Building in Public
July 13, 2023

Table of Contents

How we use our sales stack at Reach (part 3/3)

Prememoria: Reach is a sales enablement tool for hyper-personalizing outbound emails at scale in order to save time while obtaining higher response rates.

In our last post, we looked at the tools we use for email sequencing and hyper-personalization as well as the motivations in doing both. Today’s post will be the final post in our series looking at the tools we use for sales. We will specifically look at the CRM we use for tracking opportunities and tasks as well as how we keep our leads and conversations synced within the software. To better understand how we keep our email operations efficient, we will look at the Gmail plugin for MixMax and how we leverage templates for quick responses.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Quite simply, CRM software is designed to help us keep track of and manage our customer relationships. A CRM is as important for existing customers as it is for future customers (e.g. opportunities). The specific functionality varies from software to software, but the primary objectives are largely the same:

  • Collect all information related to companies and specific contacts that have been engaged;
  • Sync multi-channel conversations under a specific company or contact;
  • Create, manage and monitor tasks related to a specific company or contact;
  • Create, manage and monitor deal progression through stages of a sales pipeline;
  • Create transparency and accountability across the team

Rather than keeping track of opportunities, tasks, and account information within spreadsheets, CRMs give us the ability to do so more easily and dynamically, across multiple people. They importantly also help us visualize the status of ongoing conversations and alert us to tasks that need to get done or are past due. The synchronization across the team helps ensure that multiple reps don’t go after the same account or contact. Managers can easily see how each rep is performing in terms of tasks and deals within each stage of the sales pipeline. Whatsmore, managers and sales ops professionals can easily pull reports to analyze performance across the team.

Needless to say, CRMs are vital in the sales operations of a company. As sales conversations increase each rep inevitably finds themselves having countless conversations simultaneously that get exponentially more complex to manage. When set up properly each conversation can be synced to the relevant contact and company so that a rep can see the conversation history. This is particularly useful when there’s turnover at the company. Any rep can easily pick up the opportunity by reading through previous communications, notes, and tasks.

Pipedrive CRM

We have opted for Pipedrive primarily because it’s a tool we’ve used in the past and therefore it was easy for us to hit the ground running without having to learn another tool. It also importantly has very accessible monthly pricing that we can afford as a startup.

To get the most out of our CRM we had to set up a few basics:

  • Customize company and contact fields → this exercise makes it easy to import our lead lists into Pipedrive. By making sure that the important information from our lead lists (e.g. the column headers) match the information fields in Pipedrive, it’s easier to consistently import new leads without having to reconcile the data later on.
  • Turn on Auto BCC → Pipedrive (like most CRMs) has a unique bcc address for our account that we can use in our emails. This serves to send the emails to Pipedrive and will sync it with an existing contact where the email address matches. We use this BCC address in our email sequencing tools so all sequences are synced to the relevant contact. We do the same for Gmail so that all emails sent are sent to Pipedrive as well, ensuring that all communication is recorded and organized by contact and company.
  • Define the stages of the sales pipeline → every sales pipeline looks different, so it’s important that our’s reflects the relevant stages of our deals. We are engaging relatively small deals with short sale cycles and therefore we are not always interested in having calls or meetings with our prospects. Wherever possible we will push deals through to purchase with as little time investment as possible. However to make it easy to visualize the progress and easily keep track of ongoing conversations, we have 3 stages in our pipeline: 1. Expressed Interest, 2. Call/Demo, 3. Signed Up for Trial. We move companies to the relevant stage based on where the conversation is.

Our Pipedrive workflow

  1. Import the lead list → the same lead list we get from Apollo and import into Reach for personalization will also be imported into Pipedrive. The contacts and their respective companies will be populated automatically. This step is vital.
  2. Add/Complete tasks → tasks are exactly as they sound. They can be attributed to a contact or a company and indicate an action that needs to be taken. Diligence around adding and completing tasks is fundamental for any sales org. Following our email sequences we will begin to receive responses. Various actions arise from these responses that need to be added to Pipedrive so we don’t forget. Tasks can include a call, demo, follow up, request to circle back at a later date, reminder to send more information etc. Every time we receive an email we will log the next step to be taken as well as when it needs to be completed, within Pipedrive. And each day we will check which tasks need to be completed. Every day involves adding and completing tasks to ensure that nothing slips through.
  3. Add notes → if we receive important information via email that we want to make visible to everyone, we can add it in the form of a note that will live under the contact or company. We do this as well following calls, in order to recap the important points for everyone to see. This helps reduce errors.
  4. Update pipeline → whenever relevant we will either add a company to the sales pipeline to help us see who is actively engaged. And depending on the actions taken we will move them to the correct stage. This is also where we record wins and losses.

Doing this on a daily basis ensures that we don’t drop or accidentally forget opportunities. Given that both my co-founder and I can both see each other’s activities and conversations, it creates a very healthy level of accountability.

Email Templates

We didn’t start with email templates, but as soon as our outbound machine took off and started generating a high volume of email responses, we needed to optimize our time better. It just so happens that over time you’ll start to notice similar kinds of responses. Email templates are designed to be entirely or partially pre built in order to speed up the writing process and therefore allow us to spend less time and energy getting back to people. We leverage the MixMax Gmail plugin for this as it lives directly within each email. All it takes is 3 clicks to add the right template.

Here are a few examples of categories for which we started started creating templates:

  • Rejections → there are a few reasons that people will give for saying “no”. Either their team is already personalizing outbound and therefore they don’t see the value, or they don’t grasp that the personalization is automatically generated, or they aren’t convinced about the quality. Whatever the case is, we have some pre-written templates that respond appropriately to each kind of rejection in an attempt to change their minds.
  • Request for resources → often people will ask us for more information regarding the product, how it works, how best to use it, and or examples of personalization. We have a template ready to go with links to resources and examples.
  • Post call follow up → following each call we will send an email that is partially personalized and partially pre-written. It will include a personalized recap of the call, followed by resources, standard information and sign up link. It will also include a list of next steps that are often the same but can be modified if needed.

The theme is clearly efficiency. Pipedrive helps us stay on top of everything. We are reaching out to so many people and having so many parallel conversations that it would be impossible for us to manage all of it without invariably dropping the ball. And as these conversations pick up we have less and less time available to write meaningful responses to people. Templates make it possible for us to use the same content over and over again while making only modest tweaks where necessary.

This completes our 3 posts on our sales stack at Reach. Next week we’ll look at how we achieved our 20% response rate and the journey of getting to that point.

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