Labcast: Kendra Lee on the New Rules of E-mail Prospecting
In this week’s Labcast, Kendra Lee, the founder of the KLA Group, joins me to talk about the new rules of e-mail prospecting and to offer some great tips for creating effective e-mails that get read.
Kevin: Hello and welcome again to this episode of Labcast. I’m Kevin Cain, and today I’m joined by Kendra Lee. Kendra is a top IT seller, sales advisor, and business owner who knows innovative ways to shorten time to revenue in the small and midsize market. She’s also the founder of KLA Group, an organization that helps companies in the IT industry break into and exceed revenue objective in small and mid-market businesses. In addition, Kendra’s the author of the bestselling book “Selling Against the Goal: How Corporate Sale Professionals Generate the Leads They Need.” Kendra, thanks so much for joining us today. We’re here to talk about the topic of the new rules for e-mail processing. Kendra: Thank you for having me Kevin. It’s a pleasure to be here today. Kevin: We really appreciate it. Along the lines of e-mail prospecting, I guess one of the first questions that I really have is: Why are there new rules today? Is it a matter of technology or something else? Kendra: Well, it’s a combination of things. First of all, there’s technology because we now have smart phones, of course, and then the other thing is that we have been doing it now for several years and so were getting wiser in what works and what doesn’t because our prospects that we are e-mailing are getting smarter and catching on to some of the techniques we used to have that may not work as effectively any more. Kevin: One of the things that you talk a lot about on your website, etc. is something that you refer to as the “Glimpse actor.” What exactly is the Glimpse Factor, and how do the new rules apply to it? Kendra: The Glimpse Factor is how your prospects read your e-mail. You talked about technology. Well, with the advent of smart phones and the different tools that your prospects may be reading their e-mails with, it’s really important to understand how they read e-mails and how it varies based on if they’re reading it on a smart phone or they happen to be reading it in the office itself. On smart phones, one of our new rules is, is that you have to keep your e-mails as short as possible. It’s really interesting if you have paid any attention, when an e-mail comes in on your smart phone and you look at it, it looks really long if it has more than, say, four sentences. But when comes in to your e-mail, four sentences look really short. So we have to think about who our prospects are that we are e-mailing and where they’re most likely to read our e-mail and then apply the Glimpse Factor. What the Glimpse Factor says is how are your prospects making a decision as to whether or not they’re going to read your e-mail, and it’s really only based on a glimpse. They look to see do they know your name, do they know your company name. They jump to the subject line to see if it’s something that they have to deal with, and then if they’re reading on their computers then they jump down to the signature and they get a sense for how long, how hard does this e-mail look. If they’re reading it on the smart phone, they’re looking for things like after they get past the subject line, is this addressed to me? Does this have a bunch of HTML graphics, which would indicate oh, this is just mail I can just delete, and then they go and they start reading the e-mail. So the glimpse factor says that in three seconds, based on the tool that they’re using to read their e-mail, they’re going to make a decision as to whether or not they’re going to bother to read it or they’re just going to delete it. So oftentimes your e-mails get deleted and they haven’t read one word that you’ve written other than the subject line and the salutation. Kevin: That’s really interesting, and I guess the next question that comes to mind for me is really what is the level of thought that goes into who your audience is, and is it really based on generational issues, which is sort of sounds like based what your describing, or is it something more broad than that? Kendra: I think it’s many different things, and this is where the lines between marketing and sales are getting more and ore blurred. You may have heard the term personas. You may have heard the terms target markets or micro-segments, which are terms I use all the time. In sales, you may just hear that you need to target, but the reality is that you need to think about what are the characteristics of the person that you are e-mailing. Everything from the traditional industry size of company to, yes, age as well as their geographic location, what are their job responsibilities. So we’ve got to think even broader now when we’re doing our e-mail prospecting. It doesn’t have to be difficult. You don’t have to spend a huge amount of time. If you’re a salesperson selling, you don’t have a lot of time to spend when you’re preparing to do your prospecting. So you need to do it in a smart way, and that would say that you want to group these targets contacts or these target companies that you’re approaching so that you can do a level of research and be confident that the way that you approach them will probably fit that group. Kevin: In describing all that, you’ve really alluded to a couple of what sound like best practices and tips for how to really put together compelling e-mails in this new age that were in. Are there any others that you can touch on for our listeners? Kendra: Absolutely. First and foremost make sure that your subject line is personalized. Your subject line can make or break whether or not somebody opens your e-mail. In prospecting, I like subject lines that talk about a meeting time. It might say technology meeting, or it might say meeting Thursday at 10:00, or can we meet Thursday at 10:00. Try it and see which works, but I want to keep it very personal to your prospects so they feel like they have to take action. That will get them to open it, and you’ll get past the first part of the glimpse factor, which is the subject line. Then make sure you don’t use any HTML. Even in your lead generation campaign, if you’re running a lead generation campaign and your targeting 100 contacts or even 1,000, don’t include a lot of HTML graphics. It comes through on the smart phone, they see it, that doesn’t feel personal and bam it’s gone. You’ve hit the delete barrier. So that’s another one. If it’s coming and you’re suspecting they may be reading it on their PC, make sure you’ve got a lot of white space. Keep your paragraphs short. Probably the number two thing behind the subject line is to make sure that your e-mail is focused on that target group of prospects that you are attempting to reach and targeted with a business message so that when they read your fist line, it’s not we are a company that does X. Instead it’s about them, and that will get them into your e-mail and get them reading it. That doesn’t matter whether you’re a salesperson doing prospecting or you’re a marketing person who’s doing lead generation, it’s got to be about them. Kevin: So that brings me another interesting point and I think one that you have touched on a little bit and that’s the fact that people have sort attention spans these days. So what I’m wondering is, do you foresee us having a conversation maybe in a year or two where we’re talking about the new rules for Twitter prospecting instead of e-mail prospecting? Kendra: Kevin, I would tell you that we can have that conversation in the next six months, because the second thing that I tell people, you’re prospecting is an integrated approach, and you’re going to use the phone. That has not gone away. You’re using e-mail. But the next thing you need to be doing, if you’re not reaching them in those two ways, you’ve got be out on social media. You can take your e-mail that you’ve written for sending through e-mail, and you can send it through LinkedIn. You can take the core components of that same e-mail and you can use them on Twitter. If you are connected to prospects, you can use it to send direct messages, and if you’re not, you’re going to use it as comments to try and attract attention of those people that your message bests fits. If you’ve done a really good job of writing your e-mail, you have written it for that micro-segment that you’re targeting, and they’re going to see it as different people retweet you and if they’re following you. Twitter, we’re already there. You definitely want to be using it for prospecting. Kevin: And speaking of Twitter and social media in general, that’s a really great segue into my last question, which is just how can our listeners get in touch with you if they want to? Kendra: I can give you all the three different methods that are traditional and our evolving one, and I’m going to start with Twitter. Follow me on Twitter @kendraleekla. You can follow us online at our website klagroup.com, or you can do the traditional e-mail, [email protected], and I welcome all your comments and your questions. So please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any on e-mail prospecting, and we have a lot of great resources, including an eBook that’s coming called “E-mail Power Prospecting” that we will have posted out on our website as well. Kevin: Kendra, thanks so much for joining us today. I really appreciate it. Kendra: Thank you for having me Kevin. I look forward to our next conversation.