B2B Tele Prospecting in the new world

In these rapidly evolving times, the marketing mix is taking on a new look – and businesses that can adapt quickly to a remote-working audience are set to prosper.

2020 has shaken the way we work right to the core. Only a few short weeks ago, there seemed little to worry about and business was moving at its usual pace.

Then everything changed.

You might think that the dramatic shift in circumstances would have made it extremely difficult for B2B tele prospecting teams to continue delivering results. After all, tele programs normally rely on the ability to reach prospects at the office, but with the majority of the workforce now working from home, and often with changed business priorities, productive conversations with prospects – if they can even be reached in the first place – should by all rights be hard to come by.

Surprisingly, however, this is not what our BDR agents are finding.

We have had to adapt our outreach approach and work with our clients to define the most appropriate and relevant messaging, but this has enabled us to maintain a healthy level of productivity, which doesn’t look like dropping off any time soon. Prospects may be harder to reach, but when we reach them, conversations are extremely positive.

There’s no denying that these are difficult times, but many businesses have products that still remain relevant, and buyers that are actively interested in them. The challenge is around adapting to this new ‘WFH world’ in order to connect with prospects and keep the conversation going. Here’s how we would recommend adjusting your approach:

  1. Revisit your messaging. It’s fine to start or continue sales conversations with prospects – the more businesses that continue to operate in spite of the obvious challenges involved, the stronger we will all emerge – but you need to combine sensitivity to the situation with awareness that priorities may well have changed. Now, more than ever, it’s about their needs rather than yours. Put together a calling guide with what to say, and in particular what not to say, and combine this with a lighter touch approach: recognise that it’s likely things will take longer, and emphasise that you are there to help your prospect make a decision at a pace dictated by them.
  2. If at all possible, reach prospects on their mobile. While some larger businesses have sophisticated IVR systems that allow for auto-forwarding to mobiles or even softphones, most do not, and will now be relying on collaboration tools for internal communications and personal / business mobiles for outbound calls, so getting hold of mobile numbers is invaluable, and not as difficult as you might expect. This may be achieved by calling the company switchboard, or could require additional online research, but while typically a prospect may react negatively to being called on their personal phone, we are encountering very positive feedback due to these exceptional circumstances.
  3. Where it’s not possible to secure a mobile number, start with email. Again, the tone of your message is very important, especially as inboxes are even more overloaded than usual with sales messages at the moment.
  4. Equally, consider reaching out via LinkedIn, again with a carefully crafted message. This approach is even more productive when a BDR can present themselves as working for the brand whose campaign they are delivering, as this adds credibility when attempting to contact a prospect.
  5. Any attempt at contacting prospects via online channels is always more successful if you have a strong, relevant content asset to support your discussion. This can be provided as an incentive when requesting a call via email, or a link to a gated landing page can be used, with mobile number being provided in exchange for the download.

Now is the time for teams to be more creative – switching tactics to adapt to a new world where prospects – and the BDRs calling them – work remotely. At MarketOne, we have used our 20+ years of tele prospecting experience to ensure that our newly established ‘WFH demand centers’ have worked with clients to make the necessary adjustments and continue to deliver (while as always adhering to the relevant opt-in policy).

Agencies that are agile, with agents capable of more consultative selling, understand that the fable of ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’ still rings true today. Whilst the volume of connections may be lower and harder to secure, the quality of each conversation can be superior.