Editor's Note: The following article is a first-person account from Frank Sondors, co-founder and CEO of Salesforge, which personalizes cold email outreach. Sondors spent ten years in sales and describes the key to moving a prospect down the sales funnel.
The Power of Personalization
After ten years in the sales industry, my journey has taught me the profound impact personalization can have on sales outcomes. In the overcrowded world of generic sales pitches, personalization becomes the bridge that connects us with our prospects, helping us stand out and create memorable interactions. It's through this personalized communication, I've realized, that we can truly understand our prospects' needs, interests, and pain points, allowing us to tailor our solutions to their specific challenges.
My approach to personalization goes beyond a cursory LinkedIn scan or a quick glance at the prospect's headline. Instead, I delve into their recent posts, especially those written in the past 30 days. By doing so, I can anchor my message to these insights, tying their interests or concerns directly to the product or service I'm offering. This in-depth personalization is what allows me to craft an email that resonates directly with them, positioning my solution as the answer to their needs.
To increase engagement, I've often used a technique that involves pulling three words from a piece of content my prospect has written. The idea is to create familiarity, to evoke a sense of curiosity that prompts them to engage with my message. This small trick often acts as the hook that grabs their attention amidst the constant barrage of information they face daily.
Harnessing AI for Effective Personalization
My quest for effective personalization led me to AI tools like ChatGPT, a revolutionary platform that harnesses the power of artificial intelligence to create highly personalized communication at scale. The core to getting personalization right is knowing two pieces of information. The "sell data" represents what we offer as a solution, the pain we alleviate, and the cost of inaction. In contrast, the "buy data" represents publicly available information about the buyer. By merging these data sets, AI allows us to craft unique, highly responsive emails that resonate with each individual recipient.
Breaking Free from Templates
Traditional template-based emails, while easy to use, often fall short in terms of personalization. They typically involve static content with minor adjustments to variable components. An AI-powered approach, on the other hand, uses a wealth of input data about the target and what you're selling to craft a unique email for each individual. This level of personalization, often extending to even including a well-timed joke, can make all the difference in setting your communication apart.
Adapting to the Changing Sales Landscape
As a sales professional, I've seen firsthand how the landscape of sales has evolved over the years. The onset of the COVID pandemic, in particular, has drastically altered how we work and, by extension, our sales strategies. Despite the myriad challenges it has brought, it has also opened up new avenues for communication. I've found that the use of video messages and gifs, for instance, instead of plain text in emails, can significantly boost conversion rates, particularly with ICPs.
Trends and Tactics for Accelerating Sales
In the current “red ocean” marketplace where competition is fierce, speed becomes a critical factor. We are all racing to move our prospects down the sales funnel as quickly as possible, and the winner is often the one who can do so the fastest. This is why methods like cold calling, despite their limitations, can have a high probability of conversion, assuming you're able to connect with the person. However, cold calling isn't the only method. In cases where you're dealing with anonymous users or have limited data, it's often more practical to pick up the phone and call them directly. This swift approach can tip the balance in your favor, especially if your potential buyer is also evaluating competitors simultaneously.
Creating a Dynamic Website Experience
Websites have become an essential tool in understanding and engaging our prospects. To engage users without direct outreach, I've learned to create dynamic experiences on our website. By using elements like internal banners, trigger-specific pop-ups, and targeted resources, we can make our website more interactive and engaging for our visitors.
Managing Time and Lead Progression
Enterprise sales, characterized by their long buying cycles, require a careful balance between nurturing the lead and pushing for a close. By using attribution software like Dream Data or Hockey Stack, I've been able to monitor user behavior over time, allowing me to gauge when a softer approach, like inviting them to a webinar, may be more appropriate.
Sales and Marketing Alignment with Intent Data
As we delve into the realm of intent data, we must also understand its role across both sales and marketing. Each team can extract valuable insights from this data, but their use may differ. For instance, the sales team might use this data to personalize their outreach, while the marketing team could use it to tailor their content strategy.
Testing, Replication, and Template Strategy
Testing and learning are essential in the ever-evolving world of sales. One effective strategy I've implemented involves identifying successful tactics and replicating them across similar clients. This approach allows us to learn from our successes and continually refine our strategies, providing quicker ROI from our intent data.
To sum up, the lessons I've learned on my sales journey have centered around the critical importance of personalization, the role of AI in effective communication, the importance of adaptability, and the value of utilizing the right tools. As we navigate this ever-changing field, let's remember to always put the customer first.