Aja Frost on September 3, 2019 at 4:36 PM

5 Signs You Need to Stop Using That Sales Template

Marketing, Relationship Commerce, Sales, Inbound, Content Marketing

Once you’ve found a high-performing email or voicemail template, it’s tempting to use it again and again.

However, consistently updating your messaging is crucial.

You should refine or completely alter your sales playbook in an iterative way so you’re always taking into account the latest details you’ve learned on the floor. In addition, your prospects’ industries, most common priorities and challenges, and preferences are constantly shifting. To be successful, you must track and adapt to these changes.

Several situations necessitate a new template. When any of these five events happen, it’s usually time to create new email templates or voicemail outlines.

1. Your Strategy Is Overused

In the sales world, clever formulas tend to spread quickly -- that's one of the cons of using sales email templates.

Maybe you come up with a funny prospecting email on Tuesday. By next Tuesday, four of your prospects have shared it with their sales teams. By that Friday, 20 salespeople have added it to their email library -- and by the time the month is over, half the buyers you contact have already seen your message in some shape or form. They’ll be less amused than when the contents were fresh.

To avoid sounding like every other salesperson out there, vary your message as soon as you see it appear somewhere else. And be wary of imitating other reps’ soundbites or templates too closely. If you think they’re worth imitating, chances are, the other sellers in your space do too, so put your own spin on things before you lift a best practice.

2. Your Messaging Doesn’t Feel Authentic

Are your emails, voicemails, and positioning statements full of jargon, buzzwords, and hyperbole? Do you sound more like a product brochure than a person? If you were selling to a friend, would you be embarrassed by your messages?

If you answered “yes” to one or more of those questions, edit yourself. Messaging that feels off to you will feel off to your prospects as well. You’ll seem less genuine, which makes it harder to form a productive, mutually trusting relationship down the line.

As a thought exercise, rewrite your existing templates as though you were talking to yourself. This mindset will help you hone in on the phrasing and examples that don’t feel like “you.” As an added benefit, you’ll naturally use less forced, more casual language.

Don’t use your rewritten content word-for-word, since it will probably be too familiar for your prospects. Instead, create new content that strikes a balance between your existing templates and your rewritten ones.

3. Marketing’s Messaging Changes

Sales and Marketing should always be in sync; after all, it’s confusing for buyers to get information from a customer case study and then hear conflicting information from a salesperson.

If your team has a dedicated marketer, set up regular lines of communication so you’re always on the same page. That might be monthly meetings, an email alias for updates and announcements, training sessions, or some combination of the above.

If your organization doesn’t have anyone specifically devoted to product marketing, you can still arrange regular check-ins with the employees who create bottom-of-the-funnel content (such as product pages, product videos, customer testimonials, and so forth).

Finally, it’s a good idea to browse your organization’s website once a month or so (depending on how frequently it’s updated) to make sure your messaging doesn’t contradict anything.

4. Your Ideal Customer Changes

Companies frequently update, add, or remove specific buyer personas. Be conscious of which personas you’re targeting with your templates. When your organization’s strategy changes, adapt your messaging accordingly.

For example, maybe one of your email sequences is a hit with recruiting managers, while another does well with directors of culture. If your company decides to sell exclusively to recruiting managers, it would be wise to delete the second sequence and create more like the first.

(Not sure which messaging resonates with which audiences? Try A/B testing your emails. Send 10 versions of one template and 10 versions of another template to the same persona and see which template receives more responses. Repeat this exercise with different templates and personas.)

5. You Discover a New Statistic or Insight

Prospects are likelier to work with salespeople who offer unique suggestions, new data, and innovative solutions to their challenges. Strive to include helpful, relevant tips and surprising facts in your conversations with buyers -- whether those conversations take place via email, voicemail, or verbal dialogue.

To keep your guidance helpful, relevant, and surprising, periodically change it. A stat that was impressive five months ago could be old news today. If you haven’t updated your content with a new one, buyers won’t feel motivated to respond and learn more.

You might feel intimidated by the idea of consistently finding share-worthy information. However, your customers can be a fantastic resource. Periodically review your notes to find their most common problems. Then, analyze the various problem-solving approaches they tried. Were any significantly more successful? You can suggest those strategies for future prospects.

In addition, keep track of industry news and develop ideas on how buyers should react to and/or take advantage of these events.

Lastly, remember you have an unparalleled view of your prospect’s competition. This access lets you identify industry, product, and/or market-wide trends. For example, maybe you observe that 30% of your prospects have invested in a certain solution type. As long as you don’t share specific names, you can pass this detail along to buyers.

Creating new templates takes time and energy, but it’ll pay off in a higher response rate. Stay alert for these five events so your messaging is as effective as possible.


About the author

Aja Frost

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ajafrost/

Aja is a Sr. SEO Strategist at HubSpot. She is also a freelance writer specializing in business, tech, career advice, and productivity. Check out her website ajafrost.com.