Track and iterate your messaging based off your metrics

Written by Zach Sergio

Written by Zach Sergio

Last updated on Dec 11th, 2019

In Week 1 of the FoxBound Validation process, we covered quite a bit of ground in a short amount of time. Within a few hours, you should have been able to sharpen your messaging & segmentation and put plans into action by building lists of Contacts with DataScout & engaging them with Pursuit.

As far as activity output is concerned, it’s simply a matter of continuing to apply consistent and steady effort to prospecting in your day-to-day.

Now, we can get a bit more analytical and track our results from the past week. In this article, we’ll review:

  • Measuring activity & results
    Improving based upon said metrics
    Building the case for FoxBound

Measuring Activity & Results

In our Pursuit User Guides section, we have an article built for this exact topic. You can navigate to the section here

Don’t worry, there’s a link at the bottom of the other article to take you right back here. 

Improvements Based on Data

As is common with sales automation tools, there’s a healthy blend of science and art involved here. 

We can present metrics around the performance of: 

  • Activity output (emails delivered, contacts added, source)
  • Performance of an individual Pursuit (sent, opens, clicks, replies)
  • Performance of an individual Template or Email (sent, opens, clicks, replies)

Adding Contacts and sending emails is a “leading activity” as you pursue the most important aspects – open rate and reply rate. 

Again, it’s important to keep in mind that FoxBound is intended to optimize process and eliminate operational bottlenecks preventing you from reaching out to more Contacts with authenticity. We can’t exactly guarantee you’ll have 10% reply rates on all of your efforts, but there is good news! 

We can certainly prescribe a set of questions you can ask yourself to make tweaks and adjustments to boost your rates. 

Let’s walk through the primary scenarios all reps face, regardless of industry, tooling, geography, etc. 

  • I’m seeing relatively low delivery rates, what should I do?
  • Emails are getting delivered, but the open rate isn’t where I want it to be. What should I do?
  • My messages are being opened, but contacts are slow to respond and my reply rates are very low. Help?

Improving Deliverability

A high amount of bounced emails usually signifies one of a few things: 

  • You’re getting blocked due to subject lines messaging that triggers spam

In your subject lines and messaging, avoid words such as these (credit to Yesware!)

  • Generally speaking, be cautious with your usage of special characters, unusual formatting, and images. 

    • Your email client’s server has been flagged as spam too much

    Refer to the above tips and also be sure to not email prospects too frequently. There’s no need whatsoever to email prospects twice in a day and generally unacceptable to email on back-to-back days (with rare exceptions like “following up to a demo request”)

    • You’re sending emails to prospects with bad email addresses

    If you’ve uploaded old data from your CRM or if you’re sending emails to Contacts with emails you’ve guessed, chances are that the email address is bad. To understand whether your emails are from bad data or from blockages, check out our quick guide to bounce codes.

    Basically, check to see if the bounce code on emails from Postmaster, Mailer Daemon, etc start with a 4 or 5. If it’s a 4, the email address is likely correct but something else is wrong. If it starts with a 5, then it’s a hard bounce and the email’s integrity is likely the issue. 

    Improving Open Rates & Reply Rates 

    To improve either of these metrics, first take a look at the section above to make sure these aren’t the root of your problem. If you’re having deliverability issues that are unsolved or if your messaging includes bad formatting, ALL CAPS IN YOUR SUBJECT LINE, or something else that’s an easy fix, start there!

    Incrementally, here are a few more recommendations

    • Make sure Titles, Names, and Company Names are cleaned up!!!!!!

    I have very strong feelings about this, if you can’t tell. Nobody is ever going to reply back to an email that has trash in your Variables. Be sure to clean these up in Contacts or Lists. Refer to Week One (Phase Two) for more guidance. 

    This is a no-no:

    Subject: FoxBound | ACME PVT LTD (An Initech Company) 

    Body: Hi William B. – Knowing you’re leading marketing efforts as the Senior Vice President – Omnichannel Demand Generation & Strategic Growth, I’m curious to understand … *gag*

    You can have the most well-crafted email or personalized message ever, but if your Variable inputs are poor, your chances at opens and replies fly out the window. 

    • Make sure your subject lines and emails are not too long

    As a test for this, send a Test Email to yourself and view the email’s content on your phone. If you can’t see it all on one page, it’s likely it’s too long. 

    • Make sure your messaging relates to the persona you’re reaching out to

    Let’s say you sell to the Engineering function of a company. You could be reaching out to project managers, engineering leaders, DevOps managers, QA & testing leaders, business analysts, etc. 

    The point? Even if your product/service can benefit all of these subgroups, don’t reach out to a VP of Engineering with a pitch that caters to end users in a different niche. 

    • Don’t send emails at odd parts of the day/week

    Are you sending emails to prospects on the weekends or in the middle of the night? Give your Email Settings a tweak in Administration to improve your chances.

    • Write in Active Voice & eliminate jargon

    “Hi Mr. Prospect – I just kinda wanted to circle back, touch base, check in and see if maybe you kinda maybe wanted to catch up some time next quarter to talk about  ..”

    Cringey, I know. I’m sorry. But it happens, but we’re here to set it straight!

    The above is an example of writing in a weaker tone 

    • Make sure your emails actually have an ask (meeting, referral, information) 

    We’ve written about this in previous guides and it bears repeating. Next time you look at yourself in the mirror, tell yourself, “I’m a sales professional, not a marketing automation tool or a robot”

    If you’re taking precious time out of your day to find someone’s contact details and send them an email, do your prospect a favor and have a purpose for your email. Nobody will reply to fluffy 

    • Keep the focus on your prospect and the outcomes you can help them achieve, not “features”

    At a previous organization, one of the more tenured & top sales reps recounted a shift in messaging that drastically improved the ability to open deals and close higher value contracts by describing the difference between, “Selling radio buttons and selling the music.” 

    It’s very easy as a rep, especially if you’re well-versed in your technical competencies, to push features and functionality instead of the outcomes they achieve. Sell the music, not the speaker; the flexibility, not the tuner. 

    Review your messaging to see if the focus is on prospects’ pain points / challenges & then solving them for similar customers. If you’re pushing fancy integrations or widgets, just remember it’s all out of context for your prospect. Garner interest with the big picture first and then get into details as a sales cycle progresses. 

    • Write sales emails, not marketing emails

    Believe it or not, there’s a big difference. Seriously, go check your inbox and read through all the marketing emails you get blasted with. I don’t need access to your email to know that they’ll contain some fancy formats, extensive usage of images and illustrations, buttons, and maybe a sweet gif or two. 

    These are for marketing emails, not salespeople. Create your emails like a human being and avoid overuse of formats and elements that make your message look too “automated” and not handcrafted. 

    So to bring this puppy home, here’s everything in one sentence:

    If you’re having issues with replies, try shortening, simplifying, reformatting, rewriting in direct tone, adding an ask/purpose, pitching outcomes and not features, or check segmentation.

    Want to bounce strategy or ideas off our team here? Let us know at!


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