Surprising insights from the 200 startups who've taken my prospecting quiz
A snapshot of prospecting in mid 2023
Last month I launched a self-serve scorecard for startups to assess their outbound prospecting efforts. It’s a free tool where you take a short quiz about your current efforts, get a report outlining what to fix and get links to solutions from my blog.
To date 200 startup leaders have taken the quiz, revealing key insights on how startup sales teams are prospecting in 2023 and which approaches are driving results.
1) Startups with a precise ICP have higher connect rates AND higher conversion rates
A precise ICP is the cornerstone of a successful GTM strategy because it simplifies your decision making. For a startup, a precise ICP should at minimum include company size, industry, geography, year founded, buyer job titles, pain points, buyer impact and critical events and in many cases should also include relevant tools and services that your buyers use.
But only 40% of startups have a precise ICP, which shows that the majority of companies still need to evolve from the quantity over quality and growth-at-all-costs mindsets of the past few years and adapt to the new era of finding efficient growth.
Startups with a precise ICP are also more likely to connect with prospects. 37% of startups with a precise ICP reported connecting with more than 10% of their prospects vs 29% for those with gaps in their ICP.
Startups with a precise ICP are also more likely to convert meetings to opportunities. 47% of startups with a precise ICP reported converting more than 80% of their meetings to opportunities vs 32% for those with gaps in their ICP.
Need to make your ICP more precise? Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to build the ideal customer profile for your business.
2) Large target account lists lead to lower connect rates
Large account lists are the immediate by-product of having a sloppy ideal customer profile and inevitably lead to automation and generic messaging that fails to engage prospects. The reality for most startups is that your target market is always smaller than you think so it’s beneficial to constrain your target account based on the common threads shared by your top customers. This usually leads to a target list of 5-10x the size of your current customer list.
But only 40% of startups are constraining their target account list, which shows that the majority of companies are still living in a world of quantity over quality.
Larger account lists lead to lower connect rates. Only 27% of startups with target account lists more than 10x the size of their current customer base report connecting with more than 10% of their prospects vs 37% of startups who cap their account list at 10x or below.
3) Prospecting 3+ people per account leads to higher connect AND higher conversion rates
Prospecting multiple people per account is the foundation for multi-threading, which is essential for closing virtually any B2B deal these days.
59% of companies are prospecting 3+ people per account, which shows that multi-threading is . But 41% are still single-threading
Startups who prospect 3+ people per account are also more likely to connect with their prospects. 38% of startups who prospect 3+ leads per account reported connecting with more than 10% of their prospects vs just 24% for those who prospect fewer than 3 leads per account.
Startups with prospect 3+ people per account are also more likely to convert meetings to opportunities. 43% of startups who prospect 3+ leads per account reported converting more than 80% of meetings to opportunities vs 30% for those who don’t.
4) Researching prospects and personalizing messaging leads to higher connect rates
Researching and personalization are table stakes to even have a shot at cutting through the noise of your prospects’ inboxes, so its not surprising to see 69% of startups report that they are researching prospects and tailoring their messaging:
Startups that tailor their messaging with a relevant insight are also more likely to connect with their prospects. 37% of startups who tailor their messaging reported connecting with more than 10% of their prospects vs just 21% for those who do not.
Looking for good examples of personalized emails? See my cold outbound email tear down, where I take several cold emails from my inbox and rewrite them using best practices.