The cold call is not dead, but it is living and breathing differently as social platforms become more important. It’s no longer enough to call a prospect, leave a voicemail and wait. In order to reach, pitch and ultimately close a deal, sales professionals need to be engaging with prospective decision-makers (6.8 per B2B buying decision) across social media platforms.
Called “social selling,” this process is a coordinated set of online activities designed to generate awareness and build relationships with potential prospects to accelerate the sales process. But reps cannot rely only on social selling because sales was, is and will always be, the result of human to human communication.
Here are the top four ways to integrate traditional and modern-day sales approaches to effectively and efficiently reach decision-makers and drive more sales:
Use a combination of activities. Since every prospect has their own preferred way to communicate, you have to try them all. Some love the phone while others avoid calls and won’t engage unless you reach out through email, socially, even text. There is simply no way to know which approach will be most effective. That is why combining digital, social and human to human communication increases the likelihood that you’ll connect with your prospect in at least one way that gets their attention.
Call and talk. The phone has always been a critical element in the sales process because no deal is ever signed over email or text alone. Voice contact has always been the essential element in human to human communication. Whether it takes you one attempt or nine attempts to reach the decision-maker, being patient is key. Don’t launch into a hard sales pitch but, instead, share a pithy & concise value proposition that communicates how you can solve a major pain point, then request a future time in which you may get into more details.
Connect, read and share. Landing an appointment after your call isn’t an ending but the beginning of the next phase of the sales process. Connect online with prospects and their team members and continue interacting with them socially. Add insightful comments on relevant LinkedIn posts to establish yourself as a knowledgeable resource and tag/retweet their Twitter content to stay on their radar. Most importantly, learn. From the first call to the closing, social media is an excellent way to stay abreast of what your prospects are doing, thinking, and sharing.
Customize all email intros and follow-up. Considering executives get an average of 121 emails per day, yours must be memorable. Don’t send ‘chock full of information’ emails because the simplest ones are best to reinforce brand messaging and pique their interest to learn more. Email should focus on how you can solve their problem but there’s no need to overload them. Include a link to relevant information and be sure to follow up again using a consistent cadence (every three business days is ideal) to continue building brand awareness.
The phone mixed with social selling will help you better understand your prospects’ business and challenges, as well as build familiarity that may open doors to future opportunities. When you ‘warm up’ a cold call with online engagement and incorporate consistent, on-point emails into the prospecting mix, that’s when the sales magic happens!
Mike Scher is co-founder & chief sales architect at FRONTLINE Selling, a full suite of B2B sales prospecting software and methodology tools, including a social selling platform, which helps sales professionals reach decision-makers faster, create more high-quality appointments, and consistently hit quota. He can be reached at Mike_Scher@FRONTLINESelling.com