5 Ways to Incorporate SMS Into Your Sales Process & 6 Best Practices

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How can you effectively incorporate SMS into your sales process? The key is to keep it simple and don’t overdo it. You can have one-to-one conversations, follow-up after demos, create engagement, incorporate sales cadence touchpoints, and send surveys. And remeber to follow best practices to avoid being blacklisted.

I recently had a dream I was naked on a train platform in the middle of rush hour. Before you get too excited, I was not literally naked. I just forgot my smartphone.

After jolting awake, I gently caressed my smartphone on the bedroom dresser. Getting over the initial trauma, I thought about how important these little devices have become in our lives.

According to comScore, in a ten-year period, smartphones have gone from a 2% to 81% penetration in the mobile market.

However, we don’t just own a mobile phone; we are attached to it at the hip. Asurion discovered that the average American checks their phones 80 times per day.

Because of the potential reach offered by mobile phones, sales development reps (SDRs) find SMS services are a great way to connect with a target market.

Are you incorporating #SMS into your #SalesProcess? ✅ out these 5 ways to start using texts and the best practices you should follow to avoid being blacklisted. #SalesEngagment Click To Tweet

Five Ways to incorporate SMS into the sales process

#1. One-to-one conversations

Text messaging is a quick way to add personalized communications with prospects. VanillaSoft often works with sales groups who want to engage in meaningful conversations with prospects via consent-based texting.

If you want to cut through the chaos, you need non-traditional sales channels to improve responses and engagement. Companies can improve their conversion rate by sending appointment reminders, confirmations, renewal alerts, and payment verification through text.

#2. Follow-up after demo

Many B2B businesses, as well as consumer-facing service providers, depend on demos or other types of appointments to convince prospects to work with them. However, the appointment is only one part of the equation.
SDRs need to follow up after they finish the demo with their prospects. A text message is a non-intrusive way to check in on your contacts.

The key to using text messages in the sales process is timing. Marketing Profs reported that texting a prospect after speaking with them leads to a 112.6% increase in conversions. The fascinating part of the study is texting before you talk to your leads reduces your conversion rate.

#3. Engagement

CTIA reports that consumers now send over 4.5 billion text messages every day. If you want to stand out from the crowd, your texts need to be meaningful to your prospects.

Engagement requires you to understand your audience and create content that helps them. You can use social networks, review sites, and industry forums to gather data to help you understand your audience’s needs.
As we mentioned above, SMS works best on a one-on-one basis. The more personalized the message, the better the engagement.

#4. Sales cadence touchpoint

In the not-too-distant past, sales professionals primarily followed up with people by phone calls. While you should still use the phone to follow up with prospects, it’s more important than ever to incorporate new channels into your cadence automation. SMS texts are a popular — sometimes primary — means of communication for younger decision makers.

If text messages aren’t part of your sales cadence, it’s time to rethink your different touch points.

#5. Surveys

We mentioned earlier how engagement requires understanding what your audience wants. The best way to learn about your target market is to ask how you can help them with their biggest challenges. Send opted-in leads and customers a single-question survey that they can complete with a quick text message.
It is a fast and easy way to gain insights.

Six SMS Best Practices

#1. Get consent

Do NOT text people without their permission. Set up a policy in advance, so salespeople understand the best practices to gain consent from prospects and customers.

When you work with a large-scale audience, consider an opt-in campaign similar to what you would use for email sign-ups. Track how people joined your list and what automated messaging sequence you send to prospects.

The new European GDPR rules make clear consent a vital component of text messaging. The GDPR has changed how meticulously businesses must approach consent and data privacy.

Additionally, provide an easy way to unsubscribe. You can use phrases like “text STOP to cancel,” so that recipients can easily opt out and you only market your services and products to those who want more information.
After you’ve taken these steps to manage and track consent, consider how you can incorporate SMS texting into your sales cadence.

#2. Provide value

SMS marketing comes down to providing value. If your text messages aren’t valuable to your prospects, you risk alienating your contacts. Consider texts for scenarios such as event or appointment reminders, a sales offer, or a news alert that prompts the recipient to read an important email.

It takes only a few seconds for someone to text “STOP” to prevent you from sending text messages in the future. Before they do, give them a reason to keep receiving your messages.

#3. Use clear call-to-actions (CTAs)

SMS messages require the same approach you would use on other channels like your website or email newsletter. If you do not give the prospect a clear directive on what to do next, you’re making it less than likely that the contact will take the steps you would like to see happen next. You’re slowing down the potential for a lead to move closer to a sale.

#4. Respond

Texting is not a broadcast tool; it is a communication tool. Therefore, if you use texts to connect with your audience, make sure you listen to what they have to say in response. As you know, listening is an excellent skill for salespeople.
When SDRs text prospects, those texts become trackable communications. As a manager, you can then use this information to guide SDRs on ways to improve their sales efforts based on the success other reps have with texting.

#5. Be respectful of your prospect’s time

There is nothing worse than a sales text at 3:00 in the morning. Send texts during typical work hours. Also, make sure you send it in the prospect’s time zone, not yours.

#6. Keep texts to a minimum

When something is easy, we want to do it more often. However, more is not always better. No one wants 30 text messages from an SDR. That is creepy stalker territory.

Coming across as creepy isn’t your only consideration. You need to keep tabs on how many messages you send out. If you’re breaking the threshold set by your carrier, you may find yourself blacklisted. For example, while there is no set standard, here’s a breakdown of typical carrier limits.

  • 60 messages per minute from a single originating telephone number
  • 125 messages per 60 minutes from a single originating telephone number
  • 1,000 messages per 24 hours from a single or originating telephone number

Now, keep in mind your carrier’s limits may be different, so make sure to check with your carrier prior to implementing texting into your sales strategy. And know that the recipients carrier may have different limits as well. Our advice is to be conservative in your texting, or you may regret it.

#7 Watch traffic balance

Traffic balance is another area you need to keep an eye on to prevent blacklisting. There needs to be a balance between incoming and outgoing messages to and from a single number.

Let’s take a look at an example: If you text someone 3 times and only receive 1 response, you are texting at a 3:1 ratio.

Industry guidelines call for a ratio close to 1:1. If you’re sending a high volume of texts without receiving any responses, then you will raise a red flag for carriers. So, how do you get responses to your texts? Keep it conversational. Text messages that are engaging and personal will yield better results.

If you #text someone 3 times and only receive 1 response, you are texting at a 3:1 ratio. Industry guidelines call for a ratio close to 1:1. 🤔 Watch your traffic balance! #SalesEngagement Click To Tweet

Final Thoughts

If the average American checks their phone 80 times per day, what are the chances that one of your prospects checked their mobile device at least once while you read this article? If the answer is more than once, then you need to know how to use this technology to improve your sales process.

Learn more about how to use SMS in your sales process with a free, personalized demo today.

 

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Darryl Praill

Darryl Praill, Chief Marketing Officer of VanillaSoft, is a high-tech marketing executive with over 25 years’ experience spanning startups, re-starts, consolidations, acquisitions, divestments and IPO’s. He has been widely quoted in the media including television, press, and trade publications. He is a guest lecturer, public speaker, and radio personality and has been featured in numerous podcasts, case studies, and best-selling books.

Praill is a former recipient of the coveted Forty Under 40 Award, and has held senior executive roles in leading companies including Sybase, Cognos (now IBM), webPLAN (now Kinaxis), and CML Emergency Services (now AIRBUS). He has raised over $50 million in venture funding across multiple organizations and consulted with world-class corporations including Salesforce, SAP, and Nielsen. He is a Computer Science graduate from Sheridan College.

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