[If you were just looking for the template, here it is: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1yQ54a0R7clBwnb10Ge9NyACfBUOcZT-utX10Z7vrulg/edit?usp=sharing]
When it comes to B2B prospecting, there is a lot of talk about understanding the customer deeply, so that you can show them why your offering is relevant. Typically, the advice that follows is very shallow, revolving around finding ‘uncommon commonalities’ like being fans of the same sports team.
In our customer interviews, we have noticed a consistent pattern amongst top performers who rely on outbound prospecting to build pipeline. Not only are they very good at understanding the customer, they typically can articulate how they go about understanding the customer, and can coach and train others to do the same research. For example, a top AE will write down their process and train the SDRs/BDRs helping them.
What we’ve also heard from these salespeople is the significant element of luck present in this setup: you have a top performing rep, who can work with a top performing SDR, who together can both perform and coach. Multiple things need to go right for you for this to work out.
How do you consistently ramp and coach reps to do the right research?
So this begs the question – when you are managing a large sales team, with varying degrees of performance, how do you consistently ramp and coach reps to do the right research and understand their targets, and still have enough time for everything else?
Learning from people who have created a shared understanding of what “good” looks like, we have seen that teams break down the insights they need into 3 buckets:
Targeting – how do we prioritise the best accounts?
Timing – how do we find the right time to approach a prospect?
Messaging – how do we make ourselves relevant but not over personalise?
Account research template
With this, we have created a template that we now get our customers to fill in. It’s created in Google Docs, so you can simply “Make a copy”, or download it locally and share it with your team. Here it is:
Prospecting is about finding champions with a pain point that you can solve. This worksheet helps you outline the insights your team needs to research, so that you talk to the right person, at the right time, with the right message. You get a playbook for your team, and you can also automate the research on Tactic.
You can see that there are 2 tabs/worksheets:
In the Filled In Example, we have filled in the worksheet as if we are selling a marketing automation product.
The Worksheet tab is a blank one that you can use.
Targeting ideal customers
In this section, we list out the key questions that your team should ask to prioritise one prospect over the other.
If you have some data gaps in your CRM, likely there will be some manual qualification needed. For example, you might need to find out the % of online revenue a retailer has, or the number of schoolbus fleets that a school owns. All of these are not easily purchasable from 3rd party vendors.
If you don’t have data gaps in your CRM, this is to help your team prioritise their time when two similar prospects appear. Commonly this relates to tech stack or number of potential users for your software.
Timing your conversation
What are the compelling events and triggers that mean it’s the right time to buy?
This is a tricky one. Many teams tell us that they struggle to get in the door early enough. The trick here is to find the companies that you did get into the door early, and see whether you can find public triggers.
Often this needs some deep dive into the buyer journey e.g. you might notice that project managers are hired before a new product is launched, so you want your team to pick up on job posts for project managers.
Making your messaging relevant
What are the 'golden nuggets' that would open doors? As we have said time and again, you don’t need personalisation. Here we are listing out messaging hooks that would make the conversation relevant, especially if they help you get the start of a pain point that your prospect might be suffering. Typically, we see interviews, podcasts, and quotes in this bucket.
How to share this template with your team?
All you need to do is click ‘File’, then ‘Make a copy’ to create your own in your Google Drive.
If you are not on Google, alternatively you can download this as an Excel file.