✨ Start Here
Building Your Lifeline on Inbound
Breaking into Strategic Accounts
Spin up a Google doc or a Notion page. You probably have some of this information from your ramp time at your company, but it’s good to assemble it all in one place.
1. Build Industry Context
TASK: What are the trends in your industry?
Successful social prospecting requires you to carry a conversation. If you’re only trying to pitch, you’ll fail. You need to be able to do two things:
- Ask insightful questions
- Offer useful resources
Insightful questions comes from a deeper understanding of what is currently happening in your industry. What will your prospects know? What are they reading? What are they aware of (or not aware of) that’s going on in your industry?
Here are the main questions to answer:
- Who are the big names in your industry? The top-dog names who dominate the category (e.g. Salesforce, Mailchimp).
- What are some things that have changed in the industry over the past 2-3 years? What do buyers do today they didn’t use to do? What don’t they do anymore?
- What are the big shifts happening that give credibility to your product? Why does your product or solution matter to your buyers?
- What are some good “think pieces” on Medium, from top-dog company blogs, or resource libraries from your company or competitors, that talk about what’s going on in your industry?
There are many more questions, but basically your goal is to build context about what’s happening in the industry.
GUT CHECK: Could you carry a conversation at a party or a coffee house with a buyer about what’s happening in your industry (without pitching)?
2. Understand Competitive Advantage
TASK: Why your company?
Who are your competitors? Why should a buyer choose your company over your competitors?
This can be a difficult question for some sellers if the company itself hasn’t articulated it all that well. Many times, the competitive advantage comes out as features & benefits. Your software has a feature your competitors don’t. Your product has a longer lifecycle than your competitors. Whatever. Your buyers don’t care that much about features until they’re further in the buying cycle — unless it’s truly a mind-blowing feature.
The real competitive advantage: what’s the problem you’re uniquely built to solve?
Chances are, your marketing team has/should have articulated this. You need clear differentiation from your competitors.
- ConvertKit is built for creators getting started with email marketing
- Chili Piper is built for easy scheduling and routing to handle inbound leads
In saturated or mature industries where there are a lot of companies offering something similar, the differentiation often comes back to the story you can tell about how you’re the buyer’s best friend to solve problem X.
GUT CHECK: Can you answer someone’s question about how you’re different from your main competitor?
3. Get to Know Your Audience
TASK: What does your ICP care about?
Most sales training hands you at least some preliminary information about your ICP. Their job titles or roles, their industry, the size of company, etc. etc.
Here are some ways you can get to know your audience:
- Interview your “internal ICP” (aka people at your company that match the personas you sell to)
- Look at your inbound leads and try to figure out why they are coming inbound. What patterns can you see?
- Read your G2 reviews — especially the bad ones! Look at the language they’re using to describe your product on good and bad reviews.
- Review opportunity notes in the CRM for existing customers
- Listen to call recordings with high-quality prospects and existing customers
- Interview customers & prospects
One of our outbound plays actually uses social listening (searching for phrases and posts on social) as a way to develop this insight. It’s okay if it’s not 100% before you begin!
GUT CHECK: Can you articulate to a co-worker why you’re targeting the ICP and what they actually care about?
4. Develop Your Value Proposition
TASK: What’s your elevator pitch?
This is the final stage of prep. It should be pretty straightforward because you’re just combining all the work up to this point.
You’re going to use and reuse this in different settings. It should be a framework. It’s a starting point to articulate “why them, why now, why you.”
It’s important to have this value proposition clearly written down somewhere as you’ll be referencing it often.
GUT CHECK: Can you articulate an elevator pitch for a customer?