Developing, Understanding and Connecting with your Ideal Customer

Jack Carenza, Sr. SDR @ demandDrive

All great works of literature, art or music are powerful because they resonate. An audience responding to these pieces is moved because the work in question feels personal. Transcendent artists paint, write, or perform with an audience in mind. They work to understand the inner workings of those who are drawn to their art. Strong, consultative selling is no different. To inspire faith, and a reliable enough relationship with a prospect through cold calling, it’s imperative that an SDR understands who they should be prospecting.

Before selling is even possible, a sales development representative must build an ideal customer profile, or ICP. This outline should be built carefully, with keen attention to detail. There are many variables that contribute to mapping an ideal customer. Utilizing sales enablement tools such as LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Zoominfo, and can be used to obtain the proper information. The list below can be utilized as a basic guideline for building your company’s ICP:

1. Identify the unique properties of your product or solution.

It’s vital that you understand your company before you identify who you’re selling to. Make a list of appealing features from the perspective of a prospect.

2. Understand the verticals most likely to find value in your product/solution.

If your company is used mostly by healthcare organizations, focus on prospects within this sector. It’s important for you to collaborate with your Sales Manager on this step — it’s possible your company is making a push for more net new logos in the sphere of financial services, so targeting healthcare might not be in your best interest. It’s vital that you understand the verticals that are most appropriate, and focus your ICP accordingly.

3. Research job titles and learn the corresponding responsibilities.

Often, you will find mention of your technology directly in a prospect’s LinkedIn page. I like to perform targeted searches using these keywords as a compass rose. Also, hone in on the correct candidates by narrowing your search by appropriate vertical, and company size.

4. Build a list.

Hopefully, you have technology in place (or interns) who can make this step easier. Research contact info, company size, and all relevant data. Upload all pertinent intel to your CRM.

Obviously, these steps are dependent on the structure of your organization and sales team. Some companies choose to import purchased lists or rely heavily on marketing automation to procure opportunities. While these methodologies can be effective, they lack the personalization, attention to detail and human element that utilizing an ICP-built list personifies.

Once a list is built, it’s important to understand how to approach prospecting. It took you time and energy to precisely define your ideal customer; don’t waste that effort through careless, impersonal outreach. Traditionally, SDRs have been given a list, and told to take the buckshot approach — that is call/email as many prospects as possible and see what sticks. You have defined and found your ideal candidate — make it count and do the right work, not the easy work. Use the same information and tools that you leaned on for building your ICP to appeal to them. Try your best to use perspective; what might the day to day responsibilities of your ideal customer be? Find consistencies in their LinkedIn profiles. Read a blog post they published. Take the time to understand their company and industry.

For example, if your company provides solutions or services in information security, and a large-scale data breach occurs, don’t be afraid to speak to a prospect about this. To be a top-flight SDR, you should become more of an expert in your industry than the potential customers you’re reaching out to. This takes time, but it equals money.

A sales manager of mine once compared SDR work to stand-up comedy. There are times where you will make the perfect joke, with impeccable timing, and a potential client quite simply is not going to find you funny. So much depends on your audience. That’s why it’s vital to do your best to understand them. Make sure every joke is funny before you call. Make sure your script is rehearsed to the point where it no longer sounds rehearsed. Eliminate pauses, stutters and “umms”. Speak clearly and concisely.

The best comedians are funny because their humor appeals to the widest variety of people. To be a successful SDR, your messaging must do the same. The difference is, in prospecting you are speaking to only one individual at a time. This is an advantage, as, if you do your homework, you can tailor your messaging on an individual basis.

At my company, we constantly discuss the possibility of robots overtaking certain professions. In fact, we have discovered a website that calculates the percent chance that a workforce is converted to AI. A robot could easily build a list of candidates with a certain job title. A robot could easily send a pre-recorded message down a list. I have even encountered instances in which a robot is used to set up meetings. That being said, this website calculates that there’s only a 20% chance that robots take over SDR roles, which is one of the lower percentages. I attribute this percentage to the fact that a good SDR does none of these things.

A strong SDR builds a list with intelligence. A strong SDR takes the time to think about the person on the other end of the phone. A strong SDR takes a conversation, bolsters it with a follow-up email and builds a true relationship. Find me a robot that can do that and I will quit my job today (I do require proof). Sales development can be trying, and monotonous. However, the power of understanding your ideal customer, and relating to them will almost certainly lead to both personal, and company-wide sales success.

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