Targeting Outbound Sales at Scale With Persona-Based Sequencing

Persona-based Selling Resonates with Target Customers

The following article was originally written by Lattice Engines which was acquired by Dun & Bradstreet in 2019.

Since the dawn of marketing, personas have been used to understand buyers and optimize marketing efforts.

Identifying and targeting personas plays a big part in our Sales Development Representatives' (SDR) outbound sales process. Persona-based selling helps us create messaging that resonates with our target customers, generates high meeting volume, and secures quality conversations with a higher propensity to close.

Combined with account-based selling techniques, persona-based sequencing enables our SDR team to align the proper language, communication channels, and customer stories to the proper personas at scale.

And, as a bonus, it’s helped our sales and marketing teams align better than ever before.

Of course, launching effective large-scale sales sequences hinges on one important thing: understanding your buyer. Knowing details like titles, communication preferences, industry, pain points, and buyer propensity helps the SDR team connect the dots for more tailored messaging, craft well-timed sequences that engage faster, and set meetings more likely to close.

Persona-Based Selling In Action

As we headed into Q4, our ambitious CRO sought to close out the year strong with a pipeline challenge for our sales team. It was a tall order, but there was a very enticing spiff to match. An SDR described the challenge as both nerve wracking and exciting. And despite the demand and challenges of Q4, the team was confident that we had both the insights and the tools to seize this opportunity.

Leveraging insights from our D&B Lattice AI models, our CRO recognized that our fastest moving opportunities were in high-tech accounts. High-tech accounts often have the tech stack, marketing plays, sales motions, and technology adoption that make them a high fit for a CDP.

However, with just three months left in the year, we would need executive sponsorship and focused efforts on high-propensity prospects if we were going to accelerate those sales cycles.

To make that happen, we knew we had to double down on senior personas in rated A and B accounts.

D&B Lattice account fit scores A through D are determined by a robust host of attributes found in our platform’s data cloud and defined by AI models. A and B rated accounts exhibit important buyer intent attributes that kept our scope targeted yet wide enough to meet volume demands.

For this challenge, our persona-based segments looked like this:

  • C-Level, VP, Director | Demand Generation | High Tech, rating A, B
  • C-Level, VP, Director | Marketing Operations | High Tech, rating A, B
  • C-Level, VP, Director | Sales Operations | High Tech, rating A, B
  • C-Level, VP, Director | Sales Strategy | High Tech, rating A, B

Based on these segments, we began crafting targeted sequences that reflected what we knew about the personas, specific use cases, and how they typically engage. Key points we considered were:

  • Their job function, relevant vertical, competition, etc.
  • They are tech savvy and busy.
  • Calls may not be the best channel to reach them initially.
  • A high touch, multi-channel campaign through email and LinkedIn drives better engagement and awareness of Lattice.

From this information, we crafted messaging catered to the personas and designed to trigger a series of engagements (e.g. email opens, clicks, etc.) These engagements would then trigger a call step for our SDR team to prioritize.

The Results

Despite the doldrums and typical challenges the holiday season presents to sales teams, this persona-based sequencing resulted in an average monthly quota attainment of 133%-200% for 80% of our SDRs. (Granted, our team also has an incredible work ethic!)

More importantly, our SDRs were able to reach out to the right people at the right time with the right messaging. They were able to accelerate deals for the rep’s. As we hand off deals to our reps, they’re able to close wins significantly faster with less friction along the way.

How You Can Do The Same at Your Company

Targeting personas is a great way to prioritize prospects for account-based sales. Based on our experience with this recent sales challenge, here is our top three tips for using this same process within your own sales team:

1. Once you’ve determined what your personas are, consider what trends for success you’ve seen in past opportunities with these personas.

2. Select four or five titles to focus on during your sales outreach. (You’ll want to find the quickest way to reach the right people without spamming the whole company.) At the same time, sales is a numbers game, so you need the right quantity along with the right quality of prospects to reach out to within an organization.

3. Finally, to segment your prospects, consider their roles and responsibilities. Group similar prospects together (we created fields in Salesforce to help us quickly build persona-based lists) and then create your sequence for each group. We use to run our persona-based sequences; and we keep a close eye on performance metrics.

Cut Through the Noise with Personas

When used properly, persona-based sequencing can help sales rep’s cut through the noise of navigating accounts at scale and round up more quality opportunities set to close.