Your sales engagement strategy must continually evolve. That includes everything from trying new cadences and switching up lead nurturing sequences to adopting totally new ways to communicate. For sales reps who don’t want to solely rely on phone calls and email, the tool you need is text messaging.
President of Skipio Eric Buckley guested on Rob Jeppsen’s Sales Leadership Podcast to get sales professionals up to speed on texting in the sales process.
Here are the 5 main things every sales rep needs to know about sales engagement and text messaging, based on their conversation. Listen to the full episode here.
Business texting is not synonymous with mass SMS
Too many people — whether they do sales, marketing, or even customer success — view business texting as mass SMS only.
When we talk about business texting in the context of sales, it’s not business texting like you’re probably thinking of it.
Immediately your mind probably jumps to marketing promotions, coupons, and deals. Yes, all those get sent through text messages. But they’re sent from 5- or 6-digit numbers meant for pushing out information.
Those messages drive action, but they don’t drive conversations. Not how conversational text messaging with a 10-digit number does.
When it comes to sales texting, we really need to focus on “sending text messages to get responses and have conversations.” You’re not going to get that with mass text messaging and that’s a good thing!
Conversational text messaging works because it’s authentic
People buy from people, not companies. It’s a no-brainer that texting, when done with the goal of getting responses to have a conversation, feels personal and genuine. It’s because it is!
According to Eric, text messaging is “the last platform, if done correctly, that has not been burned and is not completely spam.”
When you as a sales rep use texting conversationally in sales, you get people to engage on a personal authentic level. Those messages elicit responses and lead into conversations. Those conversations, which happen more frequently because you’re being authentic, get you more appointments.
You’re building pipeline and moving people along with texting. That helps you close more deals.
If you’re spamming prospects, they’re gonna hate you. If you’re sending messages, and you have no intention whatsoever for them to respond to you, you’re gonna burn that bridge, they’re not gonna like you. But if you’re sending [text messages] with the intention of getting that response, not only will they appreciate it, you will find yourself having more meaningful conversations.
Text messaging is more convenient than any other sales outreach
Using text messaging to connect and follow up with prospects is the easiest way to keep relationships alive and potential deals moving forward.
Not everything needs a phone call in the sales process. A lot of things don’t. Phone calls take up time and energy that people would rather expend elsewhere.
If I pick up your phone call, I’m in for at least two, three minutes. … If you text me, I can read that text, give you a quick response, and I’m right back into something else. It doesn’t dominate and take away my time and distract me.
Giving people the option to respond to simple questions when it’s convenient for them makes them more likely to agree to future conversations. The kind of conversations that get into the nitty-gritty and lead to closed deals.
Text messaging gets you in front of prospects faster
Something like 70 percent of the research is done before a prospect “raises their hand.” But if you believe your company is the only one someone is considering, think again. They’ve narrowed it down, sure, but they’re trying to get answers from two, three, or maybe even four other companies.
So how do you get to them first and start solving their problems fastest?
You reach out to them faster. Speed to lead.
The moment someone “raises their hand” by asking to speak to a rep or scheduling time on your calendar, you need to start a conversation immediately. Reach out as soon as you possibly can “in a method that’s not totally disruptive to [their] day.”
Texting is the best way to do that.
Texting is not email
Well no duh, right? But when you haven’t used text messaging to talk with prospects, it’s going to be tempting, almost subconscious even, to do what you know. That’s emailing.
Texting people just like you email them will not get you responses.
That is the worst ever. Nobody wants to read a long text. Nobody wants to get the same message on two different platforms.
If you’re talking implementation, contracts, SLAs, or anything else detailed, that’s great for email. Those are long form conversations. So send the email and then follow up with a text to let someone know what you sent. You score a touchpoint with a convenient, personalized message and yet another opportunity to engage.
But perhaps more importantly than what you say is how you say it. Your text messages should feel informal compared to email. The texts definitely need to sound like you — not a template, copy/paste job, or bot. However, your tone and language must fit with your brand.
In particular, be careful with the emojis, GIFs, and images you share. It’s easy to forget who you’re talking to.
They’re not your next door neighbor. They’re not your brother-in-law. They’re a business associate.
It’s 100% possible to text like a human while being professional and not just regurgitating what works in emails.
Start connecting with prospects now
Just like when you adopt any new sales strategy or tool, there’s a period of trial and error when you start collecting mobile numbers to text prospects. Learning what to say and how to say it takes time.
But the most important thing is to simply get started. The sooner you start texting prospects, the sooner your sales pipeline benefits.
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