I’ve recently started a new sales role at Zemanta. It’s a startup in the city that partners with advertisers to amplify their content distribution efforts. The team is been great and I’ve been learning a lot!
In my new role, I’ve spent the majority of time reaching out to clients in order to dig up some business. My focus has been exclusively on reaching out to potential clients to dig up some business. Always be prospecting. That’s my motto.
The first step to making a sale, is actually reaching out to a client. In order to do that, you have to cold call. The thing is, no one likes to be cold called. With the hectic and busy lives that people live, cold calling is intrusive. The only way to get around that is to reach out warm. But how do you get warm with someone that you don’t even know?
How to set up warm outbound engagements
Sales managers will probably freak out after reading this, but cold calling shouldn’t be the first move in reaching out to prospect. Now, I’m not advising to never pick up the phone. We are in fact in the occupation of sales, never picking up the phone would be silly. However, just like all tools, it’s important to know how to leverage them fully.
There is a great article provided by the Harvard Business Review blog talking about how top sales people use LinkedIn. Is it really a surprise? You can prospect, identify the right contact, and then actually reach out or get an introduction to the prospect you’d like to talk to. All of that can be done on one platform. If you’re in sales and not using LinkedIn, get with the program.
Initial Reach Out
Start out by doing some quick research on a potential prospect. Best way to do this is either through twitter, or a news article. This is important because you’re going to outline your value proposition WITH a compliment to the prospect. This shows you’ve done your homework. I’ve gotten responses a decent amount of responses back and meetings sent from this approach. This shows that people who see you’ve taken the time to articulate a thought out message will oblige with at the very least with a response back. Here is an example template:
Came across an article on ABC publications regarding your site being in the top 50 brands using content marketing, congratulations! Was reaching out to see if there is a potential opportunity for us to work together.
A little bit about us . . . Value proposition . . .
Let me know if you have some free time to connect sometime this week
Look forward to your response!
I mention this because my intial email follow up is determined by whether or not the email is opened. If the email is opened and read, I know that the something caught the reader’s eye. Once I see that an email is opened, I follow up with a reminder email (I’ll show the template in just a minute) within a couple of days. If the email message isn’t opened, I follow up with a the same reminder email in a week.
The Follow Up Email
In my follow up email I’ll typically set up something quick so that they can read my original email. I just send back the original email with this template:
Just following up on below, I’m sure that your inbox must be flooded and I didn’t want this to slip through the cracks . . .
Let me know if you have some time to connect this week”
Still no response
At this point I’ll put a reminder in my CRM to follow up in about two weeks. The follow up will be a call. At this point, it’s not a cold call. I’ve reached out twice and I have an excuse to call. I’m following up on my emails. At least it sets some type of preface for an unexpected call.
The objective of my call in this scenario will always be to set a meeting. The call will most likely be disrupting someone’s busy day, so be quick and to the point.
Using these tips makes ensure that you won’t be an annoying car salesman but still have just the right amount of push to get the ball rolling on a potential business deal. Feel free to weigh in on the comments below!