Sales has evolved. The shift from outside sales to inside sales. The shift from uninformed cold calling to advanced prospecting. Technology innovations are multifaceted and growing.
Some of those innovations include voicemail automation, sending videos to prospects and texting. These tactics are not universally applied and their effectiveness is not proven. That shouldn’t discourage any sales team from researching and experimenting.
Here’s a look at the effectiveness of these channels and tips for success.
Does it work?
First, there are two variations of voicemail automation.
Voicemail Recording – Sales reps can record multiple voicemail messages and select which message they want to send upon calling a lead. This allows for perfect audio conditions and a friendly, upbeat tone – instead of a desperate plea.
Voicemail Drops – A newer idea is where voicemails can be delivered without the phone ringing. Some consider this a less intrusive approach as prospects can consume information on their own time. However, telemarketers and debt collectors are using the same method. Be cautious with voicemail drops until more is known about how they’re perceived.
Despite the widespread use of voicemails, there’s little reliable data about their effectiveness. One of the few statistical bites is from insidesales.com, who said a well-crafted voicemail can improve response rates by 3 to 22 percent, the average was 4.8 percent.
Regardless of strategy, one thing is certain – pre-recording messages saves time. And that’s reason alone to try things out.
Inside Sales provided a five point approach to each voicemail.
- Opening Statement – Who, what and why?
- Trust Ladder – Speak to each individual at a time and work up the ladder.
- Positioning Statement – The value proposition, USP, etc.
- Cool Feature and Key Benefit – Specific to audience but value is obvious
- Proof Story: Closing line to build trust and credibility.
- Commit to Continue: Always encouraging a meeting or next step
They also recommend the length of the voicemail is 18 to 30 seconds. Anything past the 30-second mark has a higher chance of being ignored.
Voicemails need to progress the sales cycle. Many sales reps focus on getting a callback, but if the call back results in an unproductive, uninformed conversation – it’s a waste. Instead, lay out desired next steps and provide helpful details like price range, features, integrations, etc.
A big component of voicemail success is making sure they go to the right person. Direct dial technology addresses that challenge.
Does it work?
Using direct dial technology instead of traditional switchboard dialing isn’t new, but it’s more important than ever. For one, direct dials allow you to bypass a gatekeeper or directory. More importantly, data decay causes sales rep to waste time on disconnected or incorrect numbers.
One study saw a sales rep 3x the amount of meetings when given twice the amount of direct dial leads.
Another found that sales reps dialed almost twice as fast, connected with prospects in eight fewer dials and were 147 percent more likely to connect with a VP when using direct dials. It’s clear that using direct dial tools is a clear win for efficiency.
Success revolves around finding a reliable vendor or using proprietary technology.
Prospectify instantly verifies contact data including direct lines at the moment it’s users search for their desired persona(s) at their target companies, so the direct dial (and email) will be accurate. The benefit for individuals sales reps is that they can bypass gatekeepers and speak directly with the target contact.
Learn more about the Prospecitfy data verification capability and platform – including LOTS of direct dials. 🙂
Does it work?
Our society is glued to smartphones, so it only makes sense that texting is now a sales tactic. People generally ignore emails all day but feel more obliged to answer a text.
One study on texting prospects had a compelling conclusion, “prospects who are sent text messages convert at a rate 40 percent higher than those who didn’t receive a text.“
However, this stat doesn’t assist with texting strategy and omits crucial detail. The study, done by the newly-acquired Velocify, tracked prospects who were texted:
- Before contact.
- Before and after contact.
- After contact.
The prospects that texted after contact closed 112 percent better than the average conversion rate. As expected, texting prospects before contact lead to negative results.
The first step to texting prospects is establishing straightforward but useful guidelines. Such as:
- Professionalism – Avoid slang, emojis, etc.
- Direct and purposeful – Make sure there is a clear reasoning behind the text. Follow up call? Sending resource – why?
- Brief – There’s no reason to go beyond a few lines of text.
- Seldom and business hours – Keep texts during the prospect’s normal business hour, don’t pester.
If you are able to engage a prospect with healthy conversation, it’s a great sign. The Velocify study found that sales reps who were able to send more than 3 texts after contact, closed deals 328 percent above average.
Does it work?
There are some misleading or even bogus stats around using video for sales. For instance, “employees are 75 percent more likely to watch a video than read an email” is attributed to Forrester time and time again, but there is no sign of the original source (Search results).
Other insights are encouraging but have no relation to sales. For example, according to Forbes Insights, 60% of business respondents said they are likely to watch a video on a web page before reading any text at all (what about watching video vs. reading email?)
Lots of this information is published by SaaS vendors with a marketing agenda. However. there is a bigger picture when it comes to video.
Consider first the rise in video consumption:
- Forrester’s 2016 report noted 80 percent of adults watched TV, film, or video online (up 10 percent from 2015).
- 75 percent of executives surveyed by Forbes said they watch work-related videos on business-related websites at least weekly.
Next, consider the psychology. The Social Science Research Network reported 65 percent of people consider themselves visual learners. And our brains process visuals 60,000 times faster than text, according to research by 3M.
Lastly, video hosting platforms allow to you track video metrics and integrate with CRM data. So it’s easier to make data-driven decisions, unlike voicemails where there are more variables.
The first step with video is making sure you’re able to record in a professional setting. There needs to be ample lighting and good sound quality so viewers are not immediately put off. Send videos at the right time such as a follow-up thank you or to revive deals in the dark.
As mentioned above, videos can help with sales enablement via a CRM integration. The metrics for views, bounces, etc, can be integrated into Marketo, Pardot, HubSpot, Salesforce, etc. Having insight into this behavior allows videos to be personalized and sent at the opportune moment.
Here’s one we did in about an hour internally. It’s not marketing ready, but to show a prospect something custom to their needs, this did the trick.