You’ve raised money. You’ve hired a sales team. But you’re wondering why aren’t the sales coming in like you want?
If you want to grow here are a few options.
- Cold call like your boss did in 1997
- Write articles that engage your target audience.
- Get a referral on LinkedIn (assuming you have friends in common)
- Get a list of thousands of emails and blast out a template you find on a blog
When I ran marketing for our startup my job was to generate leads for the sales team.
This was our typical day finding leads.
We found that email worked better than cold calling but with email, I always wanted to know what subject line to use. What’s the best day and time to send it? How do I get people interested in what we offer?
The Breakthrough Email team and I analyzed 15,000 different emails we sent over 7 years to understand the psychology of what got people to respond.
The email I’m going to show you helped grow the startup I worked at from 0 to 40M page views, and got us acquired by Google.
The problem was that the executives we were trying to reach were busy. They were rarely at their desk and they didn’t return calls.
We also found they often didn’t show up at meetings or delegated it to other people on their team. This presented a problem because the people they delegated it to weren’t decision makers.
So we had our sales team implement something we called the Waterfall Technique.
Double Your Response Rates With The Waterfall Technique
When we wrote a personalized email, we saw the following results from our campaigns:
30% of meetings -> scheduled off the 1st email
20% of meetings -> scheduled off the 2nd email
10% of meetings -> scheduled off the 3rd email
20% of meetings -> scheduled off the 4th email
80% response rates might sound crazy if you only getting a 5% response rate. But I doubled my response rates just by changing the following 3 sentences.
In all fairness, I learned the “Appropriate Person Email,” from Breakthrough Email but I had to share it.
Note – This email was sent to four people in four separate emails.
Let me break down how we got people to open and respond to our emails and why it worked.
The 3 Second Rule
Within 3 seconds people decided whether to delete, read or ignore our emails.
The subject line and the preview pane got our email read. But it was the content of the email that got them to respond.
1. Subject Line – Appropriate person
The objective of the email was to find the appropriate person to speak with who could actually buy from us.
2. First Sentence
Most people think the subject line is most important part and they forget about the preview pane. The first couple sentences are valuable real estate.
3. The Second Sentence
This is where we implement the Waterfall Technique. We wanted to apply leverage from the executives above them to schedule the meeting. Many times prospects would take our meeting just because their boss asked them to.
Here is an example: I also wrote to Michael Smith, Caroline Wolf, and Jeff Somers, in that pursuit.
Before you start, decide who your target is. Then target everyone above them. Target their boss, their boss’s boss and a fourth person. In this example you want a meeting with the Director of Marketing, so write the VP of Marketing (boss), the CMO (boss’s boss) and the CEO.
Here it is in action…
Companies all have social hierarchies
Here is what happened when we sent the email to 4 people.
Management would always delegate it to the lowest person in the hierarchy.
For the remaining 6 steps of this email download the template here.
Make sure to send the same email to four people. I tried skipping this step or including only two or three people but our response rates always suffered.
If you don’t have a list, I found this article helpful to find someone’s email address.
Also if you are only writing one person, just adjust your approach like Carl did when he started Clinic Metrics.
There are thousands of email templates floating around, but I found these others particularly useful, go here.
I’d love to hear any questions or comments you have about this template as you apply it.
Happy cold emailing!
Dmitry Dragilev is the founder of JustReachOut.io helping startups pitch journalists and influencers without the help of PR firms. A few years ago he used PR outreach to get a startup acquired by Google. He has consulted and advised 100+ startups and small businesses on marketing and sales.