Trigger-Based Lead Sourcing for Successful Prospecting

Published May 20, 2020

Most of us are aware that the buyer’s journey has changed dramatically in the last few years (and months given the global pandemic). 

This is supported by a CEB (acquired by Gartner) report in 2016 that shared “buyers on average are 57% of the way through their buying journey before even reaching out to a vendor”.

Fast forward a few years since that report, the explosion of Inbound Marketing, and the development of buyer journey optimized content I would argue that it is probably closer to 90%.

That is, buyers have almost all the information they need to make an informed purchasing decision.

In 2007 Chet Homes shared the statistic that only 3% of any market is in the “buying mode” now. This means that 97% of prospects aren’t actively looking to purchase a product or service.

When you acknowledge the above statistics, it is easy to understand why the spray and pray method of prospecting doesn’t work anymore (not that I believe it ever did truly work for 99% of B2B sales teams).

If your prospecting efforts consist of sending templated messages to prospects who just match the “job title” of your past customers, it simply won’t cut it. 

Just because someone matches your buyer persona doesn’t mean they are actually interested in buying what you have to offer. 

You’ll be sending out hundreds of emails and generating only a handful of replies. And that isn’t fun for you or the prospect.

Prospecting is tough. It’s time-consuming, it takes tenacity to stick with it and the will power to continue prospecting each day.

But it doesn’t have to be so hard.

By taking a smarter approach to prospecting and focusing on triggers and highly personalized emails, you’ll be able to reduce the volume of emails you send, whilst increasing the number of conversations you have with engaged prospects.

This isn’t a silver bullet, but it is an efficient method for starting more conversions that begins before you even draft an email.

What is Trigger-Based Lead Sourcing

Lead sourcing (or list building) is the process of building a list of leads without previous marketing activities. 

It includes finding the source of targeted leads and extracting them into a CRM system (or a spreadsheet). Usually, if the source is good enough, finding the names, phone numbers, and addresses of your leads shouldn’t be a problem.

Trigger-based lead souring takes this a step further by only sourcing prospects when an event or sales signal has occurred. It is at this moment you have an opportunity to start a conversation when there is a higher chance that the prospect is “in-market”

Examples of triggers range from obvious to not so obvious, these include:

  • New C-suite appointments
  • Opening a new office
  • Raised a round of funding or M&A activity
  • Changes in hiring velocity
  • Seismic industry shift or legislation changes
  • A prospect engaging with a competitor or industry thought leader

Further reading:

Below are two of my favorite trigger-based lead sourcing playbooks and step by step instructions on how to perform them without the need of intent data or expensive software.

Remember, only 3% of leads are ready to buy now and it’s your job to nail the timing. 

And this isn’t about building large static lists of prospects, it is about curating smaller, dynamic lists and refreshing them with new data on an ongoing basis.

Pro tip: LinkedIn remains the best database for finding the most up to date information on prospects’. If you combine these playbooks with LinkedIn, you will be able to identify a number of decision-makers who are ready to make a purchase or at least considering this option.

Playbook 1: The Social Expansion

The Social Expansion playbook helps you send highly targeted and personalized messages based on your audience’s interactions.

This playbook helps you identify thought leaders or influencers among your target audience and build a list of those who have interacted with them through comments. When they engage with a post, they are actually giving you a signal that they may be interested in buying the product or service you offer.

From there, you can start a conversation on whatever platform you monitored, including LinkedIn, Quora, Slack, Facebook groups, and so on. Always keep in mind that there are a number of places where your prospects spend time online. 

Here’s a step by step guide to the Social Expansion Playbook:

  1. Find a handful of influencers in your target audience and look for posts where they’ve received a lot of engagement that is relevant to your audience and solution you offer. (https://share.getcloudapp.com/geurPvwK)
  2. Save the links to these posts in a spreadsheet (aim for around 30 links)
  3. Run the Phantombuster LinkedIn Post Commenters and extract all the names
  4. Dedupe these names in a spreadsheet until you have a clean list of all the people that have engaged with the post
    1. Make sure you keep the name of the influencer and the post topic so you can reference this in your outreach
  5. Find the contact details for these names. You could use:
    1. Hunter.io
    2. LeadIQ
    3. Getprospect
  6. Now you have a clean list of leads with contact details you’ll need to craft your first outreach email. Ensure that you:
    1. Reference the post you saw them comment on (even in the subject line)
    2. Connect the dots between the comment and the problem you solve
    3. Ask them if they are experiencing the challenge or problem mentioned above
    4. See if they are interested in learning how your solution helps overcome their challenge.
      1. Don’t pitch your product here, your goal is to find out if they have a need at this stage
  7.  Ensure that you personalize your follow up emails based on their challenges and objectives
  8. Repeat. Each week or month follow the same process for new posts and different influencers within your target audience. You can outsource the data enrichment research to a VA or a company like TaskDrive.

Bonus:
Take a screenshot of their activity on LinkedIn and include that in the email – this will take more time, but worth it if your LTV is higher.

https://share.getcloudapp.com/5zuJOZr8

Playbook 2: The In Market

 

With the In Market Playbook, you can identify prospects who have expressed an interest in a competitor or non-competing, complementary solution. They will most likely be interested in your product as well.

When your prospects upvote a certain product, you can start the conversation about your own service or product that is relevant to their interests.

Here’s a step by step guide to the In Market Playbook:

  • Visit Product Hunt and search for competing or complementary products to yours (in this example we are going to target remote workers/people interested in remote work) https://share.getcloudapp.com/8LuwYB6Q
  • Review the products and check the comments to make sure these are the right audience. If they are, save the link to the product in a spreadsheet.
  • Run the Product Hunt Upvoter Extractor and extract all the people who have upvoted these products
  • Add these leads and dedupe these names in a spreadsheet until you have a clean list of all the people that have engaged with the post. A couple of things to keep in mind:
    • Some leads on this list may be friends or supporters of the makers, so they may not be an ideal customer for you (you can overcome this in your messaging by not being assumptive)
    • If the product launched a number of years ago, you will need to make the decision whether you want to contact these upvoters. I try and stick to newer product launches
    • Make sure you keep the name of the product so you can reference this in your outreach
  • With your clean list, run it back through Phantombuster using the Product Hunt Profile Scraper
  • Now you have additional information on each profile you can find the contact details for these names. You could use:
    • Hunter.io
    • LeadIQ
    • Getprospect
  • Now you have a clean list of leads with contact details you’ll need to craft your first outreach email. Ensure that you:
    • Reference the product they upvoted (even in the subject line)
    • Connect the dots between the product and the problem you solve
    • Ask them if they are experiencing the challenge or problem mentioned above
    • See if they are interested in learning how your solution helps overcome their challenge.
      1. Don’t pitch your product here, your goal is to find out if they have a need at this stage
  • Ensure that you personalize your follow up emails based on their challenges, objectives and the benefits of your solution
  • Repeat. Each week or month follow the same process for new posts and different influencers within your target audience. You can outsource the data enrichment research to a VA or a company like TaskDrive.

Note:
Whilst you can automate these steps, I always recommend having a human check over the email addresses, formatting of the data, and any additional data points you intend on using in your outreach.

These are just two examples of using trigger-based events or signals to initiate your outbound sequences. 

Use these as a foundation and build your own playbooks that work with your specific audience and your tone of voice.

The days of spray and pray are over, you know this and so do your prospects. Spend more time personalizing your emails and making them relevant to your prospect and you’ll be booking more meetings without burning through large volumes of leads from a list.

About Mark Colgan

Mark is the Chief Revenue Officer at TaskDrive. In his role, he leads the direction of a 100+ person, remote team by aligning Sales, Marketing, Customer Success, and Product – and he loves it.

His brain’s default mode is ‘Revenue Generation’ and his personal mantra is Give without expecting anything in return.

 

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