How To Build Meaningful Sales Relationships

Sujan Patel is the founder of Mailshake, a sales engagement software used by 38,000 sales and marketing professionals. He has over 15 years of marketing experience and has led the digital marketing strategy for companies like Salesforce, Mint, Intuit and many other Fortune 500 caliber companies.
  • March 9, 2024

Sometimes, the world of sales can be pretty lonely. This is especially true for junior roles, such as that of a Sales Development Representative (SDR). This is demonstrated by the fact that only 3% of buyers trust sales reps.

Fortunately, there’s a workaround to this. And that is to build meaningful sales relationships both within and outside your company.

This is what Jan Mundorf — an Account Executive (AE) at Pleo — has been focusing his sales career on. He started in sales at Albacross in 2020 and was promoted there 4 times within just 2 years. Today, he’s one of the top 25 AEs to follow on LinkedIn.

We interviewed Jan to learn about how he builds meaningful sales relationships and cultivates a culture of respect and understanding at his company. Read ahead to learn his thoughts on:

  • Ensuring your cold emails are meaningful and effective
  • When and how to use outbound videos to make your outreach more meaningful
  • How to build meaningful relationships with your sales team

How to ensure your cold emails are meaningful and effective?

21% of an average salesperson’s day is spent writing emails, which makes them crucial when it comes to building meaningful sales relationships with prospects.

In addition, a cold email is often the first touch point you have with a prospect, and if you can make it meaningful, your entire future relationship with them becomes meaningful.

According to Jan, he uses a very simple technique to ensure every cold email he writes is meaningful and effective. And that is to ask himself 3 questions before hitting the send button. These are:

  • Is the email relevant to my prospect? Jan believes this is the number one marker of the effectiveness and meaningfulness of an email. If you think your email will not resonate with your prospect, don’t send it. 

One clever way to ensure your emails are relevant is to enroll your own people in your sequences.

For example, if you’re targeting Heads of Marketing, you can enroll your own Head of Marketing in your sequence and ask them what they think about your emails. You’ll get very specific feedback that might not be very generalizable, but will give you a starting point for analyzing your work. This is something that has worked for Jan and he strongly recommends this.

  • Have I personalized the email? This is the second-most important ingredient of meaningful emails. After all, you don’t have the same real-life conversations with everyone you meet. So why send all your prospects the same email? 

Plus, Jan believes personalization can be multi-level. Of course, it’s great to personalize your emails to your prospect. But you don’t have to stop there. For example, you can go on and talk about something their colleagues have been posting. Or you can talk about something their company has been doing lately.

  • Am I writing as I speak? Many people turn into highly pretentious robots the moment they start writing an email. Jan thinks this is a very good way to ensure your emails are meaningless

To avoid this, he rereads every email he writes and asks himself if his little sister would get it. If not, he tries to simplify and “humanize” the language and ensure his email reads as if he’s speaking to someone.

Another way you can do this is by simply reading your email out aloud. If it rolls off your tongue naturally, then it’s probably good to go. If not, it needs to be “humanized”.

In addition, Jan believes it’s important not to get hung up on testing too much. You want to create a sequence based on these 3 questions above, but once you’re done, start sending it out instead of spending too much time on creating variations and testing your emails.

Once you start sending out emails, you want to retain the angles, tones, and ideas that work, and spend around 10-20% of your time testing out new things.

How to use Outbound Videos to make your Outreach Meaningful?

Video communication will always remain more meaningful than text messages and emails — you can try this out in your personal life! So one way to make your outreach more meaningful is to use outbound videos.

Now, Jan gets prospected a lot (and he’s not sure why). But in the 2 years he has spent in sales, he has received a personalized outbound video only once.

This means the majority of SDRs are not utilizing this channel to make their relationships more meaningful. And it’s a great opportunity that you can tap into to distinguish yourself from all the marketing noise out there. At least that’s what Jan has been doing, and the results have been impressive for him.

So if you want to follow in his steps and introduce outbound videos to your marketing strategy, here are some points Jan thinks are important:

  • Introduce videos after you’ve built at least some familiarity with your prospect. You don’t want to send videos as a complete stranger, as that might be off-putting for some prospects. Jan thinks introducing videos as the third touchpoint is the most effective.
  • Choose the right platform. Jan has achieved the best results with sending videos on LinkedIn. That’s because it’s frictionless — you can send the video as a DM, making it very easy for your prospect to view it. Remember, the biggest goal of an outbound video is to get clicked on. So make sure you make this as easy for your prospect as possible (hint: don’t send videos via email).
  • Keep them short and sweet. Nobody has the time to listen to aimless ramblings of a stranger. To avoid boring his prospects, Jan follows a simple format for all his videos: Introduction > Problem Statement > Pitch > Soft CTA. This keeps his videos short, sweet, and effective.
  • Zoom in on the profile picture of your prospect. If you’re recording a screencast, consider zooming in on the LinkedIn profile picture of your prospect. It’s very hard for prospects to ignore a video that has their face!
  • Never re-watch your videos unless you’ve made a big mistake. Jan thinks it’s not a good idea to rewatch your videos unless you’ve made a blunder. That’s because you’ll be super-conscious about how you look and talk when recording for a stranger, so just hit the send button already!

Building Meaningful Relationships with your Team

So that was all about building meaningful relationships with your prospects. But it’s equally important to build meaningful relationships within your team, which is also something Jan has been focusing on.

At Jan’s company, every AE is required to lead 2-3 SDRs. They work together as a team — not as bosses and subordinates — which involves hanging out, drinking together, and actively reaching out to each other.

In addition, here are some tips from Jan for building meaningful relationships with SDRs as an AE:

  • Try to understand the role of an SDR. Most AEs have worked as an SDR, but if you haven’t, you must understand their role to build meaningful relationships with them.
  • Give them your phone number. Being an SDR is a pretty lonely job, so you want to keep all lines of communication open. Many people hesitate giving out their phone numbers to their SDRs. But if you want to build truly meaningful relationships with your SDRs, make sure they have your phone number and can reach out to you at any time.
  • Sit together. This is the most obvious thing you can do to build a meaningful relationship with someone. At Jan’s company, AEs and SDRs have a kickoff meeting every Monday and a roundup meeting on Friday. This gives SDRs the support and motivation they need to excel at their jobs.

Key takeaway

Sales roles can be pretty lonely. But they are incredibly rewarding and can take you anywhere you want to go in life. If you want to master your role as an SDR (or an AE), make sure you work on building meaningful relationships both within and outside your company. We hope the tips in this article have been helpful for you!

Continue reading

Grow Your Revenue Faster

Automate all your sales outreach with Mailshake.

Book a Demo
Footer CTA