b2b Salespeople. Your Voice Mail is Killing You
There are extensive studies outlining the percentage of callers who are willing to leave a voice mail when a salesperson is not available, but there is surprising little data on what happens to callers after they leave a voice mail. We have that data. As you may know if you've read my posts, I listen to calls - a LOT of calls. We track literally thousands of calls each month from a wide array of customers (mostly b2b) and we learn a lot about caller behavior. One key lesson we've learned is that you cannot take solace in the fact that your customer left a voicemail rather than hanging up. You may say "but they left a voice mail, isn't that great? I can call them back and do the deal". We've learned that the likelihood of you getting the deal decreases dramatically once they have left a voice mail. This is especially true with b2b buyers. Their questions are complicated, their deals are big, they have multiple decision makers, etc - they need to talk it through. The reason? By not being there for the caller immediately, you have allowed them time to call competitors, introducing new players into the deal that never needed to be introduced. When you reach out to the prospect you may no longer be able to get the deal on the same terms, or worse yet, you may not get the deal at all.
Your Customer is Very Disengaged at the First Call
We hear plenty of calls where the caller will be in the midst of working through the process for a quote and will say "I'm really sorry, which company is this again? I have a few tabs I'm sort of working through here". What this tells us is that the caller is still very disengaged and it wouldn't take much for them to bolt. This is why you need to get the call when it comes in and blow them away with your awesomeness.
Your Customers Hate Research
Our customers are all INCREDIBLE at what they do. Once they get on the phone with a prospect, you can hear it in the prospect's voice - they are in love and have lost the zeal to continue their research. They may move through the motions, but they have already found their partner. What your customer wants more than anything is to find a vendor that they can fall in love with and abort their research project. When they speak with you, the door is open for you to make this love connection. Remember, if your customers are getting and leaving voice mail, don't let that lull you into a sense of complacency - the moment they left that voice mail they went on to dial your competitor.