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5 minute read

Death (or birth) of a salesperson

Death (or birth) of a salesperson

A non-salesperson’s foray into leveraging AI as part of an ABM bus dev motion.


Not selling

For better or worse I am not a salesperson. (And hats off to career salespeople – driving sales results as your core jam isn’t simple, or easy. The people who do it well are insanely talented and hardworking). 

Yes, I do bus dev for Titan ONE. But I don’t actually try to sell anything to anyone. Ever.

I have conversations, do a lot of listening, share what’s been working with our clients across brand gen and GTM campaigns. 

When the people I’m speaking with are excited about the same things, we go deeper, eventually sculpting a strategy project, the output of which leads to an integrated brand and GTM plan.

And then we bring it to life, in collaboration with our clients.

All the good stuff - creative, content, paid media, campaigns, reporting and optimization

This ‘connecting and listening’ process has become an important form of opportunity qualification for us. We only bring in new engagements when we feel there’s a genuine values alignment. That approach has been serving us very well so far, knock on wood! The more we've leaned into it, the more we've grown. 

The question becomes, how can we find new ways to have more conversations?


Testing new approaches

When it comes to ‘magic AI-driven’ sales tools and platforms that promise utopian results, I’m dubious because in my lived and observed experience, buying decisions in B2B are largely predicated on trust. For trust, you need humans in the equation.


That said, we - like everyone else - are exploring AI tools that can aid in the process of generating more conversations, with more people.

We are doing this partly out of curiosity, partly to see how they might help us connect with more values-aligned people, and partly to see how they can help our clients.

We're putting some of these tools to work as part of an experimental campaign push. So, what does it look like?


Let's talk strategy first

We have identified 284 companies that align with our ICP based on a variety of factors. These are segmented into Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 levels. These lists are set up in both Sales Navigator and in HubSpot

Our Wave 1 brand gen campaign runs from May 1 to June 15 and is designed to introduce us to decision makers and influencers at these companies. We have a dedicated ABM campaign landing page, and custom tracking across our channels. 

To start, we're running a combination of Adwords and Account-targeted LinkedIn ads leveraging video and carousel formats. 

Inside HubSpot, we have a custom property called 'Hyper Target' which allows me to tag any Tier 1, 2 or 3 company as a focus for manual outreach. This 'level' is applied to target accounts that have either special interest to us, or are showing more active account-level interest (we can see in HubSpot which accounts are showing the most activity).

When I reach out to someone through HubSpot, it's all logged and tracked. It's easy for me to click a box to set a reminder for myself to follow up within a given time period. The tasks tracked within HubSpot ensure that I don't drop balls in outreach and follow up. 

Keep in mind, again – I. am. not. a. salesperson.  I view all of the above as a way of ensuring that we have a strategy-aligned approach to outreach, and a defined process that can be adopted by others. Trust me – if I can do this, you can too.

So, how about those fancy tools...


Tool 1: Clay - AI data enrichment

Having a list of target accounts is great, but without a list of contacts you're stuck at account-level advertising.

People who are legit BDRs (not like me :) have told me how insanely time consuming it can be to try to get clean actionable lists of contacts within companies. This can become a major manual time-suck for teams, jumping between Sales Navigator, spreadsheets. other tools or various CRMs.

We're testing a tool called Clay. It is a ‘cascade waterfall data enrichment’ tool. What does that mean in plain terms?  You can load in a list of your target accounts, plug in different sources (including ChatGPT), and it will clean and enrich your list of contacts within those target accounts who meet your criteria. It's a faster, cleaner path to getting good contact info for people at your target accounts.

Did I discover this tool on my own? No! Someone much smarter than me put me onto it, and is helping me build it out for Titan.


Tool 2: Potion - AI 1-to-1 video outreach

Another tool we're testing is Potion. It allows you to create personalized 1-to-1 videos at scale. It models your voice, and adjusts the video to make the recipient feel like you recorded it just for them. It comes across as very natural.

When I asked Potion - to be devil’s advocate - if this was a disingenuous way to try and start an authentic human connection, I was asked how different it is than marketing automation emails that bulk substitute recipients’ names into the content. Perhaps it’s not really that different, it’s just newer form of it.

What matters is getting to that meaningful conversation.

Once we have our clean list of between 10 and 20 contacts for each of our target accounts, we'll be deploying a 'video hello' from me that will look and feel exactly as if I recorded it only once, for them. 

Slightly weird? Yes. Worth testing? We think so.


Tool 3: Brandgen - Account-level ads managed via HubSpot allows you to target influencers at target accounts with 'follow me' display ads. Your BDRs can enrol (or unenrol) companies, and see the behaviour of individual interactions within their target account lists. We've already been using this for clients, and we'll be phasing this in to our own campaign after our initial period of LinkedIn advertising.

We don't want (not should any brand want) for our prospects to be overladen with messaging. But we do want to be (and remain) visibly in the mix so that when the time comes to dig deeper on something that we'd be a good fit to help with, we'll be top of mind. 


Agile, strategic, and accessible

We believe in ABM motions that allow us to increase value and impact from the content we’ve created. We bring that approach to the table in work with do with our clients as well.

I think this is where the ball is headed. Though still important (and philosophically sound), inbound on its own has lost some ‘oomph’ – but so has traditional ABM, which is (thankfully) is no longer the sole domain of huge investments, huge platform costs, or being locked into 3rd party professional services.

It is becoming accessible in new, different ways.

But whatever the tool - whether it's a full-on ABM platform with services wrapped around it, or paid targeting bolt-on to HubSpot, none of it matters if the strategy is not sound, and if there's not true buy-in from teams that are involved.


Try something new (just do it!)

You don’t need to have the entire world figured out to try this stuff. Nobody does, anyway. You can be agile and strategic.

Consider setting up a mini sales/marketing innovation hub internally to explore and test new ideas.

Ask your sales team to give you a list of accounts they are targeting in a particular region or industry along with their strategy and rationale. Try Potion for outreach. Try Clay to enrich contact lists. Try Brandgen to start making your brand ubiquitous to those target accounts. Or try different tools.

Create reporting around:

  • Account-level interactions
  • Individual interactions
  • New contacts
  • MQLs
  • SQLs
  • MoM and TCV value of closed-won business

Do check-in meetings with the marketing and sales 'ABM innovation' team and look at everything together. Align on the accounts that show the most intent and interaction, and create your own 'hyper focus' category for manual outreach. Continually update and close loops.

Compare this approach to the regular funnel. Evaluate both for business value.

Look at what worked, and do more of it.

Things are indeed changing quickly, but the people who try new integrated GTM motions are the ones who will be less likely to be caught flat-footed, and the most likely to be excited about where things are headed.

I’ll do a follow-up post to report on results of our Wave 1 campaign.

Our Wave 2 campaign coming up in late summer will focus a layer down on our target industries. 

Should be interesting…



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