Today’s sales professionals have more ways than ever to get in touch with prospects. And yet, sales reps can’t escape the most common and often the most frustrating method of sales prospecting communication—and that’s voicemail.
There’s no way around it—sales reps spend a lot of time leaving voicemails, and unfortunately, most go unanswered. Consider these statistics (source):
- 15% of a sales rep’s time is spent leaving voicemails.
- 80% of calls go to voicemail, and 90% of first time voicemails are never returned.
- The average voicemail response rate is 4.8%.
If those statistics make you want to give up on voicemail altogether, we don’t blame you. But, here’s the good news—a few changes to your voicemail strategy can make a big impact. In fact, certain studies show that well-crafted voicemails can improve response rates anywhere from 3% to 22% (source).
Today’s blog post offers some valuable tips to optimize your sales voicemail strategy and improve response rates. Let’s get into it!
1. Provide context to personalize your message.
When you leave a voicemail, your message is likely one of many other messages in a prospect’s mailbox. It’s important to stand out—if your voicemail sounds just like the others, don’t expect a call back.
Make your voicemail unique by providing context at the beginning of your message. Tell the prospect how you discovered them, or mention a specific detail about their business. Of course, this tactic isn’t possible without conducting research prior to the call. Study the prospect’s business website and social media profiles, then, select one or two details to reference in your voicemail.
This step may seem inconsequential, but it has several benefits. Not only will your voicemail stand out, but you’ll also show the prospect that you’ve done your research to understand who they are and what they need.
2. Offer a clear value proposition.
Your initial reason for calling is, of course, to initiate a sale—but these brief messages aren’t the time to sell your product. What you’re really trying to do is secure a follow-up conversation.
Instead of delving into product specifics, provide a clear set of value proposition that demonstrates the ways in which you can help the prospect. Consider these two examples, and think about which you’d rather hear from a salesperson:
- “We offer the #1 marketing automation software in the industry, and I believe our tool would be a perfect fit for your business.”
- “Based on the work we’ve done with similar companies, our service can improve your click-through rates by 150%, generate 200% more qualified leads, and boost your overall revenue by 10% within 6 months.”
See the difference? One statement tells the prospect how great your product is, while the other provides specific business applications and success metrics. This value statement is the hook that catches a prospect’s interest and makes them eager to learn more.
3. Keep your voicemails short and to-the-point.
As a general rule, each voicemail should not exceed 30 seconds in length. If you go on any longer, you’ll either annoy the prospect by wasting their time or overwhelm them with too much information at once.
But, keep in mind—shortening your voicemails does not mean talking faster. If you try to fit 60 seconds of information into a 30-second voicemail, you’ll end up sounding frantic and fumbling over important details.
Remember, your goal isn’t to sell to the prospect you’re calling—it’s to secure a callback or follow-up. Keep your voicemails concise by only including the details that will spark your prospect’s interest and provide them with clear instructions as to how they should follow up.
4. Use a personable and relaxed tone.
You may have the perfect voicemail script that hits on all your key information in a short amount of time. But, if your delivery is stiff and robotic, the prospect will check out the moment you start speaking. A phony, overenthusiastic tone is even worse—you’ll sound like every other generic B2B sales representative trying to win the prospect’s attention.
Be mindful of your tone and speak as if the prospect was right in front of you. Avoid being too monotone, but don’t go overboard with unnatural excitement either. The more natural and human you sound, the more the prospect will believe that you genuinely want to start a meaningful business relationship. Your voicemails should sound like you’re talking to an old acquaintance or relative, respectful and helpful without being too loud or obnoxious.
5. Create a sense of urgency.
Sometimes a prospect will plan to follow up but forget to do so as soon as other, more critical tasks get in the way. You can’t avoid this problem altogether. But, you can make it less likely to occur by adding some urgency to your voicemails.
We recommend you mention a timeframe when you ask the prospect to follow up. Vague, noncommittal directions like “call me back when you get the chance” make your offer sound unimportant. Instead, tell them that they should call you back by a specific date or time. If the prospect is interested in your services, they’ll make a point to follow up within the time constraint you’ve created.
Or, try presenting the prospect with a time-sensitive offer. Think, “I can provide you with a significant discount or free trial if we get the ball rolling by a certain date.” Although this tactic isn’t a good fit for every business or product, it is something to consider.
6. Repeat your contact information.
The point of leaving a voicemail is to get a response—so be sure to make it easy for prospects to follow up. Repeat important business contact information, like your phone number and company name, so the person you’re calling has time to write down any pertinent details.
7. Test your voicemails.
When it comes to voicemail response rates, the smallest details can make a big impact. That includes everything from the length of your voicemail, to the time and day you leave it, to the number of times you say a prospect’s name. There are many competing opinions and best practices, but the fact is—you must determine what works best for you and your prospects.
For this reason, we recommend testing different voicemail techniques to determine which ones work best. The more variables you test, the more information you’ll have when it comes time to craft the perfect voicemail.
Key Takeaways for Better Sales Voicemails
We get it—in today’s era of cutting-edge technology, optimizing your sales voicemails might be low on your list of priorities. But, despite the emergence of modern sales channels, voicemails remain a major part of the average B2B sales strategy.
As you learn new tactics and tools to communicate with prospects, don’t forget more traditional channels like voicemail. With a few small changes, you can increase productivity, boost your response rate—and ultimately make more sales.