There’s a misconception that sales plays are only for inexperienced or low performing salespeople. However, a sales play is nothing more than a well-thought-out plan to engage a prospect and facilitate the next-best-step in the sales process.
Even the most tenured and successful salesperson will benefit from following a strategy that’s designed to drive a successful outcome. This is especially true for top-of-the-funnel sales plays, as this is an area that every salesperson is looking for an edge.
Instead of “flying by the seat of your pants” and “keeping your fingers crossed,” as you mindlessly dial the phone and send email after email, stop and think about what will work. Salespeople must put themselves in the shoes of the prospect.
What actions can you take that will yield a first meeting with a qualified prospect? Then map out the timeline for those actions to be executed.
How much time should there be between voicemail messages?
Should the messages be different?
What should you say?
How many emails should you send?
How frequently should they be sent?
Sales plays answer all of these questions. Salespeople can further improve the likelihood of success with sales plays by including these best practices.
Sales Play Best Practices
1. Customize the Message
According to the RAIN Group Center for Sales Research, the top three factors that prospects use to determine who they meet with and who they don’t are:
They need your product or service
They have a budget to purchase your product or service
The salesperson offers something of value to share
Whether your prospect has a budget or not may be out of your control. However, you can research your prospect’s business to identify the potential challenges they’re facing, the problems they’re trying to solve, and the business objectives they’re attempting to achieve.
Your messaging should convey your understanding of all three. Further, you should share insights that demonstrate your knowledge of their industry, subject matter expertise, and credibility as a potential solution resource.
By doing so, you’re providing your prospect with a valid business reason for them to meet with you. You’re making their decision to schedule a meeting with you a lot easier.
2. Mix Things Up
Leverage multiple communication channels into your sales play. Don’t simply rely only on a series of emails or multiple phone calls/voice mails to communicate your message to your prospect. Use every tool you have available to you — email, phone, social media, even “snail mail”.
Each communication should build on the previous one and tell your story — the valid business reason you’ve researched and crafted.
3. Use Video to Humanize Your Message
Reinforce your messaging and differentiate your communications from the hundreds of others your prospect receives by embedding video into your email messages.
Vidyard, an online video production software platform, offers a free tool that helps individual salespeople quickly and easily create and send their own custom videos. According to Vidyard, the response rate from emails sent with embedded video is 3 times higher than emails without video.
4. Be Social
LinkedIn provides a social media platform that’s ideal for the business world. Every salesperson should have a LinkedIn profile that outlines their experience, credentials, and expertise. But don’t let your profile just sit there. Build your network and be active!
Your prospecting sales play should include a step to invite your target prospects to connect with you. But connect with them, not to sell to them, but to be an educational resource for them. Remember, LinkedIn isn’t for sharing family pictures and funny memes. It positions you and your business as a subject matter expert and thought leader. So, share industry-relevant resources that offer key insights that your prospects will find valuable.
5. Create and Share Content
Remember, one of the factors your prospects are basing their decision to meet with you or not is whether you’re offering something of value. So freely share content that educates and informs your prospects.
Often the best source of sharable content is the library of blog articles, whitepapers, eBooks, and case studies your marketing department has created to support their marketing campaigns. Repurpose this content into your sales process by including links in your email messages or sharing on LinkedIn.
6. Don’t Give Up
It takes an average of 8 attempts to engage a target decision-maker. That number can increase dramatically depending on the level of the decision-maker and the size of the company. Unfortunately, almost half of all salespeople give up after making fewer than three attempts.
Prospecting sales plays require polite, professional persistence. Such persistence can be engineered into prospecting sales plays by building multiple steps/actions and then executing them with discipline over a period of several weeks.
If the sales play ends before the prospect is successfully engaged, then set the prospect aside for a time. Let it rest. And then create a new sales play that can be deployed at a later date.
Creating Sales Plays
Building sales plays will help instill proven best practices into your sales process and make those best practices repeatable and scalable. Each sales play should include the recommended steps, time frame, and any related content or resources to go with those steps, such as:
Links to articles
Check out a Sample Play from one of LeadG2’s custom Sales Playbooks here!
*Editor's Note: This blog has been updated from its original publish date.