Apr 9th, 2024

Beyond intent: top takeaways from Leslie Venetz

It's said that the classics never go out of style—especially good sales habits.

We talked to Leslie Venetz, founder at The Sales-Led GTM Agency, about combining the fundamentals of successful sales with person-level signals as part of our recent event: Beyond intent: how to leverage person-level buying signals.

Here are three of the top takeaways from that conversation (check out the full recording above).

1. Cold outbound isn’t dead

It’s often said that account-based marketing is just good marketing.

Well, sales has its own version: Warm outbounding is just good outbounding.

“Folks are trying to label cold outbound as warm calling, and then when they go on to describe what it is to do warm calling, they just describe how to do cold calling properly,” Leslie said.

In other words: Personalizing outreach based on buyer identity, intent, and context.

🔦 Product spotlight: Person360™
Common Room’s Person360 feature allows you to automatically collect, deanonymize, enrich, and match all signals to a unified profile for individuals and organizations. This makes it easy to connect with the people and companies behind buying signals with full context.

Understanding why buyers are in market, where they are in their journey, and how to tailor your outreach has always been part and parcel of good sales.

But sales teams don’t always follow their own best practices. As organizations adopted a growth-at-all-costs mindset in recent years, they picked up some less-than-ideal habits—like spamming their total addressable market (TAM).

Meanwhile, AI and automation have made it that much easier to scale subpar strategies.

Cold outbound may not be dead, but spray-and-pray strategies are.

“I think for organizations that are still taking that spam-the-TAM approach—who are using their AI to do more of the bad stuff at scale instead of using it to be more strategic or more intentional, for folks that aren't respecting their relationship with the prospect—sure, maybe outbound is dead for them because they're not doing it in a way that is repeatable,” Leslie said.

💡 Takeaway: Nail the basics
Sales technology has come a long way, but the fundamentals remain the same. Understand who your buyer is, get a grip on what they’re searching for and why, and lead with value. Reps can’t automate their way out of a one-size-fits-all approach.

2. Earn the right to outbound

Sales is essentially asking someone to stop and pay attention to you. Make sure you give them a good reason.

“Brass tacks, it is just simply asking yourself the question, ‘Have I earned the right to make this ask of my prospect?’” Leslie said. “So if that is asking them to read an email, what have I said in this email where I have delivered something relevant, something valuable to earn the right to ask them for their time and attention?”

This is even more crucial in today’s sales landscape. Buyers are inundated by more (and worse) outbounding than ever before. Leading with value immediately sets you apart from the pack.

“[Buyers] are feeling overwhelmed, they're feeling frazzled,” Leslie said. “Frankly, they can see through our bullshit. So there is, I think more than ever before, an onus on us as sellers to make sure that we are delivering that value at every step.”

Beyond value-adding, it’s also important to remove as much friction from the sales process as possible. Case in point: engaging with buyers on their channels of choice.

“Taking a multi-channel approach is your absolute best bet to figuring out where to have conversations with your buyers, to have conversations with them where they want to have conversations with you,” Leslie said.

But arguably most important is showing buyers that you’ve done your homework.

“Audit the way you're personalizing and see if there is continuity in the personalization token that you are using and the things you say,” Leslie said. “Meaning, if your emails are like, ‘Hi Leslie, I see you went to the University of Montana, go Grizz. Anyways, we sell….’ That's so disconnected. Or another really common example that I see in my inbox is, ‘I see you are the founder at ABC Company.’ You cannot just read my job title, you can't read the news to me and expect me to care, particularly when the next sentence after that is, ‘So here's my widget.’”
🔦 Product spotlight: Filters
Common Room’s filters feature allows you to highlight individuals and organizations based on any combination of factors. This makes it easy to surface specific people and companies based on firmographic details, cross-channel activities, product usage, and more.

💡 Takeaway: Don’t skimp on prep
Buyer research can feel like a time suck—especially when you don’t have the right tools—but it makes all the difference. Invest in tech that allows you to streamline research, qualification, and prioritization. The goal is to build a complete view of the buyer without eating into selling time.

3. Find the middle ground for segmentation

It’s hard to craft personalized messaging for a broad audience. But getting extra niche with your audience can make it difficult to scale outbounding.

Neither option will help you hit your revenue goals. That’s why Leslie recommends what she calls “value-based segmentation.”

“The simplest way to think about it is, how can I build in enough additional layers of criteria to my [ideal customer profile] that I create a smaller segment that I am extraordinarily confident have the same priorities and same challenges?” Leslie said.
🔦 Product spotlight: Segments
Common Room’s segments feature allows you to combine activity data from across 30-plus channels with customer fit criteria, such as organization size and role. This makes it easy to quickly surface, monitor, and engage specific people and companies at scale.

By drilling down into the most common pain points and goals of different industries, personas, job titles, and more, teams can templatize messaging without coming off as generic. It results in a smaller list, but it still creates room for repeatability and scalability.

“At the end of the day, sales is a numbers game,” Leslie said. “This is a hill I will die on, I don't care what people say. You still have to reach out to enough people even if you are exceptional at using intent data and triggers. You still have to reach out to enough of the right people at the right time who are interested and able to use their social capital to buy and then ultimately decide to buy from you.”

💡 Takeaway: Test and templatize plays
Rapid iteration is a sales rep’s best friend. The ability to launch, test, fine-tune, and templatize winning plays helps individual reps hit their numbers. Even better, it allows entire teams to benefit from proven plays.

Other parts of go-to-market, especially customer success, can be extraordinarily helpful at helping sales teams zero in on the right criteria to inform outreach.

“If you have a CS or account management team, talk to them,” Leslie said. “When you onboarded this client, why did they tell you that they bought or why are they renewing? I think CS is just a wealth of information that is not tapped as often as they should be by marketing and sales to get a better understanding of what's truly compelling our customers to buy from us the first time and then renew.”

Sales reps have more tools at their disposal than ever before, but success is still built on a simple foundation.

These are just a few of the takeaways from our conversation with Leslie Venetz.

Watch the recording for the full story.

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