Much of the advice given in this blog was inspired by Mark Walker (CRO of Student Beans) and Jennifer Hicks (SDR Manager at Gearset), the panellists at the ‘Pipeline Building Strategies for 2021’ webinar hosted by us in January. We discussed how to use creative forms of outreach in your prospecting and more. If you’d like to watch the webinar on-demand, please email: email@example.com
Personalisation is key
‘I think the key summary for all of this is that it has to be personalised and relevant, otherwise, it’s just dead outreach.’ – Jennifer
Prospects rarely engage with sales messaging unless:
- It’s personalised to their challenges
- The method of outreach is highly creative/ attention-grabbing
How to personalise sales messaging in an authentic and creative way
- Always lean towards quality over quantity. Focusing on those few quality cold calls will bring better conversion than the ‘spray and pray method’ as panellist Jeniffer says.
- Don’t be a slave to your cadence. It is not about how many voice notes you leave, it’s about how well you address the needs of your ICP in each one. This is a great short-read that John Richardson wrote about how to get back to the basics and write a quality message.
- Always have a good understanding of your buyer persona(s). Before you even get on a call, do extensive research on your prospect and identify their challenges. To the point where you can go into a cold call or into an email outreach and say: ‘Okay, this is the job role this person is doing. These are the KPIs they’re going to be held to. Maybe that person isn’t even really thinking about it… but start those cogs turning in their brain’ – Jennifer. The better you know your buyer persona, the easier it will become to personalise your sales messaging.
- The type of outreach you are using must reflect that buyer persona. For example, if you’re targeting creative industries, outbound strategies such as video prospecting may work wonders. If you’re targeting CEO’s, video prospecting might not be appropriate. ‘There is a time and a place… you know video outreaches as an initial connection, depending on the personality you’re speaking to, might not be appropriate for C suite. So with that, you’re probably looking at something more personalised around the traditional form of contact. Maybe telephone or email.’ – Jennifer
How can sales leaders support their team’s creativity when it comes to prospecting and encourage personalisation?
- Work with your team to re-assess the relationship they have with the prospecting tools they use, such as their cadence system. Consider allowing your team to have more flexibility with the way they use these tools, to allow for more creativity and personalisation in the prospecting process. Encourage your team to get back to the basics – nothing is less personalised than an automated email, sent to increase the volume, not the value of the sales messaging.
- One way to encourage your sales team to deliver quality in an effective fashion is to ensure they know exactly who their buyer personas are. Who should they be prospecting? What sales messages are they likely to be receptive to? What are their priorities and what KPIs are they being held to? Where do they fit within their company? Allocate time for your team to work on the buyer persona. They should fully understand the challenge’s their prospects could face, and what their personality profile looks like. All of this will help them personalise with ease, and understand what methods of outreach might be best suited to get the attention of their prospects.
Examples of successful video prospecting
‘When I was preparing for this webinar, I was asking for examples and a friend said, ‘Have you seen the SDR who jumps in the sea? … There’s this example where an SDR is trying to reach a really senior decision-maker, and they are in the Mediterranean, in November, in the freezing cold sea, and they take this video and they’re like ‘Hey, it’s six in the morning, I’ve been desperately trying to get your attention for X number of weeks’, and they’d read an article that their prospect had written saying, you know, run through doors, be fearless in the pursuit of what you want. They referenced the quote and said ‘Look, this is my example of being fearless in the pursuit of what I want’, and obviously got the meeting. It kind of went viral, I think at the last count had a few 100,000 views and, you know, various different responses to it. Some, some not all positive but as an example of creativity and just taking the bull by the horns it’s hard to find something more standout and different than that.’ – Mark
Finding those uncommon commonalities
‘Final example is one from my own team, who was from Venezuela. She went through LinkedIn and found anyone with a connection to Venezuela, you know, anyone who’s been to university there, who studied there, been in business there and just found that, I think it’s called an ‘uncommon commonality’, and used that in order to stand out in their minds and find that human connection. No other SDR, or very few other SDRs, will be able to have that type of commonality.’ – Mark
1.‘This example is marginally older, he’s not actually an SDR, he’s an AE, but it’s a great example of what an SDR could do. I remember seeing it come up in my feed, he had this video of him with his 10-year-old nephew. And it was all around, how can he train his 10-year-old nephew to be a better SDR. And this very charming, personable, 10-year-old is on the video, and he gets him to pick up the phone and then uses their technology – he works for a company called Refract – to then train and coach him. It’s a fantastic, different, standout, personable, but relevant way to introduce Refract which didn’t feel salesy and it really stood out. And it happened to be good timing. As with all of these things, we were looking at potentially bringing in call intelligence software, and we connected on LinkedIn and ultimately went on to purchase Refract.’ – Mark. Click here to watch the video on LI.
2. Another example we’d like to give is from our Rev Ops exec, Callum, who posted a video with the purpose of advertising this webinar. It’s NOT an example of a prospecting video, but is a good example of how you can get creative and use low-budget video in a way that speaks to your personality. This video got more views than any of our other team member’s posts (advertising the same thing) combined. Click here to watch the video on LI.
Being authentic and honest
‘I had a great one. It was from a recruitment company three months ago. It was very casual, it wasn’t a staged video. The guy that sent it was dressed in a professional manner, he had a shirt and a jacket on. He wasn’t stylized in a park or anything, it was just in his home office. And literally, he just asked me what he would have asked over email and at the end of it said, ‘Hey, just out of interest I’m experimenting with this type of outreach, what are your thoughts? If you’re not going to give me an answer about whether you’d like to use our company, I would just love to hear if this is the type of outreach you would prefer’. Which I thought great yeah actually I’m gonna take the time to reply to this guy.’ – Jennifer
How to balance creativity and quality?
Of course, we don’t all have the time or resources to jump in the sea to catch the attention of one prospect. That’s okay, it’s more important to focus on the quality of the message, than the form of the outreach itself. See the tips below on how to create an authentic video.
Video Prospecting Tips
How can you get creative with your outreach, whilst maintaining the integrity and authenticity of the message?
- ‘One piece of advice I’d say is don’t make the video too long, no one’s gonna sit there and watch like a four-minute video of you, just keep it succinct and to the point’ – Jennifer
- When you use creative forms of outreach, you need to remember that ‘the medium is not the message’ – Mark. The prospect might be more likely to open a video message because of the novelty factor, but without the personalisation element, ‘the strong hook, the reason for being in contact’ video won’t bring you any traction. It’s not just enough to do the video and introduce yourself, make it engaging, think – What am I inviting my prospect to think about?
- Keep it natural and authentic, it doesn’t have to be high budget. ‘And it’s, I know it’s a cliche, and overused, but that authenticity is important. In fact, it’s beneficial if your cats walk around you or your kid jumps in. That provides a connection, a personal connection and it does feel that bit more authentic, rather than it being this slickly produced sales video so I think you know embrace that.’ – Mark
- For a list of recommended video prospecting platforms see here.
Using a multichannel approach to prospecting
Get flexible, use trial and error until you figure out which sequence gets you the best results. You might find that you like to connect on LI first, then send a video message, and follow that up with a cold call – this might change depending on who you’re reaching out to. It doesn’t really matter what sequence you use, it’s the combined effort that captures the prospect’s attention and sparks their interest.
‘One of the videos that I’ve received prospecting this year was really powerful because it was in conjunction with other methods of prospecting. I had to watch the video because I had a LinkedIn request, I had a cold call with a voicemail. And so when I saw the video … and then when they followed up with a cold call a couple of days later, I answered it … it’s that combined effort isn’t it, that captures attention.’ – John