So, beyond getting noticed by your marketplace as a differentiated and valuable supplier, what’s the biggest challenge in industrial marketing? I would have to say salespeople being able to initiate telephone conversations with their sales leads. Whether you are a fan of inbound, outbound, or “allbound” marketing at some point your salespeople will need to initiate a conversation with their prospects.
It’s possible your salespeople are driving around aimlessly and dropping in on prospects like it is 1965. Perhaps they are willing to take the risks in emailing prospects with whom they have no prior relationship like it is 2013. Odds are your salespeople will most likely be using the phone. Furthermore, unless they are on another planet, the vast majority of these phone calls will result in reaching voicemail.
So what should they do?
When it comes to voicemail there seems to be two schools of thought. The first school of thought believes the miniscule callback rate from voicemails makes voicemail a complete waste of time. I’m sure if you have spent any time whatsoever leaving voicemails you will appreciate the callback rate is unlikely to exceed around, say 5%.
You will get no argument from me about the low percentage of callbacks as a measurement of success. What you may not have considered is a voicemail callback is not the only successful outcome from leaving voicemail. In fact, I would argue that voicemail can and does play an integral role in building a relationship with your prospects.
You may remember Wayne Gretzky’s famous quote that, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” I believe there is a similar saying that industrial marketing practitioners and salespeople can apply, “You miss 100% of the chances to get 20 to 20 seconds of undivided attention from your prospects by not leaving voicemail.” I know it does not sound as elegant as Wayne’s quote but it is apt.
Is it a pain leaving voicemails? Yes. Is it time consuming leaving voicemails? Yes. Do some salespeople wonder if they will ever speak to a real live prospect? Of course they do. In fact the likelihood of prospects answering their phones seems to be lessening all of the time. So what are your alternatives if you like the idea of using voicemail as a way of making a touch with a prospect?
First, you can knuckle under and leave voicemails one call at a time. Not much fun but it is the simplest option. You just have to grit your teeth and get through it.
Second, you can use the amazing power dialing, recorded voicemail sending, and templated email sending (with consent of course) software from Inside Sales (my affiliate link). They call it a sales acceleration platform and it most certainly will dramatically increase the success of your salespeople.
If you are doing a lot of outbound calling I think it is the best solution out there. I am a partner and Inside Sales is the only company with which I have ever partnered. You can call, send a pre-recorded voicemail, and a template email in seconds. Now that’s how to get things done so you can get on with your selling! I highly recommend you check them out.