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How I build an ICP matrix in 3 steps

Tactical Selling

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How I build an ICP matrix in 3 steps

In today’s issue, I’m going to share the system I use to build an Ideal Customer Profile Matrix.

If you can duplicate this process, you will stop reaching out to random prospects, and your messaging will hit the right people.

Unfortunately, most SDRs rely on vague and subjective criteria when building their ICP, so they end up wasting time on the wrong prospects.

Having a clear ICP matrix is the first step to a successful outreach. This is how you build an accurate lead list.

Without a well thought-out ICP matrix, a few challenges arise:

Challenge #1: You’re going after random companies: you follow subjective criteria and you end up talking to companies with different goals.

Challenge #2: You’re going after random people: you contact all kinds of job titles inside of these companies, and your messaging only resonates with a small number of prospects.

Challenge #3: You end up having meetings with the wrong people: when you manage to book meetings, they are with radically different people, who have very different goals.

You can overcome all of these challenges by building a better ICP matrix.

Here’s how I do it, step-by-step:

Step 1: Define my Ideal Customer Company

First, let’s look at my ICP matrix:

ICP matrix

It’s composed of 3 columns where I define my ICCs (Ideal Customer Companies). Then we have rows where I define my ICTs (Ideal Customer Titles).

Let’s zoom in on the ICC.

I pick 3 different ICCs so I can test multiple types of companies and create various sequences based on these specific companies.

To define an ICC, you need to create a list of objective firmographic criteria. Typical criteria include revenues, funding type, headcount, industry, location, etc.

Subjective criteria should be avoided. For example, a “mission-driven company” isn’t an objective criteria. It would be hard to build a list based on this criteria, as the interpretation of mission-driven can be different from people to people.

I recommend using the filters available in LinkedIn Sales Navigator to make sure your list is objective.

Step 2: Define my Ideal Customer Titles

Now that I have a few ICCs, I can focus on the ICTs. I use the ProActive Selling methodology to differentiate between 3 types of buyers.

The first type is Above The Line (ATL) buyers. ATLs are your typical fiscal buyers. They are often VP or C-Level, and they focus on:

  • risk

  • ROI

  • costs

The second type is Below The Line (BTL) buyers. BTLs are your user/technical buyers. Often Head of, Directors, Managers. They focus on:

  • how your solution works

  • how can it help getting them a promotion

  • how it saves them/their team’s time

The third type is optional. I call them influencers. These people are not actively involved in making a buying decision, but they can positively or negatively influence your deals.

For example, when you sell a solution that has to be integrated into a mobile app (called an SDK), you have to have a developer integrating it. In some cases, developers will refuse to integrate an SDK, even if the ATL and BTL have decided they would do it.

Step 3: Test the matrix

Finally, you need to make sure your matrix can help build an accurate lead list.

The most accurate way to test your ICP matrix is to share it with a colleague and to ask them to come back with a list of 10 – 20 leads. If the lead list fits with who you want to reach out to, then your ICP matrix is good.

If the list is all over the place, then your criteria aren’t objective enough. You will need to redo it until the list fits with your typical prospect.

And these are the 3 steps I follow to build my ICP matrix.


TL;DR:

  • Step 1: Define my Ideal Customer Company
  • Step 2: Define my Ideal Customer Title
  • Step 3: Test the matrix
P.S. When you’re ready, here are 4 ways I can help you.
 
  1. Build your outbound prospecting system from scratch here (200+ students)
  2. (NEW!) Write cold messages that get a 38% reply rate and 27% meeting rate here (20+)
  3. Book me 1:1 or for your team here
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4 steps to finding prospects on LinkedIn (and personalizing at scale)

Tactical Selling

Join 3K+ subscribers to Tactical Selling. Every Thursday, you’ll get 1 actionable tip on starting conversations and booking more meetings.

4 steps to finding prospects on LinkedIn (and personalizing at scale)

In today’s issue, I’m going to share the system I use daily to find new prospects on LinkedIn, and personalize my outreach at scale.

If you can replicate this process, you won’t be stuck looking for leads all day, and you’ll get a lot more replies.

Unfortunately, most SDRs are at the mercy of their marketing colleagues for leads, or they waste tons of time looking for prospects to contact.

Finding prospects who may have a problem you can solve is how you get replies.

Without a clear process for finding prospects, two challenges arise:

Challenge #1: You shoot in the dark: you contact prospects based on their job titles, with most of them not having a problem you can solve.

Challenge #2: You waste a ton of time: you spend hours scrolling through lead lists, or waiting for marketing to send you hot leads (rarely happens).

You can overcome all of these challenges by building a better system to find prospects on LinkedIn.

Here’s how, step-by-step:

Step 1: Identify influential people who speak to my ICP

If your customers are active on LinkedIn (logging in at least once a week), then it’s highly likely that some people have built large audiences speaking about your prospects’ problems, and how to solve them.

I’ll take sales as an example. The domain is filled with thought-leaders who have built massive audience on LinkedIn. Same goes for marketing, HR, and operations.

Your first step should be to build a list of 5 – 10 thought-leaders who post regularly (daily is best) on LinkedIn. Go check step 3 of this article if you want to know how.

I’ll take the example of Elric Legloire who posts daily about SDR tactics.

Elric's profile

He has an audience of 15,000+ followers, so he’s someone interesting to follow for sure.

Step 2: Select a recent post about a topic I can help with

Now that I have a bunch of interesting thought-leaders, I can go through a list of their posts to identify something my prospects would find valuable.

Remember, prospects are always faced with various problems, and posts related to these problems (and solutions) attract their likes and comments. Content that educates, challenges, entertains, or empathizes with prospects’ problems generates engagement (see Justin Welsh).

In my example, I scrolled through Elric’s activity (filtered by post) and found this post. It’s a list of 15 things Elric wished he knew when he started as an SDR.

This post got over 140 reactions, 31 comments, and 1 reshare. I’m pretty sure I can find some interesting people in there.

Step 3: Scroll through the list of post likers and commenters

When you click on the lists of people who engaged with the post, you can see who did what, and their connection degree with you.

Elric's post

Now you just need to scroll and look for people who fit with your Ideal Customer Profile. In my example, I could locate 14 people who fit with my ICP (around 10% of post likers).

It took me less than 5 minutes to find 10 relevant prospects. But what’s even more interesting is that I can use the same exact message for these 10 people.

(Note: if you need a simple way to build prospects lists, and track your prospecting efforts, go check my Prospecting Tracker).

Step 4: Use the post as a trigger to start conversations with prospects

As these prospects engaged with the post, it’s likely that they may have similar experiences with their SDRs. Which means they may have problems I can help with.

Let’s go back to the initial post. It’s a list of 15 things to keep in mind when working as an SDR. I could create a list of 15 mistakes to avoid when starting as an SDR and tease it as a checklist. I could also ask prospects what their team is struggling the most with.

Now that I have my triggers, I can use a simple framework to write a message, or a connection request.

Trigger + Teaser: Syham, saw you also liked Elric’s post about 15 things he wish he knew when starting as an SDR. I did a counter checklist with 15 mistakes to avoid when starting as an SDR. Interested in grabbing it?

Trigger + Question: Syham, saw you also liked Elric’s post about 15 things he wish he knew when starting as an SDR. Out of these 15 things, what’s the point where your team is struggling the most?

As you can see, these texts are less than 300 characters, so they fit as connection requests, or direct messages:

Connection request example 1
Connection request example 2

As a result, I get a 60% to 70% of my connection requests accepted, and a 38% reply rate.

And these are my 4 steps to finding prospects on LinkedIn (and personalizing at scale).


TL;DR:

  • Step 1: Identify influential people who speak to my ICP

  • Step 2: Select a recent post about a topic I can help with

  • Step 3: Scroll through the list of post likers and commenters

  • Step 4: Use the post as a trigger to start conversations with prospects

Cheers,

Thibaut

P.S. When you’re ready, here are 4 ways I can help you.
 
  1. Build your outbound prospecting system from scratch here (200+ students)
  2. (NEW!) Write cold messages that get a 38% reply rate and 27% meeting rate here (20+)
  3. Book me 1:1 or for your team here
  4. (NEW!) Sponsor my newsletter & get 3k+ eyeballs on your ad!
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How to get 60% to 70% of your connection requests accepted on LinkedIn

Tactical Selling

Join 3K+ subscribers to Tactical Selling. Every Thursday, you’ll get 1 actionable tip on starting conversations and booking more meetings.

How to get 60% to 70% of your connection requests accepted on LinkedIn

In today’s issue, I’m going to share the system I use to get 60% – 70% of my LinkedIn connection requests accepted.

If you can replicate this process, you’ll miss a lot less business opportunities because of poor LinkedIn connection requests.

Unfortunately, most SDRs don’t have a clear process to get their connection request accepted, so they end up sending InMails (they never work), and they fail to book easy meetings on LinkedIn.

Connection requests aren’t accepted randomly. They get accepted with a carefully thought out process.

Without a clear process for sending connection requests, a few challenges arise:

Challenge #1: Your requests are ignored: you send tons of requests but only a few get accepted.

Challenge #2: You can’t use tools like video or voice notes: once your request is ignored, you cannot use message tools that are available to 1st degree connections.

Challenge #3: You miss a chance to stand out: as your connection requests get ignored, you fall back on email or calls, which are often too crowded.

You can overcome all of these challenges by building a better system to send connections requests

Here’s how, step-by-step:

Step 1: Optimize your request visuals.

When people receive a connection request on LinkedIn, it usually looks like this:

On Desktop:

Desktop view

On Mobile:

Mobile view

As you can see, the request is composed of a few elements:

  1. A profile picture

  2. A name

  3. A headline

  4. Connections you have in common

  5. Ignore/Accept option

  6. A note (optional)

With these elements in mind, you need to optimize a few things.

First, your profile picture needs to be professional (simple, clear headshot, without distractions in the background). You also need to make sure everyone can see your picture in your visibility settings.

Second, you full name must be visible to everyone. Go to your visibility settings to make sure your full name is visible.

Your headline plays an important role in helping prospects identify if you can help them. I recommend using the following structure:

  • What you do: I train and coach

  • For who: tech SDRs

  • What is the outcome: to book more meetings and close bigger deals faster.

Having connections in common is also a key factor in deciding to accept or ignore the connection request. The more people you have in common, the more likely you are to get accepted.

In most cases, prospects will decide to accept or ignore your request based on these 5 criteria, but sometimes they’ll dig into your LinkedIn profile, so make sure to optimize it here.

Step 2: Find relevant triggers, and use them as a short note.

If you can add a relevant note to your connection request, you’re more likely to get it accepted, and to receive answers from your prospects.

However, most people write platitudes in their connection request like “Saw we attended the same school” or “We are the leading provider of…”.

To avoid that, I always use a trigger. A trigger is a publicly available information that indicates someone may have a problem you can solve, or an interest in chatting with you.

Here is a list of triggers I use regularly:

Trigger cheat sheet

When you have found your trigger, you can insert it in your connection request. This will give additional context to your prospects and help them decide if they should accept or ignore your invitation.

Here’s a simple framework you can use to insert the trigger you have found in your connection request:

  • Trigger: A problem-oriented piece of information – John, noticed you also liked Charlotte’s post about boring hybrid events.

  • Question: A question related to the trigger – What do you think of the solution she proposed?

With this simple framework, you stay under 300 characters (the limit for a connection request note), and you increase your chances of starting a conversation when your prospects accept a request.

Step 3: If you don’t have anything relevant to say, don’t say anything.

Sometimes you may not have a relevant trigger to use in your connection request note. If that’s the case, do not add anything.

When you add a note to your connection request, you add more mental work for your prospects to determine what to do with the request. If the note is ultra-relevant and personalized, you’ll increase your acceptance rate. If it’s slightly generic, your acceptance rate will sink.

The golden rule of LinkedIn connection requests it: If you don’t have anything relevant to say, don’t say anything.

(Note: if you’re interested in digging deeper into sending connection requests, go check my New Outreach System.)

And these are my 3 steps to getting 60% to 70% of your connection requests accepted on LinkedIn.

 

P.S. When you’re ready, here are 4 ways I can help you.
 
  1. Build your outbound prospecting system from scratch here (200+ students)
  2. (NEW!) Write cold messages that get a 38% reply rate and 27% meeting rate here (20+)
  3. Book me 1:1 or for your team here
  4. (NEW!) Sponsor my newsletter & get 3k+ eyeballs on your ad!
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4 resources to prepare your first day back to work

Tactical Selling

Join 3K+ subscribers to Tactical Selling. Every Thursday, you’ll get 1 actionable tip on starting conversations and booking more meetings.

4 resources to prepare your first day back to work

In today’s issue, I’m going to share 4 resources to help you book meetings and fill your pipeline quickly when you come back from your summer holidays.

If you follow the steps in these resources, you will take less time to get back to your normal activity level, you’ll get replies faster, and you’ll book more meetings.

Unfortunately, coming back from holidays often means dealing with hundreds of internal emails and catching up with colleagues, which leads to delays in building pipeline.
A successful holiday come back means getting back to your normal input level.

Without a clear “back to school” process, a few challenges arise:

Challenge #1: Procrastination: hundreds of emails to go through, catching back with colleagues, adapting to a new rhythm can lead you to postpone what really matters; prospecting.

Challenge #2: Slow results: coming back from holiday is similar to a mini-onboarding. Your pipeline is cold and it takes more time get replies and to book meetings.

Challenge #3: Self-doubt: with less replies for the same amount of activity, it’s easy to become demotivated and doubt your capacities.

You can overcome all of these challenges by building a better system to coming back to work.

Here are 4 resources to help you do just that:

Resource 1: [Blog] 4 steps to to kick start your prospecting in 2022

At the beginning of 2022, I published a free guide to help SDRs kick start their prospecting. It is valid when you just spent many days away from work.

Read it here

Resource 2: [Calculator] Sales Process Calculator

When you’re back from holiday, it is easy to struggle to find the right activity level. You can define exactly how many prospects to contact on a daily basis with my Sales Process Calculator.

Resource 3: [Sequence] Ultimate LinkedIn Outreach Sequence

A well-structured and cadenced sequence is key to creating consistent prospecting results. Integrating LinkedIn touchpoints (including video and voice notes) is a great way to catch your prospect’s attention and get more replies.

Grab the sequence I use every day (when I’m not on holiday) to book outbound meetings on LinkedIn.

Resource 4: [Online Course Bundle] The New Outreach System + Cold Message System

Building a solid prospecting system is no easy task. If you’re interested in doing like 230+ of my students, I have created a unique bundle for you.

You can access The New Outreach System (worth €149) + The Cold Message System (worth €99) for €179 for the next 24 hours.

Just head over here and enter the code “thebundle” to get a €70 discount on the bundle.

Hope this helps.

Cheers,
Thibaut

P.S. When you’re ready, here are 4 ways I can help you.
 
  1. Build your outbound prospecting system from scratch here (200+ students)
  2. (NEW!) Write cold messages that get a 38% reply rate and 27% meeting rate here (20+)
  3. Book me 1:1 or for your team here
  4. (NEW!) Sponsor my newsletter & get 3k+ eyeballs on your ad!
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4 questions to ask to find qualified prospects on LinkedIn

Tactical Selling

Join 3K+ subscribers to Tactical Selling. Every Thursday, you’ll get 1 actionable tip on starting conversations and booking more meetings.

4 questions to ask to find qualified prospects on LinkedIn

In today’s issue, I’m going to share my 4-question process to find qualified prospects on LinkedIn.

If you can replicate this process, you’re much less likely to get ignored by prospects, because you’ll have a good reason to reach out.

Unfortunately, most SDRs don’t have a solid process for finding qualified prospects, so they are burning through lead lists and starting too few conversations as a result.

Finding prospects who reply is about using the digital footprint they leave behind

Without identifying and using this footprint, a few challenges arise:

Challenge #1: No relevance: it’s hard to get replies if you’re not using personalization in your outreach.

Challenge #2: Bad timing: your prospects are most likely not actively looking for the solution you’re offering.

Challenge #3: It’s harder to connect: your prospects ignore your message because they feel you have no clue about the problems they are trying to solve.

You can overcome all of these challenges by building a better system to find qualified prospects on LinkedIn.

Here is the 4-question process I follow:

Question 1: Who am I trying to find?

My first step is to clearly understand who I’m trying to find. I like using an ICP matrix with the Ideal Customer Company and the Ideal Customer Title.

I also use the ProActive Selling methodology to differentiate between Above The Line buyers (ATL) and Below The Line buyers (BTL). Here’s an example ICP matrix:

ICP matrix

Question 2: What are their problems?

Now that I have precise ATLs and BTLs to go after, I’m asking myself about their problems. In general, they have problems related to initiatives they are working on.

For example, Head of Sales Development/SDR Managers have initiatives around outbound pipeline creation. They face problems like:

  • low reply rates

  • spray and pray from SDRs

  • SDRs miss their targets regularly

I could go on forever, but these are common problems Heads of Sales Development are trying to solve.

(Note: if you’re interested in building problem-oriented cold messages, step-by-step, go check my Cold Message System.)

Question 3: Who are influential people speaking about these problems?

When my list is done, I’m able to look for people who speak about these problems on LinkedIn. I recommend using the LinkedIn search bar to find influential people speaking about these problems.

For example, if I type “reply rates”, “spray and pray”, or “SDR targets”, I can find relevant posts or people who regularly post about these topics.

Tom Alaimo

You can then check the LinkedIn profiles of of these people who post and find out if they regularly post on the topic. In my example above, Tom Alaimo would be an excellent influencer to follow.

Question 4: Where are they interacting?

Finally, I’m checking where my prospects are interacting. They are often active in the reaction/comment section of the posts related to the problems they are trying to solve.

Let’s take the post we found from Tom Alaimo. He talks about an SDR being stressed because she missed her June target. He then gives tactical and mental tips to solve the problem.

I went to the reactions/comments section, and I found 17 prospects I could reach out to (SDR Managers, Head of Sales Development, VP Sales).

Now I can get in touch with them and mention Tom’s post as a trigger + ask them about the problem mentioned in the post. Some prospects may have liked the post because they are aware of the problem, or looking for a solution. Two good reasons to start an outbound conversation.

(Note: if you’re interested in building an outbound prospecting system with a 38% reply rate, go check my New Outreach System.)

And these are my 4 questions to ask to find qualified prospects on LinkedIn.


TL;DR:

  • Question 1: Who am I trying to find?

  • Question 2: What are their problems?

  • Question 3: Who are influential people speaking about these problems?

  • Question 4: Where are they interacting?

 

Cheers,

Thibaut

P.S. When you’re ready, here are 4 ways I can help you.
 
  1. Build your outbound prospecting system from scratch here (200+ students)
  2. (NEW!) Write cold messages that get a 38% reply rate and 27% meeting rate here (20+)
  3. Book me 1:1 or for your team here
  4. (NEW!) Sponsor my newsletter & get 3k+ eyeballs on your ad!