There are three things that go into making a good sales outreach – knowing when to connect, what to connect with and how to connect. While when is about the timing (duh), the with what and how aspects relate to the reason for and means of connecting respectively. Done well, the three come together to make your reach out compelling and help cut through the noise.
These can be manifold – a change in leadership, a new recruit, a new product released, an event…basically anything that can serve as a conversation opener (or continuer or closer, if you will!). We’ve found it works best if we set up Google alerts for the ‘top priority’ companies so that we can act on new developments instantly. Looking at the company’s blogs, events or media announcements are valuable too.
Yet another trigger event is the end of fiscal year of the organization. We’ve found that an easy way to directly and unabashedly ask if a prospect is making investments in the kind of service/product you provide is to write a month or two before the fiscal year ends. Most companies allocate their budgets for the next year during this time. A simple Google search or a look at the annual report, if available, should tell you the financial cycle.
A message needs to grab a person’s attention. Connecting with another at a personal level is a lot more effective than thinking of them as ‘Mr. Director of Sales’. Looking through their social media profiles often betrays what someone is most interested in. To this end, try:
Discover.ly, Rocketbolt, Social360: These chrome plugins help you view Linkedin, Twitter, and FB handles. The first two integrate with Gmail.
Nimble, Insightly: Both are Social CRMs meaning leads can be managed and moved through the pipeline within the tool itself. Apart from the social handles mentioned above, Nimble also provides links to profiles on Angellist, Medium, and Klout hence making it the most robust of the lot.
It’s important to show value in your offering once you’ve grabbed their attention and pinpoint a pain point. For example, if you are a tech company, knowing what the prospect already uses or lacks and how your offering can deliver better results can be compelling. Tools such as BuiltWith and Ghostery can be used to pull out information on the web techstack – the backend frameworks, marketing and analytics tools, cloud service they are on and content management system, content delivery network and DNS, script frameworks, social media plugins and ad networks, SEO details (paid keywords), website traffic data (page views, visitors per month, geographical spread of visitors), and incentivization tools (for an e-commerce website).
Having the right reasons to connect with someone is as important, if not more, as the timing. The next time you want to follow up with someone, skip the “Following up on my previous mail…” and say something that will actually get them interested enough to respond. For all the tech we use, we are still humans trying to connect with other humans (at least as of 2017!).
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