When I was graduating from college, I was continuously peppered with ads and mailers containing promotional offers from two main industries: credit card companies and car dealerships.
My mailbox was stuffed with mailers about a “College Grad Rebate” from Toyota or an “exclusively low APR” on the newest Capital One card. These mailers followed me everywhere from the time I was 21 to until roughly my 23rd birthday.
Being a recent graduate in marketing, I understood why I was getting all of these promos: I fell into a demographic where I was most-likely looking to buy a car or open up my first credit card.
To them, I was a high-fit prospect and they were giving me a high-value treatment to accelerate my probability to sign on the dotted line.
High-fit contact = high-value treatment. Simple formula.
Fast forward to today: I’ve been getting a ton of ads on Instagram for meal subscription services like Blueapron and Hellofresh, and Homechef.
These last few weeks, like many of us, I’m at home more than I ever have been and I’m cooking way more than I usually do.
Because of this, I’ve been scouring the internet for new and different recipes. Given my recent search history, these meal subscription services are using the behavioral data points I’m leaving behind to deliver a high-value treatment aimed at earning my business.
High intent person = high-value treatment. Also a simple formula.
Especially in the last decade or so (what we refer to as the “automation era”) prospects and customers have been treated in an extremely transactional, “one-size fits all,” way.
Up until recently, it hasn’t mattered if you’re the CMO of a target account with the intent to buy, or the marketing associate straight out of college – everyone was getting the same prospecting emails, cold calls, ads, and generic swag.
It’s clear that a CMO and a marketing associate should not be receiving the same experience. So how do you select the right contacts and maximize the impact of the way you connect with them?
The trick to determining the experience a person should receive is a three-step process:
Find the right person, at the right time, and connect over the right thing.
Determining Best-Fit Accounts and Contacts
You might have a general sense of your best-fit contacts. But unless the criteria is documented and referenced regularly, your company is either not aligned or not prioritizing contacts and accounts appropriately.
The first step to determine a best-fit contact is to establish the set of criteria to identify if a person is or is not the right fit.
Here are the steps to determining that criteria:
- Define the Ideal Customer Profile ( ICP ): Establish the firmographic traits that make up your ideal customer. To begin, analyze your current customer-base. Look for commonalities such as: industry, geography, employee count, annual revenue, business or operating model.
- Determine the Decision Makers and Influencers within the Account: Again, look inwards at your best customers to determine the economic buyers ( ie, Decision Makers) and your champions (i.e. Influencers). Make note of similarities in their roles, titles, and responsibilities. Use these similarities to identify commonalities within the demographics of decision-makers and influencers you should be targeting in the buying process.
- Build Tiers of Value: Once you have the ICP and Contact criteria determined, use the firmographic and demographic data to create a hierarchy within your accounts and contacts. These four tiers are the easiest way to assess the value of your accounts:
- Tier 1: Best Fit ICP, Best Fit Contact
- Tier 2: Best Fit ICP, Good Fit Contact
- Tier 3: Good Fit ICP, Best-Fit Contact
- Tier 4: Good Fit ICP, Good Fit Contact
Now that you’ve identified and prioritized the accounts and contacts with whom you’d like to do business, the second step is to layer in the most important variable – who’s ready to do business with you.
Finding The Right Time to Connect with Best-Fit Contacts
While some buyers proactively come to you through inbound requests for your products and services, most aren’t that explicit. However, the vast majority of buyers are leaving data signals to indicate the right time to reach out. In the example I used earlier, my hunt for new recipes indicated to meal subscription services that I was in need of solutions for my at-home dining habits. When coupled with my ICP ( time-starved professional with limited time to hit the grocery store ) the intent-based variable of my recipe research made their outreach super relevant.
So how do you identify “intent?”
As we know – 87% of pre-purchase research is done by prospects online before they even talk to a sales rep (Zoominfo), which means intent can be gauged by evaluating someone’s online behavior. There are a few ways to do this:
- Lead Scoring & First-Party Behavioral Data
- Account-Based 3rd Party Intent Signals
- Contact-Based 3rd Party Intent Signals
Once your intent signals are in place, organize your prospects based on the degree of intent these signals display. Generally, you’ll want to prioritize those with high degrees of intent.
An Alyce customer and partner, 6Sense, uses their own intent data platform to categorize their prospects based on these four phases:
- Awareness- A buyer is aware they have a problem, but unaware that your company has a solution.
- Consideration- A buyer is looking to solve their problem and is aware your company has a solution.
- Decision- A buyer has begun evaluating solutions and your company is among them.
- Purchase- A buyer has narrowed the field of solutions and is actively looking to finalize their selection.
All that said, a person who is a great fit is good, and a person who is high intent is good – but neither are nearly as valuable as a person who is both a great fit and has high intent.
Getting the Most out of your Personal Gifting Campaign
Prioritizing The Right Contacts
With the criteria for both fit and intent determined, the next step is to percolate the highest priority contacts for your business. To be a little more prescriptive, here’s a full breakdown of exactly how you should prioritize the high-value contacts with high-level intent:
|Priority||Value Tier||Intent Level||Description|
|Highest||Tier 1||Purchase||The best-fit prospects who have expressed a level of intent that shows they are getting ready to purchase a solution like yours. You want to engage these people BADLY and get them on the phone.|
|Highest||Tier 1||Decision||The best-fit prospects who have demonstrated signals of intent that show they definitely have a pain point they’re trying to address, and that they’re starting to get more serious about evaluating solutions in your space.|
|High||Tier 2||Purchase||Not the best-fit prospects, but still really good, who have expressed a level of intent that shows they are getting ready to purchase a solution like yours any time now, and you need to get in on that conversation as soon as possible.|
|High||Tier 2||Decision||Not the best-fit prospects, but still really good, who have demonstrated signals of intent that show they have a pain they’re trying to address, and that they’re starting to get serious about evaluating solutions in your space.|
|Medium||Tier 1||Consideration||These are the best-fit prospects who haven’t quite gotten to the point where they’re evaluating solutions, but they’ve definitely indicated that they’re doing some research.|
|Medium||Tier 3||Purchase||These prospects are still valuable to your business, and are a good fit, but not the best. Good news is their intent signals have indicated that they’re just about ready to purchase a solution to solve their pain.|
|Low||Tier 1||Awareness||Best fit prospects that haven’t demonstrated any signal of interest (or very little.) This is essentially cold prospecting.|
|Low||Tier 4||Purchase||The lowest level of prospect that can be considered a good fit, who have expressed a level of intent that shows they are ready to buy a solution.|
To send the same generic communication to each tier is a surefire way for all of your upfront hard work to fall flat. Those first connections with a best-fit contact are paramount. Make sure they count by being personal.
The Right Person, at the Right Time, with the Right Gift
Now that you’ve selected the right contacts, it’s time to consider sending a personal gift. To send the same generic communication to each tier is a surefire way for all of your upfront hard work to fall flat. Those first connections with a best-fit contact are paramount. Make sure they count by being personal.
The contacts with the highest priority deserve top tier communication.
Sending “one-size-fits-all” rarely work because they are impersonal, and don’t do anything to start the relationship off on the right foot. Traditional direct mail is equivalent to sending the same canned email sequences. It’s physical spam.
Where traditional DM falls flat, personal gifting delivers (pun intended.)
Perfect for building rapport and earning trust, personal gifting creates an ideal personal experience by investing in the relationship. It’s personal, it’s one-to-one, it costs you money, time, and thought to send a personal gift to someone in order to earn their time.