See if you can spot what’s wrong with this Venn diagram?
Sales reps that we typically recruit for education are not the same type of people who are good at telephone prospecting. Larger companies can afford to use different teams for lead generation and later stages of the sales process, but ed-tech startups don’t have that luxury. Can your team just avoid telephone prospecting altogether? In a word, no. If you recognize that the vast majority of dials are going to result in voice mails, you soon realize that huge strides in improvement can be made from simply leaving better voice mails.
Voicemails are often just as good if not better than catching your prospect live because they are then a “free” call that builds repetition of hearing your product name with an associated benefit. If you give them a good actionable step, such as pointing to a link they should review, you’ll see good returns.
Here’s a great exercise to get better at leaving voicemails. Ask your team to call you and leave their prospecting voicemail. Tell them we’re all friends here, judgment-free zone, this is just a way to see what feels comfortable in terms of wording. You will be blown away by what you hear. I’ve been shocked at reps failing to mention the company name or leave an actionable step such as, “view my website…” or “call me back at….” I’ve also received incredibly professional messages that gave me great insight into our product benefits or market strategy.
Transcribe all the voicemails word for word. This takes time. If you are in a hurry or feel you need to also demonstrate the importance of articulation, your phone system you may give you recordings in a file format you can share with the reps. I at one time did this with a “Magic Jack” line which is a cheap solution. But in running this exercise many times, the best results came from transcribing their words and giving everyone the entire set.
There will be plenty of shame to go around, and hopefully something good in each message you can point to. Then ask reps to rewrite their script taking the best of what they’ve seen from round one, and this simple voicemail strategy:
- Who are you? (1 sentence with your name, company name, and nutshell mission)
- What do you help schools (or a specific educator title such as Reading Teachers) with? (1-2 sentences with a key product benefit – that’s a result not a feature.)
- What can you do specifically for me? (1-2 sentences that show a real value to the listener if they act on this message.)
- Actionable closing (what I should do next – call you at #, read the email I’m sending today, follow the link I’m emailing, etc.)
You are guaranteed to see improvement in both the quantity and results of your phone prospecting through this exercise!