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Caller ID Has Changed Sales:  You Can’t Close a Lead You Can’t Reach

December 05, 2016 By Hendrik-Jan Francke

Caller ID Has Changed Sales: You Can’t Close a Lead You Can’t Reach

You Can't Close a Lead You Can't Reach

Sales used to focus on “Dialing for Dollars.” This mantra meant sales was just a numbers game.

The more people you talked to, the more you closed. Productivity was measured by the number of calls and conversion ratios.

But today, sales calls are going unanswered; sales conversion ratios are tanking. The buyer only wants to answer the phone when they are ready.

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Why is this? Let’s go through two all too familiar scenarios.

Scenario 1: The Sales Call

Picture it: You are at your desk working on a project with a looming deadline. Your phone rings and interrupts your flow. The first thing you do is check the Caller ID to see who it is. It’s a number you don't know, so you let the call go to voicemail.

Your sales team’s calls are getting declined.

Your sales team has leads, and their job is to call and close as many as possible. But the new buyer wants to talk only when they are ready. So when your sales team dials a prospect, they either:

  1. Reach voicemail and are dependent on the buyer’s call back

  2. Reach a gatekeeper (a receptionist or assistant) and leave a message, still reliant on the buyer’s response.

  3. Connect with the prospect and try to close or move a deal.

In all instances, the success of the sales call is dependent on the willingness and availability of the prospect to take the call.

Caller ID and the internet changed everything

Caller ID changed the world by giving us the power to choose which calls we answer and which calls we ignore. (This is handy when your mother-in-law calls, but unfortunate for your sales team.)

Then the internet ushered in a new class of buyers who have all the information to research at their fingertips. Buyers go online to research purchasing options, check reviews, and compare prices without ever needing to talk to a salesperson.

Content Marketing Can Make Caller ID a Friend, Not Foe

If we use caller ID to ignore the unknown, we use the internet to investigate the unknown.

Content marketing focuses on providing valuable information that helps solve buyer problems via the web. Prospects search, find your information, and gradually recognize you as a source of expertise.

After a prospect has read your blog posts, downloaded your whitepapers, and signed up for your email list, you are no longer a stranger.

So when your salesperson calls, the name they see on the caller ID is familiar, and “Hello?”, they pick up.

Scenario 2: Sails Jail

Now, imagine you are the salesperson.

You spoke to a prospect that had lots of great questions. The call went so well that they asked for a proposal. You sent along the proposal thinking, “Wow, what a quick, easy sale this will be…”.

…then nothing.

You’re Stuck in Sales Jail

That promising lead is now shackling you to a futile cycle of follow-up
calls and emails.

What changed? What went wrong? You can’t be sure.

But you’d rather get a solid "no" than give up on the lead, so you keep trying, adding more and more futile touch points.

(P.S. Looking for a quick way to get bailed out of sales jail? I’ve got a great email from my sales coach that almost always gets an answer. Email me, and I'll share!)

Marketing Can’t Bail You Out, But It Can Help

If you feel stuck chasing an unresponsive lead with emails and phone calls, it’s best to cut your losses and say goodbye. But if you still feel the lead is promising, or if you feel compelled to collect a no, use your marketing automation tools to your advantage.

Your marketing automation tool can help you collect more information on the email recipient’s behavior.

Use your tool to send follow-up emails. Set the system to alert you when the email gets opened. Then, you can call right away to try and collect your answer. Since the person just opened your email, they will think you have salesperson ESP.

You can also use your marketing automation tool to monitor how the prospect reacts. If they unsubscribe, they are clearly not interested. But if they continue to download or read your content, they might be open to a sales call down the road.

Content Marketing Helps Leads Pick Up the Phone

When you provide your consumers with more information, you will find the sales calls are different.

The calls are longer as your salesperson becomes more of an advisor and consultant. The number of outgoing calls goes down as the number of incoming calls goes up.

The sales cycle shortens, and more sales close.

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