Grade your salespeople on email cold calling

I attended a workshop on email cold calling techniques hosted by Ms. Jill Konrath of Selling To Big Companies. It was excellent and alerted me to an issue that software CEO’s need to be aware of.

There is a very strong probability that the vast majority of your salespeople are sending emails and leaving voicemails that seriously hurt your company’s ability to hit your commit numbers.

Why is this such a problem? Let’s look at the numbers which Jill presented that represent the world corporate decision makers live in. The typical corporate decision maker:

  1. Has 59 hours of work sitting on his desk awaiting completion.
  2. Has no more than 2 hours a week free of meetings.
  3. 95% of calls roll into voicemail.
  4. Receives up to 300 emails a day.
  5. Wants to speak to zero salespeople.

Look at your own day. When you listen to voicemail or read an email, you know your finger is poised above “Delete.” In this difficult environment, salespeople under pressure to deliver tend to shoot from the hip. As one can surmise, shooting from the hip and getting real attention from corporate decision makers is a prescription for disaster.

How bad is the problem? Let’s look at one of the best in the business — WebEx, who was recently purchased by Cisco. My salesperson, Jerry, would email me notes like:

Subject: Q2 offer

“Hi Jeff. I hope you’re having a great week. WebEx has introduced lower prices for companies like yours, and if you can take advantage of the offer by the end of the quarter, we can get you a great deal.

I look forward to hearing from you.”


What’s wrong with that? Where do we start?

  • As VP, Sales, I want to grow revenue while holding the line on costs. Maybe WebEx can help with that, but I sure don’t know from that email.
  • What does Jerry know about me? Nothing.
  • Delete!

What makes an effective email:

  1. It’s personalized.
  2. It ties to business needs and objectives
  3. It is short and sweet
  4. It starts a conversation.
  5. It is readable in the email preview screen. (test it!)

What should we avoid?:

  1. Funky colorful backgrounds
  2. Avoid deals — free, discount, special offer.
  3. Attachments
  4. Special fonts

Here is what I suggest you do.: Assign this task to someone. Have him or her go to and purchase Jill’s recorded teleseminar on this topic. At the same time, collect the emails and voicemails your account executives are sending today. I’ll bet you will be appalled by what is going out. Create plan to train and test on an ongoing basis.

Good luck

What do you think? We love comments and people who share.

Jeff Ogden is President of Find New CustomersLead Generation Made Simple” Check out the online show every Friday at 11am ET, “Laugh and Learn with the Fearless Competitor.” Find New Customers is a lead generation company in New York.

Find New Customers delivers low cost lead generation for businesses (with 50 to 5,000 employees and complex products) by developing and implementing marketing lead generation programs to improve the way they find and acquire high quality sales leads using best practices in b2b lead generation. In fact, a recent study found that sales teams with fewer, high quality sales leads closed more than sales teams with more leads of dubious quality.


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