The effect that marketing automation software has had on organizations, large and small, has been incalculable. Automating repetitive tasks, leading scoring, nurturing prospects from the top of the funnel to sales ready…the benefits are varied and powerful.

But marketing automation software can’t make phone calls. It can’t send social touches. It can’t, in short, communicate the way a real human can.

It may seem like an obvious distinction to draw, but nuanced, personal communication is the foundation to effective prospecting, according to Matt Amundson, vice president of sales and field marketing at Everstring.

Prospects, as it turns out, actually like interacting with real people.

“The only way that an SDR can truly add value is to communicate to prospects in a way that marketing automation cannot,” said Amundson, on a recent edition of The Predictable Revenue Podcast.

“Prospects are frustrated because they get so many emails that are blatantly canned that anytime they’re getting a touch from a human being they’re so refreshed by that they’re willing to give you a chance and take a look at what you’re sending.”

So…what does “personalized” prospecting look like on Amundson’s team at Everstring? In short, it’s a combination of detailed research and strategic reach outs using the phone, email and social channels.

For example, Amundson stresses building unique cadences focused on different business challenges for different personas in an organization:

  • For executives (VP/C-Level) – use holistic business messaging
  • For direct target level (director demand gen) – use departmental-based messaging
  • For practitioner (manager/specialist/coordinator) – how can we improve your day to day?

Amundson’s team couples that messaging with a Predictable Revenue-esque email tactic: sending to more than one contact on each email, asking who the most appropriate contact to speak with is.

“You have to have a good understanding of what each of these people do and the goal of the organization, otherwise it won’t go well,” added Amundson.

“To me, social selling is having an understanding of who someone is, what they talk about, what they share, what they create and put out. Then you take that information and synthesize it into a benefit map in terms of what we do and selling back that way.”

As for quotas, Amundson’s stresses quality over quantity (truly, a reflection of his prospecting beliefs). Goals for each of his SDRs:

  • 25 phone calls + 25 emails each day
  • Substantial research and target up to 40 people at an organization
  • 15 meetings per month
  • 9 fit-qualified accounts (how many of these meetings were actually quality – accounts are a good fit but they might not want to buy right now)
  • 6 opps (where real sales motion has started)

The effect this prospecting framework has had on the Everstring prospecting team as a whole is palpable. Currently, they are seeing a 17% response rate, 65% conversion rate from meeting to opportunity, they are closing more deals and experiencing less churn.

Not bad at all.

Contrast those numbers with Amundson’s “old world” numbers, and the effect is even more stark. In the past, Everstring reps were acquiring names/contacts in whichever way possible, made 75-100 calls per day, sent 50 emails per day and crafted light social touches such as LinkedIn InMail messages.The meeting to opportunity conversion, as a result, was under 50% and their AE win rates was low.

The takeaway?

Do your research. Take the time to understand your prospects’ needs. And communicate with them in ways that only human can. They’ll appreciate it…any your numbers will go up.

For more on Matt Amundson’s sales philosophies, check out his interview on The Predictable Revenue Podcast.