None of our SDRs were making quota….

Rewind the clock a few years, I was at a Unicorn, everything should have been going great. 

But our 25 SDRs were struggling. Each week we gave them over 3,000 fresh MQLs, but none of them made quota. We just fired our 2nd CMO and 3rd SVP of Sales, both of whom were successful at previous companies.  

I was asked to step in and “fix” it.

What the hell was happening? We were a billion-dollar SaaS unicorn, the movie wasn’t supposed to end this way. 

The problem it turns out was simple. Most of the prospects filling our funnel were not prospects at all

The 3,000 MQLs had been ‘qualified’ using basic Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) criteria like # of employees, industry, and annual revenue. While helpful for sizing, this ICP told us nothing about what our prospects actually wanted or needed.

And at the end of the day, that’s why prospects buy — when you can fulfill their wants and needs.

Does my unicorn story sound familiar? It should. 

In Sales Development today, only 1 out of 100 MQLs will convert to an opportunity. And poor fit is largely why.

Pair this with the common misperception that more leads = more sales, and when leads flood in but sales don’t materialize, you lose your job. Don’t blame the lead, blame the seller, right? 

Today only 43% of sales reps make quota – a number that’s declined every year from 63% in 2011. We need to change how we sell and by focusing on what prospects actually want and need, we can.

How to sell prospects what they want

So, how do you figure out what prospects want and need? Great question.

The wants and needs of a person or business are known as ‘psychographics’. It sounds fancy, but it’s been around since the 1960’s in B2C and is incredibly powerful in selling.

For example, if you’re expecting your first child, you’ll have a strong personal interest in new baby products and services. Those are psychographics. If I sell baby clothes, you are my perfect prospect. It’s that simple. 

Do psychographics really work?

Have you ever bought something Amazon recommends? If so, you’re not alone. Amazon sees a 30% sales increase from psychographic-driven recommendations.

How about NetFlix or Spotify Discover? NetFlix attributes over $1B in retention to psychographic content suggestions and Spotify delivers 31% of its music based on psychographics.

These are multibillion-dollar businesses using psychographics every day to deliver valuable goods and services that you, the consumer, want and need.

3 ways to use psychographics in B2B Sales Development

Traditionally it’s been very difficult to figure out business psychographics. What does a business really want or need? They rarely take surveys and they keep their data closely guarded.

But we live in an amazing time for Sales Development. The massive surge in public web data and digital communication makes it easier than ever to know what businesses want and need. Here are 3 ways you can leverage psychographics in B2B to improve prospect fit and close more deals:

  1. Just ask – This is the most obvious but also the most overlooked. To qualify top of the funnel leads, companies focus on firmographics like Employee Size or Revenue, but fail to ask about their top pain points or needs. This can easily be added as an MQL qualifier on lead forms, your chatbots, or inbound call scripts.

  2. Find more of your best customers – Similar businesses have similar wants and needs. Rather than relying on a top-down ICP that generalizes your target customer, start bottoms-up with your own best customer and try to find more like them. You can type your best customer into Google and see who is buying branded keywords against them, or visit LinkedIn company pages and see recommended Similar Pages. These methods aren’t perfect, but they’ll get you started.

  3. Use AI for free – AI-driven prospect intelligence tools are just emerging that can build psychographic profiles for 100,000s of prospects in seconds. They can recommend prospects based on the best fit to your specific customers, and help you personalize your outreaches based on wants and needs. GrowFlare is one such free tool you can use to take advantage of this new approach (full disclosure: I’m the founder).

Matt Belkin is the founder of GrowFlare, a prospect intelligence platform focused on helping B2B sales professionals sell better with psychographic data. 

He also serves as the COO of eSUB, a construction SaaS company, where he oversees all sales, marketing, and client success efforts. 

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