Answering your questions
I’ve been asked a lot of great GTM questions lately, so I thought I would use this week’s issue to share the answers.
If you have a question you’d like answered in a future issue, please get in touch with me on LinkedIn or at email@example.com.
Reader questions covered in this issue
I have multiple ICPs. What should I do?
How do I avoid coming off as too eager in my outreach?
What should we do with inbound leads that are outside our ICP?
What should my salespeople say when buyers ask about pricing on the first call?
We currently sell $150k deals to VPs. How can we sell $500k deals to CISOs?
We sell into professional services firms using a PLG motion. How can we develop a tops-down motion?
Q: I have multiple ICPs. What should I do?
A: The short answer is pick one! But doing so at an early-stage startup can feel like being forced to choose your favorite child.
Choosing an ICP to focus on doesn’t mean you should stop working with existing customers who are outside your ICP. It just means focusing your sales and marketing efforts exclusively on solving a specific set of problems for a specific group of people that share similar traits.
The more specific you get, the easier it becomes to develop the right messaging, value prop, pick the right channels, build the right sales process, hire the right salespeople and everything else that goes into building an early-stage GTM — and the faster you will learn what works and build a predictable pipeline.
For more on refining your ICP, see my guide for how to build the ideal customer profile for your business and check out my cohort course on Maven, which kicks off with a project and live workshop to refine your ICP and focus on your most valuable prospects.
Q: How do I avoid coming off as too eager in my outreach?
A: It’s all about providing value. Most cold outreach is overly seller-centric i.e. this is who I am, this is what I do, please book a meeting with me, just following up, did you see my last email etc. It just ends up getting ignored and the sender gives up.
The best cold outreach is reader-centric i.e. given who you are, here is something I think you'll find valuable, what do you think etc. If the content you are sharing is valuable you'll always get a higher response rate than with a seller-centric approach, and you can keep sending content until they respond.
For more on this see my framework for outbound email in my recent cold outbound email tear down.
Q: What should we do with inbound leads that are outside our ICP?
A: Qualify them rigorously. Inbound leads are fun to talk to because they are have a problem they need to solve, have a solution in mind, have a rough timeline they want to hit and want to know the details of how your solution works. Even more so when they work at a hot enterprise logo with deep pockets. However, as a startup you can’t afford to waste time on deals that are unlikely to close, so you need to qualify them.
The quickest way to qualify a lead outside your ICP is to proactively raise objections for them, for example:
“People in your role usually want A, B & C. We only provide A & B. How much of a blocker is that?”.
If they say it isn’t an issue, ask why. Then ask who else will be involved in selecting the solution and why it wouldn’t be a blocker for them too. In a nutshell, adopt the mindset that they need to prove to you that they are a fit for you, rather than you having to prove anything to them.
Q: What should my salespeople say when buyers ask about pricing on the first call?
A: Provide a range of pricing based on similar customers. Buyers who ask about your pricing are primarily trying to figure out if you fit in their budget. If your pricing is not public on your website, your prospective buyers will likely ask about it early in your sales process.
Ahead of the call identify current customers of yours who are a similar size to your prospect and look up how much they spend with you. Select the highest and lowest spending customers, make a note of what they are buying (e.g. seats, features, integrations, support level etc). This gives you a range of pricing to share on the call.
When your buyer asks you about your pricing, you can simply answer:
“Customers of your size with Z users are spending between X and Y per year, depending on the final features, integrations and support level they select. How does that line up with what you had in mind?”
For more on this see my framework for how to handle their reaction to pricing in what to do when buyers ask you about your pricing.