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Ryan Luedecke explains the steps he took to grow Sumo Jerky to $10,000 a month after it was almost a failing business.
  • Step 1: Setting up the Supply Chain
  • Step 2: Creating the Website
  • Step 3: Pick a Target
  • Step 4: Find Their Hangout
  • Step 5: Make Your Pitch
  • Step 6: Close Hot Prospects
  • ND

    Nate Desmond

    about 5 years ago #

    Some really interesting takeaways in this article!

    One idea: If Ryan has emailed 5000+ offices and landed 200 customers, that's about a 4% conversion rate. Has he tried "retargeting" customers later on?

    Also, in the article Ryan talks about converting initial "no's" by uncovering and solving their objections (objection handling). By traditional sales methodology, that's exactly how it should be done.

    However, I was recently reading SPIN Selling where the data showed that objection prevention is actually much more effective. It would be fascinating to see if solving common objections in the initial email could increase conversions.

    • NK

      noah kagan

      about 5 years ago #

      Awesome idea Nate on retargeting. I miss you :(

      Sent your comment to Ryan to get his response.

      • ND

        Nate Desmond

        about 5 years ago #

        Likewise :)

      • AL

        Austin Lilley

        about 5 years ago #

        Noah, I didn't see any cart abandonment on there either. Might be something to look into depending on where people are falling out in the order process.

        Great read and encouraging to see how much he's grown it!

    • SC

      Shana Carp

      about 5 years ago #

      what is spin selling

      • ND

        Nate Desmond

        about 5 years ago #

        It's one of the first data-backed sales techniques (created back in the 80s).

        The Sparknotes version of a SPIN selling sequence:

        Situation questions - seek to understand the customer's situation
        Problem questions - try to understand current problems and frustrations
        Implication questions - help customers understand the seriousness of a problem "So if you have to manually review each proposal, that's costing you 6 hrs a month and slowing your team's turnaround time by 2 days?"
        Need-payoff questions - Get the customer to explain the benefits of your solution "So what could an automated proposal editor do for you?"

        I'm completely new to the whole sales side of things, so I don't know if these methods are still cutting-edge or relics of the past. :)

        • DG

          David Gregory

          about 5 years ago #

          Good explanantion:)
          SPIN is a classic technique still used by many sales houses/ teams everywhere.

        • JP

          Joseph Putnam

          about 5 years ago #

          Where can one learn more about this?

          • SH

            Seiji Hennelly

            about 5 years ago #

            If you're interesting in selling, specifically effective prospecting that produces results in 2014, I would suggest reading Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross. It's about how they developed prospecting to grow top line at salesforce.com and an effective model to work from.

            I've implemented something very similar, and you can heavily automate email prospecting with a bit of effort, but not the followups. You have to make sure you keep your bounce rate low (screen with an email verification tool), use emails that you've A/B tested to make sure they convert, and importantly setup SPF records on your domain if you are using third party mailer to make sure you don't get flagged as spam. This is all easier to do in a B2B setting where you aren't dealing with gmail/yahoo mail servers for the most part. Of course you need to procure a source of targeted email addresses for this to work, you can purchase lists, build lists, or write something to scrape your own emails if they're available for your target demographic. All this needs to be tracked in a CRM somewhere.

            Many prospectors have a "7 touch rule" (or whatever number has proven be the effective cutoff for their biz) for how many times they will contact someone before either giving it a break for a while, or calling the lead dead. Of course this depends on what you're selling, who you're selling to, and needs to be informed by historical data you've collecting on your prospecting success and touches. That said, I've seen successful sales come from totally cold leads with 30+ touches before, so you never know. Tracking email opens and clickthroughs is a must for gauging intermediate interest, and you can follow up with them via phone if you see enough interest to clickthrough to your page at least. Maybe they had enough interest to click on links in your email, but maybe not have to respond to your email, or not enough to contact you because they were lazy/busy/whatever. If you have session recording/click heatmaps on your site and can identify the individual who clicked through specific tagged links in your prospecting email, or a specific landing page you have setup, you can get an idea of how interested they actually are, and if its worth an immediate phonecall to follow up while still fresh on their mind.

            • BJ

              brian james

              about 5 years ago #

              Seiji- curious about what you are referring to with automating email prospecting..any direction would be appreciated.

    • FT

      Felix Thea

      about 5 years ago #

      I personally agree with taking care of the objection in the initial email right after the pitch.

    • RL

      Ryan Luedecke

      about 5 years ago #

      Thanks Nate. I do a follow up email to anyone who doesn't reply. It's basically a "social proof" email that lists ~10 of our highest profile customers and reiterates their enthusiasm for the service and how I'd excited I'd be personally to have them try it.

      It doesn't work very well, to be honest. I think I get a sale from less than 1 in 500 who receive it.

      I used to send a 3rd email, but no one ever responded, so I cut those.

      Objection handling is better after the pitc for me. I've found people are actually more likely to reply if you leave them w/ a few easy objections (ie we have too many vegetarians, is it organic?, someone already does our office snacks).

      I tried addressing the vegetarian thing upfront (hey, we also have organic dried mangos, sea salted almonds, and raw vegan kale chips) and I noticed that vegetarians just stopped emailing because they no longer had that "easy" objection.

      I haven't gone back and tried to retarget stale leads, though it's definitely an option and probably something I should try.

      Thanks for idea.

      -ryan

      • FT

        Felix Thea

        about 5 years ago #

        Good point. Perhaps having easy objections also opens up a conversation aka a window to get them to know like and trust you :)

  • FT

    Felix Thea

    about 5 years ago #

    If the email is pretty templatized, why not hire someone to send these out? 5,000 emails would mean 166 emails/day if you wanted to knock it out in a month. When a customer responds w/ a yes or a no then get involved. That's probably like a 2 hour/day savings that can be dedicated to other marketing tactics or searching for the leads/emails.

    • RL

      Ryan Luedecke

      about 5 years ago #

      Hi Felix,

      thanks. It's a good idea. I've hired an elancer to help me with this now. The hiring happened after I got to $10K/mo, so it'll be a big part of the next story which we're hoping is how we got to $100K.

      • FT

        Felix Thea

        about 5 years ago #

        Awesome :) I know how it is to send out the same email over and over again. Not sure if I could have lasted to 5,000 like you did.

      • GB

        Gavin Baker

        about 5 years ago #

        Hey Ryan- that begs a question. What made you stay the course with emails? How many did you send a day? Just curious because I've started my own cold emailing campaign and wow I can't imagine doing 5,000!

  • JP

    Joseph Putnam

    about 5 years ago #

    I love the part about changing the email to focus on what's in it for the jerky companies. You always gotta let people know what's in it for them.

  • RK

    Rafal Kochanowicz

    about 5 years ago #

    Intresting read. Good, old-fashioned email wins the day.

  • JM

    Jack Meredith

    about 5 years ago #

    Great post Ryan! I'm curious, how did you land 5k CEO emails? Rapportive is a slick tool but going through that process thousands of times seems like a time suck.

  • BJ

    brian james

    about 5 years ago #

    Curious what delivery method was used to send 5000 emails. Thinking it wasn't done one by one, by hand... (UGH).
    And we tried Rapportive, but buggy for us- :(

  • DD

    Dave Davis

    about 5 years ago #

    Awww, this is awesome! I love reading stories like this. Super useful and inspirational. Well done. Now, go make international shipping work!

  • AD

    Andy Davies

    about 5 years ago #

    I received the email myself from Ryan a couple of weeks ago and unlike most of the sales emails I got I actually replied to it. It stood out for being very clear about who they are and what's on offer. I didn't buy because jerky sounds pretty horrible (we're in the UK - I know we commit far worse culinary crimes than that before anyone comments!).

    Unfortunately too many people are copying his email verbatim for their own businesses and after the 5th identical email in a week selling the latest innovation in office snackery they're now straight in the bin.

    Good luck to Ryan though!

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