“The new metric for SDR’s with cold contact lists right now should be relevant engagements, not demos booked.”
– Chris Marin, Founder and Principal of Convertist
Sales Engagement must adapt to stay relevant during the current economic crisis. Buyers still have business problems to solve. However, the conversations buyers are ready and willing to have are much different now than before the global pandemic spread to the EU and the US.
The dialectic between to sell or not to sell is false – we need to engage, at scale, but how we engage needs to change ASAP.
To help inside sales teams adapt to the current environment, consider 4 changes you can make today to continue outreach by first sending an “Initial Dialogue” sequence, then addressing core business concerns to stay engaged with customers and new prospects.
- New “Initial Dialogue” sequence
- Messaging focused on mutual concerns
- Templates that allow for easy adaptation
- Leaning in with growth or contingency plans
Part 1: New “Initial Dialogue” Sequence
Marketing and sales messaging, and metrics, need to adapt quickly to stay relevant in today’s current crisis. Per Chris Marin, it’s important to refocus your target customer segment on viable markets, then refocus your SDR’s on creating proper context to discuss business concerns.
Many companies are still running automated newsletters and outbound sequences pitching their products and services. How can you adapt your messaging without sounding disingenuous or merely repeating the same list of WFH tools, tips and Tiger King memes that are now popular?
One way to do this is to start sequences based on mutual business concerns, then share insights on how other companies are adapting to the crisis.
Build a base of relevant engagements over the next 30 days
The entire initial sequence needs to change to what Chris Marin calls an ‘Initial Dialogue Sequence’.
If a contact accepts your bid to continue the conversation in May, you can advance them the next sequence, one Chris refers to as “Picking up Dialogue”. When you initiate engagement this way, then you can ask for a formal call or demo to explore your offering without sounding tone-deaf to the external economic and human health concerns
No one is immune to the virus
The virus has very real business impacts, and work from home only tip of the iceberg, Your customers may be thriving, or failing, depending on how the virus has impacted their customers. Use the Introduction Dialogue to find out where they fall in the spectrum and how you can help with. Consider the following:
- Growth plans can help companies manage overwhelming demand, and the associated problems with too much growth too fast.
- Contingency plans can help companies adapt to the current crisis, or at least mitigate impacts while they prepare for a recovery.
Your CTA can and should be a legitimate offer to explore ways to adapt business process first, then introduce your product or service. Empty offers of help, with no real deliverable, are a short cut to nowhere. Do the hard work of sourcing the best contignency plans you can find, or share what your own company is doing to mitigate the negative impacts of a market in crisis while also caring for your employees and customers.
Testing New Sequences
Try running a new initial sequence or campaign that replaces the demo Call-To-Action with genuine empathy, inquiries, and references to a growth or contingency plan to help companies navigate this crisis. This will help you develop common ground, and assess their capacity to embrace change.
If you are not comfortable engaging on those terms, consider a simple bid to continue the conversation in May to assess their outlook when their target markets are starting to rebound.
This is better than asking your SDR/BDR teams to simply insert a line at the top of each touchpoint saying ‘Hope you’re okay and staying safe’ and then resume with their normal to ask for a meeting. And subject lines mentioning Corona or COVID-19 are going nowhere fast.
Business leaders are taking meetings to discuss business, not to hop on demos. When you initiate engagement with an intial dialogue, then you can ask for a formal call or demo to explore your offering without sounding tone-deaf to the external economic and human health concerns.
Author: Chris Ortolano