Write more relevant messaging with the Chain of Relevance

Jan 10, 2020
Author: Kenny MacKenzie

Being good at outbound sales requires skills in numerous areas – list building, meetings, well-timed follow ups… the list goes on (and on).

But if there is one element of outbound sales that establishes the critical connection between a prospect and an SDR better than others, one piece that separates the exceptional rep from the mediocre, it’s crafting compelling messaging that illustrates that your product or service is what your customers actually want. 

After all, if your market doesn’t clearly understand how you can help them – how you, and only you, can solve their day-to-day pain – then you won’t be closing many deals. 

Of course, crafting captivating outreach can be a challenge. To catch your prospect’s attention you have to be informative, interesting, and concise, a delicate balance. Unfortunately, all too often outbound messaging devolves into lengthy feature-heavy screeds, focused entirely on what a product does, not what problem a product solves. 

To combat this urge, and inspire relevance and clarity in sales messaging, we developed the Chain of Relevance framework.  

Mapping out the Chain of Relevance 

It all starts with what’s most important to the prospect: their goal. Think of this as the overarching, high-level objective a prospect (or a company) hopes to accomplish. 

Immediately to the right of the goal is a job(s) to be done, or a task a prospect needs to accomplish to complete their goal. 

Next to the goal is the friction faced by your prospect, or the obstacles that prevent them from accomplishing their goal. What’s getting in their way? Why, and how, are they blocked? The combination of the obstacle and the job to be done forms a customer’s pain.

And, finally, is your product – the perfect offering that overcomes all those hurdles.  

On the other side of the chain, moving left from the goal, are the professional responsibilities juggled by your prospect. This is the connective tissue that ties the goal to your prospect. (You can often find these responsibilities listed in job descriptions or LinkedIn profiles)

Next to responsibilities is the buyer persona(s), or the job title(s) you use to identify and isolate your targets.

And, finally, are the types of companies your prospects work for.

Connecting the links

Our job as SDRs, AEs, and sales leaders is to connect these two sides of the Chain of Relevance. Your market, defined by your target companies, buyer personas, and their responsibilities, need certain things to help them get through the workday. Your product, of course, is what offers those things.

All it takes is the right messaging to get that point across.

So, what’s in a good prospecting email? Effective outbound messaging should contain the goal you believe your prospects are trying to accomplish, their job(s) to be done, their obstacles, and how your product or service can help. These elements, weaved together in a short, compelling message, will resonate.

Below are just a few templates we use in our outbound emails. Each has a slightly different focus, as different prospects will respond to different key points. 

  • We have a solution that will accomplish your goal. Are you trying to get job done and facing obstacle? (The focus here is on your prospect’s goal)
  • We accomplish your goal with a solution. Are you trying to get job done and facing obstacle? (The focus here is on your prospect’s jobs to be done)
  • We help your persona overcome obstacle with solution. Are you trying to accomplish goal by getting job done? (The focus here is on the obstacles you believe your prospect faces)
  • Are you trying to accomplish goal and surprised the thing getting in the way is obstacle? We help your persona who are trying to get job done with solution. (Finally, the focus here is on your product or solution)

As mentioned up top, a fundamental element of effective outbound emails is to be as succinct as possible. So when fleshing out these templates, use only a few words, 3 or 4 tops, to describe your product.

If you work at a fast-growing organic food delivery company, use “food delivery service.” If your company is building a robust CRM, try “customer management software.” Or, if you’re selling outsourced expert outbound sales that generates consistent leads (cough, cough), try “scaleable sales development.” The goal is to be concise and clear about the nature of your solution, while highlighting what is novel about it when applicable. 

Here are just a couple examples of fleshed out messaging, using the templates above. Note how short and to the point both are:

Hi {{firstname}},

I am reaching out because we help sales leaders of mid sized b2b companies scale their revenue with outbound sales development.

Are you commercializing a new product but struggling to generate enough leads to fill your sales pipeline?

Or,

Hi {{firstname}},

I am reaching out because we use AI and automation to help sales leaders generate enough qualified leads to hit their revenue goals.

Are you trying to ramp up your sales development in house but afraid you won’t see a return on your investments?

Test, test, and test again

Once you have your initial messaging in place, it’s time to launch your outbound campaign and test what copy and what targets work best together.

As you begin sending emails, you might find you have your targets wrong, or your messaging needs to be tweaked. This is, of course, the reality of outbound campaigns – you must iterate, and improve, as necessary. If you don’t, the opportunities you need to fill your pipeline and, ultimately, grow your business will be few and far between.

But that’s precisely the benefit of establishing the Chain of Relevance first: it becomes the foundation, the North Star, for becoming the most relevant you can be to the people you are targeting, and what they want. 

And whether what they want is something that solves or simply supports what they do everyday, or helps them accomplish something they haven’t even done yet, the Chain of Relevance will help you get that message across. 

Because in the busy, nuanced, and challenging world of outbound sales – that’s what it’s all about. 

If you want to learn more about how to target your future customers, get in touch with us for a consultation.