Prospects have no use for persistence without value.
In my previous post, I described the questions that you need to answer in order to give yourself permission to enroll a potential prospect in a Value-Based Persistence (VBP) campaign.
Persistence is a great characteristic to have if you are a salesperson. But, persistence in itself has no value to your customers, or you. If wrongly applied, persistence can be annoying and perceived as time wasting by your target, thereby decreasing yours chances of winning their business in the future.
Value-based Persistence is a limited time, sales-driven email campaign in which the goal is to deliver value that moves the potential prospect who said “We’re not interested” to dive into your sales funnel.
Initially, you proactively reached out to the prospect and they deferred interest in your product or solution, But, as I discussed in yesterday’s post, you’ve pragmatically concluded that they would be a great fit for your solution. As a result, you’re going to set up a schedule to deliver the value-based content that you would have if they had engaged with you from that first interaction.
In essence, you should consider this to be a shadow sale. Sort of like shadow boxing, but with a prospect. They may or may not interact with every piece of content you deliver. But, if you’ve correctly assessed that they would be a great fit for your product or service, then the chances are good that the prospect will, at some point, begin to engage with the content you’re providing.
Define and validate the content you’ll provide
To start a Value-based Persistence campaign you need to identify and gather all the critical pieces of information that a customer normally requires over the course of their buying process to make an informed decision to purchase your solution.
Review the information you’ve selected to answer these questions:
- What is the goal of each piece of information that you will send? In other words, what value will this deliver to the potential prospect?
- Does it provide data, questions or insights that teaches them something that will expand their knowledge of the possible changes they could make? Does it make clear the value that they would earn from making the change? Does it teach them something new about their business?
- Does this information (in whatever form) deliver the required value to the prospect? Put yourself in their shoes. Read the email and the content you plan to provide from the prospect’s perspective. Will it have the impact that you desire?
- What’s the next step you want them to take as a result of having received this value? What’s the call to action that you’ll include in your communication?
Tell a story
The order in which you deliver the various pieces of value-based content should be constructed to tell a story. It could be the story of how a company similar to the prospect’s used your solution to increase sales and profits. Or, perhaps it’s the story of how the prospect could use your solution to increase their sales and profits.
Either way, use a story to give them a compelling reason to listen to you. It’s another way to pique the curiosity of the potential prospect who says that they’re just not interested. The prospects don’t want to hear that you are just as good as the other guys. If you are just one more mindless seller of a me-too product then they won’t have time for you.
Use automation tools to define a delivery cadence and track engagement
Put together a schedule with specific dates for each piece of information that will be delivered to the prospect. Use a sales automation app like SalesLoft to define a cadence, schedule reminders and help automate the delivery of your content.
Hopefully you’ll have more than one potential prospect in your VBP process, so this’ll be a good opportunity to create email templates that can be reused. Take advantage of the inexpensive sales email automation, tracking and analytics apps, such as Yesware, ToutApp, so you can track potential prospect’s level of engagement with the information you deliver. Are they opening your email, are they clicking on the links in the body of your text, or are they revisiting the email and links on multiple occasions?
This is valuable, real-time actionable data for a sales rep. For instance, if you’re using VBP to nurture the interest of a potential prospect and your analytics show that they are actively engaging with your content, then you’re being given clues about their level of interest and which topics in particular that are catching their interest. What proactive sales steps should you take in response to this data? What additional content could you provide to bolster their interest in a particular aspect of your value proposition? If it were me, I’d say that it would be a great time to give your point of contact a call while he/she are actually looking at a document you sent them.
Create expectations that competitors can’t meet
An important element of what you want to accomplish with VBP is to train the prospect that your communications to them will always have value. In short, it is all about them and the problems that they need to solve.
Performed correctly, Value-based Persistence can clearly differentiate you from your competitors or even an entrenched supplier. Most salespeople don’t have the patience to successfully nurture a prospect with high value content over an extended period of time. Similarly, incumbent suppliers can get lazy and take their customers for granted. This will often create an opening for a seller with persistence, patience and a better value proposition. Like you.