It is so critical to stay in market during challenging times. But once you’ve made the wise choice to stay in market, it’s even more important that you are focused on executing the right activities — with the right message, delivered the right way.
For over 17 years, FRONTLINE Selling has helped our clients translate their current marketing message into an optimized outbound prospecting message for B2B organizations. We wanted to share our collective insight from our client outreach results to help you build your pipeline during this difficult time.
Top 3 characteristics of effective messaging
It’s important to recognize, first of all, that prospecting messaging is very different than broad go-to-market messaging. It’s not that your marketing message is wrong; it’s not. It just serves a different purpose.
A proper prospecting message should:
1. Focus on the business problems that a client solves for their clients, rather than focusing on features and benefits
If you are too detailed or focused on features and benefits, you open yourself up for a very quick disqualification. You’ve all heard the ‘No, I’m all set with that’ excuse. Or “We already use a product that does that.” But chances are, they do need you and your product could really help them—you just don’t get the opportunity to explain. Don’t give them a reason to get off the phone.
2. Speak to a broad group of key stakeholders that you may want to reach.
Titles are no longer ‘monolithic’ across companies. While you believe that the VP of Sales is your best target, it may be the Director of Business Development you need in one company and the VP of Global Success in another. If you focus solely on one title, you could miss the opportunity to resonate with the right title.
When creating your message, you want the recipient to think “Is this relevant to me? If not, then who?” If they aren’t the right person, they will be more likely to forward your information to the person who is – and this creates an implied referral. Think of it this way: If you get a forwarded email from the CEO with an FYI or ‘are you interested in this?’ comment, you are far more likely to read the email and consider its value. That’s how you use your messaging (and delivery approach, which we will get into) to build awareness within an organization.
3. Be consistent.
An effective message is one that is repeated the exact same way, with every single outreach. It builds familiarity, especially over time. (This is, of course, assuming you reach out to prospects more than one time, which is absolutely the most important element of success!) We typically discourage clients from making changes in messaging until they’ve had consistent feedback from the market.
Now, we aren’t saying that you should never alter the message. If your team is reaching out consistently for a period of 6-8 weeks and not getting traction, then by all means revisit the message. But instead of starting from scratch, just tweak elements of the message so you don’t wipe out any brand familiarity you’ve already built.
Delivering your message
Once you’ve optimized your message it’s time to start using it in outreach. If prospecting efforts aren’t effective, it’s easy for managers to blame the rep for poor execution. But how do you know that it’s their fault? The problem lies with one of three things: The Market, The Message or The Messenger. You must isolate each to truly understand where the problem lies.
You know your market so that’s the easiest variable to isolate. (Though it’s always advisable to validate that each year.)
The Message and Messenger isolation takes a bit more work. You must standardize how your sales team delivers the message you created. Implement a specific cadence of calls, emails and social outreach—with the same exact message. Then remove “how” the reps conduct their outreach. Reps all send emails, connect on social, leave voicemails and have conversations with key players; but unless all these outreach efforts are executed with consistency, how will you know what is driving success or failure?
For example, if one rep is most comfortable reaching out to the Admin first, but another rep prefers to start with the VP of Finance, that’s a variable.
If one rep likes to follow up with email every 5 days and another prefers to follow up every 4 days by phone, that’s a variable. If one leaves a voicemail and others don’t, that’s another variable. How would you determine if it’s the message or the different approaches to outreach that is leading to poor outcomes?
So, once you standardize the outreach process for every rep, every single day, THEN you are in a place to evaluate the effectiveness of the message itself. As noted above, run with that message for at least 6 weeks before deciding to adjust it. Remember, it takes time to build familiarity and traction so be patient!
If your team is struggling to prospect, we can help. Contact us today to discuss how we can support your outbound efforts and enrich your pipeline with REAL opportunities.