The Key That Unlocks All Boxes: Whistle’s Formula for Gaining New Clients

Against a backdrop of regulation of payment systems by the European Union and largely uncharted waters, Whistle’s client, Capital* – (*not the real name),  a London-based fintech-startup, entered the new open banking market with two goals in mind: to drive meetings with big brands in the E-money space for sales opportunities and to raise money from investors.

Open banking, which is a relatively new concept, shakes up the classic concepts of credit cards, traditional banks and Paypal that most people are used to using for online or point of sales payments. Capital’s technology proposes to flip the entire industry on its head, offering zero processing fees from bank-to-bank, as well as bank level security which cuts out the expensive-to-use middleman and card processing steps. 

Facing steep barriers to entry for novel payment providers, Capital reached out to Whistle to connect with its first clients in Whistle’s 100 day Lab programme –  with impressive results.

This is Whistle’s five-step process for gaining new clients, that’s replicable across all outbound campaigns. The formula produces the key that unlocks all boxes.

1. Creating the Hypothesis

With Capital, as the industry matures, it is a matter of when and not if that there will be rapid adoption of open banking technology. The early breakthroughs and early adopters would come once companies and brands understood exactly where they would benefit from embracing change. This is where Whistle stepped in to illuminate Capital’s offering for potential users.

It starts with a hypothesis and trying to figure out what connects a person to a message.

Whistle’s first step assumed that people who were in industries like E-money would be most interested in innovation in payment technology. Whistle also made the assumption that within different companies, people who are involved in customer facing roles would care about improving customer satisfaction through simpler payments. In fact, 83% of shoppers say they leave a checkout without their referred payment option being available. 

Formulating the hypothesis is a necessary step in the sales process that allows the seller to prepare prior to the first call, by creating buyer profiles to form a hypothesis about what problems they can solve for the customer. This preparation allows the seller to have answers ready before ever speaking with the customer.

2. Identifying the Target

Identifying the target is probably the most important element in the process, because it doesn’t matter how good the message or channel is, if you’re not speaking to the right person, the campaign will fail. Identifying the target is quite complex. Understanding the target audience and “what’s in their world” or the type of KPI’s that they are measured against, or the ROI they are personally chasing that you can help them with, are important elements when segmenting your target audience.

Capital could easily identify their target by finding a problem that these companies had and created a hypothesis that businesses who were more likely to embrace innovation were newer and smaller companies, or larger companies that were doing innovative projects.

Identifying the target and hypotheses requires asking questions. Are you looking for people who have been in that role for a long time, or people of higher seniority?  What types of companies are you looking for and what kind of industries are you approaching? 

3. Choosing a Channel

Finding the right medium to contact people on requires the greatest amount of flexibility. The channel can change all the time. You’ll find that some people say making contact over the phone is the best, or email is better, or, for many today, Linkedin is the way forward.

Capital targeted big brands that needed to shake up their offering with their payment systems.  The main channels used were phone and email but during the Covid -19 pandemic in the UK, the phone call connection rates were very low because employees were not routing the phones to their homes. Emails became the primary source of reaching out to clients so Whistle executed high quality email copy to get attention. 

Capital demonstrates that during 2020 all gloves are off and all bets are off on which is the best way to work within an unpredictable environment. One must become increasingly inventive to reach their target and be channel agnostic. If one channel is outperforming others, a company should double down in their efforts on that channel. If one specific type of prospect is more responsive, you should focus on finding more prospects who are similar. Simple! 

The primary channels for B2B outreach are phone, email and social media/LinkedIn.

4. Crafting the Message

When Whistle began the Lab for Capital, different messages ran for the different roles. Technology roles centred on conversations around technology and innovation and customer service facing roles focused on customer satisfaction. How you structure a message is dependent on the channel, but be warned, the channel is a moving target. 

When crafting your message you should ultimately be thinking about who you are serving and the problems you are solving for those people. Give consideration as to why you are reaching out to them now and how they would benefit from talking to you.

5. Getting Your Timing Right

Capital’s campaign was effective as they were able to effectively find the right people, the right channel and the right time to bring their potential customers to a conversation based on Capital’s technology that was a great fit for these companies. 

Getting hold of the right person at the right time can make a massive impact on purchase decisions especially where budget is tight or they are limited financially in their sphere on what they can do. 

Even if it’s not the right time to make a sales purchase,  it may just be a good time for an exploratory phone call that will  keep you in their mind  for the future. 

You can predict timing. 

New senior hires are most likely to make technology purchases or vendor decisions in their first six months of employment. Market conditions might change the operating space and suddenly the need for your solution might be more prevalent. 

So the key building blocks are to deploy a very sensitive and rigorous scientific process of setting hypotheses based on available evidence, testing the hypothesis, monitoring the results  and reproducing what worked with the understanding that things that what worked today, might not work tomorrow.

You’ve always got to keep a sensitivity analysis running.  This will help you understand why you’re getting objections that you never had before, or gauge why prospects are giving specific responses to the sales team.

If your SDR team is able to get these elements and the five building blocks right, your target will probably book a meeting and most likely buy from you. 

Being able to adjust these building blocks and perfect them is what’s going to give you the expertise and keys to unlock the boxes.

At the end of Capital’s 100 Day Lab, they built an end to end sales development platform with messaging and reporting, which also included onboarding and sales documentation and best practice processes. The outcomes of the sales approach was discussed where targets were identified and segmented into groups of people who should be contacted and not. 

A number of phone and email scripts were rewritten to suit the audience and Capital at the end of the lab program had the key core messages that they could use and refresh as required. A total of 15 enterprise sales meetings were set up within the lab with global organizations, which Capital regarded this as a great result.

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