with Dan Murphy of Culture Amp
Dan Murphy started out as a mechanical engineer building things no one wanted to buy.
Eventually, he was forced to figure out ways to sell his creations. That was his sink-or-swim introduction to sales, and he’s never looked back. Now he’s the Head of Global Sales Development for Culture Amp.
Here’s his take on follow-ups:
Too much or too little activity and frequency of interactions can make or break your sales campaign. On the one hand, too much frequency can quickly come off as annoying to prospects and creates a bad customer experience (UX). On the other hand, you lose any momentum you’ve gained if you wait too long between touches. It’s all about finding a balance.
Activity metrics are essential and consistency is crucial, but there needs to be a lot of thought given to the prospect’s overall experience. So many companies are discovering and maximizing UX on the product side, but they really need to do the same with sales and prospecting.
“I think the pendulum swung the wrong way where we’re doing a ton of activity that’s quite frankly annoying for prospects, and it’s not a great experience.”
The sales team at Culture Amp still has activity numbers to hit, but we ask them to put themselves in the prospect’s shoes by asking themselves:
Then, they should tailor their approach to the answers. It’s helpful to break down the psychology of each touchpoint by asking, “Do I have a reason to follow-up?” The last thing you want to do is annoy prospects by constantly asking if they want a demo or if you can get 15 minutes of their time. Instead, focus on what value is in it for them. What are they gaining from each conversation?
Natural sales are akin to a bartender tossing a coaster in front of you as you lean up against the bar and asking what you want to drink. Or later, when your glass is half full, asking if you’re ready for another one. That isn’t salesy. That is a natural interaction.
We create our own natural scenarios for follow-ups by shipping gifts or books to prospects (or by inviting them to exclusive webinars or events we’re hosting). Then we have a reason to naturally follow up by asking: “Did you get the book?”
“For a minute, I’m not a sales guy – I’ve given them something.”
12-14 touches in two weeks is high-frequency. With that many touches, you can’t keep asking if they want a demo. That’s not cool. But if you send a gift like a book, you could safely do 3-5 touches around that. You could also extend an invite to a dinner or webinar, which could be another 3-5 touches to make everything feel natural. It’s all about finding anchor experiences you can get several touchpoints out of without it being weird or annoying.
The book example isn’t something random or off-topic, either. It’s about employee engagement, which is what we do. So naturally, the books act as a segue into a conversation about what their company provides. This works because of the law of reciprocity. Since you gave them a gift, they’re more likely to give you five minutes of their time.
It all boils down to providing value up front before you ask for anything from them. You have to stay persistent and show them you’re worth talking to. Spread your touchpoints across email, social, and calls. Research and personalization are still important, but they’re difficult to scale. You have to start the conversation first.