Since we introduced our email templates feature last year, countless Contactually users have implemented this critical feature to supercharge their messaging and networking ROI. We surveyed some of users who have invested a lot of time and energy into developing their templates to figure out exactly how they use them in order to get the best results. Read on for some great best practices and advice!
Remco Tuinman of Emineo Business Consulting:
“Email templates really help me quickly get in touch with the many people in my network. It helps me to get in touch more easily since I, more or less, have to think about reconnecting and what to say/write just once. I often change the mail after template application a bit to make it personal to the recipient, but the text frame is already there. Figuring out which templates to use takes some practice, so I’d recommend starting with a simple one and building on it once you’ve started to gather what works and what doesn’t.”
One of Contactually’s power users, Lawrence Watkins
, wrote a guest blog post for us about the killer follow-up system he’s created using Contactually. Check it out below, and see if you can implement some of his tips into your own follow-up system!
In 2007, I started my company, Great Black Speakers. We help organizations find African American speakers
for their events. About a year ago, I created a SaaS piece of my company where our speakers pay a subscription fee to have access to our audience and tools to help grow their brands. Through search engine optimization, search engine marketing, and publicity efforts, the notoriety of my company has soared over that time period.
Although Great Black Speakers was generating a lot of interest and new leads, they weren’t converting into the type of sales that I wanted. The core problem stemmed from a deficiency in my sales follow-up system
. Because so many leads were coming into the system, it became increasingly difficult to make initial contact and follow up with them on a consistent basis. Consistent follow up is one of the most important factors to turn leads into customers, therefore it is wise for individuals to generate a great follow-up strategy. Here is my step by step strategy that I implemented for Great Black Speakers, and as you’ll see Contactually is a core tool in the system.
Step 1: Collect Leads Using a Wufoo Form
When developing your sales system, it is important to have an effective way to capture the necessary information for leads coming to your website. We use an Unbounce landing page with a link to a Wufoo form that collects the appropriate information from the lead. To make this example easier, I created a person named Michael White who is a professional speaker wanting to list with GBS.
Step 2: Create a Email Filter in Gmail
I get a wide variety of emails that come from multiple sources talking about dozens of different issues. One of the hardest things was just finding all of the emails that I actually needed to follow up with. Gmail’s label feature has made it easy to keep track of all of the sales related leads. Any email coming from Wufoo with a certain phrase like “Interested in becoming a GBS speaker” or “Request a Phone Call” gets automatically labeled in my “Contact Us” folder. Now I have all of the people who have contacted us in a single place. Here are Gmail’s instructions on creating filters.
Depending on how sophisticated that you want to get, you can also automatically create a deal in your favorite CRM using Zapier. Contactually just launched a great deal feature within their system, but I use Highrise as that is the tool in which most of my team already uses. (Fortunately, Contactually has a nice Highrise integration to boot.) If you have multiple leads coming in, but you have a sales team to handle them for you, then the Wufoo to Highrise deals integration is a huge time saver.
Step 3: Respond Quickly and Bucket the Contact in Contactually
I’ve learned that initial response time is one of the determining indicators on whether or not we close a particular sale. Therefore, I try to call a lead back within an hour of them completing a contact form on our website or giving us a call. It gives me a chance to pitch our offerings while they are still excited about our product and exceed the potential customer’s expectations. No matter if I am able to connect with the lead by phone, I always send out an email to them to follow up and bucket the contact in Contactually. Its Chrome plugin has been a life saver and makes it extremely easy to bucket contacts for future use.
Step 4: Create Email Templates in Contactually to Keep Up With the Sales Process
The last step in the process is where Contactually excels above and beyond any other sales product. Contactually makes it super easy for me to follow up with contacts
at every stage of the sales pipeline. Specifically, it allows me to follow up with leads using templated emails
as a direct reply from emails previously sent. Using my “potential speakers” bucket, Contactually sends me reminders to follow up with those contacts every 7 days. With 2 clicks of my mouse, a follow up email is sent to the potential GBS speaker.
A great new feature that Contactually recently added is the ability to schedule emails for future release as well. Therefore, I can send two follow up emails
with individuals at the same time with one going out today and the latter scheduled for next week.
As an end result, the conversion rate of sales have skyrocketed over the last three months for Great Black Speakers. The great thing about the system listed above is that it can easily scale as you add more people to your sales force. This is the system that has worked for me, but I’m sure it is not perfect. I would love to hear your thoughts on improving it for more effectiveness.
This week we have a guest post from Matt Hubbard, from FullContact. The original posting can be found here.
My email filing system is like a grandmother’s basement. Everything is segregated into a Byzantine series of boxes and labels. Items are often mislabeled or stored in the wrong box. The total volume is frightening, and I’m not inclined to take several days and clean it out. But there’s gold hidden in there–important emails that I should follow up on, and contacts with whom I need to maintain a relationship.
Like your grandmother’s basement, wouldn’t it be great if someone sorted through your inbox automatically and reminded you of the valuable stuff? Like a digital version of Antiques Roadshow, except you don’t have to dig up the items yourself? That’s similar to what Contactually does for your email.
After you sign up for a free subscription, Contactually processes your email account to identify your important contacts, using cues like how quickly you respond to the person. You can manually organize your contacts into groups, called “buckets,” through a quick and surprisingly engaging bucket game. Contactually then sends you an email every morning and afternoon to remind you to follow up with important contacts. In the emails, you can click a button and type in natural language how you want to respond, such as “follow-up tomorrow.” You can also use the Contactually dashboard to analyze your communication metrics, such as your most frequent correspondents and the days of the week when you email the most. Those metrics are enlightening, to say the least.
Since I started using Contactually, I’ve had several “Wow, I forgot about that guy” moments that helped me improve my networking and relationship management. I’ve also picked up contact with a few close friends who I hadn’t talked to in a while, and I gained some serious insight about my email communication habits and patterns. Basically, my inbox got a lot smarter and transparent.
One of the best parts is that Contactually connects directly to your email account, without the need for browser plug-ins or other software. For business users, Contactually syncs with Salesforce or Highrise CRMs, and is part of the growing family of apps that use the FullContact API to provide rich contact information for users.
Check it out. It may very well remind you to email someone from your past who could help you get your next sale, or your next job.