Ok, I’ll admit it – I’m the WORST at checking my office voicemail. In fact, I’m the worst at actually answering my phone at work. If you’re a marketing decision maker I’m sure you can relate.
It’s not that I’m trying to be rude; in fact I think I’m a very nice and courteous individual. But, in the hectic day of a marketer we just don’t have time to answer the unrecognized phone numbers that come through, and listen to the often awkward sales introductions on the other end.
To my dismay this past week, after returning from a week-long conference, I realized my voicemail box was full. Dun, dun, dun. Excited to finally make this annoying red light on my phone stop flashing (OCD people can relate) I took a deep breath and started with voicemail 1 of 22.
After listening through 22 sales professionals’ position their businesses via a 1-minute monologue, I realized there is a big opportunity to help my fellow sales professionals in their quest to cut through the noise and make a great first impression.
Please, for the love of (insert your deity here) don’t do these four things when leaving a marketing decision maker a voicemail:
Be Super Vague
Relationships, both business and personal, are built on trust, so there’s nothing more unappealing than someone leaving a voicemail that’s super broad, with the intent of tricking you into a call back.
- “Hi, this is Steve with [organization] and my number is 111-111-1111. Would appreciate a call back.”
- “Hi, this is Joe. I’m new to your account and I think I’m supposed to follow up with you. Please call me back at 222-222-2222.”
These type of messages are confusing and slightly frustrating. If you can’t clearly explain why you’re calling, the likelihood of a call back is slim.
Instead, be direct and provide, at minimum, the basics. Let me know:
- what company you’re with
- what you do
- (most importantly) how you can help me with my marketing needs.
Use sales intelligence tools (plug – like Winmo) to identify brand struggles, new funding or significant spending shifts in order to personalize your introduction.
Don’t Recite Your Company Boiler Plate
I hear this one too often. Sales professionals will start the voicemail very monotone, sounding like a robot, and basically read off what’s labeled on their website. It’s not personalized and I delete the message feeling like just another number on a daily call list.
“Hi, this is Susie and I’m with MarketIQ, a company advancing the way the world communicates. Serving more than 11,000 clients worldwide through 20 offices on four continents, we’re a dominant distributor of company new releases and other communications. MarketIQ delivers global news and information to traditional and new media outlets including newspapers, magazines, online portals, blogs and more.”
Instead, really understand your value proposition and, similar to my suggestion above, pivot your message accordingly in order to make it feel more one-to-one. Decision makers aren’t really interested in WHAT you do, but instead how it will help us solve our problems as a marketer. Try something like this:
“Hi Jennifer, this is Susie giving you a call from MarketIQ. I noticed Winmo has recently published some really great content. Would love to tell you how our services can double your engagement across our platforms.”
Don’t Leave the Exact Same Message
I get it, I work alongside our sales team here at Winmo and I know multiple voicemails are sometimes necessary before you get through. But, whatever you do – please do not leave the exact same voicemail you left me last week, or the week before that.
I had one company leave me the same message (reading the boiler plate) three times over the course of two weeks. By that time I just felt like the sales professional was hurting their company’s brand reputation. If you’re going to try and disrupt the noise – do it the right way so you don’t get a negative impression.
Instead, pre-plan a voicemail cadence if you don’t receive feedback after your first call. Identify three areas you can help and position those enthusiastically and briefly throughout your following calls.
Slow it Down & Speak Clearly
Sometimes I’ll receive great voicemails, but the sales professional is either speaking too quickly, or is muffled, making it hard to understand what they’re trying to convey. I can only hit the "Press 1 to repeat message" so many times before I give up.
Instead, make sure you’re setup for success and making your calls when there’s no background noise and you have dedicated time allotted so you’re not rushing through the voicemail in order to make it to a meeting.
Throughout all the #voicemailfails there are some sales professionals and new business tactics however that have stood out. Do these things:
Have an Inside Referral
Sometimes you’ve got to find your way to the decision maker, and that can result with pitching someone in a different department first. Starting a voicemail with, “I talked to Eric in your sales department yesterday and he referred me to you…” catches my attention. It tells me that my colleague has seen value in what you offer so perhaps it’s worth listening through the remainder of your voicemail.
Make It Timely and Personal
Take the time to learn about your prospect before you dial them up, and not just professionally but personally. If they recently won an award, start the message off with a congratulations:
“Congrats on your recent Inc. 5000 award, you guys obviously know what you’re doing over there at Winmo. In order to make sure you’re collecting that award again next year I think our software can help….”
“Hey this is Chad, haven’t talked with you in a while. Wanted to check in and see if you have any tradeshow equipment needs this quarter. Oh, and by the way….GO FALCONS!”
These voicemails stand out, and tell me you took few extra minutes to learn not only about my role but also about our organization and culture.
The sales reps who incorporate a multi-touch approach dramatically increase their response rate. For one, it shows dedication and two, follow through. A voicemail limits what you can show the prospect, whereas email and direct mail allow you to really stand out and personalize your approach. One that stands out to me was a company last year that had sent emails with case studies, left short voicemails and a delivered a direct mail of cupcakes to the office. Who’s really going to turn down a chocolate cupcake? Exactly.
There’s a lot of information available today on best practices for leaving voicemails. The best advice I hope you glean from mine is to be human. Record yourself and listen to it – if it’s not something you’d personally respond to its likely your prospect won’t either.