I currently have 130 emails in my inbox, 35 unanswered text messages, 13 voicemails, and seven Slack messages.
With all of the distractions and channels we use to communicate, both personally and professionally, it’s no wonder that it’s nearly impossible to get through to buyers.
Or is it?
Through the RAIN Group Center for Sales Research, we surveyed 489 sellers in 26 industries and 488 buyers representing $4.2 billion in purchases across more than 25 industries. These are buyers who are sold to every day and sellers who specifically do outbound prospecting.
It turns out that 82% of buyers have accepted a meeting with a seller who proactively reached out in the last 12 months.
Here’s what they told us about how they prefer to hear from sellers and how sellers have actually attempted to connect.
Eighty percent of buyers prefer to be contacted by email, and 58% of buyers say that for the most recent meeting they agreed to, the seller connected with them over email. Email works — when done right.
When we asked sellers about which tactic is most effective in generating meetings, “sending one-to-one emails to prospects manually after doing research on the individual and customizing the message” ranked fourth after making phone calls to existing and past clients and speaking at conferences.
Now that we know that email works, let’s add everyone to our automated emails and start sending.
Not so fast.
An important distinction revealed is that sending emails “manually after doing research and customizing” is what achieved the results. In fact, “sending one-to-many emails to prospects without customization via automated mail merge/bulk process” was the least effective tactic. Only 5% of sellers report one-to-many emails as being effective.
When it comes to setting sales meetings with buyers, automated, mail merge, and bulk emails don’t work.
While many tout the fact that cold calling is dead, we’d like to set the record straight: cold calling is not only alive and well, it’s the second-most common way that buyers prefer to hear from sellers.
That’s right — your buyers want you to pick up the phone and call them. If you’re selling to C-level and VP buyers, they prefer to be contacted by phone even more.
Just like email, though, the spray and pray approach won’t work. Buyers want personalized, valuable content that will help them solve their unique problems and improve business results. Provide value in every touch and you’ll experience greater prospecting success.
A surprising result is that 36% of buyers say that they prefer sellers to connect with them through direct mail, and 21% of buyers say that for the most recent meeting they agreed to, the seller connected with them this way. While snail mail may be considered a thing of the past, some buyers prefer and respond to mail.
Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. For the greatest appointment-setting success, combine multiple methods that work together to cut through the noise of all our communication channels. Despite the distractions, you can still break through. Buyers are accepting meetings from sellers. Will they accept one from you?
Mike Schultz is a bestselling author of Rainmaking Conversations and Insight Selling, Director of the RAIN Group Center for Sales Research, and President of RAIN Group, a global sales training and performance improvement company. He and RAIN Group have helped hundreds of thousands of salespeople, managers, and professionals in more than 75 countries improve sales results and unleash their sales potential. Follow Mike on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.