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Starting a sales process can be very complicated.

The team’s segmentation brings numerous benefits to the company, including greater revenue predictability, a clearer division of tasks and certain ease in training the team.

Here at Outbound, we’ve segmented the process similar to what Aaron Ross proposed in Predictable Revenue, but we miss a very important part of the strategy.

The generation of smart leads lists and some other market expansion strategies were outdated due to the lack of a focused team in this area.

Ah, before I start explaining how we solve this problem, I need to talk about what smart leads are.

Smart leads are those leads that, when we think of an ideal customer profile, meet all the requirements related to what you classify as an ideal customer for your solution.

Complicated? Calm down, I’ll detail everything down here.

Business intelligence and smart leads

As I said above, we really miss a team focused on raising leads lists. That’s where commercial intelligence emerged.

The IC team would also be responsible for analyzing competitors and executing market expansion strategies, but generating smart lead lists with quality and efficiency would be the main responsibility.

In a well-structured outbound process, these lists are used to foster the prospecting process for customers carried out by hunters, or SDRs.

Imagine that your SDR team comes into contact with a huge list of leads, but some of them don’t fit with your solution, meaning they don’t have the problems that your solution solves.

For not knowing this in advance, hunters end up having all the prospecting work to reach qualification and see that the lead had no profile to advance.

Up to this point, they’ve spent a lot of time writing emails, building cadence streams, and trying to connect and qualify those leads.

In order to grow and achieve scalability, this type of problem that compromises efficiency must be eliminated so that time is optimized.

Therefore, CI personnel must ensure that the leads from this list meet some defined requirements when thinking about the ideal customer profile.

Step Zero: Define your ideal customer profile

If you still don’t know what an ideal customer profile is and its importance for an outbound process, we should start from there.

The Ideal Customer Profile describes important characteristics of a company and, once defined, will guide all outbound strategies.

The assembling of the list of smart leads, the development of cadence flows, the type of approach in cold emails, cold calls and social networks and the negotiation discourse, all of will depend on the ICP.

The better the detail of your Ideal Customer Profile, the better and easier your business intelligence team’s work will be.

The same difficulty encountered in defining a persona is valid when defining your ICP. It’s not an easy process, but it shouldn’t be based on guesswork.

To make your task easier, we have developed the Ideal Customer Profile Generator. There you get all the information you need to build your ICP. 😉

Step 1: Provide the necessary tools

Some tools for surveying smart lead lists are quite expensive and, to make matters worse, they are gringo most of the time.

In addition to increasing the cost of their prospecting process, some of them are not able to extract data in Brazil as well as they extract it abroad.

Gee, you say all this to get here and say it’s expensive and unreliable? I don’t have the budget for this, now what?

Calm down, don’t despair!

In our project, Outbound Reviews, we reviewed several tools that we know or that we already use in our daily lives.

Some of them have free version or free extensions for Google Chrome.

You can use them as what we call The IC Starter pack, a tool pack for those who don’t want to spend a lot on it now but want to test the idea.

With the help of the sales team of park view city Lahore, I suggest you start with some of these:

  • Snov : allows you to find the lead’s email and other data on social networks or on the company’s website, in addition to checking if the returned emails are valid or not;
  • Hunter : captures the lead email and checks the validity of the returned addresses;
  • Clear bit : allows you to find some lead data through an extension in Google Chrome or in Gmail itself;
  • Wappalyzer : allows you to discover which technologies are used by the lead, especially on your website;
  • GetProspect : facilitates and automates the survey of leads lists through LinkedIn, importing data in different formats;
  • Google Earth: allows you to raise lists with leads that are harder to find, such as bakeries, restaurants, pharmacies, schools, hotels, among others.

It’s good for a start, isn’t it?

Now, if you understand the importance of raising these lists with guaranteed efficiency and quality, you think that using too many tools may not work and are willing to invest, there are more reliable paid platforms.

Step 2: Find leads

There are several ways to start looking, but once you understand what your ICP is, it’s a lot easier.

For example, if you want to find startups that sell SaaS, you can start on accelerator sites, the Associação Brasileira de Startups, social networking groups or news about the subject.

After raising the names of possible companies that could be the focus of prospecting, it’s time to work on the tools I’ve already mentioned here.

A difficult way, but that can also bring information, is to consult the domain of the company’s website on Whois and get the data about the owners of that domain.

Anyway, any type of source that compiles lists with the names of companies that are in accordance with your ICP is already a possible starting point.

Step 3: Define the information to be collected

The information you will have to look for depends on your company’s approach model and the complexity of your sale.

A complex sale requires a more consultative approach and therefore more data must be collected about leads.

The main information is:

  • Company Name;
  • Company website;
  • LinkedIn company page;
  • Market segment;
  • Average size of the company;
  • Contact’s first and last name;
  • Contact position;
  • Are you the decision-maker?
  • Position of decision-maker;
  • Contact email;
  • Contact phone number;
  • LinkedIn profile.

There are many variables that can be raised by the IC team so that prospectors can make a better approach with leads.

If you find it somewhere, it is also important to share complementary information so that the sales team can generate more rapport and speed up the negotiation.

This is a factor to watch out for: don’t spend too much time on details that add little value and find the ideal balance between quantity and quality.

Once you filter this information, define the best format for storing it and sharing it with the team.

You can use, for example, a simple Google Sheets spreadsheet-like our Prospecting Sheet to organize your lead list.

If you idealize Capital Smart City as your sales engagement company, you will boost your sales unexpectedly.

Step 4: Find your company contact

A big difficulty we had at times at OTB was finding the right contacts within the company, the decision-maker or the main influencer.

It would be really nice if I could just call each company, approach the gatekeeper asking for the contact and he would kindly answer me with all the information I need.

However, this takes more time than I can devote and people are not always so open to handing over contacts.

This task is divided into two parts: the first is to decide who will be the contact and the second is to actually find the data about that person.

The decision-maker has the autonomy to decide changes within the company’s process. Knowing who to approach is critical and speeds up the decision process.

The IC’s job is to identify which people are involved in the purchasing process, from the decision-maker to the influencer.

I will give two generic examples, but very different.

  • In a smaller company what I look for is the CEO, the CMO, among other C-level positions because, generally, he is the one who makes the decisions, which makes my sales cycle shorter.
  • In a larger company I look for sales managers, commercial directors, and other management positions because generally more people will be involved in the decision process.

In larger companies, who makes the final decision is the main manager inside, but in all cases it is important to understand who are the people who will be part of the process.

  • Which one feels the most pain that your solution tries to extinguish?

It’s no use getting data from a CEO if several people will be involved in the process and the CEO himself doesn’t even know, in detail, what the great difficulty of his team is about.

Step 5: Switching baton to hunter

In passing the baton here, the IC team won’t build a cadence flow to transfer the responsibility for the lead to the hunter, ok?

In this case, it is important to define an SLA, or Service Level Agreement, between the information collected by the IC team and the information that the hunter really needs.

The list of smart leads may have hundreds of information about the lead, but if you don’t have the information you need to ensure quality personalized prospecting, what good is it?

So, the IC team must charge hunters to convert smart leads into MQLs, while SDRs must define what information they need, charging efficiency and quality of ICs.

In conclusion: how to generate smart leads?

If after all these steps you still can’t find at least your lead email, either that contact doesn’t exist or something went wrong!????

The process seems long and laborious, and it can be.

It will depend a lot on what tools you use for prospecting and how much information you need for your SDR team.

I had difficulties myself at the beginning. My first list of just ten smart leads took almost two days to complete!

However, once the list is ready, just pass the list of smart leads to prospectors to get their hands dirty and see the conversion rates of smart leads to MQLs, SQLs and customers going up.