Personalized Pitches: Improving Inside Sales Outcomes with Better Data at a Click
I’ve written before about the iconic “sell me this pen” scene in The Wolf of Wall Street. While the scene ends with a joke, the real Jordan Belfort once said in an interview that “before I’m even going to sell a pen to anybody, I need to know about the person. I want to know what their needs are.”
Why would he need to know the prospect’s needs? In order to personalize the pitch.
Personalized pitches – no longer should be a “nice to have” for SDRs
Personalized pitches will produce higher open rates, longer conversations, and better meetings. It makes sense; the more you know about an account’s pain points, buying team, and research activity, the more your pitch can resonate and get their attention.
Despite this, too many vendors are still pushing product over need, using boilerplate call scripts and generic emails, and view personalized messaging as a luxury. But personalization is not a luxury in the age of the informed buyer; it’s a necessity.
According to DemandGen’s 2018 B2B Buyer’s Survey Report, nearly three-quarters of buyers want vendors to demonstrate a stronger knowledge of their company and its needs. In other words, buyers want personalized pitches. Inside sales must embrace this reality in order to fuel better downstream business outcomes.
The Inside Sales dilemma – volume or quality?
But there is a problem. Creating personalized outreach takes time and requires thought and research. Meanwhile, many inside sales teams are under pressure to hit volume-based KPIs. This creates a dilemma for inside sales—reps need to make a trade-off between research depth and call velocity.
Balancing personalization and velocity is a high wire that many ISRs are not effectively equipped for today, nor are they empowered to find the right balance on their own. To encourage more effective behavior, inside sales management must work to adjust the balance of activity-based KPIs and quality-driven KPIs.
Activity-based versus quality-driven KPIs
If too much weight is given to activity KPIs (dials, emails, LinkedIn touches), then reps will simply choose the smile-and-dial, volume-based approach over personalization. But ultimately, unless the group is providing meaningful conversations for the sales team, none of the activity matters.
However, if more weight is given to quality KPIs (meetings set, meetings kept, qualified ops created, and closed-won business), then reps will be incentivized to take an approach that is more aligned with the goals of the business. One call that leads to a deal is better than a thousand calls that don’t.
Ideally, more weight should be given to quality KPIs to encourage the personalization that produces results. But that doesn’t mean you have to abandon activity KPIs in one fell swoop. Lowering the threshold of activity KPIs will give reps more time to research and customize their outreach. Alternatively, you can run a pilot with select reps which will prove the concept and encourage adoption by the wider team.
Lowering the threshold of activity KPIs
In order to give his team more time to research, one inside sales manager for one of our clients experimented by cutting daily call requirements across his team in half. While 50% of the reps continued to hit the old call quota, the reps who made fewer, more personalized calls achieved higher appointment and show (meetings kept) rates.
Run a pilot with select reps
Understandably, most managers are hesitant to introduce a wholesale change to the way the entire team is goaled. Many successful teams are running pilot programs with select reps likely to rise to the challenge of a new approach and coaching reps to better success with personalization. Sales professionals are naturally competitive – once other reps see the success that comes with a change in approach, they will want to follow suit.
Personalization requires better data
Adjusting KPIs in order to give reps breathing room for research is only half the battle. Without access to the right data, more time spent will not always equal better results. In an increasingly account-based marketing and sales landscape increasingly, reps need access to real account-level intelligence beyond what they can glean from LinkedIn and the prospect’s website. Effective hooks don’t just depend on learning more about an individual prospect who may be on a call list. Real progress comes when you can access insights on the entire buying team. Real purchase intent data provides in-depth intelligence that quickly allows sales to identify which accounts are in-market, what topics/purchase drivers they are most interested in, competitive vendors they are engaged with as well as contacts on the full buying team that are actively researching solutions.
These data points all provide inputs for better, more effective pitches that can take multiple angles to create more inroads with target accounts.
Easier access and better enablement will ensure that SDRs can and will use the data
Even if it’s hard to change KPIs or comp models, reps can still personalize their pitches with account-level behavioral data as long as it is quick and easy to access and in their preferred workflows. Additionally, better enablement can give them the tools to put these insights into process.
Make sure data is available at a click
If reps have to spend time logging into a different system to access data, they’re not going to do it. The key is to make sure that reps can quickly and easily determine when an account is worth calling, who at the account they should call, and what they should say.
Ensuring use requires behavioral data that can deliver full account-level insights to reps within their preferred workflow—whether through a widget in Salesforce or via a portable, embeddable URL passed with each prospect to allow reps to personalize their pitches with a quick click.
Provide email and call script templates
To further encourage reps to use the data, you can guide them by providing email and call script templates with gaps to fill about the account’s recent activity or pain-points.
To learn more about how intent data and deeper behavioral insights are setting up inside sales teams for more success, watch the webinar on aligning and enabling your SDRs for better B2B marketing and sales.