Foreword by John Roman:
The ‘You’re doing it wrong’ series has been fun, and the feedback on it has been great.
Let’s switch it up this time. Even though it appears difficult to make it to a discovery call with me, people get through. Sometimes I agree to a call, sometimes one of my team members takes a call for vetting. My team collectively has 2-3 calls every week regarding new marketing and advertising options or tech solutions for our stack. Occasionally, the sale is made.
In 2016, TrustPilot sold us and 4 years later, we are still using their services. Ben Erickson was the Account Executive with Trustpilot that made the sale. Ben has since moved on to greener pastures but we stayed in touch. After reading the ‘You’re doing it wrong’ series, Ben reached out with a great idea. Let’s go through the TrustPilot // BattlBox deal. After discussing it, we agreed it would make for a great post.
Below is the 3 key emails that took BattlBox from a prospect -> opportunity -> customer.
Ben, a truly impressive sales professional back in 2016 who has advanced in his skillset even more since gives a breakdown of the emails below.
The below is written by Ben, I have added my additional thoughts in red. Enjoy.
- BattlBox is a large subscription-based company -which Trustpilot has success with
- Double down on industries that have seen success when selling a product
- John Roman -The right contact to reach out to, will likely be the decision-maker for a product like this and the product will directly impact his goals and challenges
- The previous Contact had reached out to him before -Matt was promoted during this time and moved to a leadership role, but he had hopefully made the Trustpilot name recognizable by this time
- This can be a double-edged sword, if the previous sales rep had made a bad impression then this could be a non-starter. However, it's worth the shot.
- Pain Point available to show -Google Seller Ratings are missing on PPC, which can be costly
Email 1: Initial outreach
- Addressed the previous interactions with Trustpilot out the gate and quickly asked for a meeting
- Provided an example of their current competitor with a solution that BattlBox was lacking
- Provided an educational piece from a 3rd party to validate the claim and highlights why it is important
- Follow Up call -I'll never forget this, because it was the first time I started utilizing a mail tracker in my sales career. When I noticed you opened the initial email five minutes before, I called you immediately. Your first question was "Do you use mail tracking software?" and I immediately said, "Yes, and as the CMO I'm not surprised you are familiar with them."
- Honesty is the best policy
- Initially asked for a meeting without highlighting a pain point or "What's in it for them"
- Length of email is too long -should be able to view this via mobile without having to scroll more than twice
- Asked for vague availability -Instead of providing2-3 available options to pick from
- This makes the prospect need to complete an additional step to find a time that works for them
Note from John: This email got a response from me. The screenshot example made it very easy for me to see their solution in action.
I will never forget the follow-up phone call either. I had just made time on my calendar to really look into the TrustPilot solution. I had pulled up the past emails so I could formulate some questions for Ben and my phone rang. His honesty in the matter was an important part of this.
Email 2: Demo Prep
- Always good to reach out to the prospect between meetings to ensure you are on the same page
- Allows the chance to confirm and agree on current issues that the prospect is looking to resolve
- Should have provided 2-3 challenges that were discovered during the initial call to ensure there was agreement on the perceived challenges
- Don’t see much to put in the ugly category here, but open to suggestions
Note from John: I appreciated this email. So often there is no email, therefore I am not even thinking about the call until it pops up on my calendar that it’s time to join. Other times, I receive an email but it's just an email to confirm the call which I find very annoying (It’s on my calendar and I have accepted, you do NOT need to ‘confirm’).
Email 3: Demo Recap (truncated)
- Recap of the goals and challenges is the single most important aspect of this interaction
- This allows the prospect to reflect on the conversation and ideally agree that these challenges are holding them back from accomplishing their goals and your product is the solution for it.
- Did not learn enough from John around WHY they are looking to accomplish these goals
- What does it mean to him?
- Email is entirely too long -The same information could be condensed down to a paragraph and a couple of bullet points
- The quasi agenda (Below demonstrates the following) is completely unnecessary and draws away from the important information
- Honestly not sure what I was thinking on this one, but that is certainly something to avoid in the future
Note from John: I think Ben is spot on here. The recap is great to include and serves value. This email was way too long, I ended up breezing through it and not reading it in its entirety. Lucky for Ben, he was ‘on point’ during the demo so he had already ‘sold’ us on the service.