Looking Back on How Successful Technology Sales Reps Adapted During the Pandemic and Lessons for the Future
The global pandemic presented technology vendors with both opportunities and challenges simultaneously. Face-to-face events, a major source of leads for most vendors, and valued by sales reps as a way of seeing the whites of prospects’ eyes, evaporated almost overnight. For the most part, they have not been seen since. Workforces chaotically went remote. With call-forwarding almost non-existent in some regions and countries falling in and out of lockdowns, outbound calling for both reps and SDRs took a huge hit. At TechTarget our APAC research teams’ direct conversation-by-phone rates were down by 30% during the last year. It’s no longer easy calling into tech buyers.
We recently held an online roundtable of inside sales reps on the anniversary of the first lockdown in region to assess how technology vendors’ outbound teams have adapted to the pandemic and overcoming these challenges.
Without those conversations in an exhibit hall to rely on, account executives and SDRs are relying on a variety of sales tools to help them get context and purchase intent for a prospect or account. They are triangulating TechTarget’s Priority Engine purchase intent research behavior with tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator, other social media platforms, company information providers and traditional media. Information from these sources is used to work up hyper-personalized messaging for each contact. We all know that buyers are more likely to respond when you appeal to their pain points and purchasing requirements.
Multi-touch outreach cadences
Using all available outreach channels has become more important than ever. The most successful SDRs are relying on multi-touch, multi-channel cadences that utilize email, social messaging (like LinkedIn) as well as phone to create a series of compelling, different, relevant messages delivered over time. Many are relying on tools like Outreach to help them to automate parts of this cadence. No matter how much you automate, or the channels you use, you must make sure that you are delivering high-quality touches in order to maximize deals in progress and protect potential account revenue.
Both areas have now become mainstays in the daily work of SDRs. Regardless of the pandemic’s long-term effects on our industry, the feeling from our roundtable was that these practices are unlikely to be replaced by pre-pandemic approaches to prospecting. Bottom line: sales outreach as we know it has changed forever. The most successful reps will embrace this change and the tools designed to help them thrive in a new environment.