Most of us are aware that the buyer’s journey has changed dramatically in the last few years (and months given the global pandemic).
This is supported by a CEB (acquired by Gartner) report in 2016 that shared “buyers on average are 57% of the way through their buying journey before even reaching out to a vendor”.
Fast forward a few years since that report, the explosion of Inbound Marketing, and the development of buyer journey optimized content I would argue that it is probably closer to 90%.
That is, buyers have almost all the information they need to make an informed purchasing decision.
In 2007 Chet Homes shared the statistic that only 3% of any market is in the “buying mode” now. This means that 97% of prospects aren’t actively looking to purchase a product or service.
When you acknowledge the above statistics, it is easy to understand why the spray and pray method of prospecting doesn’t work anymore (not that I believe it ever did truly work for 99% of B2B sales teams).
If your prospecting efforts consist of sending templated messages to prospects who just match the “job title” of your past customers, it simply won’t cut it.
Just because someone matches your buyer persona doesn’t mean they are actually interested in buying what you have to offer.
You’ll be sending out hundreds of emails and generating only a handful of replies. And that isn’t fun for you or the prospect.
Prospecting is tough. It’s time-consuming, it takes tenacity to stick with it and the will power to continue prospecting each day.
But it doesn’t have to be so hard.
By taking a smarter approach to prospecting and focusing on triggers and highly personalized emails, you’ll be able to reduce the volume of emails you send, whilst increasing the number of conversations you have with engaged prospects.
This isn’t a silver bullet, but it is an efficient method for starting more conversions that begins before you even draft an email.
What is Trigger-Based Lead Sourcing
Lead sourcing (or list building) is the process of building a list of leads without previous marketing activities.
It includes finding the source of targeted leads and extracting them into a CRM system (or a spreadsheet). Usually, if the source is good enough, finding the names, phone numbers, and addresses of your leads shouldn’t be a problem.
Trigger-based lead souring takes this a step further by only sourcing prospects when an event or sales signal has occurred. It is at this moment you have an opportunity to start a conversation when there is a higher chance that the prospect is “in-market”
Examples of triggers range from obvious to not so obvious, these include:
Below are two of my favorite trigger-based lead sourcing playbooks and step by step instructions on how to perform them without the need of intent data or expensive software.
Remember, only 3% of leads are ready to buy now and it’s your job to nail the timing.
And this isn’t about building large static lists of prospects, it is about curating smaller, dynamic lists and refreshing them with new data on an ongoing basis.
Pro tip: LinkedIn remains the best database for finding the most up to date information on prospects’. If you combine these playbooks with LinkedIn, you will be able to identify a number of decision-makers who are ready to make a purchase or at least considering this option.
Playbook 1: The Social ExpansionThe Social Expansion playbook helps you send highly targeted and personalized messages based on your audience’s interactions.
This playbook helps you identify thought leaders or influencers among your target audience and build a list of those who have interacted with them through comments. When they engage with a post, they are actually giving you a signal that they may be interested in buying the product or service you offer.
From there, you can start a conversation on whatever platform you monitored, including LinkedIn, Quora, Slack, Facebook groups, and so on. Always keep in mind that there are a number of places where your prospects spend time online.
Here’s a step by step guide to the Social Expansion Playbook:
Take a screenshot of their activity on LinkedIn and include that in the email - this will take more time, but worth it if your LTV is higher.
Playbook 2: The In MarketWith the In Market Playbook, you can identify prospects who have expressed an interest in a competitor or non-competing, complementary solution. They will most likely be interested in your product as well.
When your prospects upvote a certain product, you can start the conversation about your own service or product that is relevant to their interests.
Here’s a step by step guide to the In Market Playbook:
Whilst you can automate these steps, I always recommend having a human check over the email addresses, formatting of the data, and any additional data points you intend on using in your outreach.
These are just two examples of using trigger-based events or signals to initiate your outbound sequences.
Use these as a foundation and build your own playbooks that work with your specific audience and your tone of voice.
The days of spray and pray are over, you know this and so do your prospects. Spend more time personalizing your emails and making them relevant to your prospect and you’ll be booking more meetings without burning through large volumes of leads from a list.
About Mark Colgan
Mark is the Chief Revenue Officer at TaskDrive. In his role, he leads the direction of a 100+ person, remote team by aligning Sales, Marketing, Customer Success, and Product – and he loves it.
His brain’s default mode is ‘Revenue Generation’ and his personal mantra is Give without expecting anything in return.
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