Our Sales Development Handoff Process
Collin Stewart, CEO, Predictable Revenue
19 January 2017
Timely and persistent follow-up is the key to converting email responses into meetings. We’ve seen teams increase their booked meeting ratio 3x by following the simple processes I’ve outlined below.
Some context: half of my knowledge came from our on-demand SDR team that booked 10k meetings in 2016. The other half came from working with Aaron Ross to help our consulting clients build huge teams from scratch. I mention this not to sell to you but to add context as to why we do things a certain way. When you’re dealing with volume, systems are key. We wouldn’t have survived without them and are constantly looking for ways to improve.
Let’s start by assuming you’re the one taking the first call – we call them AWAFs (Are We A Fit) – and you’re booking the first call off of an email. Let’s follow this transaction chronologically:
1. Someone responds to your email
2. You respond to their email, note that you called, and ask if they’re interested in speaking with one of your specialists in their area
3. They respond positively and agree to a call
4. You reply with your calendly link or a few times that work for you
5. … crickets…
Sound familiar? Yep, we’ve all been there. I’ve personally been there hundreds, if not thousands of times. I’m a fan of Jack Johnson, but now is not the time for Sitting, Waiting, Wishing. So what’s next? Here’s what we’d do:
Personalized LinkedIn – remind them of how you were introduced and mention something interesting from their profile to show you’re human.
Call + VM – if they answer, see if they’re interested in scheduling something. If you’re respectful of their time, some will just give you the 10 minutes right there. If you get a voicemail, just let them know you’ll be emailing later.
Email – find a customer or case study that you’ve worked with that’s relevant to their business and mention what you did for them (keep it short!). Propose a few times.
Calendar invite – shortly after you send the above email, fire them calendar invites for the times you proposed. This can be tricky, make sure to mention in the description that these are just calendar blocks and they can decline if neither time works for them.
Call, no VM
Email – typical bumper email
Email – let them know you’ve removed the calendar blocks and ask if there are better times that work for them. Leave your calendly link in a PS.
Call + VM – same content as your email.
Break-up email – Ask if they’re still interested in having a conversation.
Make sure you are tracking these conversations on a spreadsheet or using labels in your gmail to ensure that nothing is slipping through the cracks. In our early days, we used a system of Gmail labels and had time booked in our calendars every day to go through our follow-ups. It looked a little bit like this:
Send manual follow up email one.
Create a filter that looks for a unique string of text that you’ll only ever have in your follow up one email. Have that filter apply “follow up one.”
Repeat this process for every email based step in your process.
Every day, review your labels for threads that need a next step. Eg. If you see a conversation with a follow up one label dated more than two days ago, it’s time to send them follow up two.
There are tools out there that will automatically remind you to follow up and some that will even send the automated reminders for you. We’re big fans of automating the systems but haven’t seen good results from automating these types of emails. While it does make it much easier for the sales rep, personalizing and customizing your approach will have a higher conversion rate than some template emails. From what we’ve seen, it’s worth the investment of time.