Developing Marketing Messages? Turn to the Phone
Who speaks to the greatest number of prospective new buyers of a product or solution? Here’s a hint: It’s not sales or marketing. The answer: The teleprospecting organization engages the most prospective buyers in actual conversations, making it a critical cog in the demand creation wheel that connects marketing programs to sales pipeline.
Marketers are increasingly evaluated on pipeline and revenue contribution (and less on activities), and thus are dependent on the teleprospecting team’s ability to qualify marketing inquiries into leads. For this reason, it’s critical to take into account how messages are delivered and received via the phone channel.
Here are three ways marketers can tap into the teleprospecting organization to improve marketing programs and develop phone-appropriate messaging strategies:
- Start a listening program. Many marketers draft call guides and scripts to support programs they design and execute. Often these materials are derived from marketing messages originally designed for longer-form content (e.g. emails, Web copy, white papers) and are not tested through the phone channel. A better practice is to collaborate with the front-line telepropecting manager to vet original messaging hypotheses. Then craft two to three variations, emphasizing brevity. The window to capture a prospect's attention via phone is small, so messages must be crisp, to the point, and devoid of fluff and buzzwords. Focus first on the call introduction – you must earn the right to continue the conversation in the first seven seconds. Complete the initial call guide with other information the lead development rep (LDR) will need (e.g. probing questions, customer proof points, the close for the next step). Many teleprospecting organizations use call recording systems to filter out conversations worth reviewing, including short calls (to evaluate which messages failed to initiate a conversation) and longer conversations (to determine whether messages led the conversation down the expected path). Consider shadowing LDRs live (preferably when using tools that ensure a higher connect rate, like automated or assisted dialing tools). Compare notes with the LDR after each call to solicit input on what did and didn’t work.
- Test message variations for the phone. Armed with insights from listening to calls, deconstruct messages and develop variations to test against one another. In one approach, the message structure is baked into the touch strategy. If, for example, your team employs a six-call, three-email touch strategy, test three variations of the call opening, with supporting emails and voicemail messages, and vary when they are used (e.g. first call attempt vs. second call attempt).
- Work it in reverse. The best messaging ideas often come directly from customers and prospects. Marketers can speak to customers directly, but they should also listen in on teleprospecting calls (the inbound variety and outbound calls that follow up on marketing program responses). Occasionally, customers and prospects say something that triggers an "aha!" moment for the marketer. Similar insights can come from conversations with LDRs, who often hear something so often that they consider it common knowledge and assume the marketing team is already in the know.