How to Catch Your Prospects’ Attention When They’re Away from the Desk

Sales reps likely had a specific block of time when they knew they could catch you at work, but now hardly anyone is sitting at their office desk. Prospects may work or live in different time zones, or be sitting on their couch rather than by their office phone. Where and when we work has drastically changed. Since the pandemic began, there has been a 25 percent increase in meetings before 9 a.m. and a 121 percent increase in meetings after 4 p.m. 

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It’s clear the traditional way of doing business isn’t entirely possible now. So how do we adjust?

It starts by understanding the new environment. Here are a few key principles for SDRs and outbound sales to consider. 


Set aside new blocks for research

Staying up to date with all of the changes happening in the industry–and worldwide–may seem like a daunting task, but it has its benefits. Setting aside blocks of time to research these few things can help your sales efforts tremendously.

Review what the prospect is saying on LinkedIn

Social media platforms give us ways to update our connections all at once. LinkedIn is a useful tool when you have a professional update such as announcing a new role or your departure from a company. You can also use this tool as another avenue of researching what is important to prospects; what they are focusing on, and how they are coping with the new normal. It’s an opportunity to get a sense of where they are physically, professionally or mentally, before making the call. This may feel like snooping or spying to some, but instead, it’s effectively using your resources and ensuring you can lead with empathy on your first touch point.

Market research on new challenges

Problems have changed and priorities have shifted, but at the end of the day sales is about being a problem-solver. You need to ensure you know what changes your customers are facing so it can be addressed in the sales process. Sales cycles have lengthened over the past several months as each deal is being met with more scrutiny. Buyers are displaying caution and your job is to help alleviate their concerns. You must be able to show ROI. If you aren’t bringing up ROI on a call, you likely aren’t closing the deal.


Hyper-personalize and Embrace Empathy 

Stay up to date with current events in their area

Most salespeople don’t know what their prospects do and experience on a daily basis, and this makes it difficult to sell to them. Currently, there are many factors impacting our lives outside of work: from the wildfires in California to the protests in D.C. Knowing what may be affecting your customers can serve as potential talking points to connect on a more human level or points of contention to avoid mentioning during calls. 

Having this awareness could also explain why you may not hear back from someone right away. Either way, it’s important to know what may be affecting your customers and embrace empathy. 

Ask people how they’re doing before talking business 

Connecting on a human level and showing empathy for others before talking business can establish a deeper sense of confidence and trust between them and your company. Personalizing selling helps a business stand out from the noise, but these extra steps add another level. 

Ernest Owusu, senior director of sales development at 6sense, believes people have become turned off by generic outreach so much that good first impressions have become the expectation. He said to “strike while the iron is hot here with hyper-personalized efforts that will guide the prospect toward a meeting.”

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Being proactive and personal in our conversations with customers and paying close attention to the world around us can help us reach our desired business outcomes. When we speak about putting the ‘R’ back into CRM, it starts with us forming strong relationships with our customers and continuing to build on them no matter where we may be. Keeping those relationships strong may be harder now that more of us are working together apart, but it will pay off.

Thiago Sa Freire headshot

About Thiago Sa Freire

Thiago Sá Freire, a native from Brazil, is the current CRO at, the leading conversation intelligence platform, where he oversees the global customers’ success, implementation, rev ops, sales, solutions engineering and technical support team. 

  • Originally published November 17, 2020