Texting is almost non-existent in B2B sales. Recent research has found that texting was the lowest adopted of any technology used and sales reps reported only sending .7 SMS messages per cadence, the lowest for every type of medium used.
Despite its low adoption rates, some of the stats below reveal that texting is a trend that we cannot ignore any longer in B2B sales.
- Usage of a text message at work has increased by 62% from 26% in 2014 to 42%
- 61% of people recommend contacting them by text message at work— increased 56.4% from 39% in 2014.
- 95% of texts from businesses are read within 3 minutes of being sent. (Forbes)
- The average response time for a text message is only 90 seconds. (CTIA, HubSpot)
Texting’s current low adoption rate in B2B sales does not mean it’s a tool that shouldn’t be utilized. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. When it comes to building pipeline and closing deals, experimenting with different tools can be worth exploring to drive different types of success and results.
Let’s dive in and talk through some of the more commonly asked questions for using texting in sales.
Should you text prospects cold?
The short answer is no. Texting prospects without their permission isn’t a great idea and there is data to back that up. The research found that sending text messages to a prospect prior to making contact on the phone decreases the likelihood of ever contacting that lead by 39% (1). On the flip slide, when using text after contact has been made, conversion rates increased 100% (2). Be sure to clarify with prospects what method of communication they prefer upfront – rather than make an assumption which could negatively impact the relationship.
How often should I text a prospect or customer?
The bottom line is you have to start transitioning the conversation to text. It’s where people are doing more of their communication, so you want to be where they are. Sending three or more purposeful texts after contact has been made with a prospect can increase conversion rates by 328% (3). Over 300% is a huge number, which demonstrates just how powerful a tool texting can be.
What are some of the best examples of texting in sales?
Typically, texting someone you’re not close with can be awkward and texts at times can be misconstrued by the other party. Below are a few examples of successful ways to start up a text conversation to sell more.
The Reach Out:
If you think about texting someone who you’re not in an ongoing conversation with, you might want to make sure you have a good reason to reach out. Here is one example of how that might work
“Hey, this is John Smith with Company X. I sent you a Yeti mug that should’ve landed on your desk last Monday. Did you receive it? I wanted to connect and discuss our reasoning for sending it. Do you have some time next week?”
Because texting is perceived as informal and personal, one way to keep or maintain a text relationship is to text about more personal information like articles the person or company was mentioned in, job changes or promotions and interesting company news.
“I loved your article on prospecting best practices. The point on using multiple communication methods was great timing for my team.”
The Appointment Reminder +Follow Up:
This one is pretty obvious and is one of the most common use cases. As you’re talking to somebody you can simply say, “Okay, I just sent the invitation over, would you like a text reminder as well?”
After an appointment, if you’re a good sales rep, you’ll provide a clear call to action with next steps. To help keep the conversation on text, you might want to send the promised material or meeting invitation via email and then let the prospect know via text.
“John, as promised, I sent the invitation for next Thursday and attached the research report you requested. Talk soon.”
Texting can be a powerful way to reconnect with someone after they have gone a little bit cold during your conversations.
“We’ve not been able to connect over the past few weeks, can we schedule a quick catch up to discuss next steps?”
When should I text my prospects?
Because texting is such a personal communication method, you need to be very careful when you text a prospect. As your relationship begins you want to keep your texting time between business hours (8am to 5pm their time). As your relationship continues to grow, feel free to try and push the boundaries a little bit by contacting your prospect in the evening.
Besides my phone, is there any other technology that can help with texting?
Texting is best used with other communication tools, so combining the power of text within a sales engagement platform like XANT Playbooks can be really powerful. Not only can you send and receive text messages in that platform, everything you do will be recorded in your CRM so you can better track and manage your communication strategy.
What are the biggest mistakes of texting in sales?
Because we’re so used to texting with friends we often treat texting lightly. When using texting in sales be sure to avoid the following:
- Texting at inappropriate times (after/before business hours)
- Using abbreviations or jargon language
- Using gifs or emoticons when the relationship is just beginning
- Being too wordy (over 160 characters)
Should I worry about sending texts in marketing or sales communication?
Texting is more worrisome than sending emails or placing phone calls due to some of the laws and restrictions. Therefore it is always best to consult your legal team when pursuing a texting strategy.
According to the FCC and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), it’s the law to obtain permission prior to sending texts for business. It’s also courteous and considerate to do so, especially considering how personal this method of communication feels to many people. Don’t let your messages be considered spam by your prospects.