Prospecting for new business is challenging at the best of times. The current lockdown is presenting further challenges for folks that outbound prospect using the phone. That said, it’s not all bad news. Read on how to transform your outbound phone prospecting efforts to address the current lockdown challenges.
The additional challenges
With the lockdown restrictions few corporate offices are open and have a receptionist to take or divert phone calls. If your prospecting efforts rely on you speaking to the receptionist to be transferred to the relevant executive to present your capability over the phone, the current lockdown is probably causing you a major headache. Many companies have done one of the following to their general enquiries in response to COVID:
- They have turned on voicemail and expect you to leave a message – which we all know will drastically reduce the chances of making successful connection to the right person.
- They have their receptionist working from home taking calls but they don’t have the ability to transfer your call to the relevant person.
- Receptionists are hesitant to handover employee’s direct contact details, including their mobile phone number.
How to manage these challenges
There is a simple way to address these challenges and that is to obtain the mobile phone of the executive you are trying to reach. If you are lucky, the receptionist is willing to provide direct contact details. But what if they are not?
The best solution is to subscribe to prospecting tools like Lusha (www.lusha.com) which provide executives’ mobile phone numbers. Having said that, Lusha provides details on approximately 70% of your contacts (and which are correct).
Having a senior executive’s mobile phone makes outbound phone based prospecting fun. You experience a significant increase in conversations with prospects per day, stacking the odds in your favour that you will find a qualified sales ready lead or two throughout the day.
The challenge using Lusha is that it’s a paid subscription and costs around $150 (ex GST) per month per user. I bluntly suggest if your Sales Development Manager or Sales Manager is not providing access to these tools during the lockdown (at the very least) you need to find a better job, whereby your employer sets you up to succeed and equips you with modern sales tools.
How to level up your outbound prosecting efforts.
You can take another step further. Having a senior executive’s mobile phone is one thing, but often Sales Development Reps and BDMs are overwhelmed and too distracted with the number and broad range of tasks they need to complete throughout their working day.
A very well-known and highly respected sales coach and former employer of mine, Ciaran McGuigan, used to say, “Make 10 calls before 10am”. This advice still holds water and is more relevant than ever today. Do not underestimate this sage advice. If you can remove all the obstacles from 100% focusing on making outbound phone calls, you will be amazed by your uptick in productivity not only in terms of the number of contacts you make but also the quality of the conversations you have with your prospects. No SMS, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, emails, calls from colleagues, no blogging, no drafting proposal or responding to RFPs or updating the CRM. STOP. Nothing. Just free yourself to focus on that next phone call.
There are tools available that can help you get to that place free of distractions. “Click-to-call technology” is a positive step forward allowing you to increase your number of contacts. Click-to-call technology is widely available from the likes of Aircall (www.aircall.io) who has a simple but clever contact centre productivity tool that integrates with your CRM (or other business applications).
Once you have “click to call technology” the next thing is to make sure your SDR or BDM workflow experience is totally painless and free of any distractions. Organisations are very quick to say they are customer centric and totally committed to the customer. The same goes with your SDR or BDR. You need to make sure they have a flawless workflow experience that frees them from all the distractions and roadblocks that stops them from 100% focusing on quality conversations. This is very hard for companies to achieve given competing priorities and it’s one of the many reasons why organisation can be better off using an external third-party lead generation outsourced provider, that can bring that level of focus to your business.
Whilst COVID is presenting some new challenges to the sales profession, it’s also an opportunity for you to adapt and start leveraging modern sales tools and practices. What are the tools you found most useful to empower your sales organisation? What are your main prospecting challenges in the “new normal”?
David Barlow, Founder & CEO, Ascendia Works, is passion about our clients experiencing outrageous success with their outsourced sales development program.