4 Ways to Better Time Your Sales Outreach
Several factors contribute to sales outreach success, including timing. Here are four effective ways to reach out with confidence.
April 12, 2017
Selling doesn’t have the timing demands of, say, hitting a 90 mile-per-hour fastball. Still, the right timing is a critical aspect of selling. You can reach out to a prospect too early, or, sometimes even a day later, you can reach out to that same prospect too late.
While it’s not easy getting the timing just right, the sales reps who do – and know how to make the most of their outreach – are the ones who tend to win. Here are four ways you can join their ranks.
1. Up Your First-Mover Advantage
Research shows that 50% of buyers choose the vendor that responds first. Ever wonder why that number isn’t 100%? Part of the answer lies in the fact that all prospects aren’t ready to buy as soon as they are flagged as a lead. Plus, there might not be a good fit between the buyer and the sales rep’s company. Beyond that, it’s clear that striking quickly can be an advantage when you’re connecting with a hot lead.
But it’s equally important to reach out with substance. If you simply respond without being informed and prepared to provide value, you’re doing nothing for the prospect. Set yourself up for success by researching prospects and their companies before reaching out. See what you can learn about company initiatives that relate to what your company offers. Narrow down the information resources that would likely be of interest based on the prospect’s role. If anyone in your network is connected to the prospect, reach out for possible insights. All that said, just because you want to personalize as much as possible, you can call upon standardized processes and pre-defined templates to help make shorter work of your outreach efforts.
2. Take the Path of Less Resistance
We’ve all heard it by now – people are less likely to take your cold calls and respond to out-of-the-blue emails. However, they are more receptive to outreach in less-cluttered channels, such as LinkedIn InMail and via a Twitter DM. Perhaps it’s because of what Nataly Kelly, the VP of Marketing (Localization) at HubSpot, said, “I love LinkedIn. It’s one of the few places online where I feel mostly shielded from unwanted interactions.” But don’t just rely on this higher receptivity to get your message read. Put time and care into crafting a message that will matter to the prospect. Make it personal based on what you know about the person and the situation at hand. Perhaps comment on the prospect’s recently published update on LinkedIn or engage with their activity on another website. Deliver value, whether in the form of a link to published information or an offer to share insights you’ve gleaned by working with people in similar roles at similar companies.
3. Reach Them When They’re Free
Though you might balk at reaching out during off hours, it may be the perfect time to connect with overbooked, time-constrained prospects. Think about it: If buyers feel overwhelmed by their to-do lists and meeting schedules at work, they aren’t likely to make time for someone they don’t even know.
If you’re having trouble connecting during the week, try sending an email over the weekend – the reality is that most of us don’t separate our private and professional personas. So if you connect with prospects over the weekend, they might just be in a frame of mind to digest and consider your message. Just be sure to keep your message brief so it can easily be read on a mobile phone since that’s the device people tend to use most on weekends.
4. Sync Your Outreach to Their Buying Stage
If you and your marketing colleagues have done your homework, you should have a sense of the average buying process and timeline for your ideal customer. Before you reach out, figure out which buying stage the prospect is likely in. Then revolve your message around issues they are probably grappling with, and offer relevant information and insights.
If the lead is in the “Awareness” stage, perhaps you will supply links to relevant research reports, blog posts, and articles, and offer to add them to your newsletter list. If it’s the “Consideration” stage, share analyst reports, case studies, and references. Demonstrating that you can help ease the path to purchase can go a long way toward getting a response to your outreach.
For more ways to engage prospects smarter, checkout How to Use Social Selling at Every Stage of the Buyer’s Journey.