Look at the texts on your phone. Do you see a lot of texts from businesses? As I scroll down, I see texts from CVS MinuteClinic confirming a visit (which showed my son had the flu); different software companies sending two-factor authorization verification codes; a car dealership; movie theaters sending along my tickets to see “Underwater” and “Birds of Prey” (both great films); and many more. I don’t even think twice about getting those business to consumer (B2C) texts these days along with texts from friends and family.
With B2C texting so prevalent, it makes sense that business to business (B2B) texting would also come into vogue, and it’s trying. ZipWhip’s 2019 State of Texting research found that 39% of businesses across industries are communicating with their customers through text today. Although 61% of companies have not yet moved to texting, 64% of those companies see the value of doing so.
As more companies consider B2B texting, they’re going to start wondering (if they haven’t already) how to incorporate texting into their B2B sales cadences thoughtfully and not come across as spam in the process. Read on for tips on what you should do and should not do in texting for B2B sales.
- DON’T reach out to a sales prospect by text as your first contact. This should be self-explanatory, but you don’t have a relationship with that person yet. Your first contact should always be a cold call or a cold email. Never a cold text.
- DO ask for permission. There are three ways to do this:
- Ask them on a phone call. When you’re speaking with a prospect or customer, ask them for their mobile phone number (if you don’t already have it) and ask if you can text them with (for example) a meeting reminder. As long as they say “yes”, you now have the “Prior Express Consent” that you need to text them.
- Ask them in an email. If you’re emailing a prospect or customer, ask them if it’s okay to text them with information (aka a meeting reminder) or with sales or marketing materials. If they say yes to only the first, then make sure that you note that they’ve only agreed to informational texts. If they say yes to both, you now have the “Prior Express Written Consent” that you need to text them with sales pitches.
- Ask them on a lead form. As you’re collecting information, include a “Mobile Phone Number” field on the your lead form. NOTE: This form MUST have a box at the bottom, that can not be pre-checked, that states something akin to “I agree to receive mobile text messages from you. I have read the terms.” and hyperlink “terms” with a link to your mobile texting terms and conditions. If they include their mobile phone number AND have checked off that box at the bottom, you now have “Prior Express Written Consent” from that contact.
- DON’T just assume you have permission. If you’re wondering if you have permission or not, you probably don’t. See above on the three ways to ask for permission.
- DO keep track of how and when you received permission. If you got the okay by phone or email to text your contact (only with informational texts, such as a meeting reminder, include that information in your CRM along with the date that you received permission. If you’ve received the okay through a lead form, make sure that information and date is collected in your CRM. This will come in handy in case you’re ever sued.
- DO send meeting reminders by text, if you have permission to do so. Most decision-makers are okay with receiving meeting reminders by phone and actually want that reminder. This reminder can be sent the morning of the meeting, and then also 5 minutes into the meeting if they haven’t yet shown up.
- DO use texts to schedule follow-up appointments. Once you’ve had that first call with them, and have permission, text the contact to see if they have any additional questions or want to talk further.
- DON’T send mass texts. Each text should be as personalized as possible to the contact.
- DON’T forget the opt-out. Make sure that your contact knows they can opt out of receiving texts at any time and how to do so. If they reply to one of your texts with a “Stop texting me”, stop.
This list will be added to as B2B texting becomes more of the norm, but these are the tips to get you started and to make sure you stay compliant with your B2B sales texting.
Reach out to us here at ConnectLeader today to see how to help your sales reps and BDRs have more conversations (through phone, email, text, video, and social touches) that turn into meetings. Simply click here or give us a call at 800-955-5040.