3 tactics for using data to boost sales engagement

Posted January 6, 2020

Angela sun headshot

By Angela Sun

Director of Marketing at Hull

Cold lists, faulty information, meeting no shows: the sales representative’s day can sometimes feel like you’ve taken two steps forward and then three steps back. While there may not be a silver bullet for removing all of the roadblocks in a typical day, there are proven tactics for getting more out of your day, outsmarting your competition, and boosting your productivity.

At Hull, we found that the most promising initiatives came from utilizing something we already had: data. Here are three proven tactics using data that helped improve our sales engagement.

#1: Use Data Enrichment Tools to Prioritize "Best Fit" Accounts

Outbound efforts can quickly drain time and money if your team isn’t focused on the right types of accounts. Defining your “ideal customer profile” (ICP) is a valuable exercise that’ll help guide your team in pursuing companies with a higher probability of closing. To define our ICP and then find “best fit” accounts, we use data enrichment tools like Clearbit and ZoomInfo.

These tools provide detailed data on company attributes, ranging from basic information like industry, geography, annual revenue, and employee count, to more nuanced data like recently acquired technologies and funding stage and amount. At Hull, we looked at our existing customers and discovered that most of them met the following criteria:

  • Based in North America or Europe
  • Software industry
  • 50-1,000 employees
  • Post-series B funding
  • Using a marketing automation platform and CRM

By automatically enriching our account database with this data (and then sending the data seamlessly to Outreach), our Marketing team can quickly identify which accounts look most like our ICP and flag those as higher priority in Outreach for our sales and SDR team.

#2: Use Web Tracking Data to Prioritize Warm, Engaged Prospects

It’s a no-brainer that your sales team would rather talk to warm prospects than cold ones. But without the right data available, it can often be hard to differentiate a warm lead from a cold one. Tracking tools on your website can be a great way to monitor prospect web activity and identify the warmest, most engaged leads for your team to prioritize. At Hull, we placed a short snippet of code from our own javascript library (Hull.js) to track prospect pageviews.

Considering factors like total pageview count, page type (“bottom of funnel” pages like pricing or product docs vs. “top of funnel” pages like blog posts), and days since last visit, we use our own customer data platform to sift through the prospects and determine which ones should be on the top of the priority list.

#3: Personalize Emails (but do it at scale!)

The worst email reply is no reply. When your prospect opens your email 9+ times and clicks on it 5+ times, but still doesn’t reply — it’s super confusing! It seems like they or someone on their team might be interested, but they still have yet to reply. When a prospect doesn’t respond, there are a lot of unknowns that can make a sales rep’s next step hazy. Is the prospect uninterested? Are they not the right person? Is the timing off? Unreplied emails are a big time drain because sales and SDR teams will continue reaching out to prospects that may never go anywhere.

How can you boost reply rates? Make your message more relevant.

Scaling relevancy and personalization means meeting somewhere in between the “spray-and-pray” mass outreach tactics of the past, and individual one-off emails that can be super effective, but hard to scale.

At Hull, we aim for that happy medium by segmenting our database — and getting really specific with those segments. By building granular segments from data that lives across multiple tools, we can create super niche audiences, each with a distinct set of characteristics. Each segment, whether based on job function, company type, technologies used, industry, level of engagement with our brand (or a combination of all) gets their own Sequence in Outreach, with their own set of emails and offers.

By getting more granular with our audiences, our reply rate increased by nearly 5 percentage points.

Data is Your Productivity and Growth Lever

Teams that operationalize and optimize their data use have outperformed their peers and competition. With the growing prevalence of data integration technologies like customer data platforms and workflow tools, it’s now easier than ever to make data available where and when you need it. All you need now is something to test! At Hull, we’ve tried lots of things that have worked, and even more that haven’t. These three tactics are working for us and we hope you have a chance to try them for yourself. If you have any questions about what we did, you can always hit us up on our website at hull.io.


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