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3 common prospecting mistakes (and how to stop doing them)

Tactical Selling

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3 common prospecting mistakes (and how to stop doing them)

In today’s issue, I’m going to share the 3 prospecting mistakes I see when training SDRs, and how to stop doing them.

These mistakes are often the results of poor prospecting habits, and the lack of a clear SDR playbook.

And in most cases, SDR leaders never had a real prospecting routine, so they don’t know how to build one for their teams.

Here are the top 3 mistakes I see when I meet SDRs:

Mistake #1: Not time blocking

Time blocking is the act of putting blockers in your calendar, in order to protect your schedule for key activities.

Most SDRs I meet do not time block because they feel like they have to be constantly available for prospects, colleagues, or managers. This creates a situation where they are constantly switching tasks, they cannot be focused for long enough, and they end up not doing enough of the tasks that will bring them success.

What to do instead?

I recommend every SDR I meet to put at least one daily blocker in their calendar, at the same time every day. If your job’s main focus is to create opportunities, have at least 3 hours of your time protected with blockers.

Below is an example of an efficient time-blocked schedule:

Time block example

Mistake #2: Not having a prospecting routine

A prospecting routine is a key element for success as an SDR. It’s a daily habit that allows you to repeat healthy prospecting tasks. You could compare it with a daily workout session.

Most SDRs make the mistake of not building a routine, because they underestimate the unpredictability of the job in the long run.

They start with a ton of motivation, but it often changes based on the replies they get, their performance, or even the season. Without a system they end up with irregular input, which creates irregular outcomes

 

What to do instead?

Let’s be honest. Prospecting isn’t super fun. It’s a set of repetitive tasks, and doing enough of them plays a huge role in reaching your targets. So in order to prevent your variation of motivation from getting in your way, here’s what I recommend:

  1. Find the time of the day when you’re the most productive (for me it’s early morning)

  2. Put your time blocks at these times (as seen in step 1)

  3. Start with your follow-ups (all prospects that are in active sequences with a follow-up due today)

  4. Find enough prospects to add to your sequence (use this calculator to find out how many you need)

  5. Add them to your sequence (send a connection request, call them, whatever is your first sequence step)

 

Mistake #3: Not tracking their prospecting activities

Finally, a cardinal sin of SDRs is their inability to create a simple tracking system. Without it, they end up missing follow-ups, some meetings fall through the cracks, and all their hard work leads to disappointing results.

Tracking your activity serves a few important purposes:

  • it shows your manager that you are actually putting in the work

  • it frees some brain power for tasks that need it the most

  • it prevents you from worrying about missing your follow-ups

But most SDRs I meet do not track their activities because they don’t have the right tool to do so.

 

What to do instead?

The answer will change depending on your setup.

In most cases, you’ll have a sequencer already available (think SalesLoft, Outreach, Groove, or Hubspot to name a few). If that’s the case, learn how to use the task list feature of your tool. You should be able to create rules to track your activity, and add a reminder to follow-up.

In some cases, you won’t have a sequencer, or you won’t be able to use it properly (looking at you, sales operations and enablement…). If that’s the case, just use a spreadsheet to track your activity, or go check my Notion Prospecting Tracker.

 

In conclusion

Being an SDR is more about building processes and routines than being creative or thinking outside of the box (even if it’s important). If you can’t focus on the basics, you won’t be able to deliver as expected, and you’ll end up hating your job, or getting fired.

On the other end, if you create a good system, you’ll quickly realize booking meetings and creating opportunities is a numbers game, and you’ll make more money, get promoted faster, and have more time to focus on what matters for you.

 

So keep in mind:

  • Protect your schedule with time blocks

  • Create a prospecting routine

  • Track your activity

 

I hope this helps!

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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What I learned from the last sales job I ever had

Tactical Selling

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

What I learned from the last sales job I ever had

A few years ago, I started a new job as an Account Executive for a fancy tech-startup. At the time, I thought this job would be the ultimate opportunity to grow a market from scratch, build a team, and move my sales career towards management.

I was so wrong.

I ended up quitting after 5 months, with only one deal closed. It was a costly mistake for the company, and it lead to a few key realizations about what I wanted to do with my life.

Here are 4 lessons from the last sales job I ever had:

Lesson #1: When you change jobs, your pipeline resets to zero

When I started this new job, I left a well-paid position, where I was managing a team of Account Executives, while closing my own opportunities. I saw no possibility of progression in this company, which led me to switch jobs.

I completely forgot that switching jobs meant starting with an empty pipeline.

I also realized I was the new kid on the block for my colleagues, and all my previous achievements meant nothing to them.

Lesson #2: Even if you’re promised a ton of inbound leads, you’re on your own

This one will sound familiar if you recently joined a new company. While I was interviewing for the job, I was promised a dedicated SDR working with me, and a ton of inbound leads I would only need to pick and close.

A few weeks into the job and reality kicked in. My SDR (he was amazing) was so good that other AEs started asking to have him book meetings for them too. The sea of inbound leads was non-existent, and my marketing colleagues only knew how to run events, not how to generate leads.

I quickly understood I would need to source my own opportunities, which meant prospecting daily.

This is when I realized that being in sales, you need to prospect on your own. You’ll sometimes get help, but you can only rely on yourself to generate a steady flow of opportunities.

Lesson #3: Founders are often better at raising money than closing deals

During one of my business trips, the founder of the company was in Paris, and he asked to join a couple of customer meetings.

I was very happy to have him on board, (didn’t feel like I had a choice anyways), but I told him it would be challenging for him to communicate as most French customers’s English level was pretty weak.

He told me this wouldn’t be a problem, as he would only stay in the background and listen.

He did exactly that for most meetings, sitting in the meeting room, typing on his computer, oblivious to our conversations.

That was awkward…

But the worse happened when one prospect asked him about why he created the company. He immediately stopped typing on his computer, pulled out his investor deck, and started reciting his VC presentation.

We spent 15 minutes listening to how his company would change the world, how their tech was better than their competitors’, and the grandiose plans they had for the market.

Needless to say, we didn’t close the deal.

Lesson #4: Being product-obsessed is the best way to lose deals to your competition

I remember how obsessed the founding team was about us knowing the product in and out. It was a technical solution, quite well designed, but clearly too complicated to sell without a solution engineer.

The onboarding bootcamp lasted 2 weeks, in which we spent 99% of our time learning the subtleties of the product, why it was so much better than our competitors, and what were the use cases we should sell.

Our management was obsessed with us “conveying the value of the product”, selling the features, and playing catch-up with the competition. I ended-up losing most deals to my competitors (who had a better buy/sales process), and feeling extremely frustrated because I didn’t have the freedom to sell how I wanted to.

To conclude

A few weeks before handing in my resignation, I was in a very bad place. I was disillusioned and felt like I had made a terrible decision. I left at the end of September 2018 to be on my own, and I learned a ton going through this experience.

 

So keep in mind:

  • When you change jobs, your pipeline resets to zero

  • Even if you’re promised a ton of inbound leads, you’re on your own

  • Founders are often better at raising money than closing deals

  • Being product-obsessed is the best way to lose all deals to your competition

 

I hope this helps!

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 plays to book more meetings

Tactical Selling

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

4 plays to book more meetings

In today’s issue, I’m going to share a quick preview of 4 plays I use regularly to book meetings with prospects.

If you can replicate these plays, you will stop getting ignored because you’ll stand out in the LinkedIn message section or the mailbox of your prospects.

Unfortunately, most SDRs don’t try new prospecting plays, and they end up with diminishing reply rates (and booked meetings) as time goes by.

Regularly experimenting with new plays is how you keep your reply rate and meeting rate high.

Without a solid experimentation strategy, a few challenges arise:

Challenge #1: You miss on easy opportunities: you’re not able to collect data on what works now vs what worked in the past.

Challenge #2: You stagnate: your prospecting game doesn’t evolve (when other SDRs’ game does).

Challenge #3: You end up sounding like everyone else: a good approach gets quickly copied, and you lose your competitive advantage.

You can overcome all of these challenges by experimenting with new plays regularly.

Here are 4 plays you can already use:

Play 1: Invite prospects to a roundtable

This play is incredibly efficient at creating relationships with multiple prospects at the same time.

The idea is to plan a 30 minute online event and invite key prospects to join. You build a specific sequence to invite prospects, use other participants’ names to create FOMO, send a pre-event survey, and run the event.

When you’re done, you can reach out to participants to discuss the challenges they have mentioned during the call.

I love this play because I can run it regularly (quarterly), gather prospects and current customers, and collect data on the challenges of key people in the market.

Last time I ran it, I contacted 24 people, I got 10 replies, and I booked 6 prospects in the event.

Play 2: Use a graph to catch their attention

This play is a great way to show your understanding of a prospect’s problem and create a pattern interrupt.

You start by identifying a key problem of your prospect, followed by visual representation of this problem. For example, I used the graph below to represent a common issue with VPs of Sales:

U-shaped pipeline

I wrote a detailed guide about this approach and got the following results:

  • Contacted: 41

  • Replied: 15 (37%)

  • Booked meeting: 11 (73%)

Play 3: Ask them to join a user research call

This play is a great way to create relationships with prospects, understand their problems, and create opportunities to solve them.

First, you need to make sure your ICP matrix is well defined, and again, have a clear understanding of your prospects’ problems.

You can then lead with these problems in your cold outreach, asking prospects if they would be interested in hoping on a quick user research call to learn more about what they are working on.

Jack Lancaster used this approach in the early stages of Spoke.ai and shared his result on my podcast.

Play 4: Play with their website to catch their attention

This play uses the website of your prospects in order to catch their attention. I discovered it thanks to a post of Florin Tatulea and Saad Khan.

It’s a bit of a technical process, so buckle up:

  • Step 1: Go to your prospect’s homepage

  • Step 2: Write a problem-oriented question ({FirstName}, how do avoid {problem}?)

  • Step 3: Open the website editor and change the hero section of the homepage (here’s how I do it)

  • Step 4: Record a prospecting video with the updated website (make sure the GIF preview is moving)

This play is excellent to create a pattern interrupt as it uses a familiar element for the prospect and gets them to wonder how you could change the text on their website.

And these are 4 of my go-to plays when running outbound sequences.

If you’re interested in accessing these plays in details + get a new play every month, then go check my Monthly Prospecting Plays. There are already 6 live, and you’ll get access to a new play every first week of the month.

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 I build an ICP matrix in 3 steps

Tactical Selling

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

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
  4. (NEW!) Sponsor my newsletter & get 3k+ eyeballs on your ad!
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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)
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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!
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5 steps to creating prospect curiosity

Tactical Selling

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

5 steps to creating prospect curiosity

In today’s newsletter, I’m going to share my 5 steps to creating prospect curiosity in your cold outreach.

If you can replicate this process, you’re going to catch the attention of your prospects and get them to stop in their tracks to learn more about what you can do for them.

Unfortunately, most SDRs don’t have a solid understanding of what motivates prospects to reply, so they keep sending the same, product-oriented messages, and being ignored.

Creating curiosity gets prospects to keep reading your messages.

Without curiosity-inducing elements in your messages, there are a number of problems that arise:

Problem 1: Your message doesn’t stand out. Prospects quickly dismiss your outreach.

Problem 2: Prospects only scan your message. Your message isn’t even fully read.

Problem 3: Your message gets ignored. As a result, prospects move on and keep doing what they were doing before.

You can overcome all of these problems by creating curiosity-inducing elements in your cold outreach.

Here’s how I do it, step-by-step:

Step 1: Understand their problems

In a previous newsletter, I share my 3-step process to understanding your prospects’ problems.

In short, this is what you need to do:

  1. Understand their goals and metrics

  2. Find their initiatives and the problems they face

  3. Study the exact symptoms of these problems and highlight them

Once you’re done with these 3 steps, you’ll have a better understanding of what keeps your prospects awake at night, and you’ll be able to put yourself in their shoes.

Step 2: List existing resources

Now that you know what problems your prospects are facing, you can start listing resources to solve these problems.

If your marketing colleagues are doing a good job, they should have plenty of content available to address these problems. They often have eBooks, whitepapers, long-form blog posts, podcasts/webinars.

For example, my customer at SeedLegals help founders raise money faster.

They know founders face difficulties raising money in an economic downturn, so they have created a long-form blog post.

Here are some places where you can look for resources:

  • your website resource page

  • LinkedIn/Twitter from a thought-leader targeting your ICP

  • partner website

Step 3: Build a resource plan

Now that you have a list of resources that can be used to help solve your prospects’ problems, you need to do a bit of curation.

If you share a long-form post or a 45-minute podcast in your cold outreach, prospects will ignore you. No one has time to go through these resources, without knowing what they’ll get as a result.

You can curate the resources you have listed by summarizing the top 3 – 5 points of the resources. Here’s an example with SeedLegals post:

Problem table

Now I have a clear problem and symptoms, as well as curated resources.

Step 4: Shoot a teaser video

If you paid attention, you now have an outline for a teaser video on the specific problem you have identified. You can build the script of your video as follow:

  • Problem: {ICP problem} -> Founders cannot raise seed funding

  • Symptoms: {symptoms list} -> VCs do not reply, ask for seats at the board, and for bigger shares and smaller amounts of money

  • Resource: {resource name} -> How to fundraise in an economic downturn

  • Resource Plan: {key points} -> Understand how interest rates change investor behaviour, reduce burn rate, use agile funding

  • CTA: {link to resource + meeting link}

You can then record your teaser video with a video recording tool. I use Tolstoy to record my video.

Step 5: Tease the video

Finally, the last step to creating prospect curiosity is teasing the video in your cold outreach. I have written a full guide on my 4-step prospecting framework, but here’s how it looks like:

  • Trigger: A relevant piece of information about my prospect -> Mary, noticed you liked John’s 5-steps to raising seed funding in 2022.

  • Question: A problem-oriented question -> How are you avoiding wasting your time with VCs who ask more shares for the same amount of money?

  • Teaser: A mention of the resource in step 4 -> If you’re interested, I have a short video on what you can do to raise money in a downturn.

  • CTA: A close-ended question -> Interested in grabbing it?

If you have identified problems that are really relevant to your prospects, following these 5 steps will help create curiosity, and you’ll start more conversations as a result.

TL;DR:

  • Step 1: Understand their problems

  • Step 2: List existing resources

  • Step 3: Build a resource plan

  • Step 4: Shoot a teaser video

  • Step 5: Tease the video

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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3 steps to understanding your prospects’ problems

Tactical Selling

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

3 steps to understanding your prospects’ problems

In today’s newsletter, I’m going to share my 3 steps to gaining a clear understanding of your prospects’ problems.

If you can replicate this process, you’re much less likely to get ignored by prospects and much more likely to get replies and book meetings.

Unfortunately, most SDRs don’t have a solid process for understanding their prospects daily struggle, so they are constantly throwing USPs and features, and getting no replies as a result.

Getting replies is about showing you understand your prospects’ problems.

Without a proper understanding of your prospects’ problems, there are a number of challenges that arise:

Challenge 1: Prospects can feel they are in a sequence. They know you’re sending this email to everyone else, and they hate it.

Challenge 2: Your messages are ignored. Prospects don’t even read the entire message.

Challenge 3: You destroy relationships instead of building them. You are seen as an annoyance and your email parked in the spam folder.

You can overcome all of these challenges by building a better system for understanding your prospects’ problems.

Here’s how I do it, step-by-step:

Step 1: Understand their goals and metrics

Prospects are typically evaluated on a set of 1 to 3 metrics. They get promotions or get fired based on their performance against these metrics.

When building a new sequence, I list the metrics my prospects are evaluated on. Here are a few places where I look for information:

  • Podcasts/webinars where my Ideal Customer Profiles are interviewed

  • Job descriptions

  • SDRs/AEs I have trained in companies I worked with (or similar)

When I have an idea of the metrics my prospects are evaluated on, my next step is understanding their goals. I ask myself the following questions:

  • Are they trying to maximize or minimize this metric?

  • What happens if they miss it? What are the concrete consequences on their jobs/lives?

  • Do they have stretch goals?

Step 2: Find their initiatives and the problems they face

Once their goals and metrics are clarified, I start digging into their initiatives and symptoms.

What are they working on right now to achieve their goals? What are the tools/training sessions/services they are evaluating to avoid missing their goals?

Now that I know more about their initiatives, I can start listing problems they would typically face.

Are they having a hard time finding/implementing the right tools? Did they try training their teams, without success? Are they going to miss their goals because they can’t find a service provider to do a job they are incapable of doing?

(Note: if you’re interested in doing this exercise, step-by-step, go check my Cold Message System.)

Step 3: Study the exact symptoms of these problems and and highlight them

Finally, I list the exact symptoms of these problems, and I highlight them in my cold messages.

Problems are often not enough to get a reply. They tend to be vague and full of jargon. For example, “Not having an upsell playbook” is a problem a lot of my prospects have.

Symptoms of this problem are:

  • AEs are missing on easy expansion revenues

  • Customer Success Reps are only order takers, they have no sales skills

  • Expansion metrics are missed, quarter after quarter

I like to compare this with a doctor consultation. When you say “I have a cold”, you’re mentioning a sickness (a problem), but when your doctor asks you about your symptoms, you’ll say you:

  • have a runny nose

  • have regular headaches

  • feel exhausted

  • have fever

Think about what is more vivid in your mind? Problem or symptoms? It’s the same with prospects.

When you have a clear list of symptoms, you can highlight them in your outreach, like below:

Symptom table

And these are my 3 steps to understanding my prospects’ problems.

TL;DR:

  • Step 1: Understand their goals and metrics

  • Step 2: Find their initiatives and the problems they face

  • Step 3: Study exact symptoms of these problems and highlight them

Before you go, I’m considering launching an outbound sequence building/correction service. If you’re interested, just hit reply and tell me:

  • Who are your selling to?

  • What’s your reply rate?

  • What is your biggest challenge?

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!