Harrison Rose

Articles on sales, biz dev & startups

Results: The "break-up" email template

We discussed using the “break-up” email as a potent method for generating a response from a cold lead in a previous blog post.

In offering your prospect an ultimatum; "Reply or the opportunity for us to collaborate is lost", you can generate a response. You’ve contacted these prospects as there’s a strong chance your product is a good fit, and they don’t want to ignore that potential without full consideration.

The result? An all important email reply.

We put this to the test

We used the email template below, sending to 185 leads who had ignored two cold sales emails from us previously;

Subject: John Doe, are you're just not that into me?

Hey John,

I'm really keen to learn about your analytics setup, but not heard back from you. I assume you fall into one of the categories below:

  1. You don't have time to chat about your setup in APPNAME right now.
  2. You don't do any analytics right now; and weren't sure what to discuss.
  3. You hate analytics and never want to talk about it.... ever!

Let me know which you fall into John; as I'm starting to worry!!

The results

Break-up Results

Open Rate - 56%

This was as predicted. As a company we have a firm grasp on who our product is a good fit for. Therefore average open-rates on outbound sales emails are typically between 70-80%.

With prospects having previously ignored two emails, I expected this to be lower than average.

Using our playful subject line, we achieved this %. I think experimenting with this subject line, and with improvements to the opening of the email, we can increase this.

As a starting point, I’m happy.

Response Rate – 11%

In our initial post I set a target of 10-12% as a response rate; this has been met. At this stage an analysis of the response is important, before iterating to improve these stats.

Effectiveness measured in the replies

At a purely data-driven level the email was a success, it generated the % of replies I targeted; we can iterate from there to improve. However, the real success of this email template is measured in the sentiment of the replies.

Do customers use #1, with us to follow-up in the future?
Do customers use #2 thus are qualified leads for our analytics product?
Do customers use #3 never to be contacted again?

Breakdown of replies:

Of the 21 replies we received;

  • Category #1 = 6 replies (28.5%)

  • Category #2 = 2 replies (9.52%)

  • Category #3 = 6 replies (28.5%)

  • Replied with no category = 8 replies (38%)

With the majority of replies coming back with no category at all; it’s evidence we need to tweak those to make replying even easier. This will increase our overall response rate.

Something of utmost importance to consider is that, of those who replied, for whom is there a relevant next step. Or better yet, who has maintained interested in our product. Compared to those who will be removed from the sales cycle altogether.

  • Category 1 - Seen as a positive. There’s interest, but no time. “Don’t rule us out”
  • Category 2 – A big win. They don’t do analytics, we ask why, and see if there's a fit.
  • Category 3 – A loss. Ruled out.

What about the replies with no category?

Eight prospects replied to our email, not explicitly mentioning a category they fell under. From the contents of their message I grouped them a follows;

  • 4 customers replied with interest
  • 2 customers replied referring us to someone else within their org
  • 2 customers replied generally

As a result, we can re-calculate the usage of this template. Which now, has allowed us to re-engage and capture interest of 14 customers in total.

Stats Summary

  • 185 emails sent
  • 104 opened
  • 21 replied
  • 14 engaged & recycled
  • 6 removed from cycle / not interested.

Improvements to be made

The next iteration for this specific template, that will have the biggest effect on % replies, is surrounding the categories offered to the customer in the e-mail.

With 38% of all replies coming back with no category associated, it’s likely we could give the prospect better options.

For example, with 2 replies simply referring us to better contacts within the organisation. This should be an option in the list.

With more accurate categories the customer can place themselves in, the easier it is for a customer to reply with the # that suits them. In doing so, I believe response rates will increase.

Other considerations:

  • Removing all links out from the email
  • Adjusting wording of specific categories
  • Improve OR by testing alternative subject lines

How is the "break-up" performing for you?

I’d love to hear what follow-up emails are working well for you, your experiences with the break-up email, and anything we could be doing better! Share your thoughts, by dropping me a note via twitter or email.