Know Your Prospect: How to Leverage Data for Smarter Sales Conversations

May 7, 2015 Adam Brophy

sales tips

There’s no shortage of data out there for Sales and Marketing to use—some if it is valuable, some of it isn't.

But as a modern Sales professional, if you’re not using the right data to inform your efforts, you're not going to be as effective as you could be in your cold calling, email outreach and other Sales activities where you’re bound to experience a typically high failure rate.

You could bang out 100 blind emails using a template and cross your fingers. Or you can send 20 well-informed personalized emails and increase your success rate for the time you put into it.

Sales is still a numbers game. But you can always play it smarter. (Tweet This)

That’s why I want to share some tips, tools and strategies to help you leverage all the information at your fingertips to reach out to contacts with greater confidence.

Translating engagement into insight

Depending on the technology you’ve got at your disposal, you can track engagement to keep up with your prospect’s activity on your content or site.

Bottom of the funnel (BOFU) engagement is the best kind. Find out if they’re reading eBooks, checking out case studies or watching webinars that are relevant to the problems you can help solve. Even better is if you see an engaged contact looking at your pricing page.

With the level of visibility Sales reps have today—from links clicked to time spent on page—we can better direct how we enter our calls and meetings instead of blindly trying to figure out what problems someone is facing.

But consistent top of funnel engagement still counts. If they’re reading a ton of blog posts that may not be as “targeted” to a specific need, I still want to reach out to thank them for their readership and probe a little into what matters to them.

At the very least, they’ll learn who I am—the outreach is not “cold”—and they may open up to what’s in their roadmap when it comes to marketing tech or provide insight I didn’t have before, such as a timeline for the next follow-up.

But that's only the first step to taking the kind of consultative approach that's necessary for Sales today.

Getting to know your prospect

Delivering a generic product pitch won’t be as effective as having a real conversation. You need to understand who you're talking to first.

It’s a good practice to tie your buyer personas to who you're talking to, at least at the start, so you have some idea of the specific pain points they're dealing with.

Even better, you can check out their Twitter and LinkedIn profiles to get an idea of who they are as a professional AND as a person—their personality, favorite sports team, hobbies, where they went to school—to strike up a conversation or to keep it going.

There are even tools like Crystal that can help you understand how to communicate with different personality types by scraping the internet to give you a broad personality profile of your contacts and advice on how to reach out.

Datanyze is on my list of favorite Sales tools because it lets me see company size, revenue, and the technologies they’re using to power their site, which is essential in my role.

Datanyze Insider gives me up-to-date insights that are better than static lists that can result in out-dated assumptions.  It's innately valuable, but exponentially more so when you’re in SaaS sales like me, and want to glean as much information as you can to see if a company is the right fit for your product. 

Plus, Datanyze pushes all of this into Salesforce so I’m not bouncing between apps all day long.

By painting a more detailed picture of each prospect beforehand, you'll be able to have more intelligent conversations around their needs.

The right time to reach out

The time from engagement to outreach matters.  

If someone just became a hot lead 5 minutes ago by reading a great piece of bottom of the funnel content, and I can be chatting with them within that timeframe, the lead-to-opportunity conversion rate is so, so much higher.

In fact, taking 5 minutes versus 10 minutes to reach out has been shown to yield a 900% increase in contact rates.

That’s why it’s important to have your content analytics tools hooked up to your CRM—you need to enable your Sales team to act fast. At the very least, you should be using something like HubSpot's Sidekick to get notifications in real-time when someone opens your emails or clicks on your links.

Timing can make all the difference.

With the amount of insight you can gain into your contact's behavior, you almost have to make an effort not to come across creepy when you use it.

Luckily, I work with marketers day in and day out, so they tend to understand, and are even naturally curious of all the different kinds of tools out there, and usually appreciate when you don't beat around the bush.

That's why I like to use blunt honesty in my subject lines. Because in my experience, most people prefer when you cut to the chase and show you've done your homework already. 

Know more & sell smarter

Leads will come through from Marketing whether they’re nurtured or engaging with content on their own. This will determine their score in our marketing automation platform, and once they’ve passed a specific lead score threshold, as determined by the marketing team, they will be considered “hot leads”.

But that doesn’t mean you reach out blindly. There's so much information you can use to arm yourself. And every bit helps you go into calls and meetings more knowledgeable.

Knowledge is power. And nowhere is that more true than it is in Sales today.

Learn more about closing with content in our free eBook: Content Is For Closers.

About the Author

Adam Brophy

Adam is the Sales Development Team Lead at Uberflip. Prior to joining Uberflip, Adam worked as a Marketing Manager at Toronto's Venture Accelerator Partners. He holds a HBBA Degree from Wilfrid Laurier University where he concentrated his studies in Entrepreneurship & Marketing. When Adam isn't working, you can likely find him around a baseball diamond, hockey rink, squash court or a pub with good beer and live music.

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