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Video: Increasing Your Efficiency (0:58)

A brief reminder of the importance of efficiency in sales

Hey, it’s Kyle from HubSpot Academy. You probably don’t need anyone to tell you that, as a sales rep, time is a precious commodity. So it’s important for you to find ways to focus on the most important activities. Time spent on administrative activities or on sorting through contact records trying to find the one you’re looking for is a huge drain on sales efficiency. In fact, Pace Productivity did a study and found that only 22% of sales reps’ time is actually spent selling — the rest of their time is spent on other activities! Lucky for you, The HubSpot Growth Stack can help with this a lot. If you take a little bit of time to familiarize yourself with the time-saving options inside the Growth Stack, you’ll be able to cut down on the time you spend on non-selling stuff so you can focus on sales.
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Video: How can custom views and task queues help you be more efficient? (4:40)

HubSpot tools are all about helping you be more efficient. In this video, you'll learn how task queues can help you work faster by giving you a playlist you can workthrough.

Hey, it’s Kyle from HubSpot Academy. Let’s talk about tasks and task queues, and how they can help you become more efficient.

Tasks are simple reminders. If you want to remember to follow up with one of your contacts who’s going out of town for a couple of weeks, create a task for the day they get back, and you’ll get a reminder email to follow up with them on that day.

Task queues are like playlists for tasks. You put some tasks together into a queue, and then you can work through them. The queue will move you from one task to the next, and for each task it’ll bring you to the record where action is required. For example, if you have a custom view of people you need to follow up with, you can add everyone in that view to a task queue, and then you’ll be able to work through them, one right after another, until you’ve followed up with everyone in that view.

Here are four best practices to help you get the most out of tasks and task queues:

First, create multiple queues. Think about all the things you have to do on a regular basis: making contact with people, following up, rescheduling missed calls, and so on. Create a queue for any action you take regularly. That way, as you come across people you need to take that action with, you can just add them to the queue and then work through them all at once. There’s no limit to the number of queues you can create, so feel free to make as many as you need.

Next, create tasks in bulk. Anytime you’re on the Contacts page, you can select multiple contacts and create tasks for all of them at once. The best way to do this is to create custom views that show you the people you need to take a particular action with. Let’s say you have a queue for following up with people. You could go to the Contacts page and add a filter for Last Contacted so that you only see people who haven’t been contacted recently. Then you could add a filter for HubSpot Owner and set it to Me so that you only see the contacts that are assigned to you. You could also add a filter for Lead Status so that you only see people you know you’re actively trying to contact. This would give you a list of people you know you need to follow up with. Add them all to your queue, and you’ll be able to work through them all in a single go. As an added bonus, you can save those filters as a custom view, and then anytime you want to add people to your follow-up queue, you’ll know right where to look.

One important thing to remember when creating tasks in bulk is make sure you set a due date for yourself — whether that’s the end of today, the end of the week, or any other time. That way, if you don’t make it all the way through the queue, you’ll get an email reminder so nobody gets forgotten.

Next, when you create tasks, regardless of whether you create them in bulk or one at a time, be sure to set the appropriate task type. There are three options here: call, email, and to-do. If you set the task type to call, then when you get to that task in your task queue, you’ll be taken to the calling tab on that record, and you can make a phone call from inside the CRM. No need to dial a phone — just click the call button and the CRM will connect you. You can either call from your browser, using your computer’s speaker and mic, or you can have the CRM connect to your phone so you can use that. Either way, you’ll be able to record the call and take notes as you talk. Cool stuff.

If you select email as the task type, you’ll be taken to the email tab. Here, you can compose new emails, of course, but you can also send emails using email templates. And if you’re really interested in efficiency, you can use the the sequences tool to send one email and automate a string of follow ups if the contact doesn’t respond.

For to-do tasks, you’ll be taken to the notes tab on the contact record, and it’ll be up to you to take the appropriate action.

Regardless of the task type you select, once you’ve completed the action, the task will be automatically marked as complete. You can also set a follow-up task to make sure you continue working your lead in the future.

Finally, as you work through your task queues, make sure you update the Lead Status property on your contacts and companies. Lead Status is a property that keeps track of how close a lead is to becoming an opportunity. Your team can customize the options so that they match your sales process, but there are default options that can still be useful. If you keep this property updated, you’ll be able to sort and filter your contacts and companies based on how much you’ve worked with them, and that’ll help you bump up the old lead-to-opportunity conversion rate.
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Video: How can email templates help you be more efficient? (8:40)

Email templates are another great way to save time. In this video, you'll learn how to use templates to maximize your efficiency without sacrificing personalization

Hey, it’s Kyle from HubSpot Academy. Let’s talk about email templates. An email template is a pre-written email that you can update with personalized content. You can use templates to create and send emails more quickly, which leaves you with more time to focus on selling. The Growth Stack includes an email template tool, and this video is all about how to use that tool to send personalized emails more efficiently.

Every template in HubSpot Sales needs three things: a name, a subject, and a body.

The template’s name is only displayed internally. Your contacts won’t see it, so you can call it anything you want, but make sure the names are clear and easy to remember. If your templates will be shared with other members of your team, work with them to come up with a naming convention that makes sense to everyone.

However you decide to name your templates, you’ll want to make sure the names explain who the email should be sent to and what the email is for. For example, if you have a sales process where the final decision maker often joins the conversation later on, and you’re creating a template that provides them with a product comparison to look over while they make up their mind, you might want to call the template “Decision Maker - Product Comparison.”

Next is the template’s subject, which will become the subject line of the emails you send using that template. The subject line is the part of the template you should spend the most time thinking about. As it turns out, subject lines matter. A lot. This is the first impression your contacts get of your email, and if they don’t like it, they won’t open it. One study found that 33% of recipients open emails based on subject line alone, and 69% of recipients report messages as spam based on their subject lines alone. Harsh.

The good news is that using email templates makes it easy to improve your subject lines over time. As you send emails using your templates, HubSpot Sales tracks how often those emails are opened. If you notice a particular template isn’t being opened by anyone you send it to, there’s probably something wrong with your subject line. Try changing it up, and see if you get better results.

If you’re struggling to come up with a great subject line, here’s a good place to start:

First, think about your prospect and the problem you’re helping them solve. Let’s say you represent a recruiting agency that helps people find, acquire, and onboard new talent. That’s a fine mission statement, but it’s too long for a subject line. Figure out a way to express the same idea in three words or less. So if you are a recruiting agency, the one-word version would probably be “hiring.” In that case, your subject line can be as simple as, “Question about hiring.” In general, you want your subject line to be as short as possible. “Question about hiring,” “Thoughts on payroll,” “Idea for online rental payments” — whatever it is you help people do, get that into the subject line in as few words as possible. Try to keep it below 30 characters, because if your email gets opened on a mobile device, your subject line’s going to get cut off at that point anyway. And that’s worth keeping in mind, since 66% of all emails are opened on mobile devices.

Finally, the body is the actual text of the email itself. A good starting point for the body of a template is to copy the body of an email you’ve sent previously that got a good response from the person you sent it to. Once you have that in the template editor, look for parts that are only relevant to the person you sent it to. A good way to do this is to ask yourself, “If I was going to send this email to a different person, which parts would I have to change?” Those are the personalized parts of the email.

Some of these personalized parts will be basic things, like the person’s name and the company they work for. Since you probably have this information stored in the CRM, you can use personalization tokens to fill it in. Personalization tokens pull information from properties on contact and company records. They’re great because they’ll save you a little bit of time and help you avoid silly mistakes like misspelling a contact’s name. But personalization tokens will only take you so far. If you really want to make your email template feel like a personalized email, there’s more work required.

If you look back at the email you’re turning into a template, you’ll probably find bits of personalization that can’t be filled in by using tokens. Maybe a passing reference to a previous conversation, or some detail that’s specific to the person’s company or location. These are the parts that really make an email feel personalized, and to maintain that level of personalization, you’ll need to use fill-in-the-blank areas.

Here’s the deal: You should be customizing every email you send. If you create a template and send it without manually adding any information, you risk falling into all the same traps as you would if you were using mail merge.

Think about it: How many times have you gotten an email that has your name in the greeting — or even in the subject line — but it turns out to be totally irrelevant to you? How often do you actually engage with an email like that? Mmm, probably about never. Your buyers are no different. They’re smart, and they’ll know right away if you’re sending them an email that you’ve sent to a thousand other people. Even if you’re offering them something they might actually need, people won’t engage with you if you make them feel like a name on a list.

What this means for you as you’re creating your templates is that you need to make sure there’s room for you to drop in things that are unique to the recipient. These fill-in-the-blank areas are the secret ingredients that make templates resonate with your contacts. Having placeholders in your template that require you to personalize the email each time you send it will make the recipient feel like you wrote the email just for them. How you do this is up to you. You might put a few blank lines up at the top so you can reference a previous conversation, or add a few lines at the end to reference an upcoming meeting.

If you’re creating a template to use when you’re first making contact with someone, you can add reminders to yourself to explain why you’re reaching out. Maybe you were referred to them by one of their colleagues. Perhaps their company was recently featured in the news and you have a way to help with whatever changes they’re going through. In that case, you might add a note in the middle of the email that says something like, “RECENT NEWS EVENT GOES HERE.” Whatever you do, make sure it’s something that’ll make sense to you when you use the template to send an email.

By the way, when you use a template to send an email, double-check to make sure you’ve filled in all the blanks. It would be pretty embarrassing to send an email that still says, “RECENT NEWS EVENT GOES HERE.”

As you add personalization tokens and fill-in-the-blank areas to your templates, have a goal of referring to the buyer twice as often as you refer to yourself. Make sure the email is primarily about them and their needs. This is especially important when you’re first establishing a relationship with the person. Your ability to help them will only matter if you can prove that you understand what they need help with.

Once you’ve added personalization tokens and fill-in-the-blank areas, you’ll be left with the static pieces of text that will probably be included in every email you send using this template. Make sure this static text really shines. Look back over the email exchanges you’ve had with past customers. But this time, instead of looking at what you wrote, pay attention to what they wrote. When they tell you about their goals and challenges, are there particular words and phrases that come up again and again from one customer to the next? Make sure your templates use those words and phrases. People will be more likely to talk with you when you’re speaking their language.

Once you’ve given your template a clear name, a short subject line, and a personalized body, you’ll be ready to save it and start sending it to your contacts. Go ahead and create a queue of contacts you want to send that template to, and then work through the queue and use the template for each email. But keep in mind that email templates are like cruise control: They help you maintain a steady speed, but you still have to keep your eyes on the road and steer. So be sure to take a few seconds to personalize each email before you hit send, and you’ll be well on your way to sending more  personalized emails in less time. Happy selling.
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Quiz: Email templates

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Blog Post: 28 Templates Guaranteed to Get a Response

Read some expert advice on creating effective templates and look over 28 examples. 

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Video: Templates and Task Queues in Action (3:10)

An example of how you might use email templates and task queues together

Let’s take a look at how you can use templates, custom views, and task queues together to improve your efficiency. For this example, we’ll use the fictional example of Bob at Groundskeeper, Inc. Bob sells landscaping services to small property management companies. Because he works primarily with business owners, it’s pretty common for his contacts to get busy and forget to respond to his emails. He typically gives his new contacts five chances to respond before he gives up and looks for a different contact at their company.

Bob recently sent his fifth and final email to a contact. He decided to try something new and tell the contact that this was their last chance to buy. Here’s the email he sent:

Hey Chris,

I was just going through my records and realized I haven’t heard back from you on the lawn maintenance contract we discussed for A1 Management. Typically, when I don’t get a response from someone after a couple of attempts, it’s because they’re either really busy or not interested. If landscaping is still a priority, let me know. Otherwise, I’ll let you go.

Have a great weekend,

Bob

This email got a response the same day Bob sent it, so he wants to turn it into a template and see if it works for other contacts who have gone silent. So he copies the email and creates a new template. Bob names this template “Owner - Breakup email” because it’s the final email he’ll send when working with a company owner. He makes the subject “Question about landscaping” and pastes the email into the body.

In order to turn this email into a template that can be sent to other contacts, Bob needs to be sure to change everything that’s unique to Chris. First he looks for information that can be handled by personalization tokens. He finds two. So he replaces Chris’s name with a token for the First Name contact property, and he replaces A1 Management with a token for the Name company property. Next, Bob looks for opportunities to use fill-in-the-blank areas. He finds two of these as well. First he replaces “lawn maintenance contract” with “SERVICE OFFERING GOES HERE.” He also replaces “Have a great weekend” with “PERSONALIZED SIGN-OFF GOES HERE.”

Bob saves the template, and now he has a breakup email that can be used anytime a contact stops responding to him. Now it’s time to put it to use. Bob goes to the Tasks page and creates a new queue called “Break up.” Next, he goes to the Contacts page to identify the people he needs to send the breakup email to. He wants to send it to people he’s reached out to at least five times, so he adds a filter for “Number of Times Contacted” and sets it to “is greater than 4.” He also wants to make sure he doesn’t send this email to anyone who has engaged with him, so he adds a filter for “Lead Status” and sets it to “New.” Finally, Bob adds a filter for “HubSpot Owner” and sets it to “Me.” He’s now seeing a list of people he needs to send the breakup email to. He saves this view as “Send Breakup Email” and then adds everyone in it to the “Break up” queue. And now Bob can go back to the task queue and work through these contacts all in a single go. Great work, Bob!
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Tool Walk-Through: Task Queues (2:13)

A walk-through of task queues.

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Tool Walk-Through: Email Templates (1:33)

A walk-through of the email templates tool

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Help Doc: Sending Templates from Gmail

An explanation of how to send email templates from Gmail, using the HubSpot Sales email extension

User Guide

Help Doc: Sending Templates from Gmail

An explanation of how to send email templates from Outlook, using the HubSpot Sales email extension