What’s it take to excel in the world of virtual enrollment?

It takes skill. And making video presentations for college tours and admissions calls for learning, practicing, and applying these skills.

Given how important it’s become to engage prospective college students remotely—via video—we put together a webinar—featuring experts Lexington Maximus of The Art of Admissions and Tom King of Enrollment Resources.

In the webinar that follows, you’ll hear them present 7 keys to delivering engaging presentations virtually—and if you’d prefer not to watch, the article below presents the highlights of what they had to say.

Benefits of virtual presentations

Virtual sessions and college tours now give us the ability to bring the school to students.

~ Tom King, Enrollment Resources

The webinar began with a quick presentation of the three most important benefits your college can achieve with virtual presentations.

1. Superior engagement

Clearly, virtual sessions are more engaging than phone calls.

2. Increased show rates

Online meetings make it easier to get appointments, and more importantly, to get your potential students to show up.

In days gone by (and perhaps ahead), an on-site campus tour typically involved the student and a parent or two driving or flying to your campus. Obviously, doing such requires taking a day off. What if the weather gets nasty? There could be several more “what if” scenarios.

Virtual visits do away with the travel elements and make good use of everyone’s time.

3. More efficient use of everyone’s time

Online presentations are shorter, and potentially, sweeter for the students, the family, and your admissions crew. Plan effectively and you might even fit four or more virtual meetings in your day.

On-campus only isn’t as effective

Tom and Lex made the case it’s become less effective to offer only on-campus tours and interviews. Not only will you see lower show rates, but in 2021 you need to consider:

  • Safety concerns—Thanks to a pandemic that is far from resolved, schools may need to restric the number of visitors and employ various safety measures that make the campus seem less warm and welcoming.
  • Face masks—Face-to-face conversations with masks are challenging, frustrating, and potentially, uncomfortable.

7 keys to elevate engagement

Lex and Tom called them “secrets.” Now, the secrets are out. The following seven tips and tactics are bound to make you a far better video presenter and host.

1. Use a quality camera and microphone

In the age of video, your computer must be powerful enough to stream quality video. You’ll also need a fast internet connection.

Webcams built into laptops may perform poorly. Make the investment in an external cameras or webcams capable of shooting at a minimum resolution of 1080 pixels. A great camera for streaming and recording video is a 4K webcam by Logitech.

Sound quality is even more important. Be sure not to chase prospects away with suspect sound. A small investment in a USB microphone will get the job done well.

2. Organize your presentation

Many presenters use PowerPoint. They may try to show a YouTube video. Then, they may present a PDF document as well.

The multi-platform presentation could backfire. Your file formats may not scale across all displays effectively, especially if the person on the other end is using a phone.

  • Prepare your presentations with an organized roadmap for video and ensure accessibility and quality will be delivered across devices.
  • Use web-based presentation platforms that scale well across all display sizes. Check if they have visual elements to complement the narration.

Put a lot of thought into the sequence in which you’ll present your information—and test it on viewers. You might try something like:

  • Begin by showing-off the campus.
  • Follow by presenting the academics information they seek.
  • Present the criteria for getting accepted.
  • Discuss financial aid options, and additional information your prospect needs.
  • Conclude by directing the prospect to your online application portal.

Pro tip: Don’t rely on the campus to sell the school. Consider making a short video to highlight the unique features of the campus. But always present the quality and depth of the program.

Here’s an example of an “information session” from Brandeis University:

Pro tip: Record and upload your best virtual presentation on YouTube so you can reach out to more prospective students. Include a link to your online application” below.

3. Be prepared for the unexpected

Technology may fail you at any time. Be prepared.

  • Log-in well in advance to test everything. Check if all your assets are pre-loaded and your lighting.
  • Eliminate all possible distractions.
  • Be ready to help the student if they’re experiecning any issues.
  • Role-play in advance and learn how to address technical blips, when possible.

4. Be expressive

Look directly at the camera during interactions, maintain proper posture and be expressive.

5. Perfect your tone

The way one speaks is more important than what one says.

  • Remember, tonality contributes more than the actual words you say.
  • Use an inspirational tone, make proper use of vocal inflection.
  • Speak with confidence and clarity.
  • Try not to pause abruptly.

6. Practice

You need to practice, often. Record yourself, get feedback and look for ways you can improve your delivery.

7. Miscelleneous tips

  • Give some thought to the tempo of your presentation.
  • Try to be emotionally engaging.
  • Don’t fumble through information you don’t know. If a situation arises when you don’t have the answer, say you’ll find out and deliver the correct information through an email or text message.
  • Avoid being overtly salesy.
  • To keep attention spans high, try to avoid keeping your presentation to 30 minutes or less.

Here’s an example of a 28-minute virtual information session from Tufts University.

Pro tip: While uploading videos on YouTube, include timestamps so that students can easily navigate to a specific section.

Let’s close

Delivering a stellar virtual enrollment presentation is a step in the process. Don’t neglect to follow up by asking for feedback and offering to help the student take the next step in the enrollment process.

You can easily automate your communications with a CRM system expressly optimized for higher education such as LeadSquared, track all interactions, and personalize communications to engage students, make them feel special, and win them over.

Sales is rarely easy or straightforward. Reps must find prospects (in case of outbound function), modify the solution according to the prospect’s need, follow up multiple times (80% of sales require 5 follow-up calls after the meeting, whereas 44% of sales reps give up after only 1 follow-up), handle objections, and more to make a sale. On top of that, over 50% of their time is spent on the wrong prospects.

Thankfully, today we have technology and tools to make selling easier. 

We have compiled a list of the 13 best sales enablement tools to empower your teams. But first, a quick look at the basics. 

What is Sales Enablement?

According to Gartner, sales enablement is the process of providing the sales organization with the information, content, and tools that help salespeople sell more effectively.

Having active interactions with prospects is crucial for making sales. Sales enablement makes the execution of sales-related activities more effective through:

  1. Content
  2. Training 
  3. Tools

Content is at the core of digital marketing and sales. Sales enablement content includes product demos, video reviews, case studies, testimonials, whitepapers, and other related collateral. Good content helps convince the prospect to move forward in the sales pipeline.

The next critical element for sales enablement is training. Without proper training, salespeople cannot succeed consistently. Besides essential sales skills, they must also understand the product or the service they are selling.

Finally, you will need software tools to automate mundane tasks and increase productivity. Sales enablement tools simplify a lot of tasks associated with sales. For instance, they can centralize information and make them more accessible. Let’s look at this in detail.

What are Sales Enablement Tools?

Sales Enablement Tools are intelligent data analytics programs that make it easier for sales reps to create and access content across the sales lifecycle. They unify content analytics, business intelligence, data from CRM, customer experience data, automation, sales analytics, and more. In short, sales enablement tools play a crucial role in aligning sales and marketing, and relevant departments. 

There are several software available for sales enablement. We have shortlisted 13 for you. 

13 Best Sales Enablement Tools

1. LevelEleven

LevelEleven provides a performance management platform for customer-facing teams. It motivates reps through contests and gamification to publicly recognize their performances. With real-time KPI tracking, it identifies if the reps are falling off the pace. This way, you can coach and support them and help them stay on top of their game.

LevelEleven - sales coaching

2. Membrain

Membrain is a sales enablement CRM for B2B sales. It is a great platform for training, content management, sales process execution and automation. For instance, it can automatically analyze the performance of team members and inform who needs coaching on what aspect. It also comes with a Story Stream feature where you can review an entire project or activity from start to end.

3. LeadSquared Sales Execution CRM

LeadSquared is one of the world’s fastest-growing CRM tools for high-velocity sales. It comes with a host of features that are not present at this price point. 

It includes lead managementsales managementmobile CRM, sales communication, workflow automation, marketing automation, and more. LeadSquared is a highly versatile solution to manage your sales and can be customized based on changing needs of your business. It allows managing people, processes, and products in real-time and seamlessly integrates with numerous other platforms.

LeadSquared CRM - sales enablement tools

Take a free trial

4. Whatfix

Whatfix is a training and digital adoption platform. It provides contextual, interactive, and real-time guidance on the digital adoption of enterprise apps. The platform also helps with change and release management to keep employees aware of changes and train them on app and process changes.

5. EmailAnalytics

Emails are one of the most effective methods for prospecting and lead nurturing. Salespeople spend 21% of their day sending emails. Therefore, analyzing the outcome of your email marketing efforts and tracking related KPIs is crucial. EmailAnalytics makes it easy to measure email campaigns and provides additional metrics to optimize your sales pipeline.

6. Highspot

At its core, Highspot is an AI-powered search tool. But it can also contextualize employee training and comes with a guided selling platform to help your reps perform better.

Highspot’s dynamic content management feature makes it easy for sales reps to create content, share them, and find the content they need to close a deal. It also comes with advanced analytics to analyze the content performance across the sales pipeline.

Highspot sales enablement platform

7. Seismic

Seismic allows you to collect all sales-related data and review all resources. It calls itself a storytelling platform. Seismic supports predictive content recommendations to help sales reps create an engaging buying experience for the customers. In simple words, it suggests relevant content to use during each stage of the selling process.

8. Showpad

Showpad is both a content management and a sales enablement tool. It allows your salespeople to discover the content they need to share with prospects. 

Surprisingly, 65% of salespeople struggle with finding the right content to send even though brands usually have the resources ready for almost every situation. 

Therefore, tools like Showpad are helpful as sales reps can get access to relevant content exactly when needed. Showpad uses machine learning for analyzing requirements and recommends accordingly. 

9. Attach by Cirrus Insights

Attach is a sales enablement tool that helps businesses understand how their prospects are interacting with the content. Sharing marketing collateral with potential customers is one part of the job. How they interact with that content is what matters more. Attach gives brands a deep insight into how marketing content is being consumed. This data can help sales reps to focus on the right prospects and improve conversion rates.

Attach by Cirrus Insight

10. Unboxed Advisor

Unboxed Advisor focuses on reducing training times for sales teams for enterprises. It comes with five sales enablement services:

  1. Interactive demos
  2. Guided selling
  3. Content library
  4. Account management
  5. Comprehensive reporting

You can use their services on mobile devices and use the tool offline as well. 

11. Ambition

The primary goal of Ambition as a sales enablement tool is to introduce healthy competition amongst sales reps. The software relies on CRM data solely. It also means that the software will not be effective unless your sales reps log everything into CRM. Therefore, if your sales reps want to make it to the leaderboard, they cannot skip the data updating process.

12. Hoopla

Hoopla allows gamification of your CRM metrics. One can create contests, competitions, and leaderboards with CRM data or metrics relevant to the business. The platform makes it easy for managers to motivate teams and score more sales. Hoopla can easily integrate with CRM tools. It can also work with apps like Google Sheets, Slack, and more. 

13. Outreach

Outreach is a sales enablement platform that allows sales teams to communicate better. It can help create a more efficient sales pipeline or optimize the current workflow. It has a feature called “sequences” that help sales reps identify how and when a customer interaction will happen. Outreach uses AI-powered algorithms to discover key customer insights and make informed decisions.

We hope you find these tools helpful. Before we wrap up, let’s see the features you must look for in your sales enablement platform.

Essential Features of Sales Enablement Platforms

  • Customer Relationship Management. CRMs are essential for any business, big or small. CRM helps brands collect relevant customer data, share that with other departments and access prospects’ information. 

  • Content creation. Sales tools with built-in templates for certain use cases are very beneficial. For example, landing pages, email templates, SMS templates, phone call scripts, comparison documents, etc. Having ready-to-use templates will save that last-minute hustle to create content. 

  • Analytics. Tools that provide extensive analytics and reporting features are essential for sales management. Managers must be able to see their team members’ activities and performances. This data will help them figure out if they need to train the reps further. 
  • Sales training. Sales enablement tools with training modules/guides and resources can help your reps resolve the hurdle instantly and work more effectively.

  • Workflow management. Established workflows or guided selling procedures can help new employees sell more efficiently.

  • Automation. Sales automation can take care of repetitive and mundane tasks. You can let the algorithms handle the data entry and the number-crunching and let salespeople focus on selling.

  • Communication and collaboration. Tools for both internal and external communication are a great aid to streamline the sales process. It is often possible to integrate tools to prevent siloed tech infrastructure. For example, you can integrate your CRM software with Zoom for setting up virtual meetings on the go. Or you can integrate CRM with cloud calling tools such as RingCentral to simplify calling. 

Closing thoughts

Overall, the market for sales management software is estimated to grow to 5 billion USD by 2021. When it comes to sales enablement tools, each has unique features, and their adoption will depend on your business use cases. However, all of them can make your sales reps more productive and improve your conversion rates.

If you’re looking for sales execution software to run high-velocity sales, go for LeadSquared. It follows a vertical-centric, use-case first approach and aims at building truly connected, empowered, and self-reliant sales organizations with the power of automation. Book a free 30-minute demo to see LeadSquared in action.


FAQs

Is CRM a sales enablement tool?

CRM software help in sales enablement as it helps track customer interactions, sales pipeline and provides data and insights to improve your sales process.

How do you create a sales enablement strategy?

Sales enablement requires company-wide effort; it isn’t restricted to your sales teams alone. While creating a sales enablement strategy, first identify your organizational inefficiencies. Then coordinate with the product, operations, sales, and marketing teams to overcome them. A successful enablement strategy requires the right tools to help increase efficiency and decrease manual effort.

SPIFF is a timeless sales strategy. During the 1940s, SPIFFs were given to employees who sold a high amount of electronic goods. 

In the 1980s, Apple was able to beat IBM in retail computer sales by sweetening the deal for the salesmen with “SPIFFs.” At that time, SPIFF referred to Sales Person Incentive Forms, where salesmen would fill out a form for every Apple they sold and got a bonus. 

Later, in 2019, Dell EMC used the term SPIF (Sales Performance Incentive Fund) for the programs designed to target businesses that might otherwise go to competitors.

Today, the terms SPIF and SPIFF are used interchangeably across organizations – referring to the immediate sales bonus. 

In this article, we will walk you through the basics of SPIFFs. We will also explain how to use them to motivate your team with some exciting examples. 

What is a SPIFF?

SPIFF is the immediate bonus that a sales rep receives after completing a sale. It is a performance fund that you set aside for your sales reps. Such rewards are a great way to meet and exceed short-term goals.

SPIFFs can be of different types. For example, you can reward the team or an individual when they have sold a specific number of products. Or you can launch an incentive program to support a product release. Some organizations even use it to boost low performance or improve specific business metrics. Thus, by motiving reps, SPIFF programs help accelerate the sales pipeline

If you’re wondering how are SPIFFs different from commissions, here’s the answer. 

Difference Between SPIFF and Commission

At a glance, SPIFF and commission look similar. However, there are some fundamental differences between the two. Let’s look at them one by one. 

SPIFF is a short-term incentive that sales reps get immediately after making a sale. Sometimes, it can be vacations, prizes, or recognition in the organization. It gives sales reps the extra push they need to perform better at the workplace.

Benefits of SPIFF:

  • With good incentives, you can manage additional sales from the same resources. It is especially beneficial when you’re exploring a new market.
  • As SPIFFs are a reward upon task completion, they increase productivity at the workplace. Sales reps focus on getting the job done for the incentives.
  • They encourage reps to meet quotas and improve the overall sales statistics of the organization.
  • Apart from improving sales, SPIFFs can also help increase customer acquisition and other short-term goals. Managers can customize SPIFFs based on the task at hand.

Now let’s look at commissions in sales.

commission is a form of performance pay. It is a sum of money the employee gets once they complete a given task. They can get a commission for selling a certain number of products. This amount can be a percentage of the revenue that the sales rep brought in or, it could be a flat amount for every sale made. For example, insurance agents get commissions from the carrier for every new client. 

Benefits of commission pay:

  • The commission that a sales rep will get depends on the sales they make. The more the sales, the more the commission. 
  • It helps manage payroll better. As organizations have to pay employees proportional to the revenue generated.  

What’s Better – SPIFF or Commission?

Sales, in general, is a difficult job. Salespeople are in a constant hustle to perform while maintaining a work-life balance. Incentives help:

  • Keep salespeople motivated
  • Prevent employee turnover
  • Encourage reps to sell more.

Both SPIFF and commission pay have their pros and cons. And choosing between the two will depend on your goals and business model. 

Employees on commission are often under a lot of stress as it is their only source of income. Sometimes, employees may switch to an organization that offers better commission – becoming another drawback of this sales model. 

However, SPIFFs are flexible and add-ons to the steady income. It gives employees a chance to perform in a stress-free environment. 

Now let’s look at the ideas and examples for your SPIFF program. 

Examples of SPIFF Programs

There are two categories of SPIFFs: 

  • Cash SPIFFs 
  • Non-cash SPIFFs. 

You can try a mix of these in your organization based on your goals and budget.

Cash SPIFFs

Cash as compensation has a lot of benefits. It is easy to disburse. The employees also have the flexibility of spending it on whatever they want. It is the most flexible SPIFF scheme.

For example, you can set aside a thousand dollars for the end of a quarter or a financial year. But make sure you separate SPIFF from the compensation plan. The idea is to motive your team to focus on a specific goal and find innovative ways to achieve it.

Non-cash SPIFFs

Non-cash pays can also be quite welcoming. Nearly 84% of the companies in the US use non-cash rewards to motivate employees. There are endless options for non-cash SPIFF programs. Here are a few examples.

1. Exciting Gifts

People always appreciate gifts. Let’s backtrack to Apple’s strategy to win retail computer sales. During their campaign in the 1980s, the top prize was an Apple IIc computer plus a cash bonus. (The c in the name stood for compact, referring to the fact it was essentially a complete Apple II computer setup squeezed into a small notebook-sized housing. Source: Wikipedia)

So, if you’re in a manufacturing business, you can offer your premium product to your sales reps. Otherwise, you can buy a gift for your employees who meet/exceed the targets

2. Gift Cards

Gift cards are the most common non-cash reward. While these are technically in the “Cash SPIFFs” category, you can ask what kind of gift cards your employees will prefer. You can also partner with other businesses and get gift cards at a lower cost. This situation will be a win-win for both management and employees.

3. Travel and Entertainment

Employees are unlikely to spend money on travel and entertainment. However, they may still wish to travel and have fun. Tickets to sporting shows, events, movies, or short vacations on weekends can be great options for SPIFF programs. These options will give them a fun-filled break from work.

For example, BYJU’S, one of the world’s leading EdTechs, offers international trips as perks for achieving revenue targets. 

4. Offsite Activities

You can take employees for golf or to the spa. Ask your employees what they would enjoy, and plan your programs accordingly. Also, keep multiple options as not everyone will like the same thing.

5. Subscriptions or Memberships

Subscription programs can be anything from gym memberships to book clubs. You can even offer subscriptions to online shopping websites, food delivery, or others. It is a great way to encourage employees to do what they love besides work.

6. Gamification Programs

Gamification programs are great if your company does not have enough budget for giving cash or gifts to employees. You can create leaderboards in the organization where you highlight the names of top performers. You can give them a different job title at the organization or even a better parking spot. Gamification can also make work competitive and fun.

You can also use your CRM software to find top performers. Here is an example. 

LeadSquared revenue dashboard example

7. Power and Access

You can give your best performers more responsibility. Let other team members learn from the success of the star performers. For example, you can ask top performers to train new joiners and scale their selling strategy. You can even have the more successful salespeople get first dibs on a new client. However, incentives like these may not motivate all employees. 

SPIFF incentives can vary depending on the organization and the sales reps. It is best to have a conversation with your employees before you decide on a SPIFF program.

SPIFF Program: Dos and Don’ts

SPIFF programs can benefit both the organization and employees. However, implementation would not be the same for every business. It requires planning and research. It also requires setting measurable goals. You can do it right by understanding the following aspects.

  • Define your goals. For instance, it could be meeting a certain quota, promoting new products, getting new customers, closing sales deals, or improving the pipeline. Ensure that the employees understand their KRAs and approach accordingly. 

  • Articulate how sales reps should achieve those goals. Ensure that they follow your organization’s principles and processes and don’t bend the rules to meet the targets. 

  • Define participants. The SPIFF program doesn’t need to be organization-wide. You can define the participants based on region, job function, etc. For example, if you’re exploring middle-east market opportunities, you can launch the SPIFF program for SDRs working in that region. 

  • Define the timeline. Let the reps know that the SPIFFs will be disbursed based on the monthly or quarterly performance. Set a start and end date for the program. Otherwise, it will become very difficult to manage the budget. 

  • Finalize the budget and determine the incentives. Whether you’re giving cash or non-cash incentives – plan that ahead of time and make arrangements. 

  • Measure and iterate. Check if your program is bringing any results. If not, analyze what went wrong and update your strategy. If it works, scale it across other verticals or business regions. 

  • Prevent sandbagging. Don’t let your employees know that a SPIFF is coming. Otherwise, they may wait until the program starts to close deals they could’ve closed earlier. 

  • Prevent unhealthy competition. If the targets are too high to achieve, reps may back off. At other times, sales reps may try unfair means to win the incentives. Make sure you track their performances and activities individually to avoid such instances. 

Conclusion

Before we wrap up, here’s a piece of friendly advice. Invest in software to keep a tab on your reps’ activities and performances. Many sales-led organizations use CRM software to manage everything related to sales. For instance, LeadSquared helps organizations manage their leads, sales pipeline, customers, teams, individuals, revenue forecast – everything on a single platform. So, you don’t have to juggle between systems to find data. It enables organizations to execute high-velocity sales by taking care of task assignments, data, and reports. If you want to see it in action, book a free demo now.


FAQs

What is the difference between a SPIFF and SPIV?

The acronym SPIFF stands for Sales Performance Incentive Funds, whereas SPIV stands for Sales Performance Incentives. Technically, both are the same and are used by manufacturers or employers to promote sales by incentivizing the teams. However, SPIFFs are mostly for short-term or immediate goals. 

SPIFF Abbreviation

The full form of SPIFF is Sales Performance Incentive Funds. 

What is the difference between SPIFF and bonus?

“Spiff” means to make someone or something attractive. It is a strategy where managers make the job look more lucrative through incentives. It is a popular sales strategy where reps are motivated to perform better by showing them the prize. On the other hand, a bonus is the additional money/compensation given as a reward for good performance.

 

When zoomers have questions they expect answers—instantly. Missing an inquiry from a prospective student aiming to earn a 4-year degree can mean losing $20,000 to $60,000.

Chatbots, AI chatbots specifically, have proven to boost student enrollment and increase retention rates.

Let’s dive into how chatbots are used, why you need them, and three steps to implementing an AI chatbot strategy to best serve your college.

What are conversational AI chatbots?

Conversational artificial intelligence (CAI) chatbots are chat-based systems that use machine learning and natural language processing to communicate with users. CAI is different from the usual chatbot which allows only for rigid, pre-programmed chat responses.

  • CAI chatbots can have dynamic and nuanced conversations with students. They can “learn” from the conversations.
  • CAI chatbots engage in a conversation through web-assisted and voice channels but also use other interfaces such as instant messaging.
  • The goal of the CAI chatbot is to have a natural, two-way conversation where users’ queries are understood and answered correctly.

Why does higher education now need AI chatbots?

As digital natives, millennials and Gen Zs make-up the demographics for higher education today. To no one’s surprise, their affinity for technology has led to a 75% preference for text messaging over voice call. 

Source: openmarket.com

Research conducted by InsideSales, featuring data from the Harvard Business Review, found a five-minute delay in getting a response can result in a 10X increase in drop-off rate.

Through asynchronous conversations, AI-enabled chatbots interact with students in a way that can often be more helpful than conversing with a human.

The AI chatbot detects text and visual cues from queries and can respond by providing image and video slideouts, such as displaying life on-campus life or images of your school’s campus. (Image source: Meshassist.com)

Most importantly, responses are instant, contextual, and available 24/7.

AI chatbots can:

  • Facilitate more productive work environment for faculties
    By providing chatbots to answer routine questions, your staff has more time to handle other tasks requiring human engagement.
  • Reduce support costs
    By spending less time engaging with routine questions, your staff can assist in other areas and thus, lower support costs.
  • Reduce student anxiety
    By having chatbot services available 24/7, your students will experience less stress and anxiety because queries on admission and financial aid are answered instantly.
  • Provide a contextual and personalized experience
    Students will have a more meaningful experience because data is drawn from communications sources, such as previous email and phone conversations,
  • Collect data at scale
    By identifying the volume and gaps of queries and content students ask for, your institution can pinpoint what needs to be improved and make data-driven decisions.

3 steps to implementing an AI chatbot strategy for your institution

A revolutionary technology in artificial intelligence, the CAI chatbot is quickly becoming mainstream in higher education. As chatbot adoption increases, more and more institutions will be able to reap the benefits of chatbot use for internal administrative tasks to improve staff productivity and help students in a timely manner.

Here are the three steps to develop and implement your AI chatbot strategy:

1. Recognize your operation inefficiencies

Some of the most common inefficiencies educational institutions face include:

  • Queries from students are left unanswered or answered in an untimely manner due to limited call hours.
  • Student engagement decreases simply due to the friction in contact options.
  • Answering common question drives-up the the costs of admininstrative staff.
  • Students experience anxiety when waiting on answers for things such as timetables, admission processes, and financial aid.

2. Define your desired outcomes

Once it’s clear where your inefficiencies lie, you can start to develop a strategy by defining your goals. Your strategy and the ways chatbots can be used should be developed collaboratively among departments, with close attention to the needs of students, faculty members, administrative staff, and other stakeholders such as alumni or donors/sponsors.

Desired outcomes for using chatbots may be:

  • Improve the student experience by having their questions answered in real-time.
  • Engage with students by drawing from retained conversations or data.

3. Manage and automate your data effectively

As the maxim goes, you can only manage what you measure.

Chatbots should be integrated into centralized student information software to truly deliver the best student engagement. By having all student data, progress and activities logged within CRMs, such as LeadSquared, it becomes easier to measure the impact of chatbot use on student acquisition and engagement. It also allows for counselors to connect with applicants and students at the right time when a chatbot cannot help.

Additionally, chatbots can be used to automate tasks in the admission process. Certain events can be created in a system to automatically trigger a sequence of events—saving you time and money.

As an example, prospective students entering their email to request specific information may receive follow-up emails on specific course events, related newsletters, and information to help them with enrollment. These automated follow-ups allow your institution to nurture any student leads, as a business sales funnel would.

Compared to generic messages, the highly contextual and personalized information drawn from centralized student information systems will increase response rates.

This integration is key for chatbots to be used as a sustainable service with the least amount of administrative and operational expenses, while still delivering the quality services students, faculty members, and staff can rely on.

AI-enabled chatbot success stories in education

Take a look at the results of a few recent chatbot implementations.

In a randomized control trial, Georgia State University (GSU) deployed the chatbot, Pounce, to assist with administrative processes, and social and career support.

During that period, over 50,000 conversations took place between students and the chatbot. Less than 1% of the conversations needed human intervention. According to the assistant VP of undergraduate admissions at GSU, it would have taken 10 additional staff members to handle the same volume of conversations at a full-time capacity.

After the trial, GSU not only continued using the chatbot but expanded the technology into other initiatives.

California State University, Northridge (CSUN) implemented a chatbot in an effort to bolster retention and increase engagement. The chatbot yielded an impressive return rate of over 30 percent.

One of the key factors for the chatbot’s success includes the power of centralizing data in a single repository. By doing so, not only was the chatbot able to provide a proactive and predictive engagement with students but was also able to connect with them in a highly personalized and contextual way, at scale and in real-time.

It really allowed us to be in touch with tens of thousands of students in a way I don’t think we would have been able to without the bot. It’s been a real lifesaver in that sense.

~ Elizabeth Adams, associate vice president of undergraduate studies, CSUN.

Chatbots have arrived in higher ed

In the wake of COVID, institutions need to be more proactive as admission and retention rates decline.

Used by many industries, the AI-enabled chatbot is now a powerful tool for improving processes in higher education.

Cold emails can be very unforgiving, but they are a necessary evil. You can send out a thousand emails and get only twelve replies. However, this rate goes up drastically once you ditch generic templates and start personalizing your emails.

We have compiled 20 best cold email templates for different scenarios. Feel free to use them with modification – based on your business requirements.

But before we start discussing templates, let’s talk cold emails in general.

Contents:

What is a Cold Email?
How to Avoid Spam Filters
20 Best Cold Email Templates
Cold Emailing Tips

What is a Cold Email?


A cold email is the first piece of communication that you have with a prospect. However, cold emails are not just for salespeople. They can be for anyone who is trying to reach out to someone they do not know well.

For example, a job seeker can send a cold email to the HR department to know more about available positions.

Cold emails are supposed to benefit both the sender and the receiver. However, cold emails can also be uncertain. Why would someone open an email from someone they have never seen or heard in their life? Often, these emails can be out-of-context, irrelevant, or annoying. Email services now automatically flag most of these emails as junk or clutter. And most people clean out the junk folder even without opening the email.

But, you can avoid your emails landing into junk/spam or being trashed with some advanced knowledge of the recipient, professionalism, and understanding of human psychology. In the next section, we will share some tips to avoid spam filters.

email personalization comic - SalesHigher
Courtesy: SalesHigher

How to Avoid Spam Filters


Writing great personalized emails doesn’t always mean that your email will make it to the inbox. Modern spam filters are sophisticated and may even flag legitimate or low-priority emails as spam. On top of that, email service providers do not disclose their rules for obvious reasons.

That is why your email subject line is so crucial. When clearing out junk, people at least glance at the subject line of the email. As a salesperson, this is where you need to focus your efforts.

You can easily understand if your emails are being marked as spam or not by looking at:

  • Open Rates. If there are a lot of people opening your emails, you can be sure that your emails are not marked as spam.
  • Replies. Getting replies to your emails is a sure-shot way of knowing that people are reading your emails. Getting responses also means that people are interested in what you have to say. However, getting replies to cold emails is quite rare.
  • Visits to landing pages. If your email contains links to your website and people have clicked the link, you can be sure that receivers are opening and interacting with your emails.

To ensure that you avoid the spam filter, you must follow a few email etiquette. According to the CAN-SPAM Act, you need to ensure that your cold emails are following the rules. They include:

  • The emails receiver should be able to identify who has sent the message.
  • Use a subject line that reveals the content of the message.
  • State that the message is advertising.
  • Provide an easy way to opt out of such emails in the future.

Therefore, while sending bulk emails, you must:

  • Segment your list. Sending out the same email to different prospects without understanding their interests is bad marketing. Furthermore, it increases the chances of emails being marked as spam.
  • Use an active reply to address. When you use a no-reply email address, the communication becomes one-way and leaves no way for the recipient to get back to you.
  • Use business domains. Do not send marketing emails or sales pitch emails from your personal account. Always send emails from your business email address, such as xyz@company.com.

Now that we have covered the basic etiquette, let’s look at the cold email templates that work like a charm.

20 Cold Email Templates


When it comes to sales, every rep has their style. You can take your time to warm up and then make a pitch, or you can be direct in your approach. Your style will depend on your audience and what you are confident with. However, before you hit the send button, make sure that your subject line is engaging.

1. Congratulate a new hire

New hires look at emails way more than senior employees do. If you are aware of someone who has joined a company and particularly in a position where they can make the decision, send them an email. Congratulate them and wish them luck in the new organization.

Subject line – Hey [Prospect], congratulations on your new role!

[Prospect],

Many congratulations on your new role at [Company]. We have heard great things about the company.

I am working with [Your Company] and helping businesses make their [Solutions/Use Cases]. We have helped several organizations in a similar domain achieve their quarterly goals.

I would like to talk about how we can help your company achieve more and help you shine in the first few months.

Here is a meeting link if you want to discuss this in detail.

Regards,
[Your Name]

2. Ask for the right point of contact

People tend to help other people whenever possible. So, if your outreach email is asking for a small favor, you are likely to get a reply. If you ask the receiver to help you find the right person, they can either redirect you to the right person or be that person.

Subject line – [Prospect], I need a favor.

Hey [Prospect],

I am trying to reach the person who oversees [Job Function] in your company.

I am working with [Your Company], where we have helped companies like yours increase [Results] by [X]%.

It would be great if you can help me get in touch with the right person. Thank you for your time.

[Your Name]

3. Offer market research insights

This cold email template shows that you have done some homework and are truly interested in the company. It also indicates that you have something that they will find useful.

Subject line – [Prospect], would you be interested in this market research?

Hi [Prospect],

Your last financial report shows impressive growth, particularly for a new company in this highly competitive market.

Fast-growing companies have a significant focus on [Use Case]. We have some market research data showing how different companies allocate resources to improve the process.

I believe that our report would be essential in benchmarking yourself. Let me know if you are interested.

Regards,
[Your Name]

4. Invite them to design market research.

Market research is often proprietary data. You can leverage that to expand your outreach efforts. You can ask your prospect what they want to know about their competition. It can also give more insight into your potential customer and help you start a dialogue with them.

Subject line – [Prospect], have you thought of designing your own market research?

[Prospect],

You seem to have notable experience in performing [Job Function]. I am working with [Your Company], and we are designing a survey asking over a hundred people what they would like to know from their peers from a similar industry and in a similar role.

Let us know what questions you have in mind.

PS: We’d love to attribute you and your organization to the final report.

[Your Name]

5. Invite them to participate in research

Another version of the previous template is where you ask your prospect to participate in a survey or research research. If you’re approaching an influential person, you can also ask for their opinion on the subject.

Subject line – [Prospect], can you help me with this report?

[Prospect],

Would you like to participate in [Topic] survey? It will not take more than two minutes. You can also ask your team members to participate.

As soon as we have a hundred responses, we will share the initial results exclusively with you.

[Your Name]

Note that you can also offer rewards to encourage participation. Rewards can be simply a gift voucher, free access to a software/tool/previous report, or anything your participants may value.

6. Ask for their opinion

People like to share their opinions, particularly on subjects they know. So, ask for their opinion and let them know that you would like to feature their response. Do not ask empty questions and be genuinely curious.

Subject line – [Prospect], what are your thoughts on [Topic]?

[Prospect],

Your [Team/Department] makes up a significant part of your organization.

We, at [Your Company], conducted a survey asking buyers what they think about [Topic]. The most common response was that the person they interacted with was not knowledgeable enough.

Do you think that consumers now are more aware of the products than salespeople? Do you think that better training of your [Department] will improve customer satisfaction? Let me know.

Regards,
[Your Name]

7. Encourage them to keep up the good work

Showing the willingness to collaborate with buyers is one great way to expand your outreach campaign. You research the brand or the prospect and share a simple way to improve their profits. Share the data with the brand to help them improve their efforts. To understand this idea, look at the following cold email template.

Subject line – We miss your blog posts!

Hi [Prospect],

I have been a regular follower of your blog. However, it seems that you did not continue blogging after a few months of starting it. Brands often stop blogging when they do not see immediate results.

However, companies that post blogs generate over 60% more leads than brands that do not.

I really want you to continue blogging and keep sharing your valuable insights.

[Your Name]

In the above cold email template, we mentioned the blogging activity. You can tweak it as per your prospect’s interests or field of expertise.

8. Response to a social media post

Your cold email does not need to be something out of the blue. You can interact with your prospect on social media beforehand and continue that conversation over email. Emails are great for a more in-depth discussion that could help generate new ideas and foster new connections. Here is an example template.

Subject line – Your [Social Media Platform] post was interesting!

[Prospect],

I wanted to tell you that I read your post on [Topic] on [Social Media Platform], and it was amazing. It does establish you as a thought leader in this space.

You mentioned that [Your Product/Service] is becoming essential for [Use Case]. I was wondering how [Product/Service] for [Use Case] will become more mainstream in the future.

[Your Name]

9. Ask for referrals

If you have a quota to fulfill, then join a group. It can be a social media group where people sell to one target market. You can reach out to other sales professionals like you.

Subject line – [Referral Partner], can you help me with a reference?

[Referral Partner],

It seems that we both sell to [Target Group] in [Your Area or Region]. I often meet with other salespeople, and we help each other introduce prospects to each other. My networking group has provided me with great prospects before.

Would you be interested in meeting and talking about how we can help each other?

[Your Name]

10. Offer introductions

You can introduce other people to your prospect. The requirement does not have to be in your domain. You can help them in a different area by connecting them with someone who can help. Both the parties will see you in a positive light. And in the future, the prospect will remember you and may reach out to you out of goodwill.

Subject line – [Prospect], would you like an introduction?

[Prospect],

You posted a request on [Social Media/Forums] asking for introductions to people who can help with [Product/Service]. I know some experts who can help you out. Would you like an email introduction?

[Your Name]

11. Ask for recommendations

Asking for a recommendation shows your respect for your prospect. It shows humility and that you look up to what they provide for the industry. Furthermore, it’s a simple task, and most people are more likely to help you out. Here is an example email that you can send.

Subject line – Can you help me with a recommendation?

Hi [Prospect],

I have been working with my team on [Problem Statement] and I often look up your blog for references. I believe that you are an expert in this domain.

[Prospect], I would love it if you can recommend some platforms for [Problem] or redirect me to anyone who does.

[Your Name]

12. Ask for Advice

Like helping, people also like to share their advice when asked. Again, it shows humility and respect and appeals to the ego of the receiver.

Subject line – [Prospect], I need your advice.

Hi [Prospect],

I came across your [Social Media/Academic/Business] profile, and I’m amazed to know you’ve been working in [Area of Expertise] for [X] years. Surely you must have seen multiple advancements in the industry during this period.

I recently entered this industry and working on a new product right now. If I shared some of my market research, will you be willing to give the feedback?

Regards,
[Your Name]

13. Highlight their name when you can

You can put the name of your prospects in your publications and give them some extra footage. You can ask them to contribute to an article you want to publish or ask for a quote that you can put in the blog.

Subject line – Do you want to talk about a collaboration?

Hi [Prospect],

Thanks for connecting with me on [Social Media Platform]. Your career advancement in such a short time truly impressed me.

I believe that your journey can inspire a lot of people who are working in [Department].

I am currently writing on the [Subject], and I would appreciate it if you contributed to this blog. Let me know if you are interested.

Regards,
[Your Name]

14. Continue your LinkedIn interactions on email

You may have interacted with your prospect on LinkedIn. You can continue that interaction over email. The idea is to combine the power of emails and social media interactions.

Subject line – [Prospect], do you want to talk about [Topic]?

Hey [Prospect],

I’m really glad that you liked my LinkedIn article yesterday. I wanted to know what you liked about it. Will you be available to discuss that in more detail?

[Your Name]

15. Congratulate the team

You can find a lot of information about your prospects online. There are plenty of success stories that you can find on their company website. Look for funding updates, or check Google News for more information. You can even dig deep into the LinkedIn profiles for more professional success stories.

When you have the right story and the time is right, use the opportunity to compliment them.

Subject line – [Prospect], congratulations!

Hi [Prospect],

Congratulations on the impressive [Achievement].

Your platform has always been on the cutting edge, and more consumers are starting to recognize that. I wish to see what the future holds for you.

Good Luck.

Regards,
[Your Name]

16. Compliment them

A simple compliment will cost you nothing. You can try that when introducing yourself to a prospect. You can email your prospect saying that you liked their blog or something they posted online.

Subject line – [Prospect], Loved your [Activity/Post/Product]!

Hey [Prospect],

Thank you for sharing the update on [Topic]. I have been following your videos, and your brand does make great products.

I run a [Your Business Description] in [Location] and nearby areas, and I recommended your products to some of my customers. Would you like to have a look at the results?

Best,
[Your Name]

17. Help them in their mission

If you want to make a cold outreach to CXOs, you can try this template. The idea is to offer something that helps them in their mission. Often, they provide the company the direction, and they might listen to your pitch if it genuinely helps.

Subject line – [Prospect], I can help you with [Prospect’s Mission]!

Hi [Prospect],

I have been following you on LinkedIn , and I firmly believe that you steer the [Department] really well.

I have always been your fan, and I wanted to know if I could help you in your mission to achieve [Results].

Do let me know.

Regards,
[Your Name]

18. Provide immediate value

You can directly offer your prospects something that they will appreciate. It may or may not be your area of expertise. But often, some simple and unbiased suggestions can help.

Subject line – [Prospect], some insights on your [Campaign/Product Feature/Service].

Hey [Prospect],

I am impressed by your brand’s new [Campaign/Product Feature/Service]. I have already forwarded it to some of my contacts who would be interested in it.

However, I noticed a [Problem]. It is possibly related to [Problem Category]. If you want, I can send a write-up that you can share with your [Department or Team]. I can also get on a call if it is a priority.

Regards,
[Your Name]

19. Talk to employees

Talk to employees and gather intelligence on where they are performing well and where they are struggling. You can target internal departments like finance, the back-office or the IT. Often, it is difficult to know what they are struggling with since they are not customer-facing departments. Ask them if your product or service can help them. If they like your solution, they may pass along the information to the right contacts.

Subject line – [Prospect], do you need a solution for [Challenge].

[Prospect],

According to an informal survey, I got to know your [Department] is struggling to deploy software updates using [X].

Do you believe that improving their training in this platform will resolve [Challenge]?

Regards,
[Your Name]

20. Talk to customers and vendors of the prospect

To get a better understanding of your prospect, you can talk to their customers and vendors. They can help you make a more contextual introduction.

Subject line – [Prospect], I know the solution!

[Prospect],

I recently had a conversation with your [Consultant/Agency/Business Partner], and they suggested that I get in touch with you. I believe you are having trouble getting the right [Software/Product/Service] for your projects.

As [Your Expertise], we have an easy fix for that. If you are looking forward to solving this problem, let us know.

Regards,
[Your Name]

Cold Emails: Tips for Success


Successful cold mails do have thorough background research. They are way more than catchy subject lines and personalized content. Hopefully, these cold email templates will help you with future messages.

Before we wrap up, I would like to share 7 tips for successful emails from Shibani, our email marketing expert, who has sent over 7 million emails to date.

  1. Don’t start with image-heavy emails. Focus on the content. Html heavy emails (i.e., emails with a lot of images) may land in spam or promotions folder. A text-based email will land in the inbox. CTA (Call-to-action) button is also an image – avoid that.
  2. Create a test list of Gmail and Outlook email ids to check whether your emails reach the inbox or not.
  3. Build a trustworthy relationship with the recipient. Include: company header, view in browser link, unsubscribe option, and your office address in the footer.
  4. Keep your email short and simple. Subject line: First two-three words reflect email content, which makes them open the email. Don’t use generic words in the first few words of the subject line.
  5. Try A/B Split test on your emailing list.
  6. It is easier to attach ppts than pdfs. While sending decks on emails, convert presentations to pdf format.
  7. In general, the top halves of emails get more clicks. If you want to drive link clicks, place it in the first para.

Read the comprehensive guide on email marketing best practices.

To make your email campaigns more effective and track your prospects’ interactions with your emails, you must use CRM software. If you’re looking for one, check out LeadSquared – a one-stop platform for sales execution at scale. Take a free 15-day trial.


More in this series:

Each sales team has one goal that they drive towards, growth. With the end of Q3, you need to design your game plan to crush your Q4 targets. This webinar provides you the ammunition to get a head-start towards closing the year with a bang. If you’re in sales and hungry for growth, watch the webinar to learn more!

Key Discussion Points

  1. Managing growth in face of daunting targets
  2. How to manage expectations from management?
  3. Leading a team in high-pressure situations
  4. Ensuring continuous growth at scale

Arjun Mathur
Associate Director, Eruditus
​​​

Arjun is always on the lookout to improve existing sales processes and implement innovative solutions. He keeps his eyes on the finer details to ensure a high success rate for the business. He has experience in creating new business lines and helping small teams grow fast.  As an Associate Director at Eruditus Executive Education and through his experience at Upgrad, he has helped his teams power through the most challenging situations and exceed their targets.


Anil Kumar
Director-Sales, LeadSquared

Anil is a highly motivated sales professional with over 12 years of strategic and consultative selling experience. He has several tried and tested selling strategies that encompass managing the entire sales cycle effectively from prospecting the initial contact to sales closer. He can quickly establish rapport, discuss and evaluate client needs, and recommend solutions to best meet customer requirements with his exceptional customer service skills.