Phrases like “hyper-personalization” and “personalization at scale” are tossed around frequently in the sales community, but what does it mean and how do you do it?
The Demandbase sales team has achieved considerably higher results from personalized outreach than with generic blasting. Personalization has increased email open rates from 29 percent to 53 percent and replies from 4.5 percent to 10 percent.
There are three ways to approach account-based selling: one-to-one, one-to-few, and one-to-many, as noted below.
With a one-to-many approach, where you might want to reach a hundred or more accounts, you can curate existing content to perform low-cost mailers, virtual events, and other plays that you can conduct at higher volumes. These initiatives can be released to your widest audience of target accounts at scale, with just a small amount of personalization. Your marketing team can take care of that approach with marketing automation.
One-to-one (1:1) personalization has proven to be successful for higher priority accounts (what we call Tier 1) but they require more time and effort than the other two approaches. Jesse Darsinos did an excellent job covering the basics of 1:1 sales outreach and humanizing the sales process for top prospects in his recent blog post.
So for the purposes of this blog, we delve into creating a successful 1:few approach.
Adopting a one-to-few approach allows sales teams to effectively personalize at scale by creating and executing lightly-customized (personalized) outreach strategies.
Focusing on clusters of 5-25 accounts provides sales teams with the opportunity to catch their prospects’ attention with relevant content and efficiently drive pipeline. Pillars of a successful one-to-few strategy include the use of intent data, 10-K SEC filings and company news, and video. Let’s delve into these three types of content sources.
We have a saying at Demandbase that intent is the new lead, as explained by our VP of Sales Development, Jay Tuel, in his recent webinar. With 66-90 percent of buyers doing their research before they reach out (Forrester), it’s important to understand what your target accounts are researching off-site and take action on that insight.
When you have an understanding of what keywords are actively being researched by the accounts you care about you can create a strategic outbound campaign strategy centered around those keywords or topics and easily take action.
Particularly effective are email and call outreach strategies with content that’s centered around the searched keywords. Multi-step, hyper-personalized strategies not only enable sales teams to speak to what the account cares about, but they also drive efficiency, allowing you to reach out to a cluster of accounts at once.
And when you slice and dice intent data, you can create multiple intent-based outreach campaigns. For example, having an understanding of target accounts that are showing intent for a specific competitor gives sales teams the ability to place prospects from those accounts into a competitor takedown campaign.
For those of us selling to enterprise companies, our target accounts’ 10-Ks are the closest thing we have to a coffee date with the C-Suite (virtually, of course). A 10-K is a window into the financial health of an organization. In an environment where we cannot assume a company is still in buying mode just because they were two or four or six months ago, this is crucial for account prioritization and getting a sense of who’s still in-market to buy. Even more importantly, though, a 10-K gives direct insights into the business objectives of the executive team, in their own words. Prospecting gold mine? Yes, and here’s why.
According to Hubspot, executives note a leading reason for accepting an initial meeting is because “something of value” was displayed. Including evidence of research relevant to their business is the most effective way to do so. For example, incorporating business objectives from a company’s 10-K in the first sentence of your outreach will grab attention whilst immediately showcasing the research you’ve done. And it will set the stage to relate your pitch back to what is directly important to them as a company. Remember: Personalization is about stepping into their world rather than inviting them into yours. By opening your outreach with what is important to them, you are doing just that. (Not to mention you boost your credibility!)
So you’ve caught their attention and proven your seat at their prospecting table. Now what? Hubspot also reports that a prospect’s need for your product or service is the second factor that leads to accepting a meeting. You may be thinking, “But we sell four different solutions with multiple use cases for each.” As mentioned, intent data shows what your accounts are anonymously researching across the web and uncovers which specific products they are interested in, right now.
For example, the buying committee at my account, Company X, is researching “targeted advertising,” as indicated by their intent data. As I introduce my product pitch and how it relates to Company X’s executive goals, my messaging should be hyper-focused around our targeted advertising solution, rather than a broad pitch of our comprehensive ABM technology or how our recent Engagio acquisition elevates our sales enablement capabilities.
In short, leverage the information from their 10-K in conjunction with their intent data to deliver outreach that breaks through the noise and, more importantly, relates their executive goals to your product or service that you know they’re already researching. While the outreach can take time on the front end to craft, the foundation of your personalization is account-centric. Thus, you can scale messaging to the entire buying committee rather than to just one individual.
We do want to note that for those prospecting into accounts that do not publish 10-K’s, namely in the mid-market space, you can take a similar approach by monitoring and leveraging company news via other channels. Use resources like the company website, Crunchbase, Owler, and LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
Prospects who view product videos are 85 percent more likely to buy it, according to Internet Retailer, making video messaging a popular tool in the sales toolbox for 1:1 personalization.
That said, video can also be effective for 1:few personalization as well. The Demandbase team has had success in driving pipeline by incorporating customized and scalable video product demos into our outreach, and here’s how.
As mentioned above, you can slice and dice intent data however you’d like. Filtering your accounts by intent keywords around a specific product offering and industry is a quick way to generate a list of accounts that share industry norms, product interests, and even similar use cases. With these similarities, you can use the same messaging across accounts while still personalizing it to their behaviors and competitive landscape.
These are quick ways to gain credibility and show personalization without compromising scalability. You can then follow up the video with a quick 5-minute demo that’s specific to their product interests. And because the personalization is rooted in intent and further narrowed by industry, that 5-minute video will easily turn into 15+ custom pitches.
With some minor tweaks, you can create and execute additional one-to-few video campaigns. For example, by filtering the intent keywords by product and competitor (rather than by industry), you create an opportunity to not only help your prospect visualize your product, but also show them how you differ from your competitors.
If a picture is worth 1,000 words, we wonder how many a custom demo is worth . . . .
Make the most out of the time and effort you put into getting to know your accounts’ values and needs by creating personalized outreach plays. Going directly to the heart of what matters most to your accounts not only reinforces why they need your product or service but also your credibility as a knowledgeable and serious sales professional.
About the authors:
Katharine Noonan is a B2B Marketing Strategist at Demandbase who focuses on identifying optimal solutions for large enterprises to reach their marketing and sales performance goals.
Sean Magee, a Sales Development Manager at Demandbase, leads a team of 11 Sales Development Reps in identifying ABM solutions for large enterprises.
Sales Scoop is our monthly blog series that gives the amazing members of our sales team a platform to share their perspectives and successes. Now more than ever, sales and marketing alignment is imperative to an organization’s success. We dive into topics important to sales teams, such as humanizing the selling process, outreach strategies with buying committees, and ways you can use Demandbase daily to power your selling. So get excited and make sure to check in each month!
Read prevous installments:
Humanizing the Prospecting and Selling Process to Stand Out, by Jesse Darsinos (Sales Pro)
ABM Gives You Wings (With Sales and Marketing Alignment) by Susan Glenn (Content Marketing Manager)