SMS has massive potential for sales. It’s more efficient than email, can be delivered quickly, and is read immediately. We’re also so accustomed to text messaging in our personal lives that we are naturally apt to reply quickly. SMS’s traits of speed, efficiency, and effectiveness give reps the ability to deliver highly relevant messages precisely when they need to. Reps can capitalize on momentum with a lead, establish an open channel of communication, and gain more access to the organization’s decision making process when they quickly check in with a prospect.
However, when you allow reps to text prospects, it’s important that you set guidelines. Texting with a prospect can be like walking a tightrope. You want reps to follow the line and not deviate and potentially upset or turn off a lead.
Many people who receive a text from a salesperson may perceive it as a violation of personal space. But, there is a way to avoid a negative reaction. Your reps should make their intentions clear to the prospect or customer by simply saying over the phone or email, “I can always text you if you’d like. Customers usually find this easier and quicker to reply to.” This establishes rapport, gives the prospect the opportunity to make a decision, and sets the precedence that your team regularly converses with others via text.
To give a real life example, last week a prospect actually asked one of our reps to text them to follow up on an initial call! She preferred texting versus the back and forth via email since it was quicker to exchange information, get answers to questions, and (eventually) set another follow up call. Almost the entire post-discovery call process was done via SMS…and to sweeten the deal it ended up in a closed win. 🙂
Many countries have laws and regulations that govern the use of SMS. In the United States, for example, The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 governs text message usage. It imposes fines, civil suits, and even prosecution for the misuse of SMS messages. The TCPA requires that companies obtain expressed written consent from prospects and customers to receive SMS, provide the ability to opt out, and other requirements. Ensure that you’re always in compliance by consulting with your legal team. Of course, these regulations provide only a basic guideline around how to communicate. Quality conversations go far beyond this, and you must work with reps to ensure they provide value via SMS.
The misuse of SMS also results in productivity and data losses. Reps must switch between applications or even devices as they move between their computers and smartphones to send messages. This causes switching costs and lowered productivity as reps disengage and re-engage with each piece of software or platform.
Furthermore, if reps use SMS applications or phones that are outside of your sales stack or do not integrate with your CRM, you lose valuable insight into those sales conversations. Since the applications do not integrate, you cannot view the text messages to understand how they contributed to a win or a loss. It also means the rep must manually record their activities associated with texting leads. If they do this, it costs them time. If they don’t record texts, it causes inconsistent records and missing information.
Although SMS can be the perfect method to deliver highly personalized messages to prospects, it does come with its set of risks. Every rep, in fact every person texts differently. How can you make sure that every SMS stays consistent, accurate, and on-brand? It can be difficult to standardize text messages across your organization. And you run the potential risk of leaving these small, but crucial decisions in the hands of every rep, but remember this happens on the phone as well.
People use different language, abbreviations, and message manners can impact SMS effectiveness and even the image of your company. What a rep may perceive as a typical interaction, a lead may see as overbearing and rude. This could cause them to develop a negative perception of your rep and company, and lead to the loss of a sale.
Solutions like SMS Templates provide a simple and effective way to ensure that your reps all use consistent language and proper grammar in text messages. SMS Templates also provide a standard of communications and set a tone for reps to follow when communicating with prospects via text.