If you reach out to them, the chances of them having a meeting with you is a lot greater, because 24 hours ago, they were posting something about how to deploy your server, using continuous integration, and you sell a software that does automation, software automation. Obviously, they’re likely to be receptive to that, versus someone who has never done it, you have no idea what they’re doing. You just reach out cold. So, that’s another way of tracking a trigger.

 

“Another trigger is tracking people who are hiring for relevant roles. If I’m selling into IT, and I see a team rapidly growing their IT department, or talking about using technology that is complementary to you in the job description, that’s a pretty good signal for me to go and get in front of them.” – Tukan · [12:41] 

 

Tukan:

Another trigger is, tracking people, who are hiring for relevant roles. If I’m selling into IT, and if I see a team, rapidly growing their IT department, or talking about using technology that is complementary to you, in the job description, that’s a pretty good signal for me to go, get in front of them. Again, you can go to indeed or any of those free websites, put in a search and see what’s going on. I remember, someone from Oracle reached out to us, because they found out we were hiring for a role that needed AWS. Oracle had a competing product to AWS. It’s a great discussion we were having, we didn’t switch to Oracle, but I did take the meeting, because it was relevant. Again, it’s all about relevancy, right? So, that’s another signal.

 

“A signal could be a change in seniority. If you see someone has hired a new head of IT in the last 90 days, there is a stat that says, in a mid to large enterprise, they make $1 million worth of buying decisions after being hired. They might change things up, so that’s a great opportunity for you to get in front of them.” – Tukan · [13:31] 

 

Tukan:

A signal could be, a change in seniority. If, you see someone has hired a new head of IT in the last 90 days… There is a stat that says, in a small to mid… Mid to large enterprise, they make $1 million worth of buying decisions, after being hired. They might change things up, so that’s a great opportunity for you to get in front of them. That’s something that you can see using, I think LinkedIn Sales Navigator allows you to track those kinds of things.

 

Tukan:

Another great thing is someone attending events. So we know, Dreamforce is a great event. SaaStr is a great event or conferences like Marketo’s summit, or SalesLoft summit. Those are great events, where a lot of sales or marketing people would go, for our own selfish reasons. Sometimes we don’t have the budget to buy a booth, because it’s crazy expensive.

 

Will Barron:

Yeah.

 

“Two things; A, the fact that they’re going to a relevant industry conference, gives you an indication that they have money and budget to be spending. And B, they’re probably looking for a solution like yours, or they might choose someone from there.” – Tukan · [14:44] 

 

Tukan:

What we do is, we try to figure out which companies are going to those events. Again, looking at the event sites, extracting information about who’s sponsoring, who’s talking, looking at different forums, seeing who are attending those events and then reach out to them. Two things; A, the fact that they’re going to a relevant industry conference, gives you an indication that they have money and budget to be spending, and B, they’re probably looking for a solution like yours, or they might choose someone from there. So instead, you go and reach out to them with a highly crafted message. That’s a very interesting, easy signal to get. One of the things that we do is-

 

Will Barron:

Let me jump in here Tukan, because I feel like there’s another 27 of these coming, and I don’t want to lose track, of some of my train of thoughts here.

 

Will Barron:

Because, this is awesome.

 

Tukan:

Yeah, yeah.

 

Will Barron:

The first one you said, just go into that, back to that for a second. Out of, I think we are on nearly 700 episodes of the show. Nobody, in the amount of times we’ve covered social selling and engaging with people on social media, nobody’s ever said, find your counterpart from competitor A, B and C and just… Maybe stalk is the wrong word to describe it, because you do want to waste a load of time doing this, but essentially follow them, what they’re doing.

 

Will Barron:

If they’re engaging with someone over and over, and then there’s a message in a LinkedIn comment that says, oh, give me a call, or we’ll discuss this on Wednesday when I see you. That’s the best… Maybe you’re in second place, as you get out the gates, but that’s industry knowledge. That’s data there. I don’t know where else you’d be able to get it, other than bugging people’s conference rooms and sneakily listening in to them, right?

 

“There’s a lot of nuggets of information that are littered all over the web, that if you pay close attention, you can start picking up on them, and start seeing the pattern.” – Tukan · [16:06] 

 

Tukan:

That’s true, and that’s what we tell our customer. There’s a lot of this, these nuggets of information that are littered all over the web, that if you pay close attention, you can start picking up on them, and start seeing the pattern.

 

Will Barron:

It seems LinkedIn should have enough data, to be able to drop me an email to say, ‘Hey, it was going to cost you four grand to get this information, but one of your competitors just about to close a deal.’.

 

Will Barron:

The ethics of that may be up for grabs, when it’s a closed system and they’re putting it all altogether. But-

 

Tukan:

Yeah.

 

Will Barron:

It seems like they could put something like that together, internally, right?

 

Tukan:

They probably could, but I doubt they will do it, because of the privacy concerns of their members and all those things.

 

Data on the Percentage of Open Versus Closed Business Communication · [16:55] 

 

Will Barron:

Sure, sure. On that front then, I don’t know if there’re stats on this, and I know I’m putting you on the spot with it, but is there a percentage of business communication that is, open versus closed? So, clearly emails, we’re not going to be privy to a sales person reaching out and having a conversation on that. But, is there any data on how much conversation goes on publicly ,and how much is behind doors?

 

Tukan:

There isn’t any data on that unfortunately, at least I’m not aware of it, but to be honest with you, there is way more data on private channels that are having, versus that as happening on public channels. That’s the reality, because there’s way more people, exchanging emails with you are picking up the phone and having a chat, than they’re putting these trails on the web. Unfortunately… Not unfortunately, thankfully, you cannot pick up on, snoop on someone’s email or phone call or stuff like that. But, there is more, I’m pretty sure there’s more data on private channels versus public. That’s a true.

 

Will Barron:

Which is fair, and the reason I ask on that point is that, I can only imagine that if it’s say, 5% of conversations go on, on LinkedIn publicly, versus 90 odd percent are on email and phone, and 5%, wherever else.

 

Will Barron:

I can only imagine, that is going to shift slowly over time, to be more public. What I mean by that is, I’m pretty sure at some point, there’s going to be a way for vendors, for example, to review their relationships with suppliers, like there is with… Well, you’ll know this from the software side of things, and the entrepreneurship pattern of things, you can rate a product.

 

How to Mine Business Review Sites for Relevant Market Information · [18:34]

 

Will Barron:

I’m convinced that it’s going to come then, to individuals, it’s going to come to business relationships on that level, which again, leaves us more data, more clues to say, well, if this person just left a terrible review about Will, and his incredibly, incomprehendibly bad sales skills, then maybe I should jump in there.

 

Tukan:

Absolutely.

 

Will Barron:

What I’m getting at is, is all this going to shift more towards that direction over time?

 

Tukan:

It already is. So for example, one of the sources I was going to say, is mining review sites, business review sites, people are posting reviews and companies want the reviews, ideally the good ones, but from the reviews… But that doesn’t always happen, people would post their complaints, concerns and frustrations. That’s a great source, for mining signals, of saying, what’s the shortcoming of this product, that this customer was talking about. That’s your battle card to talk about, when you’re going in talking to them. Absolutely, yes.

 

Tukan:

So, a lot of those signals are becoming public. For example, I am guessing maybe 50 years ago, if someone was attending… Not even 50, maybe 20 years ago, if someone was attending an industry conference, that list of attendees register is public, no one would ever know who’s attending which conference. Now, you are starting… There are ways to figure out, and completely legal, by crawling and inferring, you can start figuring out who are the people who are attending these events. So, a lot of that information is public, you just need to look at the right place.

 

Will Barron:

Yeah and events especially, 80% of the people there, are taking selfies of the plane ride on the way over, right? So it’s coming from a personal side of things, and then the business backend as well, I guess.

 

Tukan:

Absolutely, yes.

 

Relevant Signals Salespeople Can Use to Build Rapport and Start Conversations with Their Existing Customers · [20:20] 

 

Will Barron:

So are there any others… We’ve covered a mound, there’s enough to go out there for the audience, but are there any other signals that are… Too important to skip over.

 

Tukan:

One of the interesting signals, and I do not know how relevant it will be for your audience is… So all, a lot of these signals, you can use it from net new prospecting to go after, a lot of those signals can also be used on existing accounts that are in their funnel. So if you see a company you’ve been trying to work with, and they are attending an event, that’s a great in, for you to go talk to them, or win an award, that’s great.

 

“From a customer success perspective, you might have, 200, 500 customers, and all the discussions you have typically is, ‘Hey, I’m checking in to see how you’re doing.’, or, ‘This is a new product release.’. Which is great, you need to do it, but it gets boring. Rather than that, how about if you knew from a customer success perspective that they just won an award, they had a new product launch and it was a partnership, had a new hire. Those are great nuggets of conversation starters to go after them, or even account expansion to be honest.” – Tukan · [21:01] 

 

Tukan:

But a lot of that signal, can also be captured on the existing customers you have, from a customer success perspective. So you might have, 200, 500 customers, and all the discussions you have typically is, ‘Hey, I’m checking in to see how you’re doing.’, or, ‘This is a new product release.’. Which is great, you need to do it, but it gets boring. Rather than that, how about if you knew from a customer success perspective that; they just won an award, they had a new product launch and it was a partnership, had a new hire. Those are great nuggets of conversation starters, from a customer success perspective to go after them, or even account expansion to be honest, to go after them. There are different ways to look at it, but that would cover most of the different signals.

 

Will Barron:

So, it seems like there’s at least four buckets here, to be putting the trigger events into. Tell me, if there’s more tell me if I’ve got this wrong, but it seems like…

 

Will Barron:

Brand new potential customers that probably don’t have an incumbent supplier right now.

 

Will Barron:

The second bucket would be, potential customers that have an incumbent supplier that we want to dislodge, or we want to wait until they dislodged themselves even better.

 

Will Barron:

Number three, I can’t read my own handwriting here. So we’ll come back to number three.

 

Will Barron:

Number four, customer success.

 

Will Barron:

I think number three was, accounts that, essentially we’re working on. So, perhaps things have gone a bit quiet. We need a new in, we need a new angle, so we can rev up those conversations. Are there any other buckets of events, or triggers that we should be looking at as well?

 

Tukan:

So the third one, I would add to the third one. It’s not just the companies that are in your pipeline that you should monitor and get signals on. It could also be, we are seeing a major shift where companies are doing, an account based sales or marketing, where not only do they have a bunch of companies in their pipeline, but they have decided, these are 500 companies we really want to focus on. You probably want to monitor all kinds of different signals on them for that. But that would be pretty much, the overall four buckets.

 

Why Salespeople Must Ensure the CRM and Marketing Automation Systems are Synced Up · [22:52] 

 

Will Barron:

Okay, great. This might literally just lead into the conversation about Leadsift here, but how does the individual B2B sales professional, monitor all this and keep on top of all this, with all the other stuff that we’ve got to be doing, right?

 

Will Barron:

Because, it seems like we can… Maybe there’s for me, in selling to the NHS here in the UK, I think I had about 48 different accounts. Then within each hospital, there’d be urology, gynaecology, colorectal, general surgery that I’d be dealing with as well, maybe outpatient endoscopy. Then it goes into, whatever that is, 500 different sub-segments of accounts. If you’re selling software, you might want to then look at your customer’s customers.

 

Will Barron:

Because, changes in that market might affect your customers directly, and allow you to be ahead of the conversation, give them insights before they even realise that there’re insights, which are going affect them. So, if that’s the case, my 500 stakeholders that I’m keeping an eye on turn into 5000, right?

 

Will Barron:

At some point I just become some kind of data munching machine in front of my MacBook, and I don’t get any work done whatsoever. So how do we, I guess, prioritise all of this, and how do we manage it? Considering that we might only have, we probably do have half an hour, an hour if that, a day keep to keep on top of things.

 

Tukan:

First thing is ,you need to make sure in your current setup… Again, I’m talking more from a sales person’s perspective, who’s out there prospecting, nurturing existing contacts or reaching out to new people. Well, the first thing you need to make sure is, you have your CRM and your marketing automation systems synced up.

 

Tukan:

So, when people are coming to your website, visiting a blog or signing up for a webinar, that information is passed directly to the accounts, so that you are notified of activities that are happening on your own content, so that’s number one.

 

Tukan:

Second is, you can use free tools like Google Alerts or LinkedIn… not LinkedIn, Sales Navigator is not a free tool, but LinkedIn Sales Navigator to track activities that are happening on LinkedIn, around the company and notifying you.

 

Tukan:

If you want to really turbocharge that set up at an organisation level, then tools like Leadsift would be a good fit, where you would come in and basically say, Hey, this is my universe. These are the competitors. These are the different trigger events that I am interested in monitoring, and basically I want to set it up and forget about it. Every morning, I want to get a list of signals on existing accounts or net new accounts, pop into my Salesforce or my CRM, so that I can then go in, log in and say, huh, these are the activities, I can prioritise my day and go after.

 

LeadSift’s Unique and Exceptional Ability to Comb Through Large Amounts of Data · [25:32] 

 

Will Barron:

So, I’m sure there’s some algorithmic stuff. I’m sure there’re things that… Secret sauce that you’re doing behind the scenes, but what can an application, or a product like Leadsift do, which an individual can’t?

 

Tukan:

Good question. So, the first thing is, everything that we do, our system does, a human being can do. That’s because it’s all from publicly available sources.

 

Tukan:

What a human being cannot ,or an individual cannot do, is the scale of it. We crawl 75 million blogs or news sites. We are crawling probably 100,000 job postings. We are crawling through 500 million tweets and social media posts every single day. We are automatically parsing SEC filings, and all these different sources, to extract these nuggets of information, that’s something that you cannot do at scale. Can you track a specific keyword on Twitter or HootSuite, and see who’s talking about it?

 

Tukan:

Absolutely, and you should, if you’re an individual, I think that’s where you should begin with. But if you want to scale it up, if you want to track multiple keywords, multiple topics around your industry, multiple competitors, across all the web, that’s when you need an automated tool.

 

Will Barron:

You’re being very conscious about not pitching the product, which I appreciate.

 

Tukan:

Yeah.

 

Will Barron:

But feel free to do that, because clearly it’s useful for the audience. But the reason I ask that is, clearly data is becoming as valuable as anything else on planet earth, seemingly. It seems that whilst we could do some of this ourselves, there’s Leadsift, there’s perhaps other products, which could fit in this marketplace, which we won’t mention, as well, but it seems like, the content on their own site is the low hanging fruit, that should be linked to our CRM. That should just be done, dusted, we don’t have to think about that.

 

Will Barron:

Clearly it’s a buying signal if, whether it’s a cold email, whether it’s a trigger that we’ve responded to, whatever it is. We email someone some content, and they go through 15 pages and they’re on the website for 14 hours. We should be reaching out to them, right? And continuing the conversation.

 

Will Barron:

It seems then, the next layer up is, again obvious things like a merger or anything like that, which is essentially things that are newsworthy, that can crop up that, whether we search for or not, is going to end up in our LinkedIn feeds. But then it seems like there’s this next level, which is data-driven, which is subtle, which is where machine learning and things like that can come in, to give us insights before anyone else realises those insights.

 

Will Barron:

I feel like there’s a real competitive advantage to being the first mover to say, Hey, I see this, this and this in the industry, it’s affected this brand this way, and it might affect you. That is an email that people will respond to, right?

 

The Things Salespeople Should be Doing to Increase the Impact of Their Cold Emails · [28:26] 

 

Will Barron:

That’s an email that, going back to the beginning of the conversation, that gets 10, 50% reply rate, rather than the 1% of just a spammy email. So with all that said Tukan, is there anything else that we should be doing to layer on top of these emails, other than just trigger events that we’re in control of, that we’ve touched on here. Is there anything else we should be doing, to increase the impact of them, or the urgency of someone to get back to us because, we have information that they potentially could find useful.

 

Tukan:

Two things that I would do is; A, when you are prospecting, see if you have any common connections with them, and mention that, doesn’t matter what trigger event you’re using. That applies consistently, right?

 

Tukan:

If you know that you have a common connection with that person, like a second degree or something, or you might be part of a common group on LinkedIn or Facebook, that’s a great in, right? That’s one thing that I would do.

 

Tukan:

The second thing is, we have had very little success ourselves, with regards to outbound cold calling. I know some customers have better success, but one of the things that we have seen good results, is mixing emails, and from there on seeing what kind of intent signals are done on the emails, how many people are opening up the emails, and then connecting with them on different social channels, like LinkedIn or Twitter, or other business channels to get in front of them. Those are two different things that I would do, irrespective of what intent signals, what sales prospecting you’re doing.

 

Will Barron:

I will say this, often I’ve had to turn off all my email tracking because it drives me crazy, because I’ll just sit there, staring at it, and it does my psyche no good. I don’t meditate, I think I may need to get 15 hours of meditation in a day, before I can comprehend all the numbers and the data, but with that aside-

 

Tukan:

It’s like a slot machine.

 

Will Barron:

Yeah.

 

Tukan:

Like you’re drawing… You’re expecting something new to happen from those email notifications, so yeah it is crazy.

 

Will Barron:

Clearly, it’s a useful tool, it wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t, and it wouldn’t be leveraged if it wasn’t. But for me, I would, it just doesn’t work, for whatever reason. This is a conversation for another time on productivity, and getting into deep work, as opposed to light work, being bounced around different places.

 

Email Tracking: How to Judge Whether a Prospect is Engaged and Interested · [30:34] 

 

Will Barron:

But with that said, would you then perhaps, seed some content through email, so that you’ve got data on where it’s being engaged with, so that you can judge whether someone is interested or not. Would you go with that, a few steps deep.

 

Tukan:

Yeah. So one of the interesting things that some of our customers do, is based on the trigger that you got. So if it’s a competitive trigger, for example, you might want to push some content in your email outreach, you might change the language saying… Without mentioning which competitor or anything, but you might change the language, or in your marketing nurture, to reflect a competitive campaign. You might drive them to a page, which says, this is company X compared against the other five, if it’s competitive trigger, versus if you know they’re talking about an industry topic, you might even go in and segment, the content asset that you’re sharing with them in an email, or even if you’re doing Ad buy.

 

Tukan:

If you know this group of audience is interested about automated software testing, versus these guys are interested in continuous development, you might split out that audience, segment them based on their behavioural intent, and put in different kinds of content.

 

“From a sales perspective, you definitely should be leveraging triggers in some way to craft your message without being too creepy.” – Tukan · [31:51] 

 

Tukan:

Those are, I guess, high-end sophisticated strategies that marketing needs to come in, and help the sales team with. But from a sales perspective, you definitely should be leveraging the trigger in some way to craft your message without being too creepy. That’s another thing, there’s a very fine line. You might start getting, oh, I saw you Will, you were talking to my competitor X, by the way, we do this. That’s the end of the conversation, versus…

 

Tukan:

There’s an interesting case study or use case, I should say, where we were tracking Dreamforce as an event, we always do. We reached out, we ran a campaign to people that attended Dreamforce. I said, Hey, it’s been a month since you attended Dreamforce. Do you have a good sense of the ROI from that event? I’d love to show you how you can improve that ROI using some kind of signals, to even reach out to more people, than are attending Dreamforce, very good response.

 

Tukan:

They booked a meeting. They became a customer, that’s good stuff, but it was relevant to that. I leveraged that trigger, knowing that they attended this. So I changed the language around it.

 

Tukan Explains why Tracking Positive Buyer Triggers Needs Input From Marketing and Sales Enablement · [33:01] 

 

Will Barron:

The answer might be, it depends on this, and we’ll wrap up with this Tukan, how much do we need to… Sales professionals, we’re here to drive revenue, right?

 

Will Barron:

We’re here to build relationships, to grow accounts, to essentially get a big fat commission check at the end of the month to be blunt about it, in an ethical way, and in a responsible way that leads to a 10 year career in whatever company we’re in. With that said, how much of what we’re describing needs marketing on board, needs perhaps, a sales enablement person, or team on board.

 

Will Barron:

How much of this, requires us to lean on other people or at least ask, and knock on the door of the marketing team if they’re in, the other side of the building to get some support on some of this.

 

Tukan:

Yeah. If you have a marketing team, if you do have, or marketing person for that matter, if you have a sales enablement team, it’s a hundred percent required, that you have them onboard, otherwise this play doesn’t work. But the reality is, sometimes there might be cases where you are a one person salesperson in the team. Where you do not have a marketing support.

 

Tukan:

In that case, it does get challenging. So you have to be creative about it. What kind of content, how you approach this. But if you do have a marketing team, you definitely need that alignment, and more and more, we are seeing marketing is also compensated on the end dollars that are brought in, rather than just software metrics, like we increased awareness or increased traffic.

 

Tukan:

How many opportunities did you create? How many meetings did you book? So, so you definitely need that alignment across marketing, get your sales enablement to create the right kind of content to share. Absolutely

 

Will Barron:

Good, and I think that was good context for the audience. And just for me, the last organisation I worked for, a privately held company turned over literally billions of dollars every year in the UK. We had one marketing person who probably did more than this, but seemingly just made PowerPoint presentations, but prettier.

 

Will Barron:

I literally don’t think I ever spoke to him, other than a friendly hello across the room, when I was in the office. This is, I’m criticising myself here of, I have no idea what his skillset was. I have no idea what he should have been doing, or was doing for other sales reps, because I didn’t ask.

 

Will Barron:

If you need content, if you need video, if you need anything like this, clearly marketing are the people to help, to ask for help from, and hopefully they should be obliged to give it to you.

 

Tukan:

Absolutely. Yes.

 

Tukan’s Advise to His Younger Self on How to Become Better at Selling · [35:33]

 

Will Barron:

Good, good. Well, I think that was useful and empowering for the audience to wrap up there. With that Tukan, I’ve got one final question mate. Something I ask everyone that comes on the show, and that is, if you could go back in time and speak to your younger self, what would be the one piece of advice you’d give him to help him become better at selling?

 

Tukan:

I would say, ask the tough questions upfront, in the sales process. What I mean by that is, being from a technical background, you don’t have to sell anything, right? You write code, you publish research papers and things like that, it’s very different.

 

Tukan:

But, when you are trying to sell a software or a service, it’s tough to ask that hard question to qualify them, which results in you, having false hopes and saying, oh, this company, I had a great chat with them, even without really understanding where they are at, qualifying them and being excited about it. Then three months later, we are still waiting for them, to hear back from them.

 

“A good no, a firm no, is better than a dragged-out no.” – Tukan · [36:33] 

 

Tukan:

So, that would be one thing is, ask the tough questions right out of the gate so that… A good no, a firm no, is better than a dragged-out no. That’d be one thing.

 

Will Barron:

Good. I’ve been there myself. I feel that pain of… Especially when there’s a sales manager leaning over your shoulder going, Will, we’ve got this much in the pipeline and nothing’s coming out the other end, what’s going on here. As you said, those nos, that quick qualification is both valuable for you, it’s valuable for the person that you are… You’ve got that cadence, that conversation with, allows them to suss out whether they need to really budget and think about this stuff.

 

Parting Thoughts · [37:12]

 

Will Barron:

Yeah, that’s really valuable. So, it’s really useful for the audience. With that Tukan, I’ve got one final thing I wanted to touch on, and that is Leadsift. You need to tell us where we can find it, how we can get started with it and yeah, where we can find out more about you as well, sir.

 

Tukan:

Yeah, so the best way to find more about Leadsift is, go to leadsift.com. Check us out, One, if you are interested, if this whole idea of trigger based selling, intent based selling and marketing interests you or excites you.

 

Tukan:

One of the things we do is, you can fill out a form where where we give you 50, a hundred I guess, a hundred free accounts that are showing buying signals towards your industry. You can test it out for free, so check us out.

 

Tukan:

To connect with me, I’m super active on LinkedIn, also on Twitter. My Twitter account is T-D-A-S, And my LinkedIn is… I forget, just search by my name, it’s there. Those are two places.

 

Tukan:

Being a technical founder, it’s been an interesting journey, trying to become a salesperson or selling a product, so quite a few of lessons learned, and if anyone has any questions, more than happy to help and guide them.

 

Tukan’s Advise to Technical Founders on How to Learn About Sales, Boost Sales, Become Better at Selling · [38:20]

 

Will Barron:

Great stuff. I’ll link to all that in the show notes of this episode, over at salesman.org, and just before we switch off, I know there is a small handful of technical founders, of technical individuals who are… Whether it’s a startup, or they’re trying to, push their way towards that world. What would be the one piece of advice you’d give them, if they have no sales experience, perhaps they have a misconception about sales being the used car salesperson, as opposed to what we promote on the show. What would be the one thing you’d tell them, clearly you have success in sales, with the organisation. What’s the one thing you’d give them, to give them a bit of a boost?

 

“If you’re a technical founder, and you have a product, you should be the first salesperson of the company. Do not hire an external salesperson and hope for them to be selling your product in the early days. Once you’ve proven it out, once it’s scalable, then get someone else to scale it out.” – Tukan · [38:50] 

 

Tukan:

If you’re a technical founder, and you have a product. You should be the first salesperson of the company. Do not hire an external sales person and hope them to be selling your product, in the early days. Once you’ve proven it out, once it’s scalable, then get someone else to scale it out. But, the first sales person should be yourself, or one of the founders. That will be the biggest advice that I’d give a technical founder, because for a technical, it’s easier to hide behind the computer and write code, that’s our comfort zone, but get out of it and sell. No one knows about your product better than you do, at that early stage. No one can transmit back the feedback, that the customer is giving to the product team, to write the right code and stuff like that. So get out there and sell, that’d be my advice.

 

Will Barron:

Amazing stuff, Well with that, I want to thank you again for your time, your insights on all this, and for joining us, on the Salesman podcast.

 

Tukan:

No, awesome. Thank you so much for having me Will.

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