When we think of the selling profession, we usually think of contacts made face to face or over the phone. However, a growing percentage of contacts are now completed via email…. Is your sales team prepared?
The 2010, Inside Sales Compensation and Metrics Report, published by The Bridge Group, reported that the average number of calls made per Rep, per day has remained relatively flat since 2007, now at 39. At the same time, email contacts have grown and reached an average of 24 emails per rep, per day in 2010.
If your sales team is sending email messages, here are 5 things you must consider:
- Branding: Your customers likely receive email messages from other areas of your business such as marketing and customer service. To instill confidence, build brand awareness and portray that everyone works for the same company (and works collaboratively), ensure that your email templates contain the same colors, logos and brand messaging as other departments.
- Writing skills: The skills needed to be a successful salesperson, can be very different than the skills needed to write a compelling, grammatically correct email message. If email messaging is a robust part of the work activities, you may want to test for writing skills during the interview process, provide training on how to write emails and create standard templates for Reps to use, so all they need to do is “fill in the blanks”. Check out the article: Six Steps To Selling By Email, by M. Rudick.
- Email signatures and out of office messages: I have observed that at many companies, the employees use inconsistent email signatures and out of office messaging. This is concerning from a branding perspective (see number 1), but may also result in missed sales opportunities.
- Your email signature should provide clear and detailed contact information, so your customer can reach you to ask questions and place their order. For most salespeople, this should include a phone number, mobile number, fax number and email address PLUS company info like a website address, Twitter or Facebook link.
- Your email signature is another place to include sales messaging to create interest and spur action.. like a PS.
- Out of office messaging must 1) always be turned on and 2) always provide coverage when a salesperson is out of the office. Without both 1 and 2, your customer may go to your competitor to place their order(s).
- The Legal Stuff: Over the past 10 years there have been many laws passed (e.g. Can Spam) regarding business email messaging and this does not just apply to the marketing department- especially if your team is sending email messages to prospects. For more info, please check out The CAN-SPAM Act: A Compliance Guide for Business on the FTC website.
- Consider HOW your sales team is using email messaging. It can be an effective communication tool, but a less effective selling tool.
In a recent post called “Email Free Fridays”, sales thought leader Paul Castain advised sales teams to send less email messages because….
- We have a glut of email volume: Per Radicatti Group, 247 Billion emails are sent each day and will grow to 507 Billion by 2013.
- According to Dr Albert Mehrabian, only 7% of what we say is communicated through words. The other 93% is communicated through tone and visual cues. Therefore, email is not an effective way to close a sale.
- Emails can be a connection inhibitor by keeping things stuck in virtual time instead of real time.
- They can be a huge time waster (especially when a !@#$%s enters the picture and replies all or cc’s needlessly).
The Bridge Group also advised, “Email as a medium cannot replace a conversation with a prospect.” It is difficult or impossible to probe, handle objections and ask closing questions in an email.
Email is here to stay, and becoming more and more popular, so your sales team must be prepared. Do you have other email tips to share? Please add them in the comments.