Down with vanity metrics!
Okay I might be going too far, vanity metrics aren’t useless; page views show how well your operational campaigns are performing and content downloads do show that you are targeting the right audience with the right content. While this is great for external comparison and obtaining partnerships, they don’t tell you if whatever you’re doing is working to close sales for you. That’s when reliable sales metrics come into play.
So what should you be tracking along the funnel? Let’s check it out
1. Quality of contact data
Have you ever emailed a large professional list that hasn’t been used for a few months. Well, I did, a few days ago.
Out of curiosity, I cold emailed a list from a previous business venture with fresh content. 301 contacts.
Damn, 5% of these addresses didn’t exist anymore; most of the companies were kind enough to set an autoresponder stating that my recipient wasn’t working there anymore, had been promoted or had moved to a jellyfish farm in Thailand.
It’s 2017, people tend to change jobs on a regular basis.
To prove this point Radius ran an experiment: they looked at what happened over a 4-month period in 2016 (May to August) to 10.000 CRM contacts. When the experiment ended: 7,57% of the entries had become invalid; the person had moved to another job or was no longer be reachable.
Other than the fact that it renders your strategy and well thought of templates useless, sending emails to addresses that don’t exist can affect your deliverability.
When your bounce rate rises above the 10% threshold, you’re almost guaranteed to start ending up on blacklists. Which, guess what, is going to affect your deliverability, and there goes the vicious cycle.
Check your data regularly, at least put your list through a validity checker like the one we develop here at Prospect.io.
2. Positive email response rate
Congrats, your email was delivered, some prospect even responded! How awesome is that?
Yeah, it feels nice to show off that reply rate, but does it mean anything? For all I know, maybe they just told you to f**k off or, worse yet, it’s just a false positive such as an autoresponder telling you they’re on vacation in the Poconos and they’ll get back to you as soon as they get back. Which probably won’t happen since they’ll delete most emails from the pile anyway, let’s not kid ourselves.
Now let’s imagine that person is on vacation for 2 weeks and your automated campaign runs for 10 days while they’re away. You’ll score a 100% response rate over 3 or 4 emails, that doesn’t mean anything. This is why you should keep track of positive responses -as well as negative ones and unsubscribe requests.
I know, a 30% response rate looks great in your PowerPoint report. But how much of it really was of any use?
Let’s keep this between us: you show the general response rate to your manager but you work with positive response rate. Okay?
3. Quality of sales conversations
What happens after a positive email? Conversation!
That’s when salespeople start working their Jordan Belfort magic. Unless…
… their personal style is not at all aligned with the style of the email.
Where am I getting at?
Some of our customers complained that they managed to get a high reply rate to their cold emails from prospects who actually seemed interested by their product, but they didn’t seem to get much out of the skype/phone calls.
The conversion rate was miserable.
‘Cold email is not a reliable way to find customers’ they started saying.
Having based a business exclusively on cold email, we knew this wasn’t the real problem.
There were two possible causes for the issue our customers were having. Either the emails didn’t include enough “disqualifiers” or the follow-up call wasn’t handled well enough.
We started looking at the email campaigns, summoned a conclave and discussed the incriminated emails amongst ourselves. After some consideration, it turned out that they were actually pretty good. Compelling, funny and qualifying.
Our sales manager then stepped in and asked for an example of the follow-up conversations that our customers were having with their prospects. As it turned out, their salespeople were pretty good too, but their conversation style was light years away from the humorous style of the email.
If you write a nice friendly email with a funny vibe and then hand over the prospects who responded to agressive salespeople, it might not work as well.
Set up a communication chart, a general tone of voice, and get everyone involved in the sale process to follow it closely.
It’s all about emotions!
Sales conversations are part of the customer experience, treat them as such.
In an interview conducted by sales expert Dylis Guyan, Marie Cross from First Impression Training stresses that ‘we human beings fail to recognize is that we are emotional beings that 84% of our buying decision let alone our experience, 84% of it is based on emotion and it’s about how we feel about the service that we have received.‘ She adds that customers will forget what we told them and even what we’ve done for them as a service provider ‘even if we have been a real gem and gone the extra mile, but they will never ever forget how we made them feel.’
Taking care of your prospects’ emotional needs is a primordial part of the process!
Of course, these aren’t the only metrics you should use to track the health of your sales process but these are generally overlooked.
What are your favourite metrics?