So, it’s been two weeks since you’ve last heard from that high-value prospect, what’s the deal? Did you reach them at a bad time? Did you overwhelm them by being too persistent? Was your outreach dull and provided no value? In reality, it could have been a combination of the three.
No worries, it happens to the best of us, which is why I’ve provided five tips to help maintain the momentum of sales prospecting without annoying the prospect. Move your prospect further in their customer journey with these tips.
Not all prospects communicate the same way. That’s why as a salesperson, it’s your job to familiarize yourself with each channel and the pros and cons of using them.
1. Familiarize Yourself with Common Prospecting Channels
- Email – Perhaps the most widely-used prospecting channel today is email. Email allows for an efficient transfer of information, a paper trail for conversations, and for prospects to digest your pitch more time.
Unfortunately, because email is so widely-used, this also means your prospects’ inboxes are regularly flooded with job tasks and cold outreach. So, consider brushing up on your copywriting skills, drafting some catchy subject lines, and even embedding HTML images in your copy to stand out from the crowd.
- Phone – Another way to stand out from the crowd is to simply hit the phones. Since your prospects likely receive hundreds of cold pitches every month, getting them on the phone can speed up the prospecting process. Phone calls also allow for a more personable prospecting experience.
However, not every prospect will have time that aligns with your outreach, so be prepared to leave a voicemail. Consider working on making your voicemails clear, concise, and actionable. Listen to your calls and voicemails with your outbound call tracking tool to reflect on what went well and where there’s room for improvement.
- Social Media – Today’s more “hip” prospecting channel is social media. More prospecting is taking place on platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter where people can easily interact via direct messaging and establish a rapport before talking business. It’s easier than ever before to manage your profiles with social media suites putting all of your information in one place.
The downside to using social media for prospecting is a prolonged process. While you may get to understand a prospect and their business's pain points more thoroughly, it’s difficult to carve out this time for each and every prospect.
2. Provide Valuable Information or Content
Stop trying to convince a prospect they need to use your product and start showing them how you can genuinely help solve their business challenge. In the prospecting stage, you can express this care by providing relevant information or content that a prospect can resonate with.
For example, let's say your prospect works at a small healthcare company and your content marketing team just published their ebook on “15 Healthcare Marketing Best Practices.” So, in addition to giving your pitch, you reference an interesting research point from the ebook and leave a link for the prospect to read it themselves.
Buyers and their business challenges come first. The more ways you can help them, the less “cold” your outreach sounds.
3. Have Clear Next Steps After Each Touchpoint
This tip may seem obvious but it can be easy to overlook when managing lots of prospects at once. That’s why it’s important to establish a cadence and have clear communication on next steps with each prospect.
How often does your prospect prefer to be contacted? What is their preferred method of communication? When is the next meeting going to be scheduled? What will be the priorities for that meeting? It’s great that your phone call went well, but now it’s time to come away with some action items.
Don’t let a prospect off the hook with the ole “we’ll get back to you on that.” You should be able to come out of each discussion with some expectations. This is what it takes to be a proactive and prepared salesperson.
4. Be Reasonably Persistent with Outreach
Did you know that 70 percent of sales email chains stop after one unanswered email? Yikes, that’s a lot of salespeople throwing in the towel way too soon.
Remember, prospects have their own set of day-to-day tasks, preoccupations, and goals to hit. Maybe their organization is going through a financial rough patch or a team’s priorities are changing.
Whatever the reason, not everyone will have time set aside that aligns with your outreach, and even if they do, that doesn’t mean they’re going to respond right away. This is why it’s crucial to send timely follow-up emails that capture the attention of your prospects (see tip #2).
Following up once with a prospect can increase your chances of receiving a response by up to 40 percent! Still didn’t get a response? Send 1-2 more follow-ups. Does your prospect prefer phone calls? Follow-up with a brief voicemail. This type of persistence isn’t just a sales best practice, but it shows that you care about the needs of the prospect and their organization.
However, while 2-3 follow-ups are the sweet-spot for outreach, avoid overdoing it. This could annoy the prospect and end up harming the relationship – which brings us to the final tip.
5. Know When to Move On, But Leave the Door Open
Alright, so you’ve exhausted your outreach efforts but to no avail. No worries, this is all part of the prospecting process.
While you’ll want to pump the brakes on sending follow-up emails and phone calls, a savvy salesperson will send open-ended closing messages to their non-responsive prospects. In sales, these are sometimes referred to as “break up” messages.
To “break up” with a prospect, start by crafting a simple message letting them know that because of their inactivity, you’re going to cease communications.
Example: “I haven’t heard back from you after my last few messages, so I’m going to assume you’ve gone in a different direction.”
Next, let them know that you’re more than happy to open the discussion back up at a point in the future. This is important because it puts the onus back on the prospect and ensures that they’re the ones in the driver seat – they’re the ones in control.
Example: “If you’d like to reconnect in the future, feel free to book some time on my calendar [here]. Always glad to help out however I can.”
To get even more personalized, leave some links to your company’s content that relevantly covers your prospects’ business challenge. This lasting value proposition reinforces that you’re here to help, not just sell.
Example: “PS, we just published this video on 5 tips for working around [the business challenge], I hope this is able to help you and your team.”
Once you've got these pieces together, the break up letter is complete, you’re onto the next prospect, and the wheels of sales prospecting continue to turn.
Keep On Prospecting
Unfortunately, you’re not going to be able to pass each prospect through the sales funnel, that’s just the way it is. However, by practicing and applying the 5 tips above, you’re sure to have buyers more engaged with your outreach. And, if you need help building your target account list, check out KickFire's free prospecting tool.