I have a very simple rule for prospecting: If you want to know tactics and best practices for getting to hard-to-reach prospects, then listen to the guys who run appointment setting organizations or outbound call centers. They do this for a living at scale.
I was putting together a preso for Sirius Decisions with Mike Damphousse from GreenLeads. He is the master at prospecting. He explained to me how they have changed their approach and then provided an A-MAZING example.
The game is changing, even for the outbound masters
Buyers just don’t pick up their phones very much anymore. I talked about this problem in one of my earlier posts on cold calling. If you walked into an outbound call center two years ago, you would see reps staring at a list of people to call and making hundreds of dials. They would hang up on voicemails and wouldn’t dare spend the time to write emails.
That has changed:
1. Every rep has a monitor with LinkedIn on it — There is no better application for finding the right person. If you help reps understand the buyer’s role and company, then they WILL be able to find “the guy” on Linkedin. (Editor’s Note: “the guy” is a phrase for the right person, male or female)
2. They leave voicemails — I love this irony — Prospectors who used to hang up on voice mails now leave voicemails at the very time that no one returns voicemails. Having fun yet? The goal of voice mail is to warm up the call. As a matter of fact, according to Damphousse: “We don’t even leave a phone number. We tell them we are going to send an email and to just respond. ”
3. They write well-written, creative emails — Buyers prefer digital (duh). The well-written, carefully optimized email is a must-have in today’s phone-based selling environment. Increase the power of email by using an email application to track opens and clicks and call them when you know they are thinking about you.
4. They use social data intelligence — That’s right, the kings of dial and run are now using buyer data to make their calls more effective. As a matter of fact, see below:
The Don Draper story
So, Mike and I have a shared client that needs to reach out to top CPG Brand Managers. They are tough to reach. Busy, distracted and not down with hanging out all day taking sales calls. We had to get crafty. He told me the story of how one of his reps got a brand manager at Hershey’s.
As they say on Law and Order: “These are their stories”. Follow along:
1. Rep finds “the guy” on Linkedin
2. Uses LinkedIn to search for links to other social networks such as Facebook. (If that fails, looks the buyer up on the common social networks)
3. Socially surrounds “the guy” (follow on Twitter, like on Facebook, etc)
4. Combs social data to find something the buyer cares about and discovers an interest — Mad Men
5. Uses that interest to create an amazing email
6. Gets the meeting
7. Rings the bell
The Email that got “The Guy”
The email shown here got the meeting. Here are some key points:
1. The email is short, very short
2. The Don Draper quote is above the fold and interest grabbing and somewhat mysterious enticing the recipient to read it
3. The content connects the prospect’s interests to the sales goals (Draper again)
4. Focused on the call-to-action which is schedule a meeting. Many reps try to sell in the email – bad call. The goal is to sell the meeting.
5. Adds “Sent Using Blackberry” (Damphousse note: This tells the buyer you are thinking about them and not a robot)
This was brilliant and in the spirit of the Funnelholic — FUN.