Low Response Rates in Sales Outreach: A Prospect Problem?

It’s every salesperson’s fantasy: The CEO of Company X – with whom you have never had contact – calls to say she has heard about your product and wants to place an order immediately.

It’s a nice dream, and for a handful of companies, this scenario may be reality. For the majority, however, outreach is imperative to grow sales. Successful sales teams understand that targeted outbound sales and marketing efforts are fundamental to building a solid customer pipeline. Knowing this, you launch a well-thought-out and focused sales and marketing campaign.

And then…nothing…silence…crickets.

The problem may not be your campaign but rather to whom it is directed. Are you reaching out to the right person? In some cases, identifying the right contact is easy: it’s the VP of Marketing, Product Manager, or CEO. However, depending on size and structure, other companies are less transparent, making your best contact a moving target. If your product is complex or unique, the title of your contact could vary from company to company, making it difficult for you to decipher the right person to approach.

To navigate company structure and find the right prospect contact, don’t focus on what your product does. Instead, concisely identify what it can achieve and how it will make the life of the person ultimately responsible easier. Then ask to be connected to that individual. For example:

● If your software creates operational efficiencies for payroll processing, rather than request a connection to the person who handles payroll, ask to speak to the person responsible for improving payroll operations.

● If your product increases web traffic for webinars, don’t ask to be connected to the person who produces the webinars. Instead, ask to speak with the person in charge of ensuring ample attendance at webinars.

● If you have a solution that improves employee adherence to wellness programs, asking for the person in charge of wellness will likely get you connected with a personal trainer or gym manager. Instead, ask to be connected to the person responsible for ensuring employees are utilizing wellness programs.

Your goal is to connect with the decision maker, not the doer. You want to speak with the responsible individual rather than the person who is working at the detail level. The way you communicate this is important. Gatekeepers hear only one or two words before deciding how to route your call. If you represent a software-as-a-service company and use the term “software,” the receptionist will send you to IT or the office manager. Instead, share that your product will help make better buying decisions and ask to be connected to the person responsible for determining the company’s inventory mix.

The same rules apply to email outreach. Communicate the benefits of your product in an appealing way that gets the recipient’s attention, and request that the email be shared with the person responsible for achieving results.

While your sales fantasy may not be actualized, focusing on the outcomes of your offering will get you to your dream prospect!