Powering the Pipeline Pt. VI – Knowing vs. Guessing
A/B testing takes the guess work out of improving your sales process. Here are three easy testing strategies that can help you sell more. Powering the Pipeline is a special multi-part series to help businesses sell better.
We’ve been talking a lot lately about growth hacking—using low-cost, scalable, repeatable strategies to quickly grow your business. A/B testing is one of our favorite growth hacks. It’s a simple testing method that compares two options to determine which one is more effective.
A common example of A/B testing is sending two versions of an email marketing campaign to see which one is more likely to lead to action. A/B testing helps you get better results in the short-term, while also building knowledge to incrementally improve your entire sales process over time.
Here are three A/B tests that have worked well for us.
1 – Test Different Strategies for Different Sales Activities
We’ve been selling PipelineDeals for over seven years, and we’re always trying to improve our sales process. One way we improve is by testing different messages to our customers at each stage in our sales pipeline, so we can work more intelligently to improve our sales conversion.
Here’s an example: When you contact a batch of qualified leads, split them into two groups and use a different messages with each group. Later, you can evaluate the conversion ratio for each approach at each stage of your pipeline to figure out which message worked best.
We use our Activity Scoreboard to record activities for our different test groups, and look at the Won and Lost data to determine which approach is best. We also export data from the Activity Scoreboard to Excel to look at the success rate for different sales activities.
2 – Improve the Timing of Your Emails
With email, timing is everything. You may be ready to send out your email at noon on Friday, but your leads may not be ready to read it. Thankfully, professional email marketers have shared their insights about the best times to send emails in the B2B space.
As a general rule, we’ve found that drip marketing campaigns to a broad audience should be sent between 8AM to 9AM, or at 3PM. Also, our users are more like to open an email and take action if it is sent on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. These guidelines are a good place to start, but we recommend conducting your own tests to figure out what works best for your target audience.
If you have customers in multiple time zones, you can use PipelineDeals integration with MailChimp to deliver messages at the same time in a local time zone. Send email messages to your leads at the optimum time in their locality and maximize the chances your message hits the mark.
3 – Choose Killer Subject Lines That Cut Through the Noise
You probably receive dozens, if not hundreds, of email messages every day. Which ones do you open? Usually it’s the ones with a powerful subject line or compelling call to action. A/B testing can help you identify subject lines that inspire more people to open your email, so they can take the next step to learn more about your product or service.
If you’re sending out a broad campaign message, try testing out two different subject lines with 5% of your list. Once you know which message has a greater impact, you can use the winning line for the rest of your list. If you use our MailChimp integration, you can automate your A/B testing for subject lines.
Additionally, MailChimp offers some great advice about writing killer subject lines. To summarize, MailChimp suggests that your subject lines should be timely, personal, and actionable. Avoid using words like “free” or “limited offer.” People are generally hard-wired to think these messages are spam and may ignore your message.
Still not sure how to write a great subject line? Take a look at this article from Litmus or test your subject line using the Subject Line lab provided with MailChimp.
JP Werlin is the Co-Founder of @PipelineDeals. He is a seasoned entrepreneur who enjoys building and leading teams of great people. JP is passionate about creating lasting brands that provide value and create mutually beneficial relationships between people. You can follow him on Twitter via @jpwerlin.