The Biggest Outbound Sales Mistakes Founders Make, Episode 7

 

Founders are anxious to sell. And rightfully so.

Without sales, all you have is a product. You don’t get to have a company. Nor do you have a business.

But in that haste, sometimes, founders will try to sell too fast in their outbound communication. Their call to action in an outbound email might be to try to get you to sign up for a free trial. Mind you, they haven’t given you a demo. And their product costs several thousands of dollars per month. 

The result?

Prospects feel rushed. They’re being steamrolled by the incoming founder, without allowing them to fully comprehend the value of the product they’re being pitched.

 

In the last 8 years, hundreds of founders have come to me for coaching on their sales and go-to-market challenges. I’ve done my best to help. And in doing so, I’ve spotted patterns: those costly outbound sales mistakes that keep occurring, and that prevent startups from growing to their full potential. Over 10 weeks, we’ll examine each of these very closely: at the pace of one per week. Consider this your mini-series on the biggest outbound sales follies founders make. And here’s your 7th installment. Read on.

Founders try to sell their product or service in one email.

In sports, there is such a thing as “trying to do too much”. At times, in baseball, the correct percentage play is to bunt the runner over; not swing for the fences. In certain situations, in football, all you’re looking to do is to get that first down, move the chains, and buy yourself a new set of downs. You’re not looking to score in one play when you’re backed up at your 10-yard line.

In the very same way, in outbound email campaigns for nearly all B2B products: you shouldn’t try to get the transaction with one cold email. It’s unrealistic. Even asking the prospect to sign up for a free trial is asking too much, in most cases. Your goal should be to generate an introductory conversation. To book an intro call.

That’s it.

If you start thinking about selling your product outright, your copy will be too long. Your message will be diffuse. You’ll run the risk of losing your reader in long feature lists and other benefits. Your message will most likely come off as a hard sale. You’ll end up striking out because you looked to crush the ball over the right field fence when all you needed to do was get on base.

Here’s an email that tries to do too much:

 

 

[FirstName]:

I am reaching out because we’ve developed innovative software that will alleviate your headaches as a CFO.

Our software enables large companies to reduce their accounting costs by 68% on average, by lowering the amount of manpower needed and by increasing efficiencies.

Companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook all use us and have all expanded their relationship with us over time.

We’d like to include you on our client list. Feel free to get started with a free trial here.

Let us know if you have any questions.

Cheers,

[SalesRepName]

If I were approached with this type of email, I’d instantly be turned off. The sales rep has no intention of getting me on the phone, nor is he willing to answer any of my questions. Never mind a demo of the software. 

The email does a good job of establishing credibility and social proof, but it falls short as it attempts to convert me right away without offering to take care of me. It could have offered to handhold me through an established process. And yet, I’m getting pushed through to a free trial. Even folks who hate chatting with sales reps will feel awkward by the approach above. A tiny group of folks might go for a free trial, but the vast majority will not react well. They more than likely won’t click on the link, nor will they respond to the email.

With a few minor changes, the email copy becomes more palatable to your prospect, and increases your chances of eventually closing them:

 

[FirstName]:

I am reaching out because we’ve developed innovative software that will alleviate your headaches as a CFO. And we thought this might be relevant for you at [Company].

Our software enables large companies to reduce their accounting costs by 68% on average, by lowering the amount of manpower needed and by increasing efficiencies.

Companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook all use us and have all expanded their relationship with us over time.

What’s a good time for a quick introductory call next week?

I’d love to learn more about your business and see if we might be able to help.

Thanks!

Cheers,

[SalesRepName]

If you think like this — getting that critical first down instead of throwing up a Hail Mary — your copy becomes short, crisp, and to the point. And your prospects won’t feel like you’re disrespecting them. The email’s sole purpose will be to pique their interest enough to have them agree to a quick first meeting.

 

 

Next week, we’ll cover a founder strength that unfortunately often goes underutilized. Not leveraging this asset ends up costing founders strong connections with potential customers.