sales conversations

We Analyzed 1,000 Emails & Voicemails to Understand How the Top SaaS Companies Chase Enterprise Deals.

A new study from Process Street in partnership with sales email tool PersistIQ reveals the inside sales outreach of the world’s 281 top SaaS companies, and how they respond when a high-ticket lead (in this case, we used Vodafone) signs up for a free trial or demo.

Using the details of a fictional Vodafone employee to sign up for SaaS products, Process Street automatically collected all incoming outreach including sales emails, marketing emails, and voicemail transcripts. The sales communication has been made public and searchable at along with a study analyzing the key trends.

In this article, I’m going to condense the study down to its key elements to give a data-backed picture of how enterprise SaaS companies like Salesforce, New Relic, and HubSpot chase big deals.

Summary of the key findings

  • Companies follow up for 9 days before stopping contact
  • Companies send one email per day until the end of the cycle
  • 65% of companies hand you over to an automated marketing campaign
  • Most SaaS companies have two sales contacts per lead
  • 74% of companies don’t leave voicemails
  • Voicemails are mostly left as a way to follow up with a recent email, and vice versa
  • If a company leaves voicemails, the sales cycle length is usually 160% longer
  • 7% of emails have a false ‘re:’ in the subject line
  • 9% of companies use webinars as a sales tactic
  • The average marketing drip campaign contains 3 emails
  • MailChimp is the most common email marketing software, used by 49% of the sample

The content and duration of a SaaS sales sequence

An average SaaS sales sequence lasts for 9 days, and consists of one email or voicemail daily for the duration. If, however, the sequence contains voicemails (26% of the sequences analyzed), the sales cycle is longer.

Sales sequences with voicemails are often longer both because it indicates a high-touch sales process and because voicemails and emails are often sent in pairs. Commonly, emails are sent to follow up with voicemails, and vice versa.

For example, this pair from Act-On:

We noticed that as sequences go on, the tone of communication shifts from being minimal and directly related to the goal (securing a demo) to a more benefits-driven tone, reiterating the key features and reminding the lead why they signed up in the first place.

Also, as a backup in case the lead isn’t fully sold or is too busy for a sales call, sales emails tend to contain bite-sized product education, like in this email from Salesforce:

In many cases, sales emails and voicemails open with context, presumably to reassure the lead that the email is relevant to them. Context is commonly phrased like “I noticed”, “I saw that”, and “as per my voicemail”.

Many SaaS companies also send automated marketing emails in addition to those from the sales team.

Marketing automation usage

Just 35% of SaaS companies don’t add the lead to an automated marketing campaign. The remaining 65% that do will send an average of 3 emails, mainly to onboard the user with the software, advertise webinars or send updates from the company blog.

One commonly-used sales tactic, used by 9% of analyzed companies, is webinar invitations. Webinars have been proven in other studies to have a high sales conversion rate.

The top three most used marketing automation platforms among the studied companies are MailChimp (49%), Marketo (21%), and HubSpot (19%).

Since HubSpot (and Marketing Cloud) are both marketing automation platforms inside of CRM products, that also gives us a clue about which CRMs are popular.

You can see the full details of the study in the slide deck below:

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