TL;DR 1) consistency, 2) add new prospects every day, 3) first touch is key, 4) follow up
Picture a teenager from California who’s decided to thrust himself into the uncomfortable situation of selling books door to door in rural states across the mid-west. Now imagine that he did so well that he cites that early experience as a catalyst for his continued success.
That’s how Jason Vargas @ Datanyze got his start in sales. To this day, that is one of the most influential experiences he’s undergone. When it comes to hiring, if Jason meets a fellow door to door sales person, he instantly has a connection with them.
The biggest take-away from that experience was that it forced Jason to thrust himself into an uncomfortable situation, face a lot of rejection, and come out successful. He cites the depth of training as a primary resource that allowed him to meet the demand of the position.
Even today Jason crafts his training to be on par with the training he received when he threw himself into the challenging yet rewarding world of door to door book sales.
After he felt comfortable with his door to door pitch, the challenges were mainly around handling rejection. Handling that rejection and teaching others how to do the same has been a driving force in Jason’s success as a sales rep and recently as a sales manager.
38% Reply Rates are the Result of Personalization and Objection Replies
If you’re wondering what industry averages are for reply rates to cold outbound campaigns, check out my post about it. TL;DR most good reps get between 16-18% reply rates.
Jason’s team at Datanyze receive, on average, a 38% reply rate to their cold, outbound sales campaigns. You might be wondering how door to door sales preps you for industry shattering numbers like that. I’ll explain in just a little bit.
According to Jason, you can dramatically improve the quality and longevity of a sales rep by providing excellent training with a clear progression map. When reps are out there on their own, they know what to do and they know how they’ll be rewarded for their results.
One element that his team is mastering is the reply to objections.
“Whoever can master the reply to an objection – that’s the rep who stands above the crowd.”
Of those 38% replies, a small portion of those are ‘no’s of some sort:
- No – not now
- No – not me
- No – no need
- No – too expensive
At Datanyze, they don’t reach out to the wrong person, they only reach out at the wrong time or into a lead that is unfamiliar with how they add value. Jason’s best reps understand the prep work they’ve done and his best performer identify what kind of a ‘no’ they received and just how to react.
When asking about what else makes a sales rep successful, Jason had this to say:
Sales reps who just leverage tools won’t be as successful this year – sales reps who can build a relationship will kill it
How to Replicate Datanyze’s Success
1. Daily consistency
Daily consistency is key to success in this sales game we play. Understand and focus on your goals. Build daily and weekly routines that bring you closer and closer to those goals.
2. Reach out to new prospects every day
At Datanyze, Jason’s team is adding as many as 20 new prospects into the pipeline daily. That means researching, analyzing, and executing on 20 new, targeted prospects EVERY DAY. Sometimes they are in new accounts in that rep’s vertical, but often they are more contacts in the accounts they’re already reaching out to. It’s not a ‘load em up on Monday’ and hope for something on Friday. New leads every day = far more consistent and scalable success.
3. The first touch is important
Once you’ve identified your 20 prospects, it’s time to research them. You need to understand who they are, what they like, and where they hang out online.
You then need to translate that knowledge to a very personalized first interaction. No generic language allowed. We’re not just talking about including their title and company name. You need to be speaking to that person’s interests and affiliations.
A great example of personalization is ‘hey, I saw your blog post about you interviewing Jason from Datanyze. great stuff!’
The first email is not only personalized but a major value add. You’re reaching out to them. Make sure it’s worth their time to read your email. Add a pro tip that you would prefer that will improve their career or personal life.
When they read your email:
- What did they learn?
- Did they gain a new source of information?
- Did they make a new connection?
These are the things you should focus on.
Pro tip: precede the first email with a social touch like a LinkedIn connection.
4. Follow up
All of the follow up is to point that person to that first, personalized, value adding email. You took a long time to narrow in on who you wanted to reach out to and why. Why stop there? Make DAMN sure they read it.
Follow up 4, 5, 6 times if you have to. If they’re opening your email but not replying, call them! They’re obviously interested. Worst case scenario: they say they’re interested but don’t have time now.
Remember, you ARE NOT selling in the email, you’re working to get a demo scheduled. Focus on results. Build that repeatedable framework and you’ll excel! How do Jason’s best reps perform:
61 scheduled demos in one month leading to 40 qualified opportunities
One of his reps even got 2 demos off of twitter interactions.
Now that is game changing performance!
How Sales has Changed over the Last Several Years
The biggest factor to change: technology (duh!). Custom tools have been built for each sales function and that has led to a lot of change. However, not all of this change has been for the better.
First came the marketing automation tools, then the sales automation tools. Sales tools across the board have helped bring more insight into prospects, the sales process, and the success criteria behind high performers. This new suite of tools has enhanced the way sales reps do their job.
However, one of the major draw backs according to Jason is the lack of personalization (step #3). Personal touch has always been the key to engagement. Know who you are reaching out to and why and you’re far more likely to start a conversation.
With automation, a lot of sales reps are throwing leads into an auto machine and expecting great results. This isn’t the case.
One of the guiding templates for improving this has been Predictable Revenue. This book and Aaron Ross in general have been very influential in improving the strategy and messaging of highly efficient sales orgs. However, with it’s wide spread adoption many teams are copying and pasting the templates and building a ‘spray and pray’ approach to sales. That approach lacks focus and is probably not what Aaron intended.
For Jason’s team, the biggest piece is going back to building relationships. Starting genuine conversations with real people to add actual value to their working life.
The Future of Sales Development
Personalization is back, baby! Personalization at scale is the key for sales outreach. When you’ve mastered that, you have built a long-lasting sales empire.
Over the next few years, the most important bit is to maintain that personalization at scale while taking into account new tech tools on the market. Build the framework that allows you to keep messaging personal but also include new tools and techniques.
What big tools will be coming out soon? Jason believes super granular insights into prospects and how they fit in their org will be one area that will soon be disrupted. If he’s right, this will send ripples through the sales ecosystem. Teams who don’t take advantage of highly granular info will QUICKLY fall behind.
If you forget everything, remember this:
Focus on personalization and keep evaluating the newest tools and techniques.
Finally, I asked Jason what’s in his tech stack:
- Datanyze – sourcing
- Outreach.io – outreach
- LinkedIn Premium – personalization
- + CRM – storing data
His pro tip: focus on your top 3 tools – crm, data provider, outreach
This article is part of a continuing series where I interview top startup sales professionals to tease out their wisdom for you to enjoy. Find more here: