In basketball, the “post” is a position a player takes in-between the basket and the top of the “key.” It’s a middle position, neither attacking the basket nor dropping back for the three-point shot. That’s why sales prospects who can’t be readily defined as either “inbound” or “outbound” can be categorized as “postbound.” They have the potential to become hand raisers, but for now, they’re hanging back.
So, who are postbound leads? Typically, they’re webinar registrants, e-book and web content downloaders, or those who have attended one of your events. They’re prospects who know your brand, but for some reason, aren’t quite ready to evaluate your product.
In a recent episode of our webinar series, “Flip the Script,” Becc Holland, Head of Sales Development for Chorus.ai, outlines how to handle postbound leads, starting with who should be responsible for them.
TLDR: the outbound team.
According to Becc, outbound reps love postbound leads because these prospects already know the brand and perhaps even the product because they have attended an event or downloaded content from the web. Meanwhile, inbound sales reps don’t want to invest the time in chasing postbound leads because they view them as “false leads.” That’s because postbound leads haven’t requested a demo and the conversion rate is typically much lower than that of a true inbound lead who has asked for a demo.
So, how should outbound teams categorize and prioritize postbound leads? Becc suggests using the following five sequences, which she developed for her team to use.
1. High ICP + High Engagement — Ebook or Content Download
High ICP means the prospect has a high “Ideal Customer Profile.” In other words, they are the right company and person for your product. This is someone you really want to sell to, Becc says, because they mesh well with or like your product.
As for the High Engagement portion of the sequence, that simply means the prospect has been downloading a lot of your content.
2. High ICP/Low Engagement — E-book/Content download
This postbound lead still rates as your ideal kind of potential customer, and are still downloading your content, just not in strong volumes. So, they are defined as Low Engagement.
3. Low ICP/High Engagement — E-book/content download
A Low ICP postbound lead generally aligns with the ideal customer profile for your product. And they’re High Engagement because they’re downloading a lot of your content. However, they don’t rate as a high-priority prospect to pursue because they have some less-than-ideal qualities. For example, maybe they work for a business that’s too small, or they aren’t high up in the decision-making chain.
The last two sequences are:
4. High ICP — Webinar
5. High ICP — Events
As you would expect, based on the explanation of the other sequences, these postbound leads fit your ideal customer profile very well. But instead of downloading content, they’re engaging with your company through webinars and events.
“When my SDRs walk into the office to start their day, they know that these five sequences of prospects are who they are going to call first, before they start any true cold outbound calls,” says Becc.
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Take Time to Personalize Outreach to Postbound Leads
Once you understand the five sequences, the next question becomes: How do I talk to these prospects? Becc suggests doing some front-end research first, so you can create a personalized approach for engaging these potential buyers — gently. Reaching out to offer a demo out of the gate or peppering the prospect with emails could backfire, she says.
Becc offers this example; “If a prospect is downloading a lot of your content (High Engagement) and hasn’t yet become a hand-raiser in the process, it’s very likely that there is some objection or reason there. Having your SDR team reach out and offer a demo is much more likely to rile that prospect rather than engage them.”
Looking at the prospect’s LinkedIn profile or other online activity to find something that can help personalize the conversation is a better strategy, according to Becc. “I look for content such as articles authored by the prospect, webinars they’ve hosted, social media posts or content they’ve engaged with by commenting, liking or sharing,” she says.
“Junk-drawer premises” — social media, hobbies, personal interests or attributed traits in the prospect’s online profile — are also useful tidbits, Becc says. Outbound reps can mine these “junk drawers” for material they can use to help transition the conversation to focus on the customer.
The 3 Phases of the Postbound Transition Conversation
So, how should you structure your lead-in to a typical postbound transition conversation? Becc suggests the following approach:
- Open with a postbound premise for context.
- Transition with “but more importantly ... ”
- And then finish with an outbound premise summary.
“I tell my SDRs to use the postbound premise purely for context, and then quickly transition into an outbound stance that is personalized to that specific prospect to effect conversion,” Becc says.
Here’s an example of how a postbound transition conversation might begin OVER cold-call, with an outbound rep using those three key elements for structure:
“Hi Shawn, I noticed that you downloaded our “21 Top Cold Calling Habits”, but more importantly, I couldn’t get enough of the article that you wrote on LinkedIn on “Scaling Effective Teams”, so I was curious if you’ve come across Chorus before?”
Becc says not to talk about something that the prospect did in relation to your company because “that’s just pointing to your company as the hero.” By doing research on the front end, you can very quickly turn the conversation on the backend to the prospect. “They will be more likely to engage with you, which puts you in a much stronger position to convert them.