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September 2, 2020

“I’m a sh*tty guesser!”

This morning, our monthly enewsletter went out to our database. And as I often do, I ran an A/B test on the ‘subject line’… always trying to find the right kinds and grouping of words that get the highest ‘open rate.’ As usual, as the email was being blasted out, I guessed which subject line would be the winner.

And as usual, I was wrong!

But it got me to thinking… in what other aspects of sales & marketing do we guess wrong? Or more likely, never guess at all? Far too often, we just assume that the one way we are doing something is the best way to do it. Though we’ve never tried another way or tested it against something similar.

If that’s how you manage your sales & marketing, you might want to rethink that strategy.

So, to help you with your guessing, here are a number of sales & marketing activities worth testing…

Email marketing

  • Subject Lines to improve open rates. Remember, your emails have no value if no one reads them.
  • ‘Click Here’: Do you use words or a button? What words? What color buttons?
    • OK, I know it wounds goofy, but the color of the button can have a HUGE impact on the number of clicks.
  • Best day to send, best time-of-day to send, etc.

Digital ads

If you’re not getting a lot of clicks on your digital ads, don’t jump to the conclusion that digital advertising doesn’t work. Consider all of these factors that could have an impact on the clicks:

  • The headline
  • The body copy
  • The imagery
  • The placement on the page
  • And, of course, where you advertise; you might find that your ad does poorly in one enewsletter but generates a lot of clicks in another.


Like an email that no one opens, your blog posts have very little value if no one reads them. Once they are read… in addition to helping to showcase your subject matter expertise, you also want the reader to take some sort of action, not just click off and forget you. So, the two important things to test with your blogging are:

  • The headline: it’s got to resonate with readers and draw them in
  • The call-to-action… which one works best: call us, email us, complete a contact form, click here for more content, etc.


Keep tweaking the content and layout of your website to measure the impact on things like:

  • # of visitors
  • Time spent on the site
  • Pages of most interest
  • # inquiries

Social media marketing

Since you likely spend so much time on social media, especially LinkedIn, make sure you are seeing how the marketplace responds to your activities:

  • Best day/time to post
  • What kinds of comments generate the most engagement
  • Which topics generate the most comments/views
  • How many requests to connect you receive

You could do the same kind of testing with content landing pages, your webinars, etc., etc. The fact is, you could – and should – test as much as you can with your marketing activities.

That sort of thinking also applies to the ‘sales’ side of the house…

Cold calls (the bane of all business dev professionals)

  • Your opening line; what are you saying/asking that minimizes them hanging up on you)
  • Your main messaging; what are you saying that leads to a meaningful conversation/next step
  • Voice message: should you leave them or not? And if so, what message are you leaving that actually generates a call-back?

Cold emails (a combination of email marketing and cold calling)

  • The subject line: are they opening the email?
  • The main body copy: is it moving the recipient to some sort of action?

General sales activity

  • What variations of your elevator pitch result in a good conversation?
  • How long does a prospect stay in each stage of the pipeline; what can you do to move them along faster?
  • How many emails/phone calls does it take for someone to respond to you?
  • What variations of your Capabilities Presentation get the best response?
  • What variations of your Proposal get the best response?

The bottom line is this… nearly everything you do to attract, acquire and retain clients can be tested and measured, with the results used to continually learn and improve results. The trouble is… most people think actually doing it is too much trouble. That it’s not worth the effort.

And because you’re not testing, you’re assuming – and hoping – that what you’re doing with your sales & marketing is the best it can be. Or worse, you’re doing it because “that’s the way we’ve always done it.”

Yes, it does require some work. And it is best done by someone who’s good with numbers and pays attention to details… you know, like a market researcher!

So, imagine if you stopped guessing and starting testing and got better and better at everything you do. That would result in:

  • More visitors to your website
  • More clicks on your ads
  • More social engagement
  • More inquiries from potential buyers
  • More sales opportunities
  • More capabilities presentations
  • And More RFPs

And what if all of that resulted in [conservatively] just 2 new clients per year? What’s the value of an average project at your firm… $30k, $40k, $50k or more? Now you tell me… is it worth it?

So maybe it’s time to stop guessing and start measuring your sales & marketing.

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