Why You Didn’t Meet Your Quota Last Quarter – Part 2: Your Messaging Sucks

Sales Messaging is Key to Prospecting

This blog is part two of a three part series on the topic, “Why You Didn’t Meet Your Quota Last Quarter”. If you missed part one- check it out here.

So, if you took the advice from last week and found your pipeline to be healthy (in theory), but the results weren’t there and the math was breaking down, the next place you should check is your messaging, and if it is resonating with your audience.

Of course this assumes you have and use messaging.  Messaging covers how you communicate your value proposition across ALL channels: email, your website, conversations your sales reps are having, demos/meetings, etc. But here’s the catch: for almost ALL companies (who aren’t Google and/or don’t have a brand known around the world) email remains the only way you can reach the hundreds of thousands – or millions – of people who have never heard of your company.  To be quite honest, it always blows my mind when people tell me “we don’t do email campaigns because we don’t want to be spammy…” – those things are not one in the same! We can all agree that bad emails sent way too frequently are spam.  Good emails that educate your prospects are valuable.  I hear about – and purchase – new services and tools several times a year because of a great cold email I’ve received.  I’ve also attended dozens of webinars and learned valuable skills because of emails I’ve received.  I would guess you have too.

And I’ll say it again, if you don’t do email marketing, odds are that 99% of your target market will literally never hear of your company. Assuming that you believe in your product or service – what a shame that would be.  In my last blog I pointed out:

Experian found email marketing generates the highest ROI of any marketing activity and for every $1 spent results in $45 in return. Before you think – email doesn’t work in my industry, we’re in a “relationship driven” business – I promise you I can show you someone in your industry who IS doing it successfully. We have clients executing well done email campaigns who work in every space, from complex ERP implementations to IT Staffing for Fortune 1000 companies to supplying the Federal Government.

Anyway, off my soapbox now.  Let’s get back to messaging.  Welcome to Part 2…

The Problem: Impotent Messaging

If you’re going to do it, do it well

Sales Messaging is Key to Prospecting

Where we see most companies fail is having one generic message they apply to their entire audience. I see this from a dozen companies a day “Hey Bob, we do IT staffing, do you need IT staff?”

It isn’t tailored based on the prospect’s role, the type of company you’re reaching out to, or pain points you can guess the company cares about.

Actually doing those things when communicating to potential buyers is called Segmentation.  Your messaging should be tailored to your audience.  But, if you’re like us, your audience varies greatly.  Segmenting requires not just good data – in the sense that it’s accurate – but really deep data.  Data that tells you more than the prospect’s name, title, and the company they work for.  When you know what industry they’re in, how big the company is, the prospect’s role – not in generic “VP of IT” way, but in a “I’m the VP of IT who handles Database Administration and we’re using MongoDB” kind of way – it opens up a whole world for you to get creative, have fun with your messaging, and see killer response rates.


The Solution: Tailored, Provocative Messaging

Consider the difference it makes if I’m an Information Security vendor selling anti-virus software and I have a list of VPs of IT I can market to.  My message could be something like:


Targeted Messaging to Your Prospects


But here’s the catch, on your list of 10,000 VPs of IT there were actually:

  • 1,000 VPs of Information Security – who your message spoke to
  • 1,000 VPs of IT Governance, Risk, or Compliance – who your message sort of spoke to
  • 3,000 VPs of IT Infrastructure – who maybe forwarded your message to the Security folks
  • 5,000 VPs of IT Application Development, Business Intelligence, Telecommunications, Asset Management, Procurement, Database Administration….this list goes on…. who deleted your message the second it came in

Is it any wonder your response rate is low? Imagine if you knew and understood this audience breakdown before sending your email to all of them.  Don’t stop there — imagine if you knew some of them used a competitive solution to yours, and what industry they’re in, and how big their company is…

Let’s say a segment of that list – maybe just 300 contacts – were VPs of IT responsible for Risk & Compliance in the Healthcare industry and were using your competitor Virusly (making this up, hope it’s not a real company name).  Your message could be:


Targeting Your Prospects by Segmentation

And I can alter that message, just slightly, for every other segment of my market.

The key is focus.  Like the line in the newest Karate Kid, “your focus needs more focus”.

As a marketing department you should be able to – and should be executing – on this strategy.  Even as an SDR, when I start my day I should be able to say “today I’m going to focus on VPs of Information Security at pharmaceutical companies”. I know what case studies I’m going to cite, what my social proof is (competitors I’m going to name drop), I know the use case for that industry, and, more importantly, the role I’m targeting.  That’s what I focus on.  Monday is Pharma, Tuesday is Financial Services, and Wednesday is eCommerce.  Or Monday is VPs of Security, and Tuesday is VPs of Compliance, and Wednesday is VPs of Application Development. You get the picture.

If your data isn’t designed to allow you to do this, start now.  At the very least, make capturing these data points a requirement.  Make Job Function a requirement in your CRM.  Make Industry and Technology Stack required fields.  Do progressive profiling; the first time a customer fills out a form on your website – let’s say to download a whitepaper – you get some basic data, the next time they fill out a form, get different info to better qualify the potential lead for your unique product.   Just find a way to do it.

For most companies it’s cheaper to buy this type of info rather than build it out internally.

Unfortunately for us, as of today there is no “DiscoverOrg for DiscoverOrg”, yet. But our customers know that they have this depth of data and are seeing some incredible results.

Once you’re crushing your campaigns and leads are pouring in, then what?  Well, make sure you’re turning those leads into deals, duh.

Next week we’ll talk about the two biggest areas where we see our own leads fail to convert: 1) when we bank on just one internal contact to be our champion and 2) when we’re working with what Jill Konrath likes to refer as the “NoPos” (people with No Power), and not the actual Decision Makers.

Stay tuned!

As a Co-Head of Sales, Patrick manages sales and business development at DiscoverOrg where he is responsible for ..read more