Say you’re a salesperson for a manufacturing company. After having built a relationship with a landscape architect or developer and sending over an initial budget estimate, there are often months or even years until a decision has been made or the project has gone out to bid. You know it’s important to remain top of mind and continue to showcase the value of your solution, but how do you do so effectively and professionally?
Common pushback from sales reps who are afraid of being seen as annoying:
“I’ve already sent them 3 emails. What else is there to say?”
“What do I say when the project isn’t going out to bid for 6 months?”
“We’ve shared everything with them, they know all about it”
Assume people will forget everything you said within 3 weeks…they’re busy, and inundated with new information on a day to day basis.
Let’s tackle this issue with 11 creative ways to make touchpoints and stay on the forefront of your prospects’ mind, all the way to the close of the deal. These types of outreach activities will also help position you as a valuable resource, as opposed to a nuisance sales rep with a one-track mind.
- Embrace your role as a guide that helps your customer achieve their goals.
- Vary your communication methods to keep things fresh.
- Share an immediately relevant project profile or case study.
- Engage your prospect with an industry-relevant article, outside your company.
- Send your prospect a personal invitation to an upcoming virtual or in-person event.
- Introduce a tangential partner or vendor that can solve one of your prospect’s problems.
- Share one of your company’s recent lead magnets or resources with context personalized for your prospect.
- Offer a “lesson learned” from other clients that applies directly to your prospect.
- Direct your prospect to a vibrant social media “group” or account.
- Follow the prospect’s social media accounts and reference their posts or marketing efforts in your outreach.
- Build a digital resource kit tailored to your prospect.
1. Embrace your role as a guide that helps your customer achieve their goals.
Effective inbound sales is all about attracting customers with a carrot, not chasing them with a hammer. Putting the customer at the center of everything you do, make sure you have a clear understanding of what they are setting out to achieve. If your product will get the prospect closer to achieving their goals, you should be confident in the value you are providing.
Remember that you are the expert – you are helping the prospect solve their problems, not pushing an unwanted product. As a knowledgeable representative of a solution that fits your prospect’s needs, you are in a unique position. You’re able to help them navigate the steps needed to accomplish what they’ve set out to do.
To help shift your mindset, ask yourself this - do you believe that your product or service will help the prospect? If the answer is yes, picture it as your duty to continue to sell to them. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be helping them. You’d be letting them down if you stopped pursuing the deal.
2. Vary your communication methods to keep things fresh.
Email has its merits as part of a comprehensive prospect/sales nurturing plan – it’s convenient, cost effective, enables immediate response, and is trackable. Bonus points for engaging subject lines that set you apart from email clutter.
Complementing email outreach with other methods of communication can greatly boost engagement. Consider including a quick Soapbox or Vidyard video in your emails to bring you closer to the feel of an in-person meeting.
In your sequence of outreaches, utilize telephone calls or voicemails, and follow up with a quick email. Your email could be as simple as, “Hey I just left you a voicemail but send me a reply here if that's easier for you.” This gives the prospect options for either calling you back or responding to your email.
Don’t forget to connect with your prospect on LinkedIn. Not only will this provide another mode of communication, but it will help give you insight as to your prospect’s interests – so you can further refine your ability to help them achieve their goals. If you do this consistently, your LinkedIn network will be full of good fit prospects and clients.
You may also want to send a personalized card via snail mail, or if the relationship warrants, consider sending something humorous. Varying your approach keeps your name and company in the prospect’s mind, encourages a response, and keeps your outreach attempts from getting stale.
3. Share a relevant success story or case study.
As part of the sales cycle, you must continue to showcase the value of your company’s solution. Take a look at (or develop) case studies that frame your product and its ability to solve problems for real people and companies. Case studies that include client quotes and statistics can be powerful tools that help build trust and prove your product’s value.
Think about the problem your prospect is trying to solve, and share a case study that demonstrates how your company solved a similar problem for someone else – this will be exponentially more effective than simply asserting your product’s ability to be implemented successfully.
4. Engage your prospect with an industry-relevant article, outside your company.
Rather than reach out just to “check in,” look for interesting, relevant reasons to make a touchpoint. This could come in the form of an industry article, white papers, or e-guides. Sharing objective third-party collateral shows that you’re not solely motivated by the sale. It reminds the prospect that you are a partner who’s working hard to prioritize their best interests.
5. Send your prospect a personal invitation to an upcoming virtual or in-person event.
If you’re hosting a customer appreciation event, invite your top prospects! You will get valuable face time with the prospect, and they’ll have the ability to speak with some of your happy clients.
Or, if you’re hosting a webinar that speaks to clients and prospects in a similar customer segment, take the opportunity to invite your prospect. Webinars are a low-commitment way for prospects to continue to learn about how your company can help them alleviate their pain points and get them closer to success.
6. Introduce a tangential partner or vendor that can solve one of your prospect’s problems.
Knowing the industry the way you do, you probably know a vendor or tangential partner that could be helpful for your prospect. Introducing the vendor with a concise testimonial or case study is a great way to let your prospect know you are thinking of them, while providing them a beneficial network connection.
7. Share one of your company’s recent lead magnets or resources with context personalized for your prospect.
The key here is to lead with value – provide relevant information or materials without asking for anything in return. Send one of your company’s e-books or guides as a PDF attachment, rather than requiring them to fill out the landing page on your website. Perhaps a product sample would be helpful during the decision making process.
Include why you’re sharing it with them, and be specific. “Thought you’d like this one as it relates to our conversation last week about product comparisons…give it a read and let me know what you think!”
8. Offer a “lesson learned” from other clients that applies directly to your prospect.
Chances are, you have a current client who has navigated an experience similar to what your prospect is going through. Along the way, your client amassed some valuable learnings, which would be helpful to share with the prospect.
This provides great ammo for a touchpoint, even something as simple as, “I was speaking with a client of mine, and the way they approached a recent challenge made me think of you and [xyz challenge]. Some creative solutions they utilized are as follows, x,y,z… would love to catch up to dig in a bit more, please let me know when would be a good time.”
9. Direct your prospect to a vibrant social media “group” or account.
As part of the value you provide, be on the lookout for industry groups or pages that may be of particular interest to your prospect. Invite them to join a group, or shoot them a message to send them in the group’s direction. This shows your prospect that you have their best interests in mind, and that you’re actively looking to help them boost their business.
10. Follow the prospect’s social media accounts and reference their posts or marketing efforts in your outreach.
Like and comment on some of the prospect’s LinkedIn postings, and share relevant posts with your network. Send a message referencing any particularly interesting posts that they’ve made, asking follow up questions and providing thoughtful insight on any questions posed.
11. Build a digital resource kit tailored to your prospect.
Digital sales enablement tools like Salesreach.IO allow you to package tailored resources for your prospect into one crisp, organized web page. Customized content like a personalized video, link to your proposal, relevant podcast episodes or case studies, and blog articles can be easily uploaded to a templated web page personalized with the prospects name, company, logo, etc – see example here. Providing this unique resource to your prospect helps keep them organized and engaged throughout the sales process.
When tasked with long sales cycles, keeping the lines of communication open will help ensure that you’re at the top of your prospects radar when it comes time to close the deal. Along the way, look for ways to add value through regular, well thought out touchpoints.