How often do you find yourself saying, “Instead of calling, I’d rather just send a text or write an email.”
This shift in the way we communicate—socially and professionally—is one of the challenges facing today’s sales organizations. It’s not easy to pick up the phone and call someone—especially when texting and email has replaced the phone conversation.
As a Sales Development Representative (SDR), my job is to set up qualified appointments for our sales team. But with 57 percent of the buyer’s journey being completed before even speaking to a sales representative, cold calling is not only difficult, but less effective.
Today, the out-of-the-blue pitch is more like a Hail Mary than moving the ball strategically down the field. But calling a prospect when they are showing a buying signal is extremely valuable, because you’re meeting them at the right time along their journey. A buying signal can be engaging with my emails, taking a “test drive” of our product, or other behaviors indicating interest and readiness to purchase. I connect with prospects on a fairly regular basis who either laugh (in a good way) as soon as they hear my name, or they say something along the lines of, “I’m glad you called, I’ve been meaning to reply to your emails but I’ve been too busy.”
Those connections hit the mark, and often those calls turn into a more in-depth conversation. But these days, sales teams have another difficult hoop to jump through before getting prospects on the phone: find their numbers.
When Mr. or Ms. Prospect shows buying signs and it’s time for me to pick up the phone, I start to hope that our CRM has the correct phone number, not “555-555-5555.” And if I’m lucky, they will have put their corporate main number in the form fill, saving me the time of going to their website to find the main number—but this still forces me through the dreaded phone tree.
One of my least favorite things about calling main numbers is dealing with the systems that ask you to speak the name of the individual you are trying to call. Trust me, they are not fun. For example things like this happen often; “Phil Spring.” “Did you mean, Bill Sage?” “No, Phil Spring.” “Okay, dialing Bill Sage.” CLICK. The headache that often comes with dealing with automated phone systems at corporations is no different then trying to call the airline company. Even getting an operator these days is a challenge. As you have probably experienced, it feels like a miracle when pressing “0” brings you to an actual human being, instead of resetting the automated attendant.
A growing trend that I am beginning to experience is that more and more companies only have a sales line. And a common response I hear when requesting to speak with one of my prospects is, “They don’t have a phone, email is the best way to reach them.” Or, “I’m sorry, I’m not able to give their direct line out.” This typically leads to my deflated response, “I have their email address, I’ll just send them an email. Thanks.”
With these time-wasting and ineffective marks against cold calling (two adjectives salespeople hate), strategic email communications are more impactful—and important—than ever. The power of a great “Why You Why You Now” email with a compelling piece of content that resonates with your buyer can accelerate the time it takes to get your prospect to a phone conversation.
The challenge now becomes, how do you know which piece of content to send your prospect? And with 65 percent of sales reps saying they can’t find content to send prospects, sales enablement is a hot topic.
This is where marketing and sales alignment, particularly when it comes to content, becomes key. While I’m emailing, calling, and educating prospects on our product, I’m also searching for the right piece of marketing content to send them via email. And, again, salespeople don’t want to be wasting time. It needs to be easy.
Internally, Kapost solves this problem with the Kapost Content Library. The real value I get out of the Library is that every content asset is tagged to a specific persona, and specific stage in the funnel. This enables me to quickly go into our Content Library and select a piece of content, based on where my prospect is in their buying process. Without a doubt, my ability to accelerate prospects interest is dependent on the quality content that is delivered to me from our marketing team.
But if you don’t get have software in place to manage this process, Kathleen Pierce of Illumina outlines the seven steps you need to take to ensure your sales team gets the content they need to curb the cold calling. Check out her post to get started—and if you get a follow up email from me, I’ll be curious to hear what you think.