We think we know our customers… but what if they’re in an entirely different universe than we imagine?

Each layer of customer understanding unveils a new truth that should ultimately shape how sales and marketing connect with buyers. But too often, there is a complete disconnect between what a customer knows about your product and what your sellers are communicating to the market. How can we close this gap when we can’t even gauge how many light-years away our ICP is?

According to our latest guest, Jordan Crawford, Founder of Blueprint, if you take the time to hear customer stories, they’ll tell you something you’ve never even thought of. You can shortcut years of learning by asking customers what they already know. That is what it takes to bridge the divide and connect with today’s B2B buyers.

Listen as we discuss:

  • Using customer stories and experiences to launch conversations with precision
  • Why outbound isn’t dead—but your outbound strategy might be 
  • Predictions for AI applications in sales and marketing (and how people are using AI wrong today)

Listen to “#71 Rethinking Personalization in the Modern Outbound Selling System” on Spreaker.

Using customer stories and experiences to launch conversations with precision

Jordan uses a unique approach to targeting and connecting with customers. Rather than defining an ICP based on traditional metrics such as company size, niche and outwardly expressed traits and focus, Jordan suggests targeting based on problems.

Connecting with a buyer can be deep and hit on personal pain points—a much more effective strategy than relating on a generic level. Need some examples? Head to your LinkedIn inbox where connect requests often come paired with a message like, ‘I see you are also in sales, let’s connect!’

Shifting focus to problems and pain points

Where generic, trait-based conversations no longer prime sellers to effectively connect with buyers, diving into customer experiences and stories to identify problems and pain points does.

In Jordan’s case, this is done by analyzing job listings. When you dive into what a company is looking for in terms of skill and experience, you can glean a lot about its strengths and weaknesses. Then you can draw data-based conclusions on where they need solutions.

“Instead of taking a company and doing research on them, look at jobs and make a list of companies,” Jordan says. “Sort the companies by the problems they have and find who has the most magnified version of the problem you solve—that’s who you should go after.”

Moving towards genuine connection

Once you’ve determined who you should connect with, you can use insights, stories and experiences to guide targeted conversations. But first, you’ve got to take a layered, multi-faceted approach to truly understanding your buyer. 

“Every time you learn something new about your buyer, you change what you’re selling, how you’re selling it, and how you’re thinking about it,” Jordan says. “Just listen and customers will tell you something you never would have thought of.”

According to Jordan, the biggest problem in sales today is the gap between what customers know about a product or service and what sellers are communicating to the market. The best way to close this gap is to listen to the experiences and stories of customers and incorporate them into your messaging and communication.

Outbound isn’t dead—but your outbound strategy might be

Outbound is alive and well, it’s just evolved. Your strategy from 2011 won’t work for today’s buyers. The components of an effective outbound strategy have completely shifted. 

According to Jordan, the components of a great outbound strategy include:

  • Amazingly good data
  • Lead identification system
  • Inbox deliverability system
  • Perfected message through reverse engineering

Amazingly good data

Once you determine the main identifier of your target audience, hone in and gather rich data to narrow your focus. Jordan offers an illustration of a company that does tie-ins with pricing and allows price adjustments for individual features.

“They want to target people doing a PLG motion, so I’d scrape 100,000 B2B SaaS websites,” he says. “I’d find who has free trials and an enterprise motion—that narrows my audience.”

Building outbound on solid data can help you create a laser-focused modern strategy.

Lead Identification System

Connect with people with different perspectives who can help identify leads. As your focus gets narrower and narrower, your messaging will define itself. Then, you’ll need the software and systems to help identify the leads according to the parameters you’ve defined.

Inbox deliverability system

“You have to build an inbox deliverability system where you warm up multiple domains to make sure you’re not landing in spam, and then you can space your messages out,” Jordan says.

But the only way to do so effectively is by being anchored to a clear first principle as to why you are targeting someone and what insights you have to offer them.

Perfected message through reverse engineering

Find someone who knows the target audience really, really well and have them craft the perfect email with no constraints or contextual hurdles. Then, find a way to make it easier, cheaper and possible to scale that message across your target audience.

Predictions for AI applications in sales and marketing (and how people are using AI wrong today)

AI has risen the charts as one innovation after another surfaces. Now, almost a cliche buzzword, business leaders, influencers and salespeople alike are jumping into AI—looking for effective, efficient applications to leverage new tech.

But according to Jordan, most are using it wrong.

“AI is like a hammer given to sales reps, and companies are swinging it everywhere,” he says. “It’s a much better tool when used to summarize and extrapolate information.”

Rather than spending infinite time on navigating the latest and greatest AI tool, ultimately losing quality and efficiency, it should be used to sort, analyze and summarize information. In the modern digital world, we have all the data we need to make effective decisions. Unfortunately, most of it exists in unsorted silos. Jordan says this is where the true power of AI will play its biggest role.

“The biggest opportunity here is how AI can teach you something more about who you should be targeting, why you should be targeting them and what to say based on what your past customers have already told you.”

Want to learn more about developing the perfect tailored outbound strategies using customer experiences and stories to connect with today’s B2B buyer? Listen to the full episode of Winning the Challenger Sale where Jordan reveals more about precision personalized messaging, successful modern outbound and the future of AI in sales.

To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to the Winning The Challenger Sale podcast on our website, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or just search for it in your favorite podcast player.

Andee Harris

Andee Harris is CEO of Challenger. Andee brings more than two decades of experience growing and scaling service and technology businesses. She has previously led multiple companies, both as CEO and Senior Vice President, through periods of rapid revenue growth, critical fundraising, and successful acquisition. These companies include Highground (acquired by Vista Equity Partners), TMBC (acquired by ADP), Syndio and Emerging Solutions (acquired by Emtec).