TSE 1315: Finding The Right Blend Of Personalization And Automation In Outbound Sales

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The Sales Whisperer
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Stephen M. Lowisz
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Podcast, Blog

There has to be a balance between personalization and automation in outbound sales. The question is, how do you keep the right blend of the two? In this episode, we’ll discuss how to personalize the method of automation.

Stephen Lowisz always says that he sucks at everything except sales. He was 16 when he started selling consulting solutions. He didn’t make any money at first but even with no formal training he was able to study the process and he made his first 1.1 at 19. When Stephen started sales, it was old- school smile-and-dial. It was a time of manual effort – finding people, getting their data, putting it on SalesForce, and calling. Things are different now.

The lack of interest in effective outreach

Outbound sales isn’t necessarily viewed as appealing. The appeal comes later when you’re collecting the check. Outbound sales is considered spam because we often get automated messages from a variety of sources. Many sales teams don’t realize there is a right and wrong way of sending out emails.

The balance between personalization and automation

Executing Stephen’s philosophy of making outbound more personal is executed by taking a group of people that are almost identical in persona. Once they are selected he then communicates with the group as a specific persona and it helps make the message more personal even if it’s being automated to a specific group. In his company, they sell behavioral analytics to predict sales team performance within organizations and most of their products are focused on HR. They are good clients but they are not a group where persona can be defined.

When he talks to a small group of people who exhibit the same persona he can get very personal with them. Most salespeople approach an individual saying, “Hey I’m Stephen from Quality Agents. I run a performance solution and I have behavioral analytics …” and on and on, making it all about them and their products. Stephen has a different approach. He’ll say, “Look, running HR, essentially being the CEO of people in a fast-moving tech company with ever-changing needs, is really, really difficult. I get to align with HR leaders like yourself, to help them grow and scale and align their teams and I want to swap some insight and ideas.” He’s able to make it about them and shows up to serve and partner.

Automate the activity and the task

Stephen suggests that you can automate the activity and the task well. You can send a sequence of automated emails and then do the same thing with LinkedIn where you do voicemail drops.

Another tip to staying personal is by automating the task. In earlier years, sales had no automation. Everything was manually and there was a need for a methodology. Even with automation, however, we still need methodology in sales today. Without specific steps, you can end up working harder without working smarter. There are many tools to do this but it’s when you have a sequence and methodology that you are able to optimize your sales process.

The approach

Stephen created an e-book called Sales Code which offered a different mentality around sales. The goal of salespeople is to set up an appointment and make a deal; however, it is also equally important to pique the emotional curiosity of your prospects. This is what outbound sales is. It’s about piquing not just the product or service interest but also emotional curiosity.

To create a balance between automation and personalization, Stephen suggests beginning with a personal approach. Once they have an emotional investment, it is more likely appointments will be made. When that’s done you can move them through email automation and start connecting with them via LinkedIn automatically. After that, a personal conversation.

Cold-calling isn’t dead

Cold-calling may not be scalable but it’s also not dead. It’s a good idea to warm-up your prospects with a few LinkedIn touches or emails. Depending on the size of your business, you can also use Facebook. Generally, it takes 7 – 12 touchpoints before someone will meet. Remember that prospects are different from each other so spend a lot of time nurturing the relationship using a lot of different avenues. Be professionally persistent without hounding your prospects.

Cold-calling is a catalyst to get a response via other mediums. More often than not, people won’t call you back but if you give them the right opportunity and nudge them in a professional way, they will respond. Others misconstrue formality with professionalism. Stephen uses an informal approach but he tailors his message. His goal is to talk to people on a peer-to-peer level. He is professional but for him, taking a formal approach doesn’t work as well.

It’s very easy to become unoriginal in sales if you just follow the strategies of other people. It’s good to take into account what successful people have done but do it in a way that is authentic and unique to you, and to your client.

The formal kind of market

According to Stephen, the European market can be very formal in the way that exchanges are made. He trains ways that conversations can be professional but still be conversational. If you communicate on the side of formality, you may try adjusting your approaches to best suit your client.

Just remember to create a very niche and specific persona. Craft a custom message to that persona and take that same exact message and apply it to 100 people. Create a personal message and slightly back it up just enough so that you can automate it.

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