TRANSCRIPTION OF EPISODE
Chris Battis: On this episode of Intent Topics, we’ll be talking about the importance of specificity in sales outreach.
Chris Battis: Logan, what’s happening, bro?
Logan Kelly: [inaudible 00:00:19], dude. You ready to talk about this?
Chris Battis: Yeah, let’s do it.
Logan Kelly: Sweet, man.
Chris Battis: Dive in.
Logan Kelly: So, biggest problem I think fundamentally with sales outreach is the lack of specificity and I think it can really hammer down the potential effectiveness of an outreach program.
Chris Battis: So before we, before we go too deep into that, it may seem obvious but why don’t you talk about what you mean about specificity? Have fun saying that word.
Logan Kelly: Yeah, I think it’s powerful. So when we talk about specificity, there’s some different things that go into that, right? So it’s the narrative we’re telling, it’s the context that we’re addressing, or allowing to, or kind of creating, like what color the room that we’re painting, what story we’re telling inside of it, who’s inside of it, all of this.
Logan Kelly: So the idea is the more specific you become, the more effective your outreach will be.
Chris Battis: All right, makes sense.
Logan Kelly: So if you think about it, let’s just talk about it kind of in a story that has nothing to do with sales. When you’re speaking to, or you’re writing an email to your mother, you can bring all these… maybe there’s some inside jokes, or some history, some context. You create that message, it’s meant for your mother.
Logan Kelly: And then you create, the other thing that you have in family outreach is you could send an email to your family. And in that already you’re starting to lose the personalization.
Logan Kelly: There’s people in different locations, there’s people in different nodes of the family. There’s people who might not agree with everybody in there. And then the next step up you, could be sending a note to, say, your entire extended family and then we’re going to end this.
Logan Kelly: So the idea is the more people you are addressing at one point, the less personalized and contextualized your outreach will be.
Chris Battis: That makes sense. That’s like saying I have a unique dialogues with my dad, and my mom and my sister, but when I speak to all of them, I keep it at the high level.
Logan Kelly: Absolutely. So then this has been understood for a long time, right? Personalization is important. And so when we talk about sales outreach, there’s the marginal gains curve of personalization. If you try to personalize every message perfectly for a list of a thousand people, you’ll get one one piece of average out to all thousand people in a month. It just doesn’t scale. But if you tried to address a thousand people all exactly the same, you don’t have any success.
Chris Battis: Yeah, so you got to find the weakest link. [inaudible 00:03:39] get ready for my fishing analogy. But the idea with fishing line is you want to use the lightest line possible so that the fish can’t see it, but it needs to be strong enough to hold.
Logan Kelly: Sure.
Chris Battis: You’re only as strong as your weakest link. And if I used heavy line, I’d always land the fish, but I’d rarely hook up. If I was super light line, I’d hook up all the time and never getting fish to the boat.
Logan Kelly: Absolutely.
Chris Battis: Same concept here.
Logan Kelly: Absolutely.
Logan Kelly: So the kind of next problem with this specificity is from a marketing standpoint, there was this movement that personalization tokens or merge fields or whatever you want to talk, however you want to call them, can create that. And what we’re talking about here, and I think it’s really important that the listeners get this, is I’m not talking about can you put a merge field in with the right city. The point here would be can you message language and nuance that might make it seem like you know that city.
Chris Battis: Yeah. It’s totally opposite. It’s like being in marketing automation tools, it’s like, this personalization, what can we do with it? And it’s like, no no. Don’t do that. Write the message appropriately and then figure out basically what would be changing to each unique conversation, and personalize that.
Logan Kelly: Right. Exactly. So when we talk about the problems of personalization, and more importantly specificity, we really want people to understand two things. One, there’s a marginal gain for segmentation and personalization. So too much, you’re not going to get the return, too little, you’re not going to get the return. And somewhere in the middle, it really works.
Logan Kelly: Step below that, we’re not talking about personalizing words, or even a sentence or two. We’re talking about building a specific narrative based on a segment of people and we’re treating these people like we’re trying to have a conversation with them. So that’s the kind of frame here is how do we approach that at scale in a way that’s effective.
Logan Kelly: So specifically with union and our and our clients, what we’ve seen is there is this kind of array of clients who come to us with very specific narratives. They understand specifically where, what industry, what vertical, what kind of company within that vertical they want to hit. And they have the the sort of case studies and content to message into that. Those are the companies who typically see success early in a campaign.
Logan Kelly: Then you have on the other side, you have companies who, and if this is your company, you have a problem that you can easily fix. They are very generic. So say the consumer packaged goods area, right?
Chris Battis: Yeah.
Logan Kelly: You could say, “Well, I’m in consumer packaged goods and within that I’m in food and beverage.” And I would say you’re still not specific enough because you have a couple of different companies, or types of companies. You could have Nabisco where you could have like Annie’s Burrito company, whatever they call it.
Logan Kelly: Like, part of a giant conglomerate might be part of a conglomerate. But what’s important to that brand and what’s important to Nabisco are two totally different things on so many different levels. If you’re selling ingredients to them, if you’re selling branding to them, if you’re selling technology to them, they’re just two different-
Chris Battis: Buying process.
Logan Kelly: Yeah. One might be relational, one might be RFP. So two totally different situations. So if you treat those companies as like, “Yeah, I want to go after CPG and I’m just going to hammer my value prop into that vertical with with only that level of personalization or some merge tag about you know, what city they’re in or something.”
Logan Kelly: I think it’s really hard to make a connection with that person, even if you’re trying to be conversational, even if it’s not a marketing email. You know what I mean?
Chris Battis: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Logan Kelly: Does that make sense?
Chris Battis: Yeah, yeah.
Logan Kelly: So, I think when we look at how can a company build specificity into their go-to-market strategy, what we have to look at is how detailed are we getting around the target company.
Logan Kelly: The saying that we’ve been using a lot here on the execution part of union is I’d rather tame a lion than prod a house cat. So I would rather have the most aggressive ideal customer profile than just this generic profile.
Logan Kelly: And then it’s like, why is it so bad if I have a general profile? That means Logan as the guy who’s going to go figure out how to get me leads, you should have a lot to work with. But people don’t respond to it. People respond to you specifically have an understanding of my environment. You have an understanding of problems and issues that I’m having right now. And you speak the language that I’m speaking, and that is very, very powerful. And I think people underplay that in to go broad and say, “Well we can do everything.”
Logan Kelly: And you see this in services all the time. It’s terrible.
Chris Battis: Yeah. I mean, I’ve repeating myself, but I constantly see emails that’s like, see what you’re doing. Cool, clever. You have cool tools but you completely missed it with me. And then in my past life, when I was at HubSpot, there would be perfection, but I’m just not the right person. And the way you should have spoke to me was to probably make me champion what you’re trying to sell, rather than treating me as if I was like the CTO or something because I just don’t [crosstalk 00:10:41] power.
Chris Battis: And there’s not a lot in that situation. There wasn’t a lot in it for me. So teach me why I should even drop what I’m doing to focus on what you just talking about. There’s multiple points of lack of specificity as I was targeted in that situation.
Logan Kelly: Yeah, so this is something where, and I think for the listeners in that anecdote, it’s the specificity. They might have gotten HubSpot, or whatever the company is.
Logan Kelly: But on that there’s various elements of specificity that we can use and one of them is roles and roles are so fricking powerful.
Chris Battis: Yeah, totally underused.
Logan Kelly: Yeah. Like it’s like, well, I don’t really want to start, I only want to be talking to the decision makers. Well guess what? The decision maker almost guaranteed trusts somebody below them more than they trust you as a single person. Right?
Chris Battis: Yep.
Logan Kelly: I mean, imagine you’re mid level. Say we’re selling a marketing service or something, you’re a mid level person and there’s this really cool technology, a CMO probably doesn’t care. Just because it just, cause they don’t have the time. It’s an information overload. They’re getting a million of these emails.
Chris Battis: Or you see the other direction too, right. CMOs like, “We need this thing,” or CEO. And the ops team is like, depending what the product is, it’s like, “So you want us to like undo everything that we’ve built and how are we funding that and what’s the timeline? Who’s directly responsible for that?”
Chris Battis: There’s a whole set of questions that pertain to a layer deeper.
Logan Kelly: Yeah, exactly. Absolutely. So, in either one of those scenarios, it’s like, can you start a conversation with somebody who would probably give you more leverage in getting inside of that company than if you just went to the CMO.
Logan Kelly: So if you have a list of a bunch of CMOs and you build content for that CMO, and then you drop down your targeting because you just need to add more people to your list and you say, “All right, I’m going to go on LinkedIn and I’m going to find a bunch of directors or managers or something,” and you use the same content, you’re gone.
Logan Kelly: Now what’s important to a CMO versus what’s important to a manager, I’m not going to tell you. That’s for me to know and for you to figure out.
Logan Kelly: So, we look at a few different types of specificity. You have role specificity, you have technographic specificity. So somebody who uses HubSpot uses words that HubSpot users use. Somebody who uses WordPress use words that WordPress users use, so use those words. That could be your segment. It might not matter what role they’re in. If you’re targeting companies that use these things, or it might.
Chris Battis: Yeah. Like one of the best examples would be Salesforce.com and HubSpot use words to talk about the exact same things.
Logan Kelly: Yes.
Chris Battis: And it’s just like, yeah.
Logan Kelly: Absolutely. So yeah.
Chris Battis: You got to talk to native tongue.
Logan Kelly: Exactly. Exactly. So you have the technographic, you have firmographics. So how does a CMO in a fortune 500 companies see the world versus how does the CMO at a startup see the world, right?
Chris Battis: Yeah.
Logan Kelly: Or the roles below them. What are they seeing through their windshield? And we can use that. And that’s really what we mean by specificity is find the context that matters that you can leverage and then figure out how big you can build that group of targets before you start to lose the… And really the more you do this, the more you start to really get that feeling for, okay, it’s getting, it’s getting dull here. Does this actually have anything to do with that person? Does this have anything to do with that list? And now your content can really start to get boxed in in the proper segmentation.
Logan Kelly: And now what you start to see when you nail the specificity of your narrative based on different elements, you get people responding excitedly because it sounds like you’re a sales person that can actually help, or your sales team can actually help them. And those are the leads that when we pass them, they end up in people’s pipelines with such greater probability.
Chris Battis: Yeah, totally.
Logan Kelly: Then just a generic, because we don’t do the generic stuff anymore, it doesn’t work. It’s just a waste of my team’s time and my client’s money. So we just don’t do it. And when we get that specificity, it is amazing. Even though it might be five or six hours more work to iterate on content, iterate on content, the money’s there. It’s closed. It’s crazy.
Chris Battis: Yeah. No, we talking about this a lot. Like, everyone’s trying to find a way to make it easier. And your point is like stop looking at making it easier, or less time consuming, or cutting corners and put the work in and make it more accurate and the success, it’ll pay off.
Logan Kelly: Oh yeah. It’s unbelievable how much… It’s almost like this whole the global warming question where it’s like, “Well, you know, it’s really hard to get people to give things up in the short term, you know, for things to be okay in the longterm.”
Logan Kelly: And it’s funny because wherever you sit on the spectrum of is global warming real or is it fake, no matter what you believe. It is true, people will very rarely, unless they really see a benefit, a tangible benefit for them right then, make that decision to put more work into something that they might not see the result tomorrow on.
Logan Kelly: But what I can tell you is that it’s, it’s pretty funny. Last week we had an email go out from one of our clients, six X increase on the average leads per week. We broke the segmentation down like basically 25%, 25%, 25% off of what we’ve been running. We got six X return in five days. That’s silly. That is real money for everybody involved in that situation.
Chris Battis: And so what you’re saying is you took a group of targets whereas you maybe would have presented one message and you broke them into four different sub messages to be specific as possible?
Logan Kelly: Yes.
Chris Battis: And yeah, [inaudible 00:18:03]. Wow, that’s cool. Wow.
Logan Kelly: That’s four times the work for six times the results. And I can tell you, four times the… What’s that?
Chris Battis: I can live with that math.
Logan Kelly: Yeah, but then it’s like every time we identify a company in the future-
Chris Battis: [crosstalk 00:18:21] sharper at where to put it.
Logan Kelly: We know where it’s going to go. I mean, that’s amazing.
Chris Battis: I mean, one could challenge you to break that into eight groupings, right? Like, how deep could you go? Maybe that’s the next-
Logan Kelly: I don’t know. That where we got to look at marginal returns, right It’s a shocker then I think that there are probably people working on exactly what you just said right now, our content teams and our list teams.
Chris Battis: That’s great. I’d expect nothing less of that from you.
Logan Kelly: Everybody’s excited when you win that. When you do start make those specific messages and you see what you get back from them, it’s amazing. And so I would challenge everybody, investing in that data, investing in the extra content writing, investing in the extra strategy meetings and all of this to really figure out what your narrative is and who you want to message. It’s totally worth it.
Chris Battis: You could kind of see that too. So what we do here at union when we’re onboarding, well there’s two things that are relevant. One is we have this thing we call a fit analysis. We ask a target all these questions. And then we’re able to get a feel for what their fit score by using intent data in our outreach to be successful.
Chris Battis: The other thing is an onboarding questionnaire. We ask a bunch of questions which allow us to be specific. And you could tell with some clients or prospects who’s willing to put in the time. And sometimes right out of the gate, from an onboarding questionnaire, we’ve seen some clients just not be willing to put in the work. They just basically want deals handed to them. And that’s a red flag.
Chris Battis: But then you’ll see these other people that put in so much work, they thought about this for starters, that’s huge. And B, they put so much work into these questions because they know that the more specific we can be, the more accurate we can be with the messaging in the list and the target and everything involved. And I love seeing that.
Chris Battis: And you can predict who’s not going to be successful based on the effort they put into basically helping us ramp [crosstalk 00:00:20:35].
Logan Kelly: Absolutely, absolutely. Yeah, And that’s what’s a significant part of my job is, convincing people to really narrow their focus because at the end of the day, when you narrow your focus, you win more and then all of a sudden it becomes worth it.
Logan Kelly: You own that group of companies, and that’s huge.
Chris Battis: Yeah. And I’ve heard you say this before too. Though it’s hard, it is a requirement to make sure that you look like you’re not sending a blast email.
Logan Kelly: Yes, 100%.
Chris Battis: Or you’re dead. And I have a spam box and a trash box full of those. It’s like, stupid subject line, you’re just blasting. There’s no context into who I am, why you’re talking to me. [inaudible 00:21:29] plus. And that is the lead generation killer.
Logan Kelly: Absolutely, absolutely. All right, well I got to jump on a sales call here, so.
Chris Battis: All right, let’s do it. Let’s wrap this up. This wraps up today’s episode of Intent Topics. I am Chris Battis.
Logan Kelly: And I am Logan Kelly. Thank you so much for listening. Please give us a five star rating on whatever podcast app you are listening on. We will talk to you next time.
Chris Battis: Take care. See you.