Texting Enters B2B Sales
Working with a client that sells websites and registration systems to youth sports clubs has by far been my most interesting sales growth experience in the last year. They faced a pretty basic challenge when we first got in touch;
“How do I get better conversion for my sales team? They make about 1,200 calls a month, and only set about a dozen sales pitches. We used to do email blasts, but that has dwindled over the last year. What do we do now?”
I went to their office and after a few hours of watching their sales team struggle to make a connection by phone, it was apparent something new had to happen. The common objection they were facing was, “I don’t have time for this call now, call me another time.”
First I wanted to better understand this objection from this customer base. The customer base itself was the biggest clue. I found out the decision maker on a lot of their current clients is a club director or head coach. This means, little Timmy or Becky’s mom or dad is running a youth sports club. This means they wake up in the morning, get little Timmy or Becky off to school, head into their full time jobs, then in the early evening hours are either running operations and taking some much needed down time. It’s hard to sell someone when they are at a job they can’t take time away from to meet with someone about buying something for their broke sports club while on the clock at the job that actually pays them. Getting this group’s attention was step one.
To reach these people we had to find a way to allow them to work “without interruption” to their current jobs. I have had some success with texting to reach hard to reach customers before, so we started a test to reach them by text.
The messages were as simple as this;
“Is this coach (name) with (club name)?”
We would usually get back a “yes, how can I help you?”. In fact, we got this message back about 35% of the time we sent the message, and within 7 minutes of sending the message. We would follow up apologizing for bothering them by text, make an introduction, and ask for a time to talk.
This sounds like a crazy number I am about to throw at you, but they went from setting one appointment for every roughly 120 calls, to setting one meeting for every 15 text messages. Comparing data over a 30 day period, sales meetings were up by 440%, and the sales team there now has a pipeline process for generating lots of new leads.
I thought this might be an anomaly, so I sent this same strategy to an appointment setting call center I have done some coaching for. The team there had an even better result, setting one meeting for every 12 text messages they sent out, going from setting just roughly 30 meetings a day to over 100 meetings a day by the end of the first week.
This all being said, you do have to be careful. You can’t SPAM people via email…so you certainly can’t do it by text. You should be sensitive to your market’s response to this strategy, but it is a great way to reach that prospect that has been dodging your calls.