The Future of Sales Follow-Ups: Text Messages

October 4, 2019
Contributor: Stanzie Cote

The SaaS sales environment changes quickly, and sales text messages are an increasingly successful strategy to reach leads.

Through my experience managing sales teams, I know calling and emailing prospects is an important part of the job, but sometimes it takes a little more creative thinking to successfully reach a buyer.

The most common tricks for reaching buyers include calling at different times of day, trying various extensions or crafting emails with attention-grabbing subject lines. But what about smartphones — an ubiquitous Americans distraction?

As consumers move toward mobile reliance for day-to-day tasks and purchases, a texting sales strategy can take advantage of that exposure. And with Gartner reporting SMS open and response rates as high as 98% and 45%, respectively — in contrast to corresponding figures of 20% and 6% for email, it’s hard to ignore texting as the next sales frontier. As with any new sales strategy there are best practices, steps to avoid and ways to make it work well for specific teams.

Sales texting: Do’s and don’ts

DO keep your messages clear and concise. Here’s a great template to follow: 

“Hi, Mark! This is Stanzie from Gartner Digital Markets. I gave you a call earlier, but now doesn’t seem to be a good time to chat. What time works best for you this week?”

DON’T try to fit an entire pitch in a text. As a rule of thumb, if you need to scroll to read an entire message, it’s too long. A text is intended as a quick way to get a buyer’s attention and get them on the phone, not as a substitute for your entire conversation.

DO try sending more than one text, at different times of day. Texting isn’t a silver bullet for tricky buyers — you might need to try sending one out in the morning before trying again in the afternoon. You’ll find greater success with a varied approach rather than simply sending the same messages to the same person at the same time.

DON’T text every day. Similar to more traditional outreach methods like voicemails and emails, be sure to space out your touches and give buyers time to digest the information you’ve already sent them.

DO obey opt-out rules and regulations. That is especially important in our post-GDPR world. Keep current on all of the consumer protection laws that apply to your region and your customers, and abide by them. Remember, only use texting if the buyer has agreed to receive outreach from your company.

DON’T give up. As I mentioned, texting is the next frontier for creative sales teams. And new frontiers involve learning curves, but it will be worth the effort as your team adapts faster to an increasingly mobile customer base.

How to make texting work for your team

With internal business VoIP software, it’s possible to dial buyers through a softphone rather than a traditional phone line. That allows teams to reach buyers on their mobile devices and send text messages without ever picking up a personal or work cellphone. If you don’t currently use a softphone, it’s still possible to explore texting as an outreach method. Free or inexpensive messaging applications, such as Google Voice, Google Hangouts and Skype, offer a texting function.

I wouldn’t encourage sales teams to use their personal phones — to maintain privacy — but of course, that’s up to individual discretion. However you decide to incorporate texting into your sales team’s strategy, there’s no doubt it’s a successful form of outreach whose potential has yet to be fully tapped.

 

Source Research

In “Tap Into The Marketing Power of SMS” (full content available to Gartner clients), Chris Pemberton notes that “SMS open and response rates as high as 98% and 45%, respectively — in contrast to corresponding figures of 20% and 6% for email.”

 

Discover more lead management and follow up tips with our Lead Management Kit.

Stanzie Cote

Stanzie Cote manages the Client Success team at Gartner Digital Markets. She is passionate about leading and growing high-performing teams. In her downtime, you can find her touring local breweries and heading to the movies with her two kids. Connect with Stanzie on LinkedIn.

Get the Gartner Digital Markets Newsletter

By clicking the "Subscribe" button, you are agreeing to the Gartner Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.