Remember the time you were running late? You would instinctively take your phone out and send a text. Why? Because it was fast, easy and it conveyed exactly what you wanted. “I’ll be there in five”.
Ever since its origins in 1992, text messages have been an integral part of our lives. Today, they also mean business.
Text messages have a universal appeal – young and the old, millennials, introverts, and more. Statista’s annual report states that over 2200 billion texts were sent in 2020. If you haven’t considered using text messages in sales, it’s never too late to get started.
The power of text messages
Text or short message service (SMS) helps your sales team warm up leads familiar with your business, but aren’t ready to speak to you yet. SMS are personal and are a step above emails. And, they are less intrusive than a sales call. Without SMS, your miss out on reaching more prospects and staying on top of their minds when their email inbox is crowded. Here’s how:
- SMS enjoys an open rate of 90%
- Around 86% of text messages are opened within 60 seconds
- SMS lets you connect with people who don’t own a smartphone or have limited internet access
Text messages are versatile, they can be a stand-alone campaign or work in tandem with other channels in your sales cadence.
Case study: How Chipotle tapped into SMS and increased engagement
Chipotle, a popular fast-food chain, makes Halloween memorable with its annual campaign. The campaign usually has fans visiting its store in their Halloween costume to get discounts on their orders.
However, last year Chipotle went digital to ensure a safe buying experience. They turned to social media to post special keywords. Followers can then text these keywords for a personalized Buy One, Get One code.
The campaign helped Chipotle win more customers, increase engagement on social media. But what it also did was witness more customers opt-in to receive more SMS from the brand.
The era of conversational selling
Highly targeted and relevant messaging makes SMS an intimate communication channel and improves engagement rates. Two-way texting makes it easy to gather what a prospect is looking for and tailor the interaction around their wants. About 54% of consumers are open to receiving promotions through text, but only 11% of businesses send them. This reaffirms that consumers are willing to engage with business through texts.
How does SMS initiate conversations?
- Immediate and conversational—Text messages reduce wait-time and remove barriers between prospects and your business
- Short and sweet—With a length of 160 characters, text messages are concise and succinct
- Offline—Text messages aren’t dependent on the internet infrastructure or new apps to access
- Convenient —Consumers prefer texting and have the freedom to respond when they want to
- Cost-effective—Bulk messaging is personalized, trackable and are an affordable way to reach out to new prospects
Five ways to include SMS in your sales strategy
Send effective reminders
SMS is a great way to remind leads/prospects of any upcoming appointment. With digital selling on the rise, your reminders can include a video call link that prospects can tap to join calls. For in-person meetings, it is easy to add the location as a responsive link to your reminder messages.
SMS is convenient for transactional and support messages. You can embed URLs and other important information like order numbers, pricing confirmation, and more. What makes it simple is that your customers have quick access to all this information in one place.
Follow-up in a timely manner
SMSs can be used by salespeople to follow up after the prospect has finished an interaction. It helps salespeople to personalize communication. Sending an SMS ensures that your conversation moves in the right direction. It helps your sales reps address any immediate concerns without having to wait for a call.
Collect customer reviews
Customer reviews increase the credibility of your businesses. Sending an SMS after a purchase creates an impression that the customer’s experience matters. It gives you a platform to address any issues and at the same time offers customers a way to submit a review.
Send prompt updates
A major part of your sales strategy should focus on moving your prospects to sales. Sending exclusive offers and product updates helps you stir their interest and increase visibility to your product offering. SMS can be used to recover sales and near-misses with personalized back-in-stock messages.
Best practices in using text messages for sales
The thumb rule for business communication is to respect your prospects and send relevant messages. The same rule applies to SMS.
From permissions to creating high conversion SMS campaigns, here are the etiquettes you should keep in mind:
Ensure that your subscribers can opt in or opt out at any point
Sending unsolicited SMS to prospects can hurt your business reputation and attract heavy penalties. This is why it is important to get your prospects to opt-in first. Your opt-in message should clearly mention what kind of messages prospects will receive once they opt in.
Just like how you take permission before sending an SMS, include opt-outs in all your SMS. This ensures that you do not spend time reaching out to people who no longer are interested in your business. This helps you keep a healthy list with low unsubscribe rates.
Use appropriate sender ID
When you send a message to a prospect, they should easily identify the sender by looking at their inbox. A sender ID not only improves brand recall but also reduces trust issues. Your prospects are likely to open messages from your reliable alphanumeric ID. Using a designated sender ID reduces the possibility of your messages being marked as spam.
Personalize the message
Adding dynamic fields in SMS lets you include user identifiable tags like the first name. For enhanced interactions, you can send SMS based on your prospect behavior and their journey. Personalized SMS appears to be more relevant to prospects and is also a great way to build long-standing relationships.
When prospects agree to receive a text from you, it is important to give them an immediate value proposition. You should also be mindful to include a benefit that they can leverage. If you are looking to boost loyalty, use SMS to give customers an exclusive mobile-based experience. Add a call to action that opens up to a curated product page. You can also boost loyalty by introducing mobile-specific promotion codes to minimize churn/unsubscribes.
Add an incentive
People love offers. Add it to your SMS to run irresistible campaigns and boost sales. In fact, 34 million people in the States use coupons. Of that figure, 88% of customers used mobile coupons in 2020, and more than half preferred receiving them on their mobile . By using SMS to send coupon codes, you keep your SMS subscribers happy and encourage them to make a purchase.
Time your SMS
In the grand scheme of customer happiness, timing is everything! Sending SMS right before a holiday or payday increases sales because your prospects are likely to spend during these times. To drive people to your store, ensure that your messages reach prospects at least a couple of days earlier. For flash online sales, avoid last-minute notices. And to top it all, ensure that your SMS is sent during times your customers are likely to use their phones—lunchtime, commute time, or during those off hours before dinner.
Seven free sales SMS templates for your team
Now that you are ready to try out SMS in your sales strategy, here are some templates you can use:
Cold SMS to a prospect
When you want to reach out to a prospect who isn’t aware of your business, a cold call may not work. An SMS can become your first touchpoint. It helps you introduce your business and gives prospects a chance to engage further.
Hi <First Name>,
looking for a way to manage <Problem Statement>? We can help you <Your Solution>. Text Y to discover more!
Need help connecting with leads better? Personalize interactions and convert leads with Freshsales CRM.
Text Y to discover more!
Request prospect for a sales call
Your leads may engage with a lot of business. Using an SMS to place call requests not only circumvents a busy inbox but also helps personalize the interaction.Request prospect for a sales call
Hi <First Name>,
I’m <Your Role> from <Business Name>! Want to know how we can help you <Product Benefit>? Let’s talk over a call. Book a time here >
I’m Naomi from Freshsales!
Want to know how we can help you save time by automating sales? Let’s talk over a call. Book a time here>
Sending appointment reminders to your prospects before a sales demo helps you cut down ‘no-shows’. Around 83% of consumers would like to receive appointment reminders via text, but only 20% of businesses send them this way.
You have an upcoming appointment with <Business Name> on <Appt. Date> between <Appt. Start Time> at <Appt. Location>. Tap here for the location. See you there!
Leveraging SMS helps you elevate the experience you offer and induces a positive brand image in your customers’ minds. Further, with increased mobile activity, SMS makes it convenient for your prospects to simply tap a link to join a call from anywhereThe option to include a map link to your location removes hassles for your customers to drive to your location easily.
You have an upcoming appointment with Jane on Sep 20 between 13:00-14:00 pm at Greenway Complex. Tap here for the location. See you there!
You have an upcoming video call with Jane on Sep 20 between 13:00-14:00 pm. Tap this link to join the call. See you there!
Voicemail follow up
Sometimes, scheduled calls go straight to voicemail and when they do, a text message adds more value. These text messages notify your prospect that they missed a call from you. Second, it also helps you leave your contact information as a call-to-action making it easier for the prospect to reach out.
Hi <First Name>,
I’m <Salesperson> from <Business Name>. I tried calling you this <Duration> but reached voicemail. You can call me at <Phone Number> or tap here to schedule a callback.
I’m Ally from Freshsales. I tried calling you but reached voicemail. You can call me at +1-866-832-3090 or tap here to book a callback.
If your customers are your greatest cheerleaders, an SMS loyalty program not only can help you reward customers but turn them into your influencers. Including SMS referrals is a great way to bring friends of your customers onboard, easily.
Hi <First Name>,
Love using <Product Name>? We think your friends would love it too. Share this link with friends, bring them on board, and <Reward>.
Love using Freshsales? We think your friends would love it too. Share this link with friends, bring them on board, and your next month is on us!
Event follow up
Events like webinars and product demos are a crucial touchpoint where your prospects convert, or go cold and slip away. Sending a text follow-up adds a personal touch and serves as an ice breaker. It also gives your prospect a point of contact they can engage with if they have questions or blockers.
Hi <First Name>,
It was nice seeing you at the <Event Name> Got more questions? Feel free to text me at <Phone Number> and I’ll be happy to answer them.
It was nice seeing you at the demo. Got more questions? Feel free to text or call +1-866-832-3090 and I’ll be happy to answer them.
Abandoned Purchase/sign up
When your prospect is ready to convert, a lot of elements come into play. One glitch and they disappear from the radar. Sending abandoned purchase texts lets your prospect start from where they last left. Combining these texts with a personalized promo can help them cross the finish line merrily.
Hi <First Name>,
Looks like you weren’t able to complete the signup. Tap to continue <Activity> when you’re ready. Respond Y to connect with our team.
Looks like you weren’t able to complete the signup. Tap to continue the sign up when you’re ready. Respond Y to connect with our team.
Four ways you can sending SMS from your CRM
Your CRM is the epicenter of all your sales and marketing activities and it should also be able to house your SMS campaigns effortlessly. That’s where Freshsales comes into the picture. You can leverage the SMS feature through:
Individual or bulk SMS
Broadcast an SMS to one or an entire list of prospects or users. These bulk messages are highly useful for upselling, product launches, campaign promotions, and more. For example, this could be personalized acknowledgment contacts receive when they opt-in to your SMS campaign.
SMS in your cadence
Include SMS in your omnichannel cadence and maximize your reach easily. Trigger personalized SMS automatically based on your contact’s activity. For example, you can send an SMS that notifies contacts that their trial is expiring and prompts them to upgrade.
You can personalize your SMS campaigns by enabling your contacts to text back. This helps you keep the conversations going and gives your contact the impression that the SMS wasn’t sent by a bot.
Freshsales makes it easy for you to sync your SMS provider with your CRM. Currently, it ties up with Twilio, Click Send, and ZipWhip for a seamless integration and also supports additional SMS integration on request.
A prospect interacts with your business through multiple channels. Text messages help you reach out to prospects who are looking to buy and keep them moving along the sales journey. It helps you connect with prospects who don’t own a smartphone, have limited internet access, or do not check their emails frequently.