An Old Tool in a New Light

When it comes to B2B communications, voicemail – once the darling of leading edge technology- is almost charmingly old school. Right now it seems that online is where the action is and while there is a lot of new innovation happening right now, it’s also swamped with hype and uncertainty and there are many unanswered questions about what will actually be effective in generating B2B leads and sales.

But voicemail will stay around as long as it does its main job which is to communicate a one-to-one-message using one of history’s most effective communications tools ever – the human voice.

I’ve talked to marketers and even sales reps who have lost confidence in voicemail, because most people don’t return calls anymore and I understand where they’re coming from. But they are missing a key point. Business people are NOT failing to respond to your message because your message is unimportant to them. They are failing to respond – to call, attend, write or even click, because most of them have fallen victim to the Tyranny of Urgency. Remember Stephen Covey’s four quadrants- Important-Not Important and Urgent-Not Urgent? The bottom line is that important or not, if it isn’t urgent to the person who needs to take action, it won’t get done. That’s the ONLY reason that good voicemail messages don’t drive responses like they used to – it’s not an emergency, yet.

So it’s time to take that thinking into consideration and start using voicemail in a new way – and measuring it in a new way, too. Think for a minute about the tools available to you – as a marketer or sales rep – to reach out to universe of contacts and even if it’s just for a moment – hold their undivided attention. Guided voicemail campaigns are your best option in terms of measurable deliverability, cost and speed to get that connection. And the human voice is still one of the most effective ways to deliver a genuinely persuasive message.

So, stop confining your thinking about how you can use voicemail to a simple transactional request like “Call me back” and start thinking about how you can break down points of resistance, clarify areas of confusion and insert persuasive new ideas into the thinking of all the people you now have an opportunity to talk to.

Instead of expecting one voicemail message to set your phones to ring off the hooks, break down key points of interest that fit with the place on your sales or nurturing stream where your developing leads and current customers are to be found. Instead of relying on email alone to deliver any kind of progressive, persuasive message to your audience, slip in a few “personal” calls and let a name and a voice carve a spot for your company closer to that “top of mind” space where you would like your message to sit.

It’s an easy process to automate, which means that both your marketing and your sales teams can consistently and measurably integrate that higher level of personal contact into every one of your ongoing programs.

Think of it as setting up a voicemail autoresponder.