If you want to get noticed by your prospects today, your outreach must be highly personalized. There’s no two ways about it.

Sure, there are tons of benefits to video outreach — it targets non-readers, it conveys human emotion and it tells a story, to name a few. But when salespeople use video in lieu of properly researching their prospects, it runs into the same problems as cold emails or cold calls. That is, it’s simply not personalized enough, and prospects aren’t going to bite!

When it comes to successful prospecting, here are three methods I’ve always found to be highly successful:

3×3 Research

Co-founder of the award-winning sales training firm Vorsight, Steve Richard coined this phrase, which refers a highly focused three-tiered research strategy.

The idea behind it is that sales professionals waste too much time “researching” their prospects: what school they went to, what their favorite football team might be, or what their personal hobbies are. All that is great if you plan to use it in an outbound conversation or video — but if you’re not, you’re getting caught in the data trap.

In 3×3 research, find only 3 pieces of contextualized information about your prospect, the company or the industry that you plan on using in a sales conversation. No more than three bullet points! Oh, and it has to be done in 3 minutes. Try:

  • Google Alerts or LinkedIn to monitor trigger events such as job changes
  • Practice social listening on Twitter or Facebook
  • Your prospect’s company webpage

The great thing about 3×3 is, if done right, it can actually provide you considerable insights into private, as well as publicly held companies.

10-Ks, Competitor 10-K’s, and Annual Reports

For those of you who don’t know—a form 10-K is an annual report required by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that gives a comprehensive summary of a company’s financial performance.

A leader at Verizon who loved using 10-K reports once showed this trick to me. He wouldn’t read the entire financials, but the sub-notes and the management discussion from the CEO. Without scanning pages of data, these provided insights about the main initiatives the company wanted to look at in the next quarter.

The downside to 10-K’s is they’re only available for publicly held firms. If you’re prospecting a private company you’re going to have to get a little crafty. Here are a few things you can try:

  • Using the competitor’s 10-K’s and/or annual reports, find out what the priorities of their top 3 competitors are, and try and gauge if your prospect is at a competitive disadvantage.
  • Find out larger industry trends and discover if your prospect is in line with these trends.
  • If all this fails, try doing a Google search for the company name with .pdf or .pptx, which might turn up documents they haven’t hidden from search engines.

Highlighting what your prospect’s competitors are doing is incredibly valuable to them. Remember, the goal here isn’t to sell your product or solution right off the bat. It’s to perk their interest in your solution by highlighting how it can alleviate one of their pain points, and positioning yourself as a consultant in the buying process.

Google Alerts, Owler, and Glassdoor

These tools are great because they’re completely free and allow you to do high-value prospecting on a consistent basis for private and public companies (though it might be easier for public companies). I recommend integrating them into your daily social cadence so you can always keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening with your prospects. It takes me about 30 minutes every morning.

Each tool depends on the buyer persona you sell to.

  • Google Alerts gives you real-time news on your prospect or company. Look for executive quotes, executive priorities, hiring and/or growth, promotions, new products, new clients, or awards.
  • Owler is a third-party aggregate of the financials and CEO satisfaction. Here you can keep an eye out for news on acquisitions or a company’s missions/goals and/or values.
  • Glassdoor is great for businesses who sell to the buyer persona ‘customer success’ or ‘HR’. It gives you a clear picture of the pitfalls and challenges of the company’s culture.

Personalizing your messaging is absolutely essential when trying to get in front of your prospects. Whether you’re using video, email or the phone, remember to research your buyer, start with context, provide value, and include a call-to-action so you’re making it very easy for buyers to respond to your request.

It’s been proven that teams who embrace a social routine fill pipeline faster. If you’re truly looking to create the ultimate personalized outreach, it has to be a consistent habit folded into your daily selling activities, just like losing weight or learning a new sport.
personal connections with custom videos

Jamie Shanks