What happens when your email goes to spam, lost in the shuffle, or it’s just flat out ignored? What happens when your InMail is unnoticed? Well, we can’t cold call, cold calling is dead! After all, in 2007 it took an average of 3.68 cold call attempts to even reach a prospect. Today it takes 8 or more. (Sources: TeleNet and Ovation Sales Group) WRONG! Four words: pick up the phone! Phones are king when it comes to prospecting, and I am here to defend the almighty ruler. Many salespeople are afraid of cold calling. In fact, a study by Behavioral Science Research Press suggested that as many as 40% of salespeople will experience call reluctance, even despite years of experience. With email and social, you can spend time thinking about your message and crafting it perfectly. On a cold call, you must be able to think on your feet, overcome objections, and still manage to have a meaningful conversation that doesn’t waste your prospect’s time. I assure you that if you can overcome this fear, you, too can have valuable conversations that turn into appointments. Those appointments can and will turn into revenue!
The first pro of calling I’d like to highlight is simplicity. The new age of sales has completely revolutionized (and maybe even complicated) how we sell, market, and buy just about anything and everything. However, picking up the phone and making a phone call is practically effortless and very “human”. When you call a prospect, it’s an opportunity to quickly and clearly convey your message. The perfect email can take forever and a day to craft with no promise of a response. According to grasshopper.com, “57% of people think email is spam unless it is directly relevant to them, even if they know the vendor.” With practice and experience, you will discover ways to navigate around gatekeepers, quickly engage your prospect, and even warm up the call. The second pro of calling I’d like to highlight is that it’s different. While most of your competitors are utilizing social and email outreach, you can differentiate yourself with an impact phone call. The final pro of calling is in the way it benefits both you and your prospect. When making a call to a prospect, one simple question can lead to sudden word vomit from experiencing a great deal of frustration. This benefits you as a salesperson for obvious reasons, but most importantly, it also helps your prospect begin to trust you and become excited about your proposition to solve their pain points. In conclusion, phones truly are king when it comes to prospecting. Bow down to the King and soon you’ll be making royalties of your own! – Megan Harrison
People are constantly on the move, and information is more readily available than at any other point in history; this makes getting someone on the phone harder and less likely than ever with approximately 0% of cold voicemails left getting a response. Furthermore, a recent study conducted by the University of Iowa found that auditory recall of information lags far behind information presented using visual and tactile methods. With roughly 65% of the population self-identifying as visual learners SDRs need to carefully consider how they approach securing qualified appointments.
Using e-mail allows us to communicate with our prospects in a multitude of ways. By utilizing thoughtful and relevant subject lines, we’re able to grab a prospect’s attention to ensure that they’re thoroughly engaged in the subsequent text. The implementation of graphics, videos, and clickable content engage more senses and in the process, make visual cues stronger, and improve overall information retention. They, also, increase attention span by implementing a number of communication methods (visual, auditory, tactile) we can ensure that prospects not only retain the information we present to them, but are paying attention to it! At sales-I, we’ve used this information to create a number of unique e-mail templates and implemented e-mail strategies that have resulted in e-mail open rates of 71%, with 51% of those e-mails resulting in clicks of included video or web-linked content. As a result, we’re converting roughly 50% of booked appointments to quality opportunities.
Prospects want their communication to move with them, at their speed, and be accessible around their hectic schedule. Making e-mail the ideal method of generating quality appointments for your sales team. -Wes Griffiths
Ponder this for a second, over 90% of B2B buyers are now active and involved in social media (IDC). If you’re reading this, chances are you are too. Right now millions of potential customers are posting, commenting, and tweeting for a need for your solution but how do you help them find you? The answer: Social Selling. Social Selling is lead gen/customer engagement technique growing in popularity as more buyers shift toward conversational channels. These channels can be sites like Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, and even Youtube. With Linkedin alone claiming half a billion users from more than 200 countries — there’s never been a better time to explore social selling for your team. In fact, Forbes reported that 78.6% of salespeople who use social media for selling out-perform those who don’t. This comes as no surprise since the success rate of cold calls to appointments is only 0.3% (Baylor University’s Keller Center for Research). My own company is part of a growing trend involving the gradual push away from office phones — making it even harder for reps to get a connect with decision-makers. Emails that come into inboxes are “guilty until proven innocent” — whereas connection requests and InMail seem to pique a natural sense of curiosity. Linkedin is a powerful tool that provides reps with a platform to constantly educate and engage with prospects. Furthermore, sales reps can leverage not just their mutual connections but those of their colleagues for warm introductions. The results: Organizations using Social Selling have seen a 10-20% increase in win rate, 20-30% acceleration in cycle time, and 10-15% increase in revenue (Kissmetrics).
When engaged in Social Selling, my tools of choice are Linkedin (equipped with Sales Navigator), Ecquire, and Google Alerts. Navigator allows your reps to easily track leads, accounts, trigger events, and more. Ecquire saves your reps time by seamlessly importing Linkedin profiles over to Salesforce. Google Alerts helps reps stay current on industry trends and offers material to post on social media. In total, I’ll spend about 3-4 hours of my day on Linkedin and can reach up to 100 prospects (depending on time taken to personalized). By focusing on contacts from one account at a time, I’m able to stay light on my feet when sending out my messages. I’ll use InMail to send hyper-targeted and personalized messaging to our business leader personas and use connection requests with a short note for the rest. On average, when my invitations to connect are accepted it takes about 2-3 touches to get a response with most being overwhelmingly positive. Given the casual nature of social media (vs phone and email), don’t be surprised if a target prospect responds back after business hours or even on the weekends — snag that meeting then and there using Linkedin’s chat feature! I could go on about the value of social selling but allow me to leave you all with this — if a lead developed via social media is 7x more likely to close, why wouldn’t you have your reps leverage social selling today (IBM)? If you’re not already, your competitors certainly are.- Alexander Salas-Barrios
About the Bloggers
-Megan Harrison- Phone
Megan Harrison and I am an Account Development Executive at iCIMS. My goal is to help educate potential customers in the enterprise space on our talent acquisition suite, and show them how it will save them time, money, and drastically improve workflow efficiency. While prospecting these accounts, I use different methods of outbound prospecting and relationship building including (but certainly not limited to) email, social, and cold calling. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my 4 cats, pro wrestling, Mexican food, and going to concerts.
-Wes Griffiths – Email
Wes Griffiths recently joined the sales-i SDR team after spending 4 years starting and developing a private lacrosse company. The daily challenges presented by the SDR role have allowed me to draw on my competitive nature and passion for contributing to the team.
-Alexander Salas-Barrios – Social
Alexander is an SVAcademy fellow and a Business Development Representative at CircleCI. Make sure to reach out on LinkedIn if you have any comments or questions.
All great points!
This is a great article that points out the need for diversity in the SDR role specifically, but also applies to sales teams in general no matter the role. Kudos for this one people! Keep that stuff up!
It’s a three-way photo-finish.
Horses-for-courses (to continue the racing analogy).
All three provide compelling cases in their own right.
However, the combination of all three is the perfect trifecta.
Growing sales for your business requires SDRs to use all avenues possible. I know I have. And my success rate in different media actually changed with the company I was with and not the product I sold. Which to me suggests that it is the sales culture that determines how we make connects, meetings, and sales.