Understanding buyer psychology and how it fits into the sales process with Outreach’s Max Altschuler

Collin Stewart, CEO

31 October 2018

Regardless of the position you currently hold in your sales org – prospector, Account Executive, or management – you are certainly juggling numerous responsibilities during your day-to-day routine.

Such is the life of a sales professional: there’s always one more email to send, proposal to draft, meeting to attend, and demo to run. Like most professions, though, the daily tap dance needed to navigate each responsibility in the sales world and, ultimately, meet quota all stem from one basic requirement – to connect with a prospect in whichever way they prefer to talk and offer a solution to their pain.

It’s that simple.

“First understand your buyer, and how they like to interact. In other words, figure out your ICP. Then, figure out where they live and where they want to buy. Is that on text? Phone? LinkedIn? Different prospects will have different preferences,” says Max Altschuler, CEO, and Founder of Sales Hacker and Vice President of Marketing at Outreach, on a recent edition of The Predictable Revenue Podcast.

“That is the first piece, and then you can build your process around that. I recommend people think through all of this before spending a dollar. Understand your process first. Once you figure it out, then you can buy technology, and put gas on it.”

If you build it…they will come

Every sales team, new or old, wants to build momentum. And they want to do it as soon as possible.

So, it’s understandable that some would bristle at the idea of slowing down and going through the fundamentals first. But it will save time, and money, down the road because you’re not just bringing on tech because you think you have to bring on tech. With a minimum investment in tooling, you see your process in its natural state.

Once you do that legwork, however, you can start adding on other critical components of your sales process in tandem. For example, you can start layering in your tech stack once you’re process is ironed out, as well as iterating on your messaging, and compiling the marketing collateral you’ll need to support your product.

But that’s not all – while you’re building this machine you must make sure you are constantly iterating, and making improvements based on the data you’re gleaning.

“You might want to talk to advisors or friends, if you’re really stuck before buying technology. But, you know you’re going to need a CRM, a sales engagement tool, a data provider, etc,” says Altschuler.

“For me, I’m all about omnichannel right now. So, I think it’s critical to make sure you are on every channel and have your process refined on all channels. You must be religiously A/B testing. It’s our job to making sure we are resonating with the person on the other side – and testing will help you do this.”

 

Incorporating buyer psychology into your sales process

So…you’ve got your tech stack in place, your testing your messaging, and working closely with marketing to make sure the content you’re distributing is top-notch.

What’s missing, then? Getting out of the office and talking to current customers, and other contacts that fit within your ICP to gather in-depth information on the pain points.

“Talk with people – figure out what the pain points really are. Have some customer conversations while you’re testing your messaging,” says Altschuler.

Learn what particular pain points they are having, so you can clearly understand what you can help with. Then, get back in the office and get creative to get your point across.”

For example, Altschuler was on a panel recently and was asked by a woman in the crowd for suggestions on how she could sell her corporate culture consulting service. His suggestion was to email venture capital firms with a screenshot from a news story about a company acting badly. Then tell them “don’t let this happen to you.”

That email – short and sweet – implies what her service is and, more importantly, highlights a potentially serious pain point.

“That speaks volumes, and will connect. They send that email to their portfolio companies,” says Altschuler.

“That headline says more than any line in a typical email will. That’s the fun part of sales, that’s the art.”

Putting it all into practice

Once you’ve incorporated the information gleaned from customer interviews, the final piece is adding a tailored element during the day-to-day prospecting. According to Altschuler, the level of tailoring you can add is dependant on the market you’re attacking.

If you sell to mid-market companies, Altschuler says you may not want to spend a lot of time personalizing all of your messaging, whether it be email, LinkedIn, other social touches, or direct mail, even. Your salespeople’s time is worth more than selling, say, $6,000 deals. There are more automated ways of connecting with that audience at scale.

But if you sell to enterprise or public companies, says Altschuler, than there is a host of places to gather potentially critical information about your prospects. Here are just a few of the places you can get corporate information:

  • A K1 filing will tell you “need” and “timing”
  • LinkedIn tells you authority
  • Crunchbase tells you budget

“BANT, back in the day, was how you qualified people on a discovery call. Now you can almost get all of that information just by looking at CrunchBase and other avenues. With just these few examples, you will have all the information you need to get in touch with an account,” says Altschuler.

“And, remember, it’s going to be delivered on different channels, and it will be sent to numerous people in the company.”

In addition to adding tailored content to outbound messaging, Altschuler stresses two avenues to maximize your time with a prospect: being cognizant of what time you are calling them, and resist trying to close on the first call.

Remember, despite all the things we’re juggling as salespeople, effective sales boils down to connecting and meeting the prospect where they prefer to be met.

“If I call you at 9:15 am, the odds of you being in a meeting is much higher than if I call at 9:55. So, call at the :55 marker on the hour. Always be respectful of time,” says Altschuler.

“And most people get on these calls and they are so gung-ho to close. Your goal is just a next meeting. Don’t rush. If your expectation was just to get to a next meeting – how would your call sound? Work with that. Find out how to best communicate, and who to invite next.”

For more Altschuler’s thoughts on sales development and incorporating buyer psychology into your sales process, check out the rest of his interview on The Predictable Revenue Podcast.