Short message service (SMS) text messaging has revolutionized the way in which we communicate. Since its inception in the early to mid-1990s, it's become an increasingly popular form of digital communication. Research shows that over 5 billion use SMS text messaging -- accounting for well over half of the global population.
With its widespread use, SMS text messaging is a powerful B2B sales channel. As a B2B sales rep, you can use it to close more deals and secure more buyers. SMS text messaging is fast, convenient, easy to use and effective. Unless you're familiar with this alternative sales channel, though, you might be wondering how to get started with SMS text messaging. Below is a complete guide on how to master the art of SMS text messaging for B2B sales.
Build a List of Contacts
SMS text messaging for B2B sales requires a list of contacts. To send a prospective buyer an SMS text message, you'll need to know his or her name and mobile phone number. You can build a list of contacts through traditional lead generation tactics. Adding a lead form with a "name" and "phone number" field to your B2B company's website, for instance, will provide you with a list of contacts to whom you can send SMS text messages.
Alternatively, you can build a list of contacts by manually researching prospective buyers online. Many executives and other decision-makers have a LinkedIn profile. By scouring LinkedIn, you can find the names and mobile phone numbers of prospective buyers. After curating this data into a list, you can use it for SMS text messaging strategy.
Create a Cold Texting Template
You can use SMS text messaging to contact either cold or warm leads. Cold leads are prospects with whom you've had no prior contact, whereas warm leads are prospects with whom you've communicated in the past. When using SMS text messaging to contact cold leads, however, you should consider creating a template.
Cold texting is easier to perform with a template. Rather than creating an entirely new SMS text message for each cold lead, you can reuse the template while replacing the name of the prospective buyer. Cold texting typically has a lower response rate than warm texting, so it's naturally more laborious. A template will accelerate your SMS text messaging strategy by allowing you to contact more prospective buyers in less time. Just remember to customize the template with the prospective buyer's name before sending him or her an SMS text message.
Limit Messages to 160 Characters
Be conscious of the length of your SMS text messages. Most U.S.-based phone networks only support a maximum of 160 characters for any given SMS text message. If an SMS text message exceeds this limit, it will be split into multiple messages.
Prospective buyers will still receive your SMS text message if it exceeds 140 characters. But instead of a single SMS text message, they'll receive multiple messages. The presence of multiple SMS text messages creates the impression of spam. After checking their mobile phone and discovering multiple SMS text messages from you, prospective buyers may assume that you are a spammer, in which case they may block your number. You'll experience greater success with SMS text messaging by using no more than 140 characters per message.
Include Meaningful Links
SMS text messages aren't limited to plain text; they support links as well. You'll have the option to include one or more links in your SMS text messages. At the end of an SMS text message, you may want to include a link to your B2B company's website or its LinkedIn Company Page. Prospective buyers can follow these links just like other online links by clicking or tapping them.
When used for B2B sales, SMS text messaging requires a high level of professionalism. SMS text messages in a casual tone are generally perceived poorly by prospective buyers. You want prospective buyers to recognize your SMS text messages as being professional. Otherwise, they probably won't respond.
Avoid using emojis in your SMS text messages. While colorful and attractive, emojis project a casual tone that's not particularly professional. You should also avoid using generic and casual salutations. Instead, use a professional salutation that specifically mentions the prospective buyer's name, such as "Hello John."
Contrary to common belief, SMS text messages can be automated. There are several tools available that can automate the delivery of your SMS text messages. Using one of these tools, you can create your SMS text messages in advance while scheduling them to be delivered on specific dates and at specific times. You can always send SMS text messages manually, but using a tool is an easier solution that will ultimately drive greater sales success. Many of these tools also offer additional features, such as real-time analytics and reporting, that further improve their B2B sales utility.
Some of the top tools for SMS text messaging include the following:
You can send prospective buyers an SMS text message to remind them of upcoming appointments or meetings. Appointments and meetings are a common part of the sales process. A study conducted by RAIN Group found that it takes an average of eight communications to close a B2B deal. After making the initial contact with a prospective buyer, he or she may want to schedule an appointment or meeting to further discuss a potential deal.
Prospective buyers, of course, may forget about an upcoming appointment or meeting. Whether you're planning to perform it in-person or virtually, you can remind prospective buyers by sending them an SMS text message. In your SMS text message, ask the prospective buyer if he or she is still planning to attend the appointment or meeting on the scheduled date.
Calling isn't the only way to reach prospective buyers by phone; SMS text messaging is another tactic to consider using. With SMS text messaging, you can send prospective buyers short and simple messages to engage with them while simultaneously nurturing them through your B2B company's sales process.