The Sales Transformation and Perfecting the Art of Customer Messaging with Priya Sachdev

Overview

In her presentation, Priya shares how sales have transformed in the past few years and how that affects customer messaging. Priya shares her top tricks and tips to successfully message customers with higher response rates.

Speaker

Priya Sachdev is Chief Customer Officer at Vengreso, a company set out to help sales teams and business owners’ prospect better and sell more. Priya is a Sales Practitioner as she partners with organizations to review, refine and execute their Sales strategy.

Quotes

“Now that we have technology and templates, we are forgetting the importance of personalization” 

“We are buyers to sellers out there as well. And that would itself tell you we’ve changed the way we make buying decisions, the way we engage today.” 

Key Points

3 things we must be doing when crafting messages:

  1. Be human
  2. Be contextual
  3. Clarity of objectives

Transcript

Hi, everyone, my name is Priya Sachdev. I’m the Chief Customer Officer here at Vengreso. It is such a great opportunity to interact with all of you today through this platform.

Just a quick introduction to myself. I have been in sales for almost 30 years now specifically in the space of b2b and have worked with organizations in various roles of being in sales as an individual contributor, being a sales manager a sales leader and a country leader of the past 30 years, the last 15 have been in the space of sales performance management.

So one thing I do bring to this conversation today is the experience of having witnessed the change that’s happened in sales. And I think, more than the change that we saw in the last couple of years. We’ve seen change happen in the past three years, and this has been a strong tailwind in terms of sales transformation.

Today I am going to spend the next couple of minutes talking about my perspective of how I’ve seen this change and more importantly, talking on a topic that’s really really close to my heart. So if I go on a rant, please excuse me here, but we will spend time talking about perfecting the art of customer messaging. Its the most important thing we do as sellers as marketers, and sales leaders and I think in this world of technology and working and engaging with our customers and prospects through these virtual environments. This has become even more important than ever before.

So pulling up my presentation here so that I can use that to support me in my conversation. We’ve been doing a lot of research at Vengresso And one of the key things that we do work around is prospecting. And the recent data says that 69% of sellers feel getting the first conversation with a customer or a prospect is the hardest. Honestly, if you ask me, I’m not surprised with this. With the amount of noise around us be it in the digital world or otherwise. Having this first conversation just keeps getting harder and harder. And while we are all working towards it we’re finding that there are just so many things we can do. And yet picking up what is the best practice and what are those handful of things that will help me be more effective is becoming the silver bullet we are all looking for.

Now. While getting that first conversation is the hardest and as sellers we are working towards it we also do realize that there are a lot of ineffective prospecting strategies around that. And maybe they worked well for us previously. And that’s the reason I’m hoping that is the only reason we continue to use them even today, but they don’t seem to be working anymore. And why am I starting from there is just so that you know, before we change it is to get to that stage of awareness and that’s really what I want to take you guys so let’s meet Bob. A seller like you and me doing outreach reaching out to prospects every day through cadences and sequences and maybe using a lot of the sales automation tools as well. And here is an email that Bob sent. And this is an example from one of the emails received by Mario who’s the CEO here at Vengreso. I want you to take the next couple of seconds or a minute to just look at this mail. And I will highlight some of the elements of this for you for sure. But just as you look at it, that first look, let me tell you, Oh, we send out emails like this as well. That was my first reaction. When I got this email, just say oh, okay, another mail, outbound cold outreach.

However, I want to use this as an example to tell us what we shouldn’t be doing. I’m sorry, Bob. Hope you’re having a good day wherever you are, but this email just didn’t work well for you. So first of all, it starts with saying you’ve been utilizing Salesforce at Vengresso and We don’t use Salesforce. So wherever they got that data from just didn’t give them the right data research so important, right. The second thing is I can make out when I get a template, and I’m sure you can do this as a template. And it picked up the token possibly from LinkedIn because it doesn’t say Vengresso so but it says I’ve been reading so prospect better sell more, which is really the tag that we have for our LinkedIn company page. So it goes on then to say, I want to support you on your Salesforce endeavor by bringing you pay as you use. Okay. I’m hoping this builds up a little more. But it doesn’t, because it says other people are doing this and I want to show it to you with few use cases. But why? Maybe is there something more there? It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a requirement. I should be reading this email and possibly meeting with you. Even I don’t have a requirement for what kind of an outreach message that and then those bullet points. I’m not even going to stop and count how many there are but it looks like someone just lifted them up from their product brochure and put them there. And that’s not even the best part of the email. It then gets to that last line, which is thinking a call for action would say, Hey, would you like to do a call sometime? Maybe next week? Really? I don’t remember when I did that to a client and the client said Yes. Call me back. Nobody calls you back. Sometime? Let’s meet some time and people would say yeah, that’s fine. Well, the problem of those ineffective prospecting strategies is us and I want you to pause and think about this. I am not against templates. But it’s important to remember a buyer has changed, right?

We are buyers to sellers out there as well. And that would itself tell you we’ve changed the way we make buying decisions, the way we engage today. Firstly, we are digitally connected more than ever before, across the world working through time zones today with remote work coming in. You don’t even know where it was based. We ourselves have a 100 person virtual organization. We are all digitally connected and that’s true for most of our prospects and customers to be socially engaged and you know all those people who are one nine said ah not on LinkedIn. I’m not on Facebook. Everybody’s there. Thanks to the pandemic and that strong tailwind created for all of us mobile attached. I don’t know about you, but the first thing I see in the morning is my mobile phone. And the last thing I put away is my mobile phone. And finally video hungry enough data out there which tells you that video is being consumed, possibly as the most consumed platform if I can call it that right and not just in terms of videos, content, but even in messaging, or seeing an update on videos.

So this is how the buyer is changing that old way of selling that we grew up with. Where we made cold calls, we did email blasts, we went to networking events. How I missed those or you could ask for references are becoming the old ways of selling. I’m not saying that these don’t work anymore, but just that we need to augment them and integrate them in a new way. And then what is the new way? The new way is the omni channel way. I was speaking to a sales leader and in one of our conversations and he was telling me that I make most of my decisions after 10pm in the night. Actually no seller does outreach at that time, right. He says on the day I go from a zoom call to a zoom call to his call and then I manage escalations and I have a team to manage so I don’t have time to make buying decisions. And I was thinking about what he said and I think a lot of leaders are living that life today. I do that as well. That’s the reason it becomes inevitable for us to have an omni channel customer engagement strategy to engage with our prospects and buyers. And we’re finding that all other platforms other than an email and calling that are working well as well.

For example, text messages. People respond back to text messages only because I think it’s something that I can use to respond back whenever I have time. Right. And social networks via Facebook, or LinkedIn or Twitter. People are there Instagram, depending which audience you are working with sales videos not just on YouTube, but in video messaging. We’ve seen great responses from using video messages, digital reference, picking up what people were doing at networking events and in asking referrals and bringing it together through digital referrals- a great way to engage with customers. Everybody listens to you when you can throw a reference right, and buy or engage you because of the content you share. And the last one, gift marketing. I don’t know if you’ve started to receive those free coffee or order something on UberEATS vouchers yet. But they are a great way to engage with your prospect because once they use the voucher, they automatically feel obligated, having the conversation with you. And these are working well as well.

So now think about this omni channel way and then one thing you will realize is in all these platforms, one thing that’s become even more important than it ever was, is crafting that close to perfect message because everything needs a message, right? You’re sending a text message, you’re creating a post on LinkedIn, you’re asking for a reference, you’re needing a script for a video message, You’re sending out an email, everything needs messaging, and that’s why messaging is becoming so important. So what are four things we must be doing when we’re thinking about crafting our message?

First one there, be human. I never thought I would tell people to be sad, but true and if any of you follow me on LinkedIn, you will find that one thing that I’ve been ranting about a lot nowadays is that I don’t worry about artificial intelligence. But I do worry about human stupidity. And I’m not saying we’re stupid but I’m just saying that a lot of times, now that we have technology and templates, we are forgetting the importance of personalization. And I will talk a little bit more about it but it is a point that’s really really important. That’s be human.

Second point is be contextual. Know the context of your prospect or customer as you do outreach to them. Be relevant. Nobody wants irrelevant information. Remember that mail, from Bob, talking to us about Salesforce, absolutely not relevant.

And finally, your message needs to have clarity of objectives. What do you want me to do once I receive your message? so let’s quickly touch upon all these four points today. And yes, I will share a best practice sales messaging framework that we have here at wrestle called the PVC. So stay tuned till the end of the session to know what PVC stands for.

So let’s talk about the first one- being human. It’s not rocket science. But then also we know common sense is not common practice. And that’s why I think it’s important for us to remember this. Acknowledge me for who I am. It’s like if you were in a crowded room And you wanted to speak to me you would call out to me and say, Hey, Priya. How do you do that in the digital world? In all the digital noise around us, right? Empathy, connection, making that connection, you know, respect and appreciation and most importantly, digital listening. Remember, two years and one mouth. Same thing applies in the digital world as well, by the way, all right, to be contextual. This is a research data that I am picking up from a research from CSO insights slightly dated, but I think it’s still relevant. Four key things that stand out of that research of saying what are buyers expecting from us as sellers?

First is to understand my business. Really basic. In fact, one thing that I say to my team is you haven’t earned the right to reach out to a prospect or a customer if you don’t understand their business. Second one, there is excellent communication. And I think there are two parts to excellent communication. First is the language, whatever language of communication you use, you need to ensure you’ve got the grammar, the spelling’s and everything right. And the second part is communication is effective, if you can understand what I am saying in my messaging, right. And that’s important, so crafting that message and taking time to do that.

Third one is focused on post sales now one would say but we are still doing outbound outreach. But yes, remember we are in a risk averse market and a customer does not want to take a risk. So you need to tell them how you will solve the problem and what that before and after would look like for them. And the final one there provides insights and ideas. Everybody needs to know why am I speaking to you? What do you bring to the table that I would not have known if I had not spoken to you or received this message from you? And I think that is so important when we are crafting our message.

Next one is being relevant. And when I talk about being relevant, I want you to think about talking about the right thing to the right person at the right time. Right and that’s about being relevant. So we all talk to buyer personas, but this is adapting your message to the buyer persona. So the economic decision maker who approves the buying decision, typically the person who owns the wallet, for them, you need to talk ROI to your user decision maker. You need to talk about performance of the product or solution because that’s what appeals to them. And the final one is the evaluating decision maker. They are the ones who are going to screen you out or screen you in depending on which side of the criteria you are. And they need to know how you fit on the criteria. So as you do your messaging, ensure that you’re relevant to the buyer persona you’re doing outreach to. And the final one there clarity of objectives. With the end in mind, one of the habits from The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, right? What do you want them to think, feel and do when they receive your message? And I think this is just such a powerful thought there, that you write down your message and say, well, it helps them in thinking in a certain way or feeling what I want them to feel confident., Excited, What do you want them to feel and what do you want them to do? Sign up for a webinar, agree for a meeting and socialize your message with other people in their organization?

What is it that you want them to do? Because your messaging changes the flavor based on what is the outcome you expect out of that? So four things to keep in mind.

Firstly, be human. Second, be relevant, or be contextual. And finally have the clarity of objective. Important things to remember, as you start crafting the perfect message and like I promised you the PVC sales methodology, P that is personalized. That V is for value, value in terms of understanding the pain and having content to address the pain. And the final one there is the CTA ask a question to solicit a response or their opinion or invite to an event or a meeting or whatever it is that would help you know that this was an effective message. So simple things to use.

There are easy templates available. However, I would say create your own messaging guidelines using the framework because that works better than templating the messages. Quick insights on what is the anatomy of a good cold message. Remember, you’re not going to get more than 40 seconds. So your message needs to appeal to those 40 seconds. So the best message is hyper personalized no more than 111 words and it includes a strong call to action. The acceptable message is personalized to the buyer persona. So if you don’t know Priya Sachdev at least you know, she’s the chief customer officer, right. 112-250 words to state the pain and add value and still includes the call to action. So you can go to our website Vengreso and actually search for a blog we recently published on how to write that perfect sales message and get the guidelines and templates there as well. But an acceptable message here is a quick template for you.

Start with a high, address the person, tells them who you are, insert a personalized sentence, sedans or hyper personalized and then depending on how well you know your prospect. Tell them what it is that you can do for them. How would you address it? And finally have a clear call to action. Don’t make it difficult to connect with you. Right, give them options. Tell them to just pick one. And remember, the old ways of prospecting are creating barriers and it is our new way, the only channel strategies that we bring that are going to create new ways and help us grow.

So, I hope you found value in taking away those four things that will help you perfect the customer message. Do feel free to reach out on LinkedIn and connect with me and hit me up if you have any questions on any of those concepts we spoke about today.

I hope you have a great rest of the event. And thank you so much for this opportunity to connect with you today. Finally, be genuine, be remarkable and be worth connecting with.

So that’s it and I absolutely echo the same sentiments.

Thank you guys