[Ben Jablow, VP of Alliances at Postal, and Daniel Cross, Director of Business Development at Verse uncover an omnichannel approach to getting creative with lead engagement.] If you’re in sales or marketing, you’re most...
What is the best way to communicate with your potential customers?
In years past, the best and most popular method for connecting with your customers was relatively straightforward: call them on the phone. A company would acquire a list of leads, have their sales and marketing team attempt to contact those leads, and when they got a potential customer on the line, they scurried through their sales pitch in hopes that they would land the sale. It was a lead strategy that lasted for decades and saw some solid success.
That was then, and this is now. According to The MITSloan Review, in order to stay in the loop with a customer’s journey, many sales & marketing teams are diversifying their means of communication. With email, SMS, and social media entering the marketplace, sales & marketing managers are using more creative (and effective) means with their lead strategy. Think about it from a rational standpoint: in today’s world, how often do you even pick your phone up when you don’t recognize the number calling? Probably not often, and neither do your leads.
In this article we’ll discuss how communicating with customers has changed in recent years, how customers want to communicate today, and the most effective strategies for your business’s sales & marketing efforts.
Cold-Calling Alone (and the Subsequent Follow-Up) Doesn’t Work
Cold-calling is the sales & marketing strategy of the past. It doesn’t work anymore. Back in the day, of course, it was a strategy worthy of pursuit. The barriers to get to the decision makers weren’t difficult to overcome. Then came the answering machine, which introduced call screening. After that came caller-ID, which allowed for more screening. Now, it’s hard to even get a follow-up if you make contact during the cold call. A prospect can put your contact information into a database and screen your follow-ups.
Now, in 2019 there is even more of a reason a potential customer would like to avoid picking up their phone – machine calling. According to an analysis conducted by Hiya, a leading spam protection app, 26.3 billion calls were made by machines in 2018 alone and many of those machines were up to no good. To put another way, the study noted that of the 274 million mobile subscribers that existed in 2018, robot calling machines called each subscriber an average of 8 times per month.
A growing distrust for who or what on the other side of the phone has resulted in fewer and fewer potential customers picking up the phone and hearing about the magical product or service that will help solve all their problems.
So if cold calling doesn’t work, what are the best means of communicating with your potential customers going forward?
Staying Consistent With Your Customers’ Journeys
No one likes being bombarded by information, messaging, or pitches while trying to enjoy the passing of the day. Think about this in your own life – how annoying is it to be out with your family at the park or enjoying lunch with a colleague only to have your phone blown up by people, companies and bots who don’t have your best interests in mind?
Furthermore, think about the convenience you strive for when contacting friends and loved ones. In today’s world, it’s far more convenient (and common) to shoot a text message to the individuals you’re trying to contact when trying to make plans. Research indicates that US smartphone users send and receive five times more texts than they make and receive calls.
It’s important to note the above when thinking about your customers. Communication with a customer should be considered sacred. You can build trust with your customers if you communicate with them the way they wish to be communicated with.
What do we mean by this?
Take for instance the “Messaging Consumer Survey Report” conducted by Twilio. In the survey, it notes that 9 out of 10 consumers in India, South Korea, Singapore and the United States prefer SMS over voice calls for their customer service needs.
It’s obvious that your customers are looking for different means of communication when it comes to contact with your business. Let’s look at the most effective means of communication you can implement into your sales & marketing strategy right now.
How Organizations can Improve their Customer-Communication Methods
Below is a list of some of the most innovative and effective customer-communication methods you can employ into your sales & marketing strategy right now.
For many years, sales & marketing managers laughed at the idea of using Facebook messenger in their strategic approach. Now, late-adopters are scurrying to get their handle on the effective tool. According to the Hootsuite blog, there are 1.3 billion Facebook Messenger users sending 8 billion messages between businesses and people every month.
Not only are there plenty of people using the service, take for instance it’s effectiveness in open-rate versus email. Email has a 5 to 10% open rate with a 1% clickthrough rate. Messenger, on the other hand, averages 70 to 80% open rates and 20% clickthrough rates.
SMS can be a sales & marketing teams’ most powerful communication tool. Like noted above, people are using the tool 5 times more often than making phone calls. Furthermore, According to Neilsen, SMS is the most popular data service used worldwide and PEW notes that 87% of Americans text regularly.
But what about the effectiveness of the service? Again, let’s compare our findings to what is thought of as the best tool to be used in your sales & marketing strategy: email. Recent research notes that 82.1% of all text messages are opened. That’s an 8X more effective open rate to email.
And again, put this into the context of your daily life – you probably open most, if not all, the texts you receive but how many emails do you delete without even opening them?
At the core of every interaction with a customer, your goal should be to build trust. In regular communication efforts, texting is a method that builds that trust. It makes it so the person on the other line is communicating with a trusted friend or colleague. That’s what you’re trying to build here and that’s the power that texting has!
Chatbots are an effective tool for your customers. It is a service that, through prompts, identifies and diagnoses a customer’s problem before escalating the issue to an actual human being. Basically, it’s a categorization tool.
It also helps your organization by mitigating the human-employee cost constraint by helping the customer diagnose their problem through the help of prompts.
Of course it’s important to note that ultimately, a customer will put communication (in their preferred method, mind you) at a paramount over communication with a diagnosis tool. It’s noted that 70% of consumers would prefer to speak with a human representative over a chatbot.
It’s important to note the growing desire for improved customer experience (CX). Nearly half of all consumers (47%) are willing to pay more for improved CX. This is why communicating with customers in their preferred method of contact is important. The numbers don’t lie.
Use the information above and see how you can use it and implement the strategies to create a positive ROI in your sales & marketing endeavors!