The Sales Team Playbook for Text Messaging - part II

sales sms II

This post is a piece of our 4-part guide that covers:

  1. The state of sales
  2. How to use SMS for sales
  3. Supercharging sales with SMS integrations
  4. Real-world sales teams that are crushing it with SMS software

Today, we’ll dive into how to use SMS for sales. 

How to use SMS for sales

It’s a fine line: Getting your leads to convert without pushing too hard and coming across as desperate or annoying. This is the line good salespeople walk every day, but there’s only so much flexibility if you’re relying on old communication technology. 

Text messaging can help you overcome this obstacle by helping you communicate in a way that won’t turn your prospects off but will still keep the conversation going. To avoid annoying your customers or prospects, you could do one of two things. 

You could stop reaching out to them altogether. This will solve the problem of overkill sales that turn people off. But it won’t convert leads to customers. It will do the opposite and could cause you to lose business. 

The other action you could take is to change the way you reach out. If you’re finding that a lot of prospects are ignoring your calls and emails, try an approach that’s friendly and non-threatening while direct and clear at the same time. This is where SMS comes into play, making a powerful addition to your sales comms.

Here are some scenarios that show sales teams using text messaging to grab and keep their prospects’ attention in the real world:

Follow up on new leads

Let’s say someone has just filled out one of the online forms on your website because they wanted to read an extensive guide marketing created. You or someone on your sales team is waiting for this exact moment to reach out and see if there’s anything else you can help them with. Often, a sales rep will give a prospect a call within minutes of filling out a form, which can land some deals, but only if they are already very interested. 

Sometimes, a prospect is ready to have a phone conversation with someone at your company. But sometimes, they just want to read the guide. The person who only wants to consume the content for now might ignore your phone call. Reaching out with a text message, on the other hand, can let you follow up on new leads without the pressure of a sales call. Here’s what your text might look like in this case:

Hi Rajesh, this is Daniel from Awesome Company. I saw you downloaded our Guide to Being Awesome. Let me know if you have any questions. We have some other great content you might find useful once you finish with the guide. Here’s a recent post: https://blog.avochato.com/blog-/-6-ways-your-business-benefit-from-sms-text-messaging-services-plus-tips 

You can take any approach you want with your follow-up, and you can, of course, base it on the information you get from the form-fill. But, sending a text is going to be the best way to just about guarantee your follow-up message will be seen and start the sales conversation. Why not a phone call? It might work to call, but sometimes it’s better to nurture a new lead through other means so you don’t scare them off too early. Why not an email? The point of following up is to engage your prospect in conversation. Email is too slow, and you can’t always count on your email message being read.

Take live chat conversations offline

If you have a live chat widget, you are probably capturing leads who have already done their research and are interested in learning more about your business from a real person. Great! Your job, as a sales rep, is to help that person go from lead to customer. This is why, depending on the content of the conversation, of course, you should be ready to receive leads that have come through your online chat widget. These are prospects who are reaching out to your company with some prior knowledge and interest, so they’ll likely pass quickly through marketing and into your hands. 

Your best bet is to try to keep the conversation going via text message, even after the prospect has left your site. Imagine someone visits your website, asks a few questions via chat, and then they leave. Normally, this would be the opportunity to send them an email to check in or just leave the relationship alone until they reach out again. But, what if your sales team could reach out the next day with a text message? You could try to answer all their questions and give them the info they need while maintaining informal, pressure-free communication. This is an interested prospect, and however you can keep the conversation active, you should. Here’s an example of a follow-up text message you might send to a lead who has come in through live chat:

Hi Izem, my colleague Laiana told me you were interested in Product X. I’d be happy to answer any questions for you. How can I help?

Why not a phone call or an email? Bringing leads from live chat to SMS, when they’re integrated into the same platform, can be seamless. Reaching out via text can feel like a continuation of the conversation, since it will look similar to the prospect if they’re on mobile, and if they’re not, texting at least has the same back-and-forth conversational feeling as live chat so it’s not too abrupt a departure. Just make sure you have the proper opt-in permissions in place on your live chat before you start texting.

Text warm leads

Break out your deep listening skills, and dig into your notes. Try to remember exactly what this prospect’s needs were when you last spoke with them, and see if you can create a text message that will help them start to see a solution. This is where sending content that explains how your product addresses their exact needs will come in handy. Here’s what your text could look like:

Hi Marta, I wanted to share this recent blog post with you about how to manage your remote maintenance team. You mentioned that’s one of your biggest issues right now, and I thought it might be helpful: https://blog.avochato.com/the-benefits-of-texting-your-field-team-avochato

Why not a phone call? This is just a small contact to show your prospects that you still care about them and remind them you have solutions for them. Interrupting Marta’s day with a call just wouldn’t be appropriate. Why not an email? You can send content via email, but it might not be effective since email’s average open rate is only 20 percent and its response rate is a mere 6 percent. You want her to read it, right?

A message like this only really works if you’re going to send it via text. It’s short and to the point, but it’s casual helpfulness might go a long way to nurturing your already-warm lead.

Close more deals, faster

The rate at which you close deals will depend on your industry and the nature of your business. Some direct to consumer products can close quickly with a text blast, personalized to each of their leads, that offers an exclusive discount. Others will have to schedule a demo or a meeting to chat further about the product before a deal can close. 

Regardless of how your business is able to sell, your job is to help get it done. Using text messaging to help you means you can get more deals done faster since you don’t have to wait as long for responses that may never come. You’ll be able to get a sense of how a prospect is feeling towards your brand after one or two messages. You can keep the conversation going with those who seem interested, and you can either choose not to pursue or put on hold the prospects who go cold.

Here are two examples of very different deal-closing text messages that you could use to get one more step towards finalization. Note how different they are in their approach, which highlights the variations that you’ll need to take into account after you consider your industry and the style your customers expect. 

  • Hi Victor, I’d love to schedule a meeting next week so we can show you the features we talked about in action. When are you free?
  • Hey there Lin, a monthly membership is currently 25% off for anyone who subscribes to our text messages. Use code TEXT to get the discount before Tuesday at midnight: https://www.thisproductisawesome.com/discount 

Text messages can be used to set up the deal close in lots of different types of industries. More than phone or email, SMS can get your prospects’ attention right away and keep things moving quickly. And faster sales cycles could lead to more overall sales. 

Improve sales comms effortlessly

Regardless of how you decide to implement SMS in your sales processes, there’s little doubt that it can be the most efficient and effective channel available. But there’s a barrier that often stands in the way of sales teams that want to start texting their leads but can’t: effort.

Getting set up with a text messaging software that can help you close more deals faster shouldn’t be a hassle. It should be one of the easiest investments you make for your sales teams, and you should be reaping the benefits right away.

There are lots of reasons you should use a text messaging software to message your prospects and customers instead of letting your team text customers from their personal phone numbers. Some of the issues with choosing not to use a centralized software include putting your employees’ personal phone numbers out into the public, not having consistency when reaching out (a big problem if one of your team members ever goes on vacations or takes another position), a lack of oversight and metrics, and just general liabilities. 

In other words, texting customers from your personal device isn’t advised for businesses that want to create a trustworthy, consistent and positive customer experience.

The problem is, some text messaging software out there is bulky and complicated. Sometimes you’re required to have some coding knowledge or get your development team involved in the process—all just to set up a way to text your customers. Texting is something most of us do every day of our lives. It seems like it should be easy, but so much software out there makes it far more complicated than it needs to be.

A text messaging software for business like Avochato makes it simple to get your team messaging prospects right away, no coding required, and only a few minutes of your time to get set up. With a software solution like Avochato, you can integrate your SMS system with other systems you already use, too, with no extra work required. 

Texting should help enhance your sales performance, not cause frustrations.