S2E1: Appointment Setting via Email. Best Practices.

S2E1: Appointment Setting via Email. Best Practices.

02.17.2021

Welcome to season #2 of the Belkins Growth Podcast! Great to have you back with us. 

Michael opens up the Appointment Setting series with the conversation with Scott Mark, Sales Director at XANT.ai, the leading enterprise sales engagement platform that accelerates revenue. Michael and Scott speak about appointment setting best practices, dos, and don’ts of the sales process for successful B2B selling and closing.

For this season you can watch our podcast on YouTube, as we had presented you with the video version, or listen to the audio on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Simplecast, and Stitcher.

Stay tuned for more great episodes for the 2nd season, as we have gathered experts in sales and sales development revealing all aspects of the appointment setting process in great detail.

Enjoy watching and subscribe for more episodes directly delivered to your inbox!

Transcript of the Episode

Michael: I was keeping you guys for the second season of the show because we are going to be talking about appointment setting. We're going to be going in detail on that outbound sales process and I wanted to keep XANT for this season, so I appreciate you taking the time and joining me today.

Scott: I am super excited. When you guys reached out to me, I thought it was just a perfect opportunity, a perfect time, especially how the world was working right now, and how people are reacting differently since everybody is inside, right? There's no more outbound selling. I mean, outside selling, really. Everyone's an inside seller, no matter who you are.

Michael: You are the director of sales these days for XANT. And is it more an executive role where you lead the team and you plan the KPIs, but you do know sales or kind of fieldwork, or it's more like a field job where you work with top accounts, like high-tier accounts most of the time?

Scott: Yeah, good question. I'm in an executive role, so I'm over a team of reps. We structured their day as such and we roll it that way. I have my team. At current state right now, I have 13 sales reps and we run an inside motion, things of that nature.

Michael: Did you have your sales structure or the sales team structure being changed after the Corona happened? Did you guys restructure that in any way?

Scott: Actually, no. A lot of people are surprised about that, but we've been running this motion for literally over two years now, which has been great because once the whole world decided to do a 180 on us, nothing for my sales reps really changed.

The process didn't change, the motion didn't change, the way we are reaching out to some of our prospects didn't change, which made it really good for us. So when we rolled into some of these difficult times, or not necessarily difficult times but uncertain times, we just plugged along and we kept on top of the task that we needed to do, a process that we had in place because we believe in it. And that process that happened before COVID brought us a lot of success.

And so when we came into this motion, obviously there was a month or two where things and people were trying to figure out with budgets and spending and just how the world was working at that point. But after we got past that month or two, things went back to I wouldn't say normal, but things got back to moving right along and humming right along, and we've continued along with that success, so the process has really been good for us.

Michael: Kudos for that.

Scott: I don't know if it was just luck. Again, here's the thing. As sales leaders, we like to hang our hat on things that have a repeatable process, and then if it works in a good time and if it works in a bad time, I think really, we've hit on something good.

Michael: Absolutely. What does the sales structure look like for you guys? Do we have SDRs and AEs or SEs that are closing deals, or do you have a kind of inside sales role where you do the 360 sales process where you prospect, you qualify, you do the demo and then you move them to close?

Scott: Yeah. That's a fantastic question. So we do have a full revenue funnel approach to this, so we have our BDR/SDR team that sets the appointments for our reps. And so in our sales department, we have the enterprise team and then we have what I'm over is the emerging enterprise team. From there, we hand it over to our retention.

So we're building pipe, we're closing pipe, and we're retaining that pipeline, but the good news is we want to be able to control our destiny as much as we possibly can as an emerging enterprise team. So we can't always rely on those marketing leads, those inbound marketing leads that are coming through. And so when we sign up for a number, so my RVP and I signed up for a number, we want to make sure we can't really make excuses. We just have to go plug away and try to hit those numbers with or without that inbound arm, and so it is the icing on the cake, cause actually with my team, we do a power hour every single day.

I don't want my reps to ever lose that muscle if you will. And then secondly, we actually train our reps every single day. Every single day at 11 o'clock for an hour, except for the last two days of the month, but we are training. So we have this really good motion, this really good atmosphere, as far as the team is concerned, and that just coincides with the process that the reps do on a daily basis.

Michael: Fantastic. I would really want to dive deep into that training process and how you work with our apps because this is very valuable. However, for this specific session, I build out the plan to talk more about the appointment setting specifically, and the way your SDRs and BDRs are working.

And I wanted to pick your brains on the email channel specifically because you know the COVID, people are spending more time with their inboxes or their LinkedIn. You spend most of the time taking Zoom calls and then you work with your inbox and that's pretty much everything that you do over the day.

Scott: Right.

Michael: Taking calls and answering the email. So talking about the appointment setting, about your BDRs and SDRs KPIs, is there any specific number of appointments that you need to book per month to be successful?

Scott: Yes, there is. They have their agenda that's laid out before them every single month. They have their KPIs they're supposed to be hitting every single day. That ramps up to the specific target appointments they're handing over to the emerging enterprise team as well as our enterprise team. So yeah, they have all that in place to make sure that ... I mean, that's how they get paid, so yes.

Michael: Gotcha. And are there any specific channels that they are allowed to leverage most of the time or what is the approach of their work? I've met several teams that focus specifically on the ABM approach, where you have let's say, outreach as an engagement platform.

You utilize email sequences that consist of emails, LinkedIn messages, calls, different tasks, but at the same time, I found there are some folks that focus on calling, and then they just send emails as they're supporting. or those that focus on LinkedIn. Where are you guys right now?

Scott: It really is a hybrid of everything. We tend to focus heavily on the calling aspect of things. We are a very data-driven organization, and what we've found within our data is if our reps... now this goes for the SDR, BDRs of the world, as well as my team that is doing their power hours, is the call is the most important.

Now we can blanket as much as we possibly can with emails, but where the email tends to be successful is because we first called them. There was a call to action. They saw something physical. They knew they were going to get a quick follow-up email or a LinkedIn InMail, something along those lines saying, Hey, this is who XANT is.

This is who I am. This is why I'm calling. Oh, by the way, here's some content. So we really focus on...because again, with XANT, we do have a sales automation platform that does the cases and runs cadences where we can really be very specific of who we're going after and what that message needs to look like as we go through that queue. But what we wanted to make sure is that we didn't forget about the call because the email aspect of things to your point looks, everybody's inside. and people are busy on Zoom and things like that.

People tend to react better to an email, but we understand the reaction of the email is really important, but closing, that's what the most important thing is. Closing is on a call so we always want to keep that behavior with the call, which has allowed our emails to have a better response rate to it for sure.

Michael: You mentioned running cadences with your software. Do you analyze the cadences that your clients are running with your software? Do you have a data science team that does all of that thing?

Scott: Yes, absolutely.

Michael: So you do analyze that. Do you apply some of the data for your inside sales team as well?

Scott: Absolutely. I hate to say I'm a data geek, but we're all kind of data geeks over here cause if it's not true data, the story that's being told is not a true story. The great thing about what we're able to do, obviously with our clientele and what we do internally here at XANT, everything 100% is being tracked back into that CRM, no questions asked, so it is empirical data. It's not being fudged or made up.

So for example, if there was a cadence that was done by ABC organization who is a client of ours and they start seeing a lot of success with it and a cadence could be you start with a call and then an automated email goes out, and in the automated email, there's this, and then we're going to follow up LinkedIn and so on and so forth, we'll analyze them like, man, yeah, it's in this market that are reaching out to this type of clientele. It might be similar to us, so let's give it a try. And so we're able to really use those best practices as we dissect that data behind the scenes.

So we'd go and implement a brand new client that might need some suggestions like, hey, this client is similar to you and this is what they've done to see success in their cadence. We can apply that same type of implementation if you want. And so it just makes everybody a little bit ... you know, the ships rise with the tide.

So we want to make sure it's an easy implementation. Not only is it an easy implementation, but we want to make sure that across the entire org, everybody's using it. We want to make sure that it's really high in that regard.

Michael: And I would love to dive into that more. I really want to do that in a few minutes, but before I kind of jump into that .... sorry, lost my train of thoughts. I was thinking about those really important question that I need to spend more time on.

So, talking about cadences and in general about data science, a lot of people that are going to be listening to this and watching this on YouTube hopefully, they are in a bunch of different industries. Some of them were running small businesses, midsize, enterprise and they're catering their services for products to different types of companies. Did you know writing your analytics that specific channels work best for certain types of businesses or sizes of businesses?

Let me give you an example to put this into perspective. When my team does any email campaign, we've noticed that if you start emailing to enterprise-grade organizations, they have very sophisticated spam filters and they probably are emailed thousands of emails a day, so the chance that they respond to your emails with a sequence that consists of three to five emails is very low.

We've noticed that if we hit them up on LinkedIn, and I think that they are using LinkedIn because of their corporate policy, I think, or something, because they need to be respectable and be on LinkedIn and be visible, build the brand, and usually people in corporations, they have very long lunch breaks so they can spend some time on LinkedIn, especially in the C-level role, the executive roles. So the point I'm making here that we've transitioned to LinkedIn and we started booking calls with those enterprise companies on LinkedIn whereas email wasn't that successful.

At the same time when we were talking about small to midsize companies, those C-level or business owners, they don't usually spend their time on LinkedIn because they are talking with their clients, working, hustling so email is their main channel for communicating with their clients, so you can always reach them on the email because they're cleaning their email address on a daily basis rigorously.

So do you notice any insights like this working with your team in analyzing different channels that maybe some channels work better for certain industries or certain types of organizations?

Scott: Yes. The answer to that is yes. It's a broad yes in my opinion though. But what we have found, especially going in the enterprise side of things, and again, enterprise means so many different things to so many different organizations, where a lot of times people like, well, I'm an enterprise sales rep and I'm selling into, I don't know, 500-employee organizations, where other people are like, no, the enterprise space to me is 5,000 employees with billion-dollar revenue company.

And so the answer to that is yes, but what we found is it's a little bit more persona-based if you will. When you're reaching into a persona that's in the enterprise space in the upper echelon, to your point, they're busy. Most of the time, they're in meetings a lot of times, because they're very specific about what their job title is, where if you're going more in the SMB or mid-market, there's a lot of those personas that wear different hats.

And so they're always kind of always on the go and they're always checking their LinkedIn and always checking their emails. So a little bit easier to get ahold of them that way.

But what we realize is that if we wanted to go after an enterprise account, it's not always a right idea to go shoot for the top. Maybe going for a CRO or a CFO probably isn't the right idea here. I might need to go into a little bit probably a lower manager because I can make my way up and I have to map the organization that way.

Whereas if I'm going to an SMB, going back to wearing a lot of different hats. It may be easier to go up into somebody who's in the C-level in an SMB cause they're a little bit more apt to actually respond.

So yeah, your answer is yes, I know it's a long-winded answer, but we've tried to focus and narrow it down to what types of personas are we going to go after in these certain segments. You get signals for any type of leadership that's out there or any type of end-user that's out there that are putting the wheel to the grind here, trying to make it happen, but it is a lot of ABC testing, and messaging has to be there.

Maybe it's at first LinkedIn, maybe it's an email after that, maybe it's that type of stuff. But what we've really found is that no matter who we're going after in our data, we found that a cadence doesn't necessarily always have to be like a 20-step cadence spread over two months. What do we need to do is just hit them fast and hit them often and then take a step back and let it breathe and then come back and do the same type of thing?

So what we've found is the slow drip - hey, this is So-and-So. I'm just reaching out. I'm going to follow up maybe in a week. That doesn't necessarily always work. It's Hey, let's hit them hard. Let's hit them fast, hit them often, and then take a step back and breathe and then come after them again, and use that type of cadence moving forward.

Michael: This is really great actually. Most of the time when you read some best practices for cadence creation, people always say, hit them the first day and then the third day, and then the fifth day, and then the 10th and the 14th.

This is like a slow burn. But what you were saying right now, and I actually agree with you here, that if you hit them hard within a short period of time and then give them a break for some time, and then do that again, that might work really well because you are just putting your name in front of them very often. You can find that perfect timing where you can fit in that appointment that you're going to book for them. Does it take...go ahead.

Scott: I was just going to say the idea for us though is what we've found because XANT used to be insidesales.com, so we've taken a lot of those same obviously best practices and data and all the research we've done over those years and we're still implementing and practicing those same things today.

But what we found is when we're going into these motions or building a cadence or a sequence or whatever you want to call it is that we have the ability to be - not trying to sell them all upfront. I'm sure with you and a lot of different leaders that are out there potentially listening to this podcast, I get a lot of emails every morning. I'm sure you do as well with people trying to reach out to me and sell and all that fun stuff.

And what I've found is I do enjoy what I do because I get to talk to myself every day, if you will. My reps talk to sales leaders every single day, as we're talking to sales guys and we sell into that and we love that. And what we hear every single day is like, man, I wish people talked to me this way, or I wish people reached out to me this way. So if that's the case, why don't we put that into practice?

And so we started doing it on my sales team and it goes back to BDRs and that's a department as well. We're not trying to sell them all on the very first email. And now there's a lot of people that fall into that, I guess that motion.

Hey, let's send them a novel, and then try to sell them because then they're going to come back to me and make an appointment and my manager is going to love me. But to your point, if we hit them hard and fast, we just let them know, hey, by the way, this is who I am. I'm a sales rep for XANT. We legitimately tell them to put you into a play and it's going to last this long, so buckle up.

So whether you like it or not, you're going to get these emails, you're going to get these calls, you’re going to get these LinkedIns. You're going to get these vidyards or whatever type of video that you're using. So I'm not trying to sell you in the very first introduction. The very first couple is like, Hey, this is who I am. Get ready.

And the next ones we're trying to warm them up, to introduce them to playbooks or XANT or whatever the case may be. And then we get a little bit more call to action after that. And it was funny if I can tell you a quick story if we have time. I'll make it quick.

Michael: Of course.

Scott: One of my sales reps came to me and I'd put together this play and it was a prospecting play, a power play. I think it was 14 steps over the period of 6 days or 7 days, something like that. And so anyway, I had just put it together. We implemented it. My reps were seeing a lot of success. Again, these are my AEs that had worked doing that.

And really, the call to action they really focused on the fourth, fifth, and sixth, seventh part of that player cadence, and my sales rep, we were at work and he turned around and he said, Hey Scott. I got a question for you. Do you even know what the best task or the best part of the play is, and when we get the most success?

I'm like, actually I don't. I haven't even looked at that research yet. He's like, well, let me tell you. For me, I may have been running this for about a week. He's like, it's in that fourth play. It's in the fourth step of the play. I'm like, well, that's interesting.

So I pulled the report and sure enough, fourth, fifth, and sixth, my reps were getting an appointment or getting more interaction with the play that was happening because the first three steps were, Hey, this is who we are. I'm enrolling you in a play. I'm going to show you the play and then buckle up. And then we introduced. And then we asked for a call to action for that. So just to be able to play with that in most people, especially nowadays I've found in the last couple of months, people just want to be talked to. They don't want to be necessarily sold to.

And so if we can talk and let them know why we're talking to the first place, and not have a novel first email, like, Hey, this is who we are and we're going to increase this and 10 minutes later, I'm done with the email, that doesn't necessarily work anymore in 2020 or 2021. So that's been my approach then since. Just tell him why you're here. I don't want to sell you right now. I know it's weird. I'm a sales rep. I don't want to sell you right now, but anyways.

Michael: This is golden, Scott and you know what I hate the most in such emails is when the formatting is off. I really hate when people send a huge email like a novel without the proper formatting, without the structure and you just don't know where to start, where to stop with a lot of links, and all of that. I don't think that those emails work, to be honest with you, because no one engages with that.

Scott: Yeah. I'm glad you brought that back up and I've always been the simplest, you know, less is more because again, this is how I'm sold to and how I like to be interacted with is if I can't digest it really quickly, I'm just going to delete it. If it's more than five sentences, I got better things for me.

For me, those emails in each one of those parts of the cadence or the play or the sequence, whatever you want to call it, there has to be a really distinct story that needs to be told, but it has to be a quick one. Here, read this. This is why I'm calling out. I'll follow up with you tomorrow about this football as well. We track that behind the scenes. But I know if it's very simple, it's easy to digest. I think that's where the most success lies in that simplicity of the messaging.

Michael: When I work with my copywriting team, we always say that whenever you create an email or a sequence of emails, always make sure that one email has one CTA or one value prop. You don't put two value props or two CTA saying that, Hey, I've sent you an email with some links.

Did you read them? What's your feedback? And by the way, here are more. And by the way, let's get on the call. Which call to action should I follow here? It doesn't make sense, so put in one value prop, one CTA. What do you want to get from that prospect? And to your point about creating value in your sequence, not just following up, I've really talked with several industry leaders, and I've tried to integrate that in my internal sales team.

Whenever you either follow up on a sale or you follow up to get a call booked, never send the second, third or fourth follow up being needy. Like, Hey, I haven't heard from you. You didn't open my email. I want to really hear from you, blah, blah, blah. Thank you, Michael. Create some value, like why do they need to spend your time with them?

So it's much better if you have a case study that is relevant to that industry or to that organization where you can send and say, for example, we were catering to the solar industry and we have several really great case studies with solar projects, and we put one case study in the sequence say Hey John you should find this interesting.

This is the work that we did for Helios Energy. They are solar providers out of Tennessee. We've increased their sales by 57%. Here's the link to the case study. You should find our approach interesting. So you've piqued their interest. You named their competitor maybe in different states or in their industry. You named that they are successful and you told them hey, this is the approach that will make you successful. Read about it.

Everyone is going to read about it. Whenever you have an article about your competitor being successful, you go and you check it out to see what did they do that we can do to be also successful? That's the point. But it works much better than just following up with another needy follow up, saying Hey, talk to me because I'm begging for a sale.

Scott: I love that because I always tell ... no matter who you are really, if you want to ...always try to find an excuse to reach back out. But not an excuse of like, Hey, I'm really needy like you said. Please, please, please, will you set an appointment, 15 minutes with me. Everything needs to have an impact answer to it, whether it's a case study and we're increasing sales. Watch this.

Just that interaction of why I'm reaching out and I'm going to continue to reach out because I've done the research and this is why I'm reaching out to you. It's not like I just think I came across to you at LinkedIn, or I think you'd be good to know. Tell them exactly why you're reaching out. Make it specific. We don't need to just talk in generalities at that point.

Michael: I notice that running an agency of a hundred people and being a managing partner, I am not that often being sold to be honest with you, even in my inbox. I receive tons of email, some generic emails from some consulting work that people can do for me or some service work, but no one reached out to me and sold me like a tech or something. For example, I've never seen an email from a CRM provider. Really. I mean no one is writing me about it. For example, I'm co-managing my team and we really are looking for some enterprise-level client management software, but no one actually sent me an email - Hey Michael, you were at the point where you were hitting hundreds of people right now. You would need software to manage your people. Let's get on the call. Let me give you a free trial. No one is doing that. Why do you think that people don't want to just sell to agency owners anymore? Because they think that you need to sell more to other industries, but not agency/marketing/advertising, whatever.

Scott: Maybe they just don't have... they're not that confident in their ability to set the appointment. No, I think it goes back to though that hesitation where maybe you have got this title and they're afraid of the title. And it's always good because if that's the case, make sure you have an option a A through F that you're going to go after a named account. And if you're not responding, then maybe I need to take a step down and then take another step down. But it never hurts to try. It's always good. 

love those stories, those success stories when someone comes back to me and says, Hey, I just sent an email to So-and-So and I didn't think I was going to get ahold of them, and all of a sudden, there is an initiative, there is a need and they're ready to talk to them. Time is great. Timing is everything. And if it isn't the right timing, no worries.

Let's create an initiative later. I don't need to sell to you now, but I can sell to you when my competitor's contracts are up or something like that. I don't know why people aren't reaching out to you. Maybe we need to take this podcast, and go, hey. We need to be sold to. Michael here needs to be sold to. I don't know.

Michael: Do you have on top of your mind an email that you really like, like a cold email or cold page, that you liked and you engaged with?

Scott: Yeah. So this is actually really interesting. This is super interesting. We needed some research. It was about a year ago and we took, I think it was like 1200 companies, and we did this broad questionnaire. We talked about cadences, we talked about media. What type of media out there would elicit some sort of reply, and we ranked it that way? And what we found was LinkedIn got the top. It was 25%, and then they went to phone calls and then one-to-one videos and emails were low.

Emails were low and then Twitter was around like 12% or something like that. So then we started thinking like, Hey what if we take those video automation emails of the world and then implement into our emails, and say Hey, let's take a video. Implement it into an email and then we could take the same video and then hit them up on LinkedIn. So if these were going to elicit some sort of reply then let's make that happen.

So we started tinkering with it and we found massive success. Everyone was watching our videos and things of that nature, which was great because we started getting a lot of feedback. It was funny. Actually, it must have been a BDR if I remember right, and this was a couple of months ago and since then I get a lot more of these, but one of my sales rep had reached out to one of their leadership with a video on email, and then we hit them up on LinkedIn with a video and a voicemail.

So we're like, Hey, we're covering all our bases right here, and so they did the same thing back to me. It was actually this girl. She hit me up and she made a video on and sent me an email, and it was really quick. It was like 20 seconds long. I loved it. I can digest that. I don't have to sit there and take forever. Then she hit me up on LinkedIn, had the same video and a voicemail on LinkedIn as well. So I had to respond to that, even though I didn't need what she was trying to sell at the time, I just have to give you props. You got ahold of me; you got my attention. You did your job. I have to give you props on that. So anything that has to be, especially nowadays.

Yeah. I'm in the office today, but again, we're socially distant and we have to be. Everyone has a mask on anyways. But when I'm in a room, an office like this, or if I'm at working from home, which I do a couple of days a week, the interaction with video, it tends to be better because I don't know if people are more apt to hit play and listen in the comfort of their own home.

Because I mean, you think back before COVID, if somebody was watching a video on the floor, people like, okay, what video are you watching? You're not working, you know that type of thing, but this whole new age of how to try to get ahold of somebody, I think it's a little bit more comfortable. I can just click on a quick 20, 30 video in an email and in the email, there's a quick bullet point so the agenda or whatever the case is, and that's how you introduce yourself and I tend to respond to those a lot. I love that.

I mean, I'm a sales leader, you're a sales leader, and I love when people follow a great process and do things that are unique to get my attention. And then I just turn around and go back to my sales reps and my BDRs and say, Hey, this worked on me. You should try it. Let's try to put together a motion and AB test that for sure.

Michael: Yeah. I actually love video format, because you know the thing when you learn something and then you start applying that in your team, and then they always say, Oh, here you go. A new thing that Michael going to be doing. So it's like when those audio messages came up, and you start just recording instead of writing instructions or feedback, you just record the feedback.

If you are driving or doing something, you just send the audio messages. About a year ago or so, I discovered this company called Loom, like the video and it's super easy to record the video. You just click, you just talk and you send it with the link automatically.

So that's my new way of giving feedback. I just love doing that. So now I don't even respond. I just record video and say, Hey, send, send, send, send. So now whenever they get feedback and say, okay, there's a new video coming and it always records that, which is such fun.

Scott: I kid you not. I did that yesterday. I had someone reach out to me on LinkedIn on a voicemail. I'm like, that's super cool. I got a response. I did a quick video. We use Vidyard over here because of a partnership with them. But yeah, hey, I'll just send a video and she loved it. And so again, we went through that whole buying process again, but I think anything you can do to use an excuse to .... again, for me, it's all digestible. It's 2020; we're going into 2021.

Things that worked maybe 5 years ago, they still work, but they don't work as well, especially when you have a tech stack, or if you have a tech stack your availability that allows you to be a little bit more nimble. And so as that content goes out, they digest it better and they're easier to respond back to you, and that's all we're looking for.

Michael: One thing that happened to me, and we're going to wrap this video topic up, one of my clients, actually. I was closing the deal and she responded back with some questions from the deck that I've shared. Hey Michael. I don't understand this deck. Can you elaborate? And usually when you receive emails like this, you always say, sure, and you start creating a response, Hey, item 7.7.

Here's what I meant. And I thought to myself, Hey, I will quickly open up the deck and I will record a video for her. And what I did, I just opened the deck that I had shared. I turned on the video and say, Hey, Jennifer, here is what you asked me for, and this is how it should work. I do. Does it make sense? And I shared the video with her.

Obviously, I made the sale, but the point was that I was so excited about making that video and answering that video with my tone of voice, my face, those whole emotions that I'm caring. Not just like, yeah, sure. This is the email, and then just really taking my time. And I think that people need to leverage the 2020 technology, and they can be more successful. So video is great for that,

Scott: I 100% agree, and we try to find out different ways of using it. I mean, when they first created such technology, it was more for 30 seconds. They'd do the whiteboard or the cases and that worked. But for us, we try to use it in a different light. So for my AEs when we actually have our A accounts we're going after, when we're trying to penetrate and get those types of those meetings set up, if they're not responding.

Let's say I go through my cadence. I go through a play that I just created and we go through that with zero luck, 100%. What we'll do is we'll actually create another play and we'll do a video series. Again, we want a video you can watch anytime you want. You don't need to pick up the phone and you're not selling into any interruption. They're going to watch it when it's right for them. So what we'll do, we'll basically splice up like, Hey, it looks like you're busy. Well, great. Sit back, relax and enjoy this first 5 minutes.

This first video will be 5 minutes. I'm going to act like I'm just demoing you because you have time. So my reps will go through and they'll talk for 5 minutes and that's the first email; that's the first contact. And then we'd go the next day and we send them the second and then the third and the fourth and the fifth. And we get a lot of good response that way where we're trying.

If you're a BDR/SDR, even if you're an AE that's drumming up net new, you're always selling into some sort of interruption, and if we can eliminate that interruption by saying at your own expense at your own time. Take the time when you have it. You don't need to talk to me right now, but we'll talk when the time is right and we tend to get that, Oh my goodness. That was clever.

I didn't even think of it that way. Yeah. I'll give you my time and I'll bring in some of my key stakeholders on the soap. Any way we can start thinking outside the box, especially sales isn't going back to the way it was. I think that motion is whole carrying the bag, found the street, knock on doors. To an extent I won't go back to the full-fledged how it used to be. I think we need to start leveraging a lot of these really cool technologies that people are coming out with, and putting it into a repeatable process and trying to figure out and tinker with it. Is it working? Great. If it's not, well, you know, we can make adjustments.

Michael: But everyone needs to know when it's too much. For example, this sort of automatic personalization where you got an A standing with a card or say, Hey, Michael, I want to talk with you and they see your company logo. And when you receive like once in a while, one of the things, and then you say, Oh cool. You know, I like this. Maybe they do that manually or something so this is personalized, like what you mentioned with your Vidyard recording. This is really great. This is a great deal of personalization. And everyone loved that because if you can spend your time, then that you would appreciate their time.

But when it gets automated and you will receive like 10 of those the same, like different people doing the same with the same card, it starts to get ridiculous so you are losing your face. So, sometimes when you think I found this tool that can personalize the video, be sure that maybe your competitors found the same tool and they're using the same approach right now. And you will look stupid because everyone hates that, if you know that you have been cheated.

Scott: Yeah. I mean, too much of a good thing is still too much. So I agree because back in the day, when people were like, Hey, you don't need to call anymore. You can just email everything. And then people fell into that. I'll just blast emails all day.

That's how I'm going to work. What we have found is that when they say that cold calling is dead, well, actually cold calling is back in the game because too many people are sick of emails. So there's always that shifting the paradigm and things like that. And to your point, we have to be very aware when too much of a good thing is too much. Absolutely. But it never hurts to try it. It never hurts outside the box.

Michael: Yeah, absolutely. So top five things that you've seen like a pattern for new BDRs or sales execs to fail or to do wrong. Whenever you are onboarding inside sales rep or someone within your sales team and they do that wrong all the time, are there any top 3, top 5 on top of your mind?

Scott: I don't know if this is a setup or not, but as far as what we do, I think I've mentioned a couple of times in our conversation today is to find a repeatable process, a successful, repeatable process. I think too much in this day and age right now, there's too much random acts of selling where we think we're doing it right. In essence, we might be doing it completely wrong, but we can go back to our management and say, I'm so busy. I'm so productive.

Well, being productive on the wrong thing is still wrong, You can get distracted. So what I would always recommend for anybody again, sales automation software is out there for a reason. It's to make sure there is a repeatable process to control that chaos - day in the life of ruts. No matter who you are in that revenue funnel, whether you're a BDR, an AE or a CSM or CXM, being able to know what you did last, what the conversation is now and what you need to do next and not have to think about it too hard.

Where a brand-new AE comes in and you can just say, go. That's what we're looking for. If a brand-new AE or brand new BDR comes in and you're like, here's the CRM. Go. Go hit your quota, we need to find repeatable processes of when you start your today, you need to start here every single day. And I don't want to call it necessarily like sales on rails. That's not what I'm trying to say. What I'm trying to say is that you should be one step or one click away from doing the next best thing to make you very effective.

If your next thing or your thing you're doing now is not the most effective thing you should be doing, then you shouldn't be doing it. You should be distracted because management - you and I, and our executives that we report to - they want to know exactly what's working, what's not working. And if the data's not there to tell you what's working, then we got to go back to the drawing board. So the top five things for me are just to have a repeatable process. Know exactly when you start your today, you shouldn't have to think.

You should know this is the most effective thing I need to do right now, and that's going to bring full visibility into what my day and my management should see. So you have to be productive. You have to be effective and be able to prioritize your day and bring it full circle with visibility with that data behind the scenes. And it's just a full circle because that puts you into the repeatable process that should be successful. It should be able to see in your blind spots.

Michael: You took it from the top of my tongue about the prioritization. That's why people have pipelines because you know what are highly qualified, what are slightly interested, what are cold deals so you can prioritize. So you don't just talk to every customer that you've talked to before, but you can prioritize, you can set up some follow-ups, when you need to talk, what you need to send and why so we can be more efficient. You can manage more deals, more capacity per sale.

Scott: And I love that because I read a study almost a year ago. I forgot where it said it was from, but it may have been from Gallup, I'm not sure. Don't quote me on that, please but I found out that the study was saying 60% of a rep's day, a rep being anybody in that revenue funnel, is spent doing admin work. 60% of their day is doing admin work. I don't know about you or any leadership that's out there, but I don't think I'm paying my reps to do admin work. I'm paying myself.

Sales is the lifeblood of any organization. BDR is building a pipeline for that to make sure that they're closing that thing. But the retention of that pipeline is just as important. So if we're spending too much time doing admin work and being distracted, then we're not spending the time with what we're getting paid for. And so again, cut out those distractions. Cut out the shiny objects, if you will. Let's get back to a repeatable process every single time.

Michael: Going down to the email as a channel, or a form of sending by email, are there any top three mistakes that usually those junior sales executives do? I mean, you've mentioned don't write a novel. Write a short email and don't sell from the first email. Be honest. These are the top 2. Are there any others that you've noticed that are sort of patterns, and did you speak about this on the training sessions?

Scott: Yeah. And this sounds bad. Just make sure things are spelled right. I know that, I don't know. That's just me where I, again, when you're in a BDR/SDR spot, even an AE spot for that matter, a lot of times these are templated emails so you don't necessarily have to think about if the punctuation is correct or not. But if you're going to one-off it and you're going to go not necessarily rogue, but you have the autonomy to do that, just make sure before you hit send, let's make sure that things are nice and tight, the way they should be structured.

Like to your point where the formatting is wrong, if it's an eyesore, and I know it sounds really bad because I'm sure that that individual has the best intentions, but whoever's receiving that again, the second impression or the third impression, that just comes out really bad.

Michael: Okay, cool. This is really good. Any top three things that you've received or the overperforming spot. So if you at all look at the BDRs or AEs, and again in general, the top three, or maybe going down through the email you've noticed that they did the best. Let me give an example. Let's say they include a great case study in their follow-ups so this is the best practice. Do you have any best practices that comes to your mind right now that you really wanted to share because that caught your eye?

Scott: For sure. I think this goes back to our earlier conversation of how I want to be sold to, because everyone's a little bit different. But if you are selling to sales reps or you're selling to IT or InfoSec are fine been served, or whatever the case is, people want to be sold differently. But I think you need to approach the very first conversation of really who you are. I'm legitimately putting you into a cadence/sequence/play, whatever you want to call it, and I'm going to be reaching out to you for a certain amount of period of time.

So that way, no matter who you are, where the case is if you follow up tomorrow. Oh, yes. Scott told me he was going to follow up with me. So whatever that cadence or sequence or play looks like, even if it's a follow-up call, do what you say you're going to do and have that work. Just tell them why you're reaching out to them in the first place and don't try to sell them all in that very first email or call.

Again, you're always going into an interruption. Most of the time, that interruption doesn't have time to actually read paragraphs. Make super digestible. The things that are most successful for us is hit them hard and fast for about six to seven days. Six or seven days. And then, we call them break up emails, like, Hey, we weren't able to connect. Whatever you want to call them. Maybe a little swan song in that or something. I don't know.

Michael: Are there any makeup emails or something like that? Make-up emails?

Scott: Yeah. Again, it goes back to doing what you said that you were going to do. So whether it's like, Hey, this is who I am and I put you into my play, to the very end where sorry we couldn't make this work this time around, but guess what? I'm going to follow up three weeks from now and then make sure that follow up links to whatever you said. So that's the idea is make sure it's not a random act of selling. Make sure there's a distinct purpose of why you're reaching out to them and everything links to one another.

Michael: Right. Beautiful. Appreciate you sharing that. Really, really nice, Scott. I know we have a few more minutes for this and I wanted to spend the remaining time talking about XANT and about you guys. So, for everyone who's listening to this who are in executive roles and they're looking for an engagement platform, what kind of companies do you typically work with? And if you can pitch the value proposition for your platform, not from the sales standpoint, but generally speaking. Like what pains do you guys address with your platform, and where can people reach out to you, that would be perfect.

Scott: Yeah. Great question. This is my elevator pitch, and hopefully I get a good score if you did great on this, that you will. But yeah, we are an automated platform, a sales automation platform; now it's sales engagement. There are so many different words for that, but where we sit is in between that marketing top of the funnel, and then really all the way through the funnel, to the retention of the deal.

Now, what I mean by that is this. Again, why people have some sort of a sales engagement platform is because they want to fix productivity. They want to be able to just say, Hey, go, whether it be emails or calls or text messages whatever the case is, that's really good. But then our point of view from XANT is productivity is awesome, but if you can't keep it effective and prioritize your day, then you're missing something. And if you can't gain full visibility back into your CRM, which is Salesforce - we work a hundred percent with Salesforce and a hundred percent of Microsoft Dynamics customers - is if I click this button and it doesn't sync back to that field and that object within the CRM, then that data is not telling a story. So what XANT is that we want to affect all your productivity.

We can make them very productive, but more than that, we want to make them very effective. We want all of our customers to be one click away from doing the next best thing, and that's by prioritizing. That's by stack ranking and sorting how a rep's day is supposed to be. I guess our big claim to fame is automating the process behind the scenes so the rep doesn't have to go find it manually.

So for example, if a hand raiser comes through some sort of web page, and says I want to know about A, B and C. My name is So-and-So, the average response time of those still in 2020 - which is really bad - is 35 hours. Someone raised their hand saying, I want to talk to somebody, and you just call 35 hours later.

No, the idea is that we want to automate that process so any type of marketing leads that match, someone has clicked on my email, opened this five times. I want to automatically automate that and put it into a new play and put it right in front of my rep without my rep having to go find it, so we're calling things right away. We're touching base with those things right away to really control those...we call them robots, but they're just automation rules behind the scenes. And so we're bringing it full circle into the whole automation, which brings you full visibility into this is actually what's happening.

Not what I hope is happening, because it's interesting. I always like to take the stance of, if you expect something, we need to be able to inspect it. And so if you can't inspect what you're expecting, you're not going to be able to have any type of plan moving forward. So where XANT comes into play, where playbooks comes into play is the ability to make a BDR, an AE or a CSM very productive, very effective, and bring full visibility back into your system. So the whole revenue funnel, not just SDRs. Again, that's cool, but we work out of five objects. We work out of leads, contacts, opportunities, accounts, and bases. So again, the whole revenue funnel we want to impact that.

Michael: What kind of organizations are your sweet spot? What kinds of organizations are the perfect fit for you guys so the timing's perfect to on board them basically? Are they small, midsize, enterprise?

Scott: Yeah. It really isn't a level as far as organizations. Where we found that the sweet spot is in the mid-market area, right in the enterprise space is where we found that our sweet spot, where there's a lot of handoffs, because if the handoff isn't clean and we can't tell what's happening in the handoff, then that skews the data behind the scenes, people are missing things.

Well, that's where we can affect that. So it's just a clean handoff. So for example, and what I mean by handoff is this - when I talked about automation role, we do stages, like stage 1 through 7 is close. So a BDR will come in at Stage 1, an opportunity for us. As soon as it's a Stage 1 opportunity and it matches my IE, it automatically enrolls that opportunity into a play for my rep, and my rep doesn't have to even think about it. He or she comes in that day or morning and hits next. Oh, what's this? I got to go through this now. I have a brand-new opportunity to start working this way.

So again, it's not like trying to reach out and to find somebody, to get ahold of somebody. It automatically pops in front of the right individual that they can do work, which means marketers love that. Marketing is like, I know exactly what's being done with all leads I'm spending my money on. There's always the ROI with marketers when it comes to the playbooks, for sure. So as far as the type of type of companies, really the mid-market space and really in the enterprise space where there's a lot of handoffs and there's a lot of process in place.

Michael: Do you offer any trial or a demo consultation if anyone wants to take a look?

Scott: Absolutely. Absolutely. We want to make sure that if you want to test drive it first, let's test drive it. A lot of times you don't want to go into something blind. And again, people do want to see when we talk about those gaps or those holes in a revenue funnel, we say, okay, where do you want to start? Maybe it's not always in the same area. Maybe we start somewhere and expand out that way. So yeah, we always want to make sure we have some sort of POC or a trial or something, and we're always there to help with that, for sure.

Michael: Sounds good. Scott, it's been really great. I appreciate you taking the time and sharing all of your experience and those best practices, especially the one with the fast attack and then wait, and then attack again. Definitely utilize internally. So I appreciate you taking the time.

Scott: And if you want more about that, go to XANT.ai, our website, and you can download actually an eBook that will tell you all about those best practices and how you actually set up certain cadences. So we always want to give back to the people who are listening. And so all those best practices I just said is found in the eBook at our website. So go check out XANT.ai.

Michael: We can add a link to the description so people can see that under this video and on our website and go and check it out. All right, Scott, you have a good one now. Thanks for the time.

Scott: My pleasure. Thanks so much. Take care. Bye bye.

Michael: Take care.

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