I recently answered a question in a forum on selling to executives about whether or not it is a good practice to use a “cold email” approach to a decision-maker to get an appointment. In my answer, I advised the seller that email is fine, but it shouldn’t be about getting an appointment. It should be about loosening the target’s status quo. The content of the email should provide a provocative point-of-view about a business challenge and leave the target wanting more. That “more” may be a sales appointment or it may be another purpose-built element in an “appointment getting campaign.”
So this begs the question of whether or not organizations are leaving a dangerous chasm for sellers to cross when it comes to engaging qualified prospects in a sales conversation. For all the great work we may be doing in messaging, demand generation, and lead nurturing, we may be leaving our sellers with a large gap to close.
Consider adding an “Appointment Campaign” to your field toolkit. Depending on your organization, this can have varying degrees of flexibility from fully scripted and measured to a menu of tactics and content from which sellers can choose depending on the circumstances. The key here is to not put your sellers in the position of creating their own content and messaging as they attempt to convert qualified leads into sales appointments.
Leverage your message maps, personas (Status Quo Profiles), and meetings with the Sales team to develop a toolkit of content designed to help get decision-makers to take those next steps toward an active sales engagement. Some items to consider:
- Introductory email(s). Pre-write email content that lets the seller establish a provocative point-of-view and credibility as a representative of a firm that has a unique approach to an industry challenge. Ask for the appropriate next step in the email…this may or may not be getting an appointment.
- Video vignettes. Use Brainshark or other tools to create short, compelling content to help drive home the firm’s point-of-view. Include links in the initial email or use this as a follow-up tool. Brainshark allows the creation of customized introductions to pre-crafted content which allows a seller to send a “I pulled this together for you” message to the prospect.
- Case study snippets. These are pretty classic, but consider a different approach. Rather than send a beautifully crafted, detailed case study, build short, concise (50 words or less) case study snippets. These can be embedded in an email or included in other correspondence.
This is a starting point of ideas. Don’t make it too complex, but don’t leave your sellers alone to cross the divide with their own tools and messages. A strong “Appointment Campaign” is a necessary catalyst to keep the commercial process moving once Sales has a qualified lead in hand.
(Image Long way down used under Creative Commons License)