Here’s an outlandish idea – in an age where you have such a wealth of sales intelligence tools,  there should no longer be a situation where your outbound team is cold calling like it’s the 90s. 

With tools at your disposal that can transform any cold call into a warm call, your SDRs (or whichever Alphabetti Spaghetti acronym you’ve chosen for your outbound sales team) shouldn’t be calling or emailing without an idea of who is going to be on the other end of the line. 

Every day, thousands of “Hi {{first_name}}, we help <insert persona> at similar organizations” emails are sent into the stratosphere with the vague hope that someone, somewhere, will acknowledge the email’s content and book a meeting.
The reality is that these emails have disappointingly low open rates and CTRs.

By taking a step back and understanding how the target audience for your outbound sales team is constructed, we can hopefully get to the root of the problem.

Building an Ideal Customer Persona

The practice of building Ideal Customer Personas (ICPs) is a reasonably mature concept – most companies know how to segment their audience based on job titles, departments, or company size. 

Congratulations. You’ve created a cardboard cutout of your persona – it looks impressive, it might tick all of the right boxes, but it won’t give you deeper insight into who your prospect actually is. 

Sales intelligence pic

Here are 2 reasons why you need sales intelligence to create a 3D picture of your audience:

Tip #1: Virtual Door-to-Door Sales

Building personas for outbound sales requires far more research than building a persona for inbound marketing. To start with, you are the one approaching them and knocking on their virtual door and offering your services. With inbound marketing, the prospect has come to your virtual shop front and inquired about what it is that you do. 

Outbound sales?

Let’s analyze the hypothetical situation of an outbound sales team at a fictitious software company, ACME Corp. This team’s target audience is B2B software companies with less than 500 employees. 

The trap many outbound teams fall into is not segmenting this “industry” and realizing that it is made up of many smaller segments – each with its own very different behaviors and needs. For example, if the SDR is selling to Zendesk, a SaaS company in the customer service space, their pitch would need to be very different from a pitch to Stripe, a SaaS company that specializes in online payments. 

Tips to Segment at Scale:

  • Use Sales Intelligence for better prospect segmentation: Conduct a deeper investigative look into which category is the best audience fit for your product (this could be a blog post in its own right). Look at your closed-won deals and understand which industries in your target market are performing the best.
  • Use Sales Intelligence to find your competitors’ customers: An alternative to the tip above is taking advantage of the work your competitors may have already done on these topics. Use SimilarWeb’s technographics to identify which of your competitors’ customers are growing the fastest, or if the metrics are connected to your competitors’ product then identify which customers are declining and offer them a way to improve their KPIs. 

Moral of the story:

Just because your audience belongs to the same category, doesn’t mean that they’ll behave the same way.

Tip #2: Jack of All Trades, or Master of One?

Sales intelligence tools help your outbound sales teams to – not only to refine your audience – but also to give you a detailed picture of how these companies are performing to make you more of an expert on the topics that matter to them. By doing this you’ll be in a much better position to explain exactly what it is that you’ll be able to impact in their day-to-day work and why they should care enough to set a meeting with you. 

To leave you with some practical takeaways to add to your pre-call checklist, here are 3 points you should know about your prospect before getting on the call or reaching out:  

  • What are their KPIs? Understand what they consider success and you’ll be able to tailor your pitch to tie it into what matters most to them. 
  • Who are their competitors? Build the most useful list of competitors to show you understand your prospect and their place in the market. A good practice, one that our sales team employs, is using SimilarWeb to explore key competitors’ strengths and weaknesses and utilizing this to craft the most compelling pitch for your prospect. This is what is known as the consultative selling approach. 
  • Where do they fit into the company hierarchy? Without getting dragged into the BANT debate, you need to understand: 
    • Who does your prospect answer to? And how senior are they?  
    • Which organization do they belong to? For example, a pitch to a company where the SDRs fit under the sales umbrella would be different from an organization where they fit under marketing.

Moral of the story:

Becoming an expert on your prospect’s industry will pay off!


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    This information should not be mistaken for legal advice. Please ensure that you are prospecting and selling in compliance with all applicable laws.

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