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The most effective messaging for a prospecting sequence of voicemails and emails, is a dialogue in which new information is added to each new touch in the prospecting sequence.


Bad Voicemail Sequence

I probably receive about twenty voicemails a day salespeople. Here is a sample of the typical messaging sequence.

[Tuesday at 9 a.m.]: “Hi Mark. This is John from XYZ company. Would you like to reach more decision makers with your sales team’s calling efforts? Our company can deliver the names and contact information for thousands of decision makers at Fortune 500 companies. We have state-of-the-art technology that maximizes the accuracy of our data. Please reach out to me today so I can show you some sample lists.”

[Thursday at 8 a.m.]: “Hi Mark. This is John again from XYZ company. Would you like to reach more decision makers with your sales team’s calling efforts? Our company can deliver the names and contact information for thousands of decision makers at Fortune 500 companies. We have state-of-the-art technology that maximizes the accuracy of our data. Please reach out to me today so I can show you some sample lists.”

[Monday at 10 a.m.]: “Hi Mark. John over here at XYZ company. You probably remember that we can deliver the names and contact information for thousands of decision makers at Fortune 500 companies. We have state-of-the-art technology that maximizes the accuracy of our data. I would love to show you these names. Call me today when you have a second.”

Torture! It’s hard to listen to this stuff.  Which is exactly why it doesn’t work.

How Bad Messaging Destroys Inbound Leads

If you’ve ever received a series of voicemails from that salesperson you know exactly what I’m talking about. Think back to those voicemails. Were they valuable? Did you learn anything that helped you? Or were the voicemails a carbon copy of the company’s elevator pitch?

Not only is this approach inappropriate in any modern prospecting situation, it is also the kiss of death for an inbound lead.

Your marketing team has invested significant amounts of time and money to attract this buyer, using quality educational content that is highly relevant to the buyer’s context. The buyer has had a great experience perusing the articles on your blog, reading through ebooks, and attending webinars that your company has produced to help them frame their problem better. When thinking about the problems the buyer is looking to solve, the buyer perceived your company as smart, helpful, and relevant.

Then a salesperson calls the prospect and leaves one of the voicemails listed earlier. Disaster! Insert explosion sounds here. All of Marketing’s effective inbound work is thrown out the window.

Good Voicemail Sequence

Here is what an effective voicemail sequence sounds like:

[Tuesday at 9 a.m.]: “Hi John. This is Mark from HubSpot. I noticed you downloaded our ebook on Facebook marketing best practices. I took a look at your company’s Facebook page and had a few suggestions for improving it. I’ll email those to you now. Give me a call if you want to discuss.”

[Thursday at 3 p.m.]: “Hi John. Mark again from HubSpot. Great news! I found a customer of ours in your industry who had enormous success with their Facebook marketing strategy. I am going to send you that case study now to give you an idea of the specific tactics they used and the results you should expect. Give me a call if you would like to review it together.”

[Monday at 12 p.m.]: “Hi John. Mark at HubSpot. I actually ran that customer of ours in your industry through our Marketing Grader tool and compared their presence on social media to yours. They scored an 87 You scored a 54. I am going to send you those reports now. It turns out there is a lot more opportunity outside of Facebook in the broader social media area for you. Call me if you want to walk through the report.”

Adopt a Dialogue-Based Messaging Approach to Prospecting Voicemail Sequences

Dialogue-based, context-oriented messaging approach to the traditional stream of elevator pitches. With which salesperson would you rather engage?

The dialogue-based messaging is in perfect alignment with the experience the prospective buyer has had with the company thus far. It’s educational, insightful, and personalized to his context. This makes engaging with the salesperson feel like the right next step for the prospect to take.

As you attempt connect with and engage your prospect through a sequence of voicemail messages, treat the process like a dialogue.  Add new information into each voicemail. Align the voicemails with the specific interactions the buyer has had with your company.

Even though buyers do not always call back, they are usually listening.

Develop Your Prospecting Voicemail Message Sequence

  • Understand your prospect’s context by reviewing the way they found you — the blog article they read, the ebook they downloaded. From these actions, you can infer the prospect’s specific interest.
  • Share content related to these interests.
  • Tailor your prospecting message to the size of their business, their industry, or their role.
  • Instead of suggesting the next step be a demo of your product, suggest a free consultation on whatever topic will pique their interest.

Going Negative on the Last Voicemail Message

Now, there is a critical element of the modern voicemail sequence that has its roots in traditional, old-school selling strategy. I need to tip my hat to my dad, Rick Roberge, for introducing me to it. Regardless of whether you are leaving three voicemails or twelve, the final message should always be the “going negative” voicemail.

“Hi John. Mark at HubSpot. I left you a few voicemails with suggestions and best practices on Facebook marketing. Since I haven’t heard back from you, I’m going to assume that Facebook marketing is no longer a priority for you this year. Give me a call if it ever becomes a priority again.”

The “going negative” voicemail usually has the highest callback rate. There must be a psychological phenomenon at work here. In any case, if you have done a good job adding value through prospecting sequence, the prospect will likely call you back after this voicemail. You have been providing such great information to them. Why would they want the relationship to end?

[Potential Buyer]: “Mark. I am so sorry I have not had a chance to call. It’s been crazy over here. The information you have sent me is so helpful. Can you chat at noon tomorrow?”

[Salesperson]: “Actually I’m tied up, but I’m free at 2. Does that work?”

[Potential Buyer]: “Let’s chat then.”

About the author

Mark Roberge

Mark Roberge

Mark Roberge is Chief Revenue Officer of HubSpot Sales Products. Prior to this role,…

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