Opinions vs Reality: Which CTAs book more meetings?

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This is a podcast episode titled, Opinions vs Reality: Which CTAs book more meetings?. The summary for this episode is: <p>After analyzing 300,000 cold emails, we debunked one of sales’ greatest mysteries — and unlocked a strategy to DOUBLE the amount of meetings you book. Here's a hint: The CTA (call to action) you use at the end of your email, matters more than you think.&nbsp;And according to the data, there's one cold email CTA that reigns supreme. Ready to craft the perfect cold email? Tune in to the episode.</p><p>43 Highly effective email CTAs: <a href="https://gongh.it/43-ctas-gong-asp" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">https://gongh.it/43-ctas-gong-asp</a></p><p><br></p><p>Key Takeaways:</p><p>00:53 - What is the most effective CTA? </p><p>03:54 - The answer from Gong Labs data</p><p>07:27 - Why asking for a meeting too early is risky</p><p>08:02 - Does the answer change depending on the stage?</p><p>08:49 - Do online calendars impact the ask?</p><p><br></p><p>If you missed the Opinions portion of this podcast (aka the first half of the episode), you can listen here: <a href="https://link.chtbl.com/PWHzpEQ7" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">https://link.chtbl.com/PWHzpEQ7</a></p><p><br></p><p>Want to explore Revenue Intelligence for your org? It starts here: </p><p>43 Highly effective email CTAs: <a href="https://gongh.it/43-ctas-gong-asp" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">https://gongh.it/43-ctas-gong-asp</a></p><p>Connect with Devin Reed: <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/devinreed/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">https://www.linkedin.com/in/devinreed/</a></p><p>Connect with Sheena Badani: <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/sheenabadani/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">https://www.linkedin.com/in/sheenabadani/</a></p><p>Connect with Bryan Neale: <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/bryanneale/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">https://www.linkedin.com/in/bryanneale/</a></p><p>Connect with Bill Caskey: <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/billcaskey/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">https://www.linkedin.com/in/billcaskey/</a></p>
What is the most effective CTA?
03:00 MIN
The answer from Gong Labs data
01:29 MIN
Why asking for a meeting too early is risky
00:33 MIN
Does the answer change depending on the stage?
00:47 MIN
Do online calendars impact the ask?
01:35 MIN

Devin Reed: Welcome to the show. You are now part of Reveal: The Revenue Intelligence Podcast powered by Gong. We're your hosts, Devin Reed.

Sheena Badani: And I'm Sheena Badani. For those of you who haven't tuned in for the last few episodes, we've been doing a special series where Bill and Brian have been joining us from the Advanced Selling Podcast. In each of these episodes what we do is we talk about a specific hypotheses or some kind of gut feeling that we have in the space on how we sell. Bill and Brian, they give us their perspectives and their opinions on their show. And then we come and showcase what does the data say? What does our research with Gong Labs actually show what works based on real calls, real emails, real interactions with customers. The last one we just kicked off this week. Devin, you want to tee up what we showcase there?

Devin Reed: Let's do it. So, what we did was for Gong Labs, we analyzed the most effective CTA call to action for cold emails. And we put it into three buckets. So we analyzed 300, 000 cold emails and we looked at three options. So, the CTA was either specific CTA. It asks for a meeting using a specific day and time. An example would be, are you available to meet on Tuesday at 4: 00? Your second option was an open- ended CTA. Asks for a meeting, but it's open- ended. For example, do you have time next week to chat? And then you have the third and final option the interest CTA asks for interest, not a meeting. So for example, are you interested in learning more about revenue intelligence or X, Y, Z, whatever it is that you sell. And so that is the table. Table is set and we'll go around the horn again to remind folks what the opinions were if you didn't catch it on the Advanced Selling Podcast. So we'll give you the quick clip, but it is worth going back because two people are just going to dig a deep hole in that episode of being not quite correct. So, Brian, why don't you go first and we'll go Bill and Sheena and then I will reveal.

Brian: As we do in our opinionated way on the Advanced Selling Podcast, I did an answer with an asterisk so I kind of changed one of your options. But I chose option three, which is the interest. Do you have interest in this, not a date and not even asking for a meeting vaguely. But I did put it in our world we teach this concept called a junior high love note, which is basically asking for a definitive answer to that question. Like, please let me know if any of this is interesting enough for you to want to chat again. One, it is. Two, it's not. Let me know either answer that sort of thing. So that's my answer. Your three with an asterisk.

Bill: I had number two, an open- ended next step with no asterisk. I'm all in on this one, man. I went to the betting odds to see what the odds were on this one and I pretty much went all in. So, if this is not it, I'm going to have to sell my studio and this really nice microphone. Now I have no faith at all. In fact, when you hear these things, you guys have been really, really savvy about the way you position these things. I start to get inside my own head a lot. It's like, well, listen to what I do. Wait a minute. That doesn't mean everybody likes it. Well, what about this, junior high love note. That sounds good. Well, Brian's clientele a little bit different. So there's a whole lot of hand ringing with me on these. So, I'll be glad when this series is over, because my blood pressure will go way down.

Devin Reed: Sheena. What was your pick?

Sheena Badani: I think I was always taught to just be like super specific in writing and make the very clear ask. And so I went with the first choice. Give me the date, give me the time, give me all the details so it's like one email response back and we're good to go.

Devin Reed: So to defend that Sheena, I will say I was taught that as a seller. Make it easy for people to say yes or to say no. The answer, however, the most effective CTA for cold emails, the interest CTA. So Brian with an asterisk is our closest winner here. And it is two times more effective than the number two option, which is the specific CTA. So asking for interest is most effective. Asking for specific day and time is half, but second most effective. And then open- ended is just a hair less effective than the specific CTA. So clearly interest is the winner and success again for folks, if you're unfamiliar, wasn't a reply because you know, you can be told to kick rocks or unsubscribe and that's not going to get you a meeting. It was if a meeting was booked within 10 days. So the interest CTA was most effective in that. And so what I think is interesting, of course, you look at the data and you can start to peel back why, is it's kind of like you said, if you think about it, you're trying to sell a conversation, not a time commitment with that ask. And if you think about going from absolutely cold to a booked, meaning like I'm going to commit 30 minutes with Brian and Bill, there's got to be some levels in between that. Right? There's like awareness and then interest and then like, oh, this actually makes sense. So what I imagine is there's an exchange that probably happens. The interest CTA sparks a conversation. Yeah, that does make sense. Or you might even get no, it doesn't make sense because. And then the rep can overcome that objection, right, because you can say, you could reframe and all that sort of thing. So, now that you have reality, Brian, Bill, I'm curious, what do you think?

Bill: I agree with your answer. I believe that the data supports that. I think it's also a reminder that don't move so fast. They don't know you. We're all human beings and we're all trying to figure out what others around us want. Are they a danger? Are they comfortable? Are they a friend or a foe? Do I flee or do I fight or do I freeze? All those things kind of fit in with this. It's like, well, wait a minute before we go any further to do an appointment, do you have any interest in this? I think that kind of goes right along with keeping the environment safe. Don't rush too quickly because you might get rebuffed for no good reason. And so I like that. I think that answer really fits a lot of what we do. I have no idea why I picked number two given that. I think it's just a matter of creating an atmosphere of trust.

Brian: We teach and I am a calendar junkie. So behaviorally I tend to be more like Sheena and Bill were saying like, if someone called it let's go, let's do a date, and if you ask any of my clients, I am a date hawk junkie person. I just feel like it can be too forward early on. And so part of what I'm glad to hear answer is because I need some of that. I need to learn to slow down a little bit and just let it run its course. And it'll go where it's supposed to go if we trust the process that way. And they don't all need to go, yes. They don't all need to go because sometimes the discovery discount someone out so that can be okay.

Sheena Badani: And when I kind of take a step back and think about some of the great cold emails I've gotten from some SDRs, they're generally sharing some information or something unknown with me in that email. It may be some stat. It could be some industry information. Maybe some interesting tidbit about their company. And then it's more natural to be like," Hey, are you curious to learn more about what I just shared with you," versus," Hey, let's talk tomorrow at four." So I think depends what's in your email also. And what is inaudible based on what you're sharing?

Devin Reed: I think too, as Brian said, can I have five minutes or Sheena you got 30 minutes tomorrow is your guard actually goes up because time is a finite resource. I only have so much time this week, but I actually don't think of interest as a finite resource. It's an infinite thing. You either... it goes up and down throughout your day. Sometimes I'm more or less interested, but you're never thinking, oh, I'm allocating interest to something. Right? And so I think it can kind of kick in loss aversion for people where they're like," I'm going to say no to you because it's easier to say no and keep my 30 minutes than it is to take a gamble with you and like you said, we just met." So, I promised or I teased on the last episode that it switches when you get into a deal because sales is too nuanced, of course, to just have any silver bullet. So, I will tell you that Sheena, the specific CTA is your best friend once you're in a deal. The most effective CTA is the specific CTA. Then open ended so Bill number two, it's still effective. And then the interest CTA, which if you think about it, we're talking about, hey, this is a stranger. I don't know you. Do I want to invest time yet? That dynamic's completely different once you're in a couple meetings, right? You're like, I'm invested, I know this person I've invested time. You don't need to ask if people are interested in a follow- up call. You need to ask for time, obviously make the compelling case for that call, but ask for a specific date and time to help deals move along.

Bill: I'm wondering if the online calendars have had any impact on the specific day and time, because I just had a call from a guy last week wants to get together so I sent him back a note and said," Hey, I'm good Wednesday and Thursday of next week. Here's my calendar. Find a time that works." And boom, just within seconds he's put... I just wonder if the calendaring option is going to change that. Number one, instead of saying," John, I'm available next Wednesday at three," we allow him or her to find their own time. Do you find a lot of people using calendars or is it still kind of rare?

Devin Reed: I see a lot of calendar links. My stance on this, and this is where my Devin Reed opinion gets flared because when I get a cold email and someone's like, and it's usually a little more templated when this happens, but it's like maybe one line on something that I did, but it's usually super generic looks like exciting times at Gong. You could argue everywhere is exciting for some reason or another. And then a very clear here's what we are, here's what we do. And then what... I'm sorry, this me off. If you want to talk more, here's my calendar link. And I'm like, you just cold emailed me and then told me to book time with you? The audacity. However, Bill, to your point, if I know you, I actually appreciate that calendar link because I don't have to email you I can just go click, click, find the times click and then I do respond," Talk to you then I just booked time." So I think what's funny is it's very irritating to very convenient depending on the dynamic of the relationship.

Bill: Yes, absolutely. Yeah. I was thinking more about it once the deal starts to progress. Yeah.

Brian: And this is another opinion that I love to test. Because I have the same reaction you do Dev and I see it as somewhat patronizing. It's like patting people on top of the head.

Devin Reed: Well it's like you're asking if your favor kind of in a way. You're adding a barrier of entry. It's like, you want my time, but then you want me to find the time that works for you. Okay. Great. You

Brian: You have to do the work. You're the prospect. I'm selling to you and you have to do all the work at the first part.

Bill: But your point, Brian is we don't know that.

Brian: We don't know that. No, it's my opinion. Yeah. It's my opinion.

Bill: Yeah, it my opinion too.

Devin Reed: We don't know that one. No very opinion. I don't want to make enemies with Calendly. They're the leader in that space so I was like very mindful of that. So it's a very much an opinion thing, but again, just like all things in sales, it's timing, right? We've talked about the right time to use slides. We've talked about the right time to curse if you feel comfortable or not. So it's a lot of things in sales isn't really a binary always yes or always no. It's if it comes across as authentic and if the timing is right for your buyer. That's kind of the summary. We're on part four of the series and everything we've talked about is yes, there's a clear yes or no, but there's always an and or a but afterwards to help with the timing.

Bill: Also, I think there's a language component of this too. So for example, last week we did the presentation should there be slides in the discovery call? And maybe if I just launch into the slides, maybe that will really decrease my effectiveness. But if I say," Look, I'm going to share a handful of slides. Are you okay with that? Trust me, this is not going to be 100 point slideshow. This is going to be just three." It's how we set these things up too. The how we execute that I think can be even more important than what we execute. The same with the calendar. Look, I hope this is not presumptuous. I'm going to send you my calendar. If you prefer not to do it this way, we'll find another way. If you just kind of make it comfortable, then I think people will be more likely to do it. But a lot of it gets back to how I'm doing it, how I'm positioning it.

Devin Reed: Absolutely. Well that is the end of the series. But before you jump, we always like to give you a little bit of content to follow up with. So, in the show notes, you will find a link to 43 highly effective email CTAs. There's a group for cold emails. There's a group for deal emails and they all follow the rules and the data that we just walked through. So you can literally copy and paste these things, throw them in your Gmail templates, your Outreach, your Salesloft, whatever it is you use you'll be more effective. As always, Brian, you said I think this or last episode it's not never used the specific CTA. It's know your audience mismatch and try different things. So if you're building cadences, lead with interest. Email too maybe throw in the open- ended CTA. You got to kind of test it out and see what works. If you liked today's episode subscribe now so next week's episode will be waiting for you on Monday.

Sheena Badani: And if you really liked the podcast, please leave a review. Five star reviews go a long way to help get the word out there.

Devin Reed: And if you're not ready to give a five, check out another episode and see if we've won you over by then.


After analyzing 300,000 cold emails, we debunked one of sales’ greatest mysteries — and unlocked a strategy to DOUBLE the amount of meetings you book. Here's a hint: The CTA (call to action) you use at the end of your email, matters more than you think. And according to the data, there's one cold email CTA that reigns supreme. Ready to craft the perfect cold email? Tune in to the episode. 

43 Highly effective email CTAs: https://gongh.it/43-ctas-gong-asp

If you missed the Opinions portion of this podcast (aka the first half of the episode), you can listen here: https://link.chtbl.com/PWHzpEQ7

Today's Host

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Danny Wasserman

|GTM Enablement

Today's Guests

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Bryan Neale

|Founder, Blind Zebra
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Bill Caskey

|President, Caskey Achievement Strategies