Account-based sales development in a predictive world

Posted March 8, 2017

Dan ahmadi headshot

By Dan Ahmadi

Demand Generation at Outreach

The following is a guest blog post by our friends at Infer.

Like any lean, fast-growing company, our sales team at Infer struggles with the age-old conundrum of quantity vs. quality. However, thanks to Outreach’s automation, we’ve been able to avoid spreading ourselves too thin. By using this great solution alongside our company’s own predictive and profiling platform, we’re tackling personalization at scale and really honing in on our highest quality leads.

Our sales development team lives in Outreach today. Whether we’re working inbound or outbound leads, Outreach makes it easy to automate what used to be manual workflows and sales sequences. We make this orchestration even smarter by adding a layer of predictive intelligence about both the fit of each account (i.e. how good a match are they for our product?) and the behavior of each lead (i.e. are they engaging with us enough to indicate that they’re likely to buy in the next three weeks?).

For lower quality inbound inquiries at the tail end of our lead universe, Outreach lets us fully automate all follow up and use email templates to save tons of time for our reps. As a result, we can now follow up with our very top quality inbound leads in less than 5 minutes. After our first contact, we use Outreach to cycle through different communications sequences (Email > Call > Social > phone > etc.) and make sure we’re staying in front of our best prospects with custom messages.

The difference between these two approaches is significant – our top leads get on average 10X more custom touches than our automated sequences for bottom leads. And this narrowed focus is paying off. We’ve boosted our conversion rate by 35% as a result of training our reps to prioritize quality accounts because they are accelerating follow-up, preparing targeted conversation points and sticking with these leads longer.

We also track the full spectrum of behavior we’re seeing from each individual lead in our Salesforce CRM and Pardot systems, so we can make sure that no missed opportunities fall through the cracks. Since we include predictive behavior scores as a distinct data point to inform our sales priorities (in addition to our less dynamic fit scores), we’re able to surface leads and accounts that are currently showing clear buying intent. Once a lower fit scoring lead responds to a sequence or crosses a behavioral threshold from our nurture programs, the account owner gets an alert that they’re in market to buy, and will start to pursue them more aggressively.

Combining automation & predictive for personalization at scale

One of the core benefits of Outreach is that it lets us heavily personalize messages for our top leads. This kind of mass personalization can be a huge challenge, because if we try to get too hyper-personalized, we don’t have time to reach every prospect. We don't want our reps investing 15-20 minutes writing a thoughtful and personalized email to a prospect that has little or no chance of converting. Yet when we cast our net too wide, we risk spamming a broad audience with generic messages that prospects will just ignore. The combination of Infer’s own profiling capabilities with Outreach’s functionality allows reps to spend time on the accounts that matter, better align their effort with impact, and think creatively about how to segment their universe of leads.

While our inbound leads are distributed evenly amongst reps using a round-robin approach based on lead quality, each rep also has a set of about one thousand named accounts they’re going after through outbound strategies as well. Here are five examples of personalization tactics our reps have employed to reach those target accounts:

  1. For the most recent INBOUND 2016 conference, several reps used Infer Profile Management to find specific high-fit accounts that use Hubspot in their business. We then pulled this list into Outreach and sent very personalized communications with relevant content, such as case studies about some great customers that already use Infer’s Hubspot integration.
  2. Another time, a few reps were planning a trip to Chicago and used Infer to segment and target top accounts in the surrounding geo. They used Outreach to contact these folks for onsite meetings.
  3. Our reps also created a segment of marketers with a certain company size who use AdRoll (another customer of ours). They kicked off a sequence in Outreach that focused on our video testimonial with the AdRoll CRO to capitalize on the prospects’ familiarity with that brand.
  4. In general, whether or not a company uses marketing automation (MAP) is a key signal for our predictive models, because it tells us how technologically sophisticated a particular lead is. Reps targeting these accounts plan tailored conversation points that incorporate the common language of MAP users.
  5. Reps also personalize different messages for leads in operations roles. They segment these buyers and send them content that’s highly relevant to their more technical needs.

This type of data-driven approach to account-based sales development has had a powerful effect on our team’s results. With Outreach in our stack, we can build sequences that use different levels of automation depending the quality of each lead, contact or prospect we’re going after. It plays an important task management role for us and lets us take an omni-channel approach so that nothing falls through the cracks. And finally, we leverage Outreach stats and analytics to compare engagement and quality across all of our sequences so that we can test-and-invest in various approaches and strategies along the way.

Of course, Infer’s predictive sales and marketing platform is great on its own, but when paired with Outreach, it’s truly a game-changer for any sales team.


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