How to Effectively Variant Test with SalesLoft

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When it comes to Sales Engagement, one of the major value propositions is the idea of email analytics. Being able to understand your teams open, click, and reply rates on the thousands of emails sent every week. These numbers allow us to understand if our sellers are truly connecting in the market and if they are driving real engagement.

The problem is everyone gathers this data, but few truly utilize it to improve go to market strategy and drive more revenue. One of our core beliefs at InStereo is the idea of optimization. We can always be getting better. Teams should be using the analytics they gather through sales engagement to tweak messaging and improve over time.

In order to make this happen your team needs to learn how to effectively leverage variant testing. Variant testing allows you to directly test variables in your sales approach to understand how your buyers react to your content. So, let’s take a look at how to test, what to test, and how you can execute on your findings.

How to properly variant test

The true process of variant testing is not rocket science. I like to compare it to a 7th grade science experiment. Remember when you learned about the scientific method? It looked something like this.

I won’t bore you and break this down piece by piece but it really is this simple. Propose a question like, “would email #2 in our outbound cadence get more replies if it had a video instead of a link to a blog?” Then test it. Create a variant test and see which one gets more opens, clicks, and replies.

The best piece of advice I can offer is to only test one variable at a time. Too often we see teams testing multiple variables in the same variant test and in the end it makes your test irrelevant.

So what should you actually test?

My first recommendation is if you are going to start testing effectively, look at the results of tests people have already done for you. Whether that’s internally or by our friends at SalesLoft. Their team has already analyzed hundreds of millions of interactions to create recommendations based on real data.

Resources like that can be great as they give you the big picture overview but every company and market is different and that is why you need to run your own tests. Testing can start small and easy by analyzing things like subject lines and calls to action in your emails. They are very easy to change and you should start to see results quickly.

You can also get more complex with your testing and focus on messaging. Try emails with different value adds testing which blogs, whitepapers, and videos people are clicking on and engaging with. To go a level even further you can start to take a look at emails that are direct vs indirect, shorter vs longer, and have different tones.

You have the data, now what?

To repeat myself from earlier, this is where the vast majority of teams fall short. They run a test, they have some results but now what? In order to bring this full circle you need to have a leader or team that can focus on execution. Someone that manages your variants, gathers results and applies them to future cadences.

What we have found most effective in the teams we have worked with is to create a committee focused on content that meets monthly to manage cadences, templates, and the execution of variants. This committee would collectively come up with the ideas for testing, execute the tests, report on the findings, and then run that back month over month.

By doing this you create a culture of self improvement and you will see the results begin to impact your business. A piece of advice we would have is to create a diverse committee. Gather together a select group of people from sales, marketing, operations, and even a senior rep. This will allow for healthy discussion and growth as a team.

Lastly, make this fun. Become experimental and try new things. I once worked with a team that made a game out of it. They were launching a new cadence for a new product and they had everyone on the team right their best intro email. The voted on the top two and there they had their first variant test of the cadence.


If you have questions about this or want to learn more about optimization of SalesLoft please reach out to us. We would love to connect and work with you!

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