How To Find Companies At Scale The Exact Moment They Need You
One of the greatest challenges in outbound sales prospecting is finding people who need your product at the exact time they need it.
There seem to be two main choices: you can either send a small number of highly personalized and well-researched cold emails, or you can sacrifice personalization in favor of scalable automation. Either way, you’re missing out on leads. That’s why a recent guest on our podcast offers a third alternative.
Jordan Crawford has built growth systems for Mainstreet, Ironclad, Vouch, and more. As the first growth hire at Zinc, he helped scale the company from $1 to $100M in go-to-market (GTM) value in two years. Now he runs BlueprintGTM.com to help companies dial in their prospecting by key painful moments.
Jordan joined the Predictable Revenue podcast to discuss how to find companies at scale at the exact moment they need you.
Removing complexity from your prospecting process
The first step to a more targeted outbound sales approach is to simplify as much as possible. Narrow down your ideal customer profile (ICP) into specific companies and turn your prospecting ocean into a much more manageable pool.
Jordan uses the acronym CATCAT to help with this process:
- C – Companies. What companies are a good fit for your product? Think of both inclusion and exclusion criteria, and be as specific as possible.
- A – ABM. Use account-based marketing to reach your ideal market across a variety of different channels.
- T – Titles. Who is responsible for the problem your product solves? If you’re not sure, search Google job descriptions.
- C – Channel. What channel (email, phone, LinkedIn, etc.) is most effective for reaching your prospects? If you’re not sure, ask your current customers.
- A – Approach. How do you approach your prospects? What methods are most effective?
- T – Timing. How can you use data to identify the problem and bring it to your prospect’s attention?
The last point, timing, is what Jordan’s company BlueprintGTM.com focuses on. If you can identify when your prospects have a problem and present them with a solution, the rest of the outbound sales process falls into place.
How to make one-to-many prospecting feel like one-to-one
The problem most sales development reps (SDRs) face when prospecting is how to balance personalization with automation. Crafting a highly relevant and well-researched email takes time, and that means fewer cold emails being sent, and fewer potential leads.
The result is that most SDRs settle for a vague reference to where the prospect went to school before awkwardly segueing into a sales pitch.
Instead of looking up irrelevant background on your prospect, focus your research on the company and the problem they’re facing. The goal should be to write a cold email that is so relevant and compelling, that the prospect will want to forward it on, regardless of whether or not they use your service.
Gathering your data
Technology and outsourcing make this easier than ever to do at scale. Think about where information might be leaking about the company’s problem, and where you can start to capture it. For example, if you’re a cybersecurity company, which businesses have suffered a recent information breach?
Once you know what triggers you’re looking for, it becomes much easier to collect this data at scale–which makes this approach both personal and time-efficient.
Although prospecting software like Clay.com has been available for years, few companies are taking advantage of it, which means this data-driven approach will stand out even more in your prospect’s crowded inbox.
Using customer insights to improve prospecting
Aside from collecting data, you can also take what you know about your customers and use it to prospect for new leads.
Outbound sales should always have a close relationship with customer success. Do a little digging to find out what problems your customers are coming to you with, and what their life looks like before and after working with your company.
Over time, you’ll begin to see patterns emerge. Then you can use that data to identify other people who have a similar problem to your past customers. Take your prospecting messages directly from this research, so you can describe the problem in your customer’s own words.
Need help with customer research? Book a free discovery call to learn how our coaches can help your sales development team find the right prospects, craft highly relevant messages, and close more deals.
Why do your customers buy?
Oftentimes, the reason we think our customers buy is different from reality. The only way to get to the bottom of this issue is to ask your customers.
Try comparing your outbound sales messages to case study quotes taken directly from your customers. Chances are, the two are vastly different. The job to be done isn’t always what you think it is. Understanding that difference will be the key to more effective prospecting.
Once you clearly understand the problem your customers have and their reasons for buying, the next step is to identify more people with that problem. You can use Google and other software to crawl domains and see who’s talking about those specific issues.
Let’s take a closer look at how you might do that with an example from a Predictable Revenue client.
CostCertified is an estimation software and virtual showroom for construction companies. One way they could identify prospects is to search customer reviews for the problem they solve.
For example, the most common issue in construction is long waiting periods. CostCertified could identify contractors with this issue by searching on Google: site:yelp.com inurl:homeservices “took much longer”. This narrows Yelp reviews down based on a few specific keywords.
The outbound sales team could use this information in their email outreach, to point out the negative reviews and offer a solution.
Another option would be to evaluate the contractor’s website to see if they’re at the right stage of business to invest in CostCertified’s services. In this case, you’d look at their analytics setup, whether they’re running ads, and use a platform like SimilarWeb to estimate their monthly traffic.
Graphium Health Example
Graphium Health, another Predictable Revenue client, provides workflow optimization software for anesthesia groups. The main problem they solve is billing inefficiencies.
To identify anesthesia groups with this problem, they could look at how many insurance providers are mentioned on each website (more providers means a more complex system), or which groups have multiple locations and a more complex setup.
Another option would be to search customer reviews for any complaints. An SDR could even email the clinic as a “patient” to ask about the billing process. All of this information can be compiled and used to identify the best leads.
A better approach to prospecting
You don’t need to choose between personalization and automation in your sales development process. Using a combination of technology and outsourcing, it’s possible to identify prospects at the exact time they need your solution.
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