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8 Opportunities for Quality Conversations in Inside Sales


Sales Prospecting Perspectives is pleased to bring you a post from Michaela Cheevers, Business Development Representative at AG Salesworks.

As a business development representative, it is important to make every contact attempt count in order to provide your client with the best information possible. Inside sales reps have the same imperative: maximize time by qualifying prospects creatively. That being said, it’s crucial to be prepared when communicating with anyone in your quest for information. No matter who you get live on the phone, chances are they can provide you with some information; you just need to be equipped with the right questions to ask. Here are some ideas for inside sales and business development reps to find opportunities for quality conversations, no matter where you find yourself in the prospecting trenches.

1. Leave effective prospecting voicemails.

When leaving a voicemail, don’t forget to ask for a call back! Otherwise, you're just spitting out information about who you are and what you do, and then leaving it up to the prospect to decide to call you back. Most likely, they'll ignore you instead. Give prospects a call-to-action they can immediately act on, and they will be more apt to reach back out. Other tips for voicemail are: naming other colleagues within the prospect's company that you've spoken to, and mentioning how you can help overcome an obstacle you know they have. A little research will go a long way in piquing their interest in your product or service.

2. Make your emails different.

Don’t just reiterate what you said in your voicemail. Chances are, your prospect already heard at least part of it, so you don’t need to bore them with repetition. Instead, add something in the email that will make them want to respond to you.  How can you help to enhance their current situation? Whatever the purpose of your email, you’re contacting them for a reason – do your research and personalize it a bit! Using information from a previous conversation with them or with a colleague will build credibility and earn your email a second look.

3. Get on their calendar with Calendar Invites.

A personal favorite of mine is the calendar invite. Having trouble getting someone on the phone? In your next voicemail/email, let the prospect know that you will be sending over a quick request to connect. Once you start trying to get a spot on their calendar, you’ll most likely receive some sort of response.  Many people appreciate the initiative that you’ve taken to state a specific time and date rather than making prospects take the time to examine their schedule and get back to you. In the case that no response is received and the date of the invite rolls around, reach out anyways and leave a message that you will reschedule. Never assume that the prospect doesn’t want to speak with you until they tell you just that. .

4. Utilize operators smartly.

An operator’s responsibility is to connect you with the person you are looking to contact. Utilize their knowledge base. If the person you are looking for isn’t in their directory, be sure to ask if he/she is looking at a global listing or a local one. Or maybe the person you are looking for has been replaced by someone else. It never hurts to ask, especially because it’s the operator’s job to connect you. Who knows, you could be writing off someone important just because they work at another location and you couldn’t find them the first time around. You’d be surprised how many times this has happened to me; a little extra digging has proven that hey, that person really does exist!

5. Admin assistants are your friend.

These professional gatekeepers know more than they let on and are actually a very important part of the prospecting process. Find out from them if the person you’re about to leave a message for is even the correct person to speak with about your product or service. If they’re not, ask the admin who would be more appropriate. These people screen calls and emails all day long; they’ll be able to tell you if what you’re looking for falls under the prospect’s responsibilities.

6. Don’t be embarrassed if you have an inappropriate contact.

When you do connect with the person you were hoping for, but they tell you they are not the right person to speak with, don’t stop there. Ask for the contact information of a more appropriate person. If they aren’t sure who to connect you with, keep talking. There’s bound to be some piece of useful information that they can give you. After all, they work for your prospect’s company!

7. Maximize time with the appropriate contacts.

If you’ve reached the appropriate contact, half your battle is fought and won. Don’t be discouraged by an unfriendly tone or by rushed answers. We’re all just trying to do our jobs, and we all know what it’s like to be busy. Just relax, take a deep breath, and don’t let the demeanor of one person change your excitement over trying to help them improve their company’s processes.

8. Don’t forget social selling on LinkedIn.

Although connecting with a prospect via LinkedIn may be a little out of your comfort zone, it doesn’t hurt to connect with those you have already had a conversation with. If you were able to have a great conversation with a prospect who just wasn’t ready to commit to that next step, send him or her a short, personalized connection request on LinkedIn. When they accept, they’ll have access to all the great information that you share regarding your solutions and will be reminded of you every time they see your post. This will cut your efforts in half, and when they are ready to get back in touch, they will have a better understanding of who you are and what your solutions provide.

Now you’ve had a crash course in the myriad of ways to obtain a quality conversation in inside sales and business development. Time to get to work! What prospecting strategies would you add?

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About the Author   |   Megan Tonzi

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