If you don’t think the first method of outreach in the sales process matters, think again. It plays an important role in getting a response or not.
Phone or email?
While there are a few tips that can help you decide, sales reps should know that in the grand scheme of a sales engagement, it has to be phone and email.
When deciding between getting in touch with a prospective customer by phone or sending an email, let the following factors be your guide.
Time and Day of the Week
First, consult a calendar and a clock. Statistically, phone connect rates go up as the day progresses, and as the week progresses. In other words, a person is more likely to answer their phone later in the workday (say post-lunch time) and the workweek (avoid calling on Monday and Tuesday).
But what if a prospective customer doesn’t pick up his/her phone in that timeframe? Leave a voicemail or a SMS.
What do you want?
Before you start typing or pick up the phone, you’ve got to know, what’s your goal here? Would it be to get a meeting with the prospect, get some information, ask for a referral, or just want to say hello? By placing your goals on a scale from aggressive to passive, you should be able to determine whether you should give the prospect a call or send them an email.
What level is your prospect at?
The higher up your prospect is within their organization, you have a higher chance to get a hold of a live person on the phone. Because you are actually speaking with someone, whether an assistant or the CEO, a live conversation will beat out an email. Management level or higher – give them a call. Individuals at this level are usually adapt to talking on the phone and will be more receptive to sales calls as they won’t be intimidated.
Each buyer is unique
Some buyer personas favour a different communication style than others. Their preference depends on multiple factors: Their age, the nature of their job, their industry, and more.
Younger professionals prefer to communicate via email. Individuals in customer facing roles are likely to talk on the phone, seeing that their day to day work requires them to talk to strangers. People who work internally are probably more likely to reply to an email as opposed to picking up the phone.
If your prospective customer is unresponsive, noncommittal about your product/service or facing many levels of bureaucracy, it might be faster and easier to pick up the phone. If they pick up the phone, you can immediately present your ask and a receive an answer. If you get their voicemail, leave your message and follow up with an email.
In general, the beginning and the end of each sales engagement should be phone-heavy, since that’s where the strongest asks are: starting a relationship, and closing a deal. In between, sales reps should opt for email as a rule of thumb.
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