This piece is part of our series on sales development, by sales development reps.
Disappointment sinks in when you hear the all-too-familiar automated attendant say that your party is not available. You leave a brief message stating the purpose of your call, your value proposition and contact info.
Now do you wait for a return call back?
I hope not. In my time as a sales development rep, this is worst course of action. In fact, I can count on one hand the times a prospect has actually returned my call.
Calm yourself, as there is value to a voicemail – but did you use this as an opportunity to humanize the outreach experience?
How Sales Development Reps Can Master Personalized Outreach
The ability to find a common bond is critical to capturing the attention of your prospect. In fact, 48 percent of B2B decision makers don’t respond to sales professionals who don’t personalize their messages.
Prospects appreciate when you do your homework. Your efforts are evident in a tailored and personalized outreach that appears to be anything but a generic mail merge or mass templates they are accustomed to receiving.
Personalize your outreach efforts from the first touch, and it will build instant credibility with the prospect you are engaging. One of the best resources for an SDR is the prospect’s LinkedIn profile.
Here is a quick checklist of areas I review to personalize my outreach efforts:
1. Length of time in their present role
2. Recent news about the prospect’s company (including, but not limited to):
- Awards received
- New product rollouts
- Positive earnings
- New hires in leadership
3. Mutual connections
- Best practice: I like to reference individuals whom I know personally (former colleagues I have interacted with, personal friends, former clients, etc.)
4. Past companies where the prospect has worked
- Check if prospect’s past employers are present clients of your company
- Have you (or any of your colleagues) worked for these companies?
5. College / Education
- If you are sports savvy, feel free to open with some light conversation about an upcoming rivalry match-up or related content. Bonus points if you are an alumni of the same college!
6. Companies following on social media
- If you see companies that are existing clients of your company, let your prospect know!
7. Interests / Hobbies
- Believe it or not, this section is often overlooked – that being said, I have been able to establish a common bond by leveraging this information.
- Actual line from a previous prospect email “I came across your LinkedIn profile and noticed we have something in common – we both play (or played) cello. It has been several years since I last played — not for lack of interest in doing so!”
I know, I know. This seems like quite the hefty list of checkpoints to run through before picking up the phone to (hopefully) catch your prospect live. I felt the same way when I instituted this checklist in my daily prospecting efforts.
But here is what I found: With practice and consistency, this process became very quick and easy to achieve – in fact, I am able to check out all 7 areas in about a minute (at most) per prospect.
Your first outreach touch will set the tone with your prospect – connect with them. Humanize the experience through personalization. Happy selling!