The B2B world is more competitive than ever. Finding prospects that are already in the buying phase does not always come immediately. This makes the task of sourcing qualified prospects even tougher for any marketer/salesperson.
Following up is a critical sales skill for anybody working in sales. It is the process of continuing to contact your prospects after the initial pitch to encourage them to take action. Sales follow-ups can be conducted in several ways, but usually via phone, email, and social media.
Sometimes a salesperson will get lucky with an ultra-responsive prospect. Every time we send them an email, they will respond quickly. When we give them a call or leave a voice note, they’ll make time for us.
Unfortunately, this is the exception rather than the rule. Whether you are setting up meetings, or closing deals, it is far more common for a prospect to go dark, after they have been responsive. We understand that business owners are busy people, but you would think after seven previous attempts they would respond.
In this scenario, you’ve got two choices – either give up or figure out a new way to hook them. If you give up, you’ve wasted all the valuable time you’ve spent prospecting.
A nurturing campaign may be exactly the strategy you need, to finally hook them. Launching a nurturing campaign keeps you on your prospects’ radar without seeming obtrusive, until the time is right for both parties to engage.
One of the biggest problems we find in the B2B sales process is that many vendors assume that clients who reach out to them are close to the end of the buying process. Often, that assumption is completely wrong.
The truth is, a large number of B2B buyers are still unsure of the full scope of their business needs when being reached out by vendors. As they are still finding their feet and understanding their needs, they’re less likely to respond to outbound lead generation until they know how it will help them in the future. It is hard to justify spending if you don’t know how the product or services solve your problem.
The buyers’ journey isn’t just an overnight process, it is not as simple as supply and demand. Converting a lead is difficult because reaching your targets is already a long process. Conversions can take weeks and even months for the sales cycle to be complete. It might feel like you are pestering your prospects, but we must follow up with prospects promptly and keep them from ignoring or sending your marketing messages to spam.
We need them to convert, there is no need to be pushy or aggressive, but calculated. We need to get them the right message at the right time. There is no point in just sending any old message, people will instantly disregard it. If you work in FMCG, or retail (clothing specific), you are likely to have customers coming in without needing encouragement.
There is a regular demand for these goods, especially FMCG. We depend on them for our survival. Whereas if you compare other sectors, you can’t risk sitting back and hoping they will convert. You need to reach out and encourage consumers to buy from your company. Just know where the line is, you don’t want to be too forceful and come across as desperate. Short and punchy is the right way to go, and remember to leave something for the imagination.
They aren’t always obvious, but there are a few methods you can use to creatively reach new prospects and convert them. You just have to think outside the box a little. Without further ado, let’s get into ineffective ways marketers can keep prospects from ignoring you.
Chances are, sending one phone call, email, or message won’t result in a prospect replying every time. Sometimes, even when you have interacted with the person face to face, the lead still goes cold. The key to prospecting is to follow up in the right manner, don’t be too pushy, but be noticeable. Just when you think you have followed up enough, wait a few days and then follow up again. It can take up to 8 attempts to reach an individual prospect. If you’re giving up straight away, you are simply losing business.
Prospects are likely to be busy people as well, especially when trying to connect with C-level executives. It is even more complicated than that, the average person receives around 100 emails per day. You need to be able to stand out and present something of value, remember you are not their only priority for the day.
This may sound obvious, but you will find that most salespeople don’t actually do it. They prefer to stick to the same old routine. You need to actively change your pattern regularly, to get the interest of the buyer.
Sales reps tend to be creatures of habit. They will attempt to make contact with the prospect, if the prospect is busy, they will then put a reminder to call back at the same time within three days.
This is a problem, contacting the prospect at the same time will only make lead nurturing all that much longer. Maybe their prospect is in a meeting, but if you can’t get a hold of your prospect, then maybe you consider changing your process. Growthonics’ Sales Developments Reps would recommend developing a cadence that incorporates email, phone calls, and voice notes, giving your sales representatives every opportunity to be able to close the meeting or yield a positive response.
Don’t forget about creating multi-touch strategies using social media to avoid falling through the cracks. Over half the global population uses social media platforms. It is a great way to connect with your prospective clients. Using a multi-touch campaign that includes social media ensures your message is delivered across multiple channels.
This can backfire immediately, but if the prospect has a humorous side, you could be successful. So your prospect’s interest has gone cold, and they don’t seem interested at all. A/B testing your copy can go a long way, if all else fails, why not get a bit creative. Try changing your approach, whether that is incorporating humorous copy, or being a bit more forward, just see what works.
“Hey [prospect name], don’t hang up. It’s Gary from [company] – I have a question that has nothing to do with our meeting last month. It’s important. This is my cell; call me back today at this number.”
When they call me back, they’ll ask, “What’s this about?” I’ll reply, “I lied. This has to do with our meeting last month. I couldn’t get you on the phone.”
As you can see, you will either get a response like ‘take me off your list’ or they will simply laugh. If they respond negatively, they were probably not going to buy from you anyway, and if they laugh, it is the perfect opportunity to re-engage with them.
It is important to note, you should always be on hand to close out the meeting, offer them something of value that will benefit their company or they won’t respond again.
Personalising a prospects’ cadence is one thing and sure it will get you results, but commenting on something your prospect is interested in outside of work, will go a long way. People get excited when talking about their personal lives. If you are able to combine this with their work, you are in with a shout.
Personalisation goes hand and hand with pain points; addressing your prospects specific pain points, whilst providing them solutions will show them that you have done your homework and you are reaching out to help them.
Evaluate and adapt, if we just sent everybody ordinary messages, how would we gain insights into prospects preferences and be able to tailor the experiences according to them? Ultimately if you really want to get personal, you have to listen. One of the best ways to find out what they want, is to ask them directly.
This can be done through questionnaires and surveys, if responses are vague or they don’t respond at all, pop onto their website and see which clients they generally work with. Remember not everything will work and each case will be different, so keep doing what works and change up what doesn’t.
Nurturing is the perfect tool for your unresponsive prospects. A nurturing campaign involves utilising a selection of lead generation strategies to build awareness with your prospects. A nurturing campaign focuses on issues that companies may be experiencing and how you would solve them with your service/product offering.
It combines a balance of personal, digital and collaborative strategies that keep you visible to your prospects over a period of time. We want prospects to realise they need to talk to us. Over time, these unresponsive prospects will see or hear our name everywhere they turn. Having multiple forms of marketing material to catch their attention causes them to stop and take notice of how your product would benefit them.
As you have built somewhat of a rapport with your prospects, they will recognise your name, when you send an email, or attempt to call. Sometimes you have to give up or move on from a prospect, but always try to leave them with something to value. Now might not be a great time for them for these tough prospects, but in the future, you never know.
To give yourself the best chance of securing a meeting with your unresponsive prospects, you need to ensure before they become unresponsive, you are targeting the right people. Think about it, if you are targeting a wide range of people, you’re far less likely to reach the right people that would be interested in your offering. Secondly, targeting the right prospects from the get-go is a lot less time-consuming. You should only be worrying about reaching the relevant people, not every person out there.
How would you know who to target?
Understand your target market, address their pain points and see how you can find a solution with your offering. Take a look at your competitors to see what demographic they are working with. Assess your previous clients. If you have worked with similar businesses, chances are the targeting will be similar.
Like blood through your body, a full sales pipeline is necessary for your business to survive. The thing is, prospecting has evolved, and the same methods aren’t always going to work. It is about combining the right tools to achieve a more efficient workflow. Sometimes you will have reluctant clients, but the best option is to put them on the back burner and chase after the next lead. Having a steady stream of prospects gives you the opportunity to always be working with fresh leads.
However, it is always good to have a strategy in place to re-engage with those prospects at a more appropriate time. Just because a prospect turns down your offering once, doesn’t mean it will remain the same in the future. You need to be tactical, not every lead will yield the same response. It is about knowing when to push and follow up, and when to sit back and wait for the prospect to come to you.
If you need help with your unresponsive prospects, book a demo with one of our Growthonics consultants and we can show you how to win them back and convert them.