Ever hear the story about the banker who made a sales call to a phone booth? Or the one where the banker sneaks into the elevator in an office building to go door-to-door? How about the one where the banker drives around town aimlessly in the hope of finding office parks filled with prospects? We’ve heard all the horror stories of how difficult cold calling and prospecting can be, and you don’t have to be a 30-year sales veteran to have stories of your own (you can hear those stories and more in our recent webinar with IBISWorld and Citi Commercial Bank)!
Financial institutions are constantly seeking more efficient ways to grow their business - and the current challenging economic environment underscores the need to do so. With cold outreach and prospecting playing an important role in client acquisition and retention for many commercial and business bankers, the above examples clearly highlight the results of an inefficient strategy. As technology has become ubiquitous in our daily lives, it has also impacted the way we do business, and that extends to the cold call. By having access to the right technology, bankers have been able to evolve their cold-calling and prospecting strategy, leading to more productive meetings scheduled in a shorter amount of time, and more “closed won” business.
Whether it's how you build your call list, how you research a business, or knowing who to call, the technology you invest in can help take your outreach to the next level. Here are five tips from bankers on how to leverage technology to enhance your prospecting and outreach to save time, gain efficiency and create more quality opportunities to grow your business.
To find success in cold-calling, you first have to identify your prospects. While historic lead generation efforts may have meant hiring a third party to produce a stack of paper or a list of addresses, today’s technology can put massive amounts of information at the banker’s fingertips. However, if you have no way to narrow that information, you may as well be sifting through hard copies.
By using advanced search capabilities on the RelPro platform, you can narrow your target companies list based on industry, revenue, location, loan filing history and more. This ensures you are only focusing your time on prospects that would fit your “perfect customer” profile.
Finding the right businesses to target is half the battle. Once you’ve found the right companies, you need to know who to contact and have the tools to reach them. Generic web search will only get you generic results. You may find the names of executives and some brief biographical information they have available on a company website. You may even find a phone number or an email address. But how can you ensure the public contact information you find in that search doesn’t lead to a gatekeeper or a dead end?
By using a best-in-class solution like RelPro, you can access mobile phone numbers, up-to-date email addresses, biographical information and aggregated news content for key decision-makers all in one place. This gives you a direct channel to the people you want to contact, not a generic company number, or a “gatekeeper.”
To make an impact on cold outreach, you need to prove you can add value to the person you are speaking with. You can’t do that without knowing the business and their industry.
“You meet with so many different businesses and industries throughout a day and a week,” said Josh Morozowski, Director of Product Growth and Integration at IBISWorld. “You don’t have time to put in 10,000 hours to become an expert in each and every industry.”
Instead, you can leverage a partner like IBISWorld to get a quick overview of an industry. With a granular search by NAICS code or industry keyword, IBISWorld provides you with a well-rounded understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities facing the industries associated with businesses you pursue. This insight can also help you craft a relevant value proposition that accounts for industry forecasting.
Knowing the pain points for a business owner and their industry is a great step to understanding and expressing to your prospect how you can add value to their business. But how do you start your conversation? Knowing the industry and the business are important. Knowing the person on the other end of your message is essential.
“It’s more critical than ever to know who you are speaking to in order to understand how you can tailor a message that resonates with your audience to win meetings,” said Lauren Meyers, VP of Partnerships & Customer Success at RelPro.
Diving a little deeper into your contact’s history can help you develop a thoughtful message for your outreach. Researching a contact’s board and association memberships, affinity groups or notable recent news about them can help spark a conversation and allow your outreach to stand out.
You won’t always get a “Yes” on every sales call, whether that means getting a meeting or closing the deal. More often, it takes multiple touches to get the business, which requires persistence and patience. Reaching out through different mediums, be it via phone, email, or even a LinkedIn message, can help get you noticed and differentiate your message. Having accurate contact information for the people you need to contact is critical to your process management and results.
Even still, the “yes” might take time. Now may not be the right time for a business to make a change in their banking relationship. But when disappearing isn’t an option, it’s important to set up a system to remind yourself when and how to reach out again. Even better, you can set alerts for yourself to be notified when one of your prospects experiences a notable event. These types of updates for a company or an individual will give you a reason to stay in touch with them until they are ready to take the relationship to the next level.
Pre-call preparation, from building a targeted list to industry and executive research, is critical to successful outreach. Technology, through accessible databases and advanced search, can streamline your research process and save you time and energy in your business development. However, your research is only as good as its source.
RelPro delivers an integrated solution for bankers to develop targeted lists for outreach, find accurate contact information for key decision makers and research those companies and individuals on a deeper level. RelPro also partners with Vertical IQ and IBISWorld, the leading independent providers of industry research for business development professionals. With insights from Buyer Intent Data, bankers can also see what financial services their clients and prospects are searching for. Schedule a demo today to see how RelPro can enhance your relationship management and business development efforts, and save your precious time.