5 Sales Prospecting Myths Debunked

With hundreds, if not thousands of sales prospecting tips out there, it’s difficult to know which ones to follow. You’re told to send your email at 12:14 p.m., with a subject line between 30 and 60 characters. It can’t be too long or too short. And SPAM filters? What SPAM filters? Blah, blah, blah. Then you see the results and they’re less than stellar. What happened? The fact of the matter is, some tips just don’t work in the real world. Find out which tips are worth sticking with and which ones are not.

Myth #1: I can outsmart SPAM filters

The reason your email hits the SPAM filter is more complicated than excluding trigger words in the subject line. That used to be the main reason, but not anymore. It has more to do with the sender’s reputation, which is based on a longer list of criteria. Things like how familiar or relevant you are with your recipients, subject line, recipient’s name, and your “From” name. Other ways to assure your email steers clear of the junk folder are, including fewer links, having a good image-to-text ratio (more text is better) and always keep it short and to the point. Do these basic things and you’ll be worry free after you hit ‘Send.’

Myth #2: Keep email subject lines short

The reality is, it doesn’t really matter. Trying to cram as many words as you can into the subject line probably isn’t the best idea though. You should still keep it direct and to the point. Tellwise found that out of 10,000 emails sent, those with short subject lines versus those with longer subjects, there was no definitive difference in open and reply rates. Keywords are more important than length. 

Myth #3: Phone calls are the quickest

Most sales reps’ first instinct is to pick up the phone and start calling. The idea that you need to make 10 calls a day in order to meet your quota is a thing of the past. Instead of calling, leaving a voicemail, hoping your prospect calls back, and eventually setting up an appointment or demo, try instant messaging. It may seem a little bizarre at first, but Tellwise found that using chat increased the number of customer connections by 65%. In other words, 65% more customer contact than with email and phone.

Compare that to the average cold calling campaign, which has about a 5 percent conversion, on average. Not to mention the over 8 hours spent to setup just 5 appointments. And this doesn’t even take into account the travel time and appointment time invested after the call. You’re likely to accomplish more via chat, in far less time.

Myth #4: Scripts are unnecessary

You don’t need a script, you’re a seasoned sales professional, right? Wrong. Even the most experienced salespeople still use scripts when prospecting. If you do need to pick up the phone, a script allows you to stay on message and ensure you hit your points. Otherwise, you’ll likely veer off in a different direction and forget to touch on an important topic. 

Myth #5: Higher activity = higher quota

Let’s say you fire off 20 emails a day and dial 10 prospects. You have better chances of spotting a unicorn than closing even half those deals. Yet so many salespeople will go through the motions just to check off activities in Salesforce to please their manager. The bottom line is, you need to work smarter, not harder. Producing more activity isn’t making you a better salesperson. Quality supersedes quantity. To produce higher quality results, use a more targeted and thoughtful approach. Find prospects who have a propensity and possible motive to buy your product or service. Having a great contact list is a start, but you need to dig deeper. Can they afford your product? Just because they fall into a specific category, doesn’t mean they make a great prospect. By weeding them out, you can focus on the prospects who matter. Remember, it’s not just a numbers game.

What myths did you believe? Have you debunked any other myths recently? Let us know in the comments below!

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