How to Personalize Cold Outbound by Pain (Not Persona)

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Double-digit positive reply rates to cold outbound, at scale.

It’s not some hack or quick fix or for the lazy. It’s a step by step process to totally reorient the way you’re (likely) doing outbound.

This post will show you how to scale outreach that drives replies by focusing on pain and intent data and away from targeting based only on titles and companies.

We will go over:

  1. A better way to target your ideal customers.
  2. How you should think about messaging and personalization (hint: way beyond first name & company).
  3. How do you actually pull together that data to run an outbound sequence.

One note, before we begin.

This process is time-consuming for you (several weeks of strategy are often required) and requires you to hire outsourcers. So, I wouldn’t suggest this unless your LTV > $10k

Curious? Read on!

Before You Begin: This Post is a Trap

A good chunk of value in this post has nothing to do with cold email.

Admiral ackbar its a trap gif 4 » GIF Images Download


If your inbound game is strong, you may have a wide net and catch tuna fish, mackerel, salmon, and squid… but you can’t go fishing for all of those at the same time.

This process will help you quantify your value, ideal customer profile, and find more of those folks.

You may have $1M or $5M or $10k in ARR and find this effort difficult… which is part of the value in the exercise.

You’ll make it much easier on yourself if you pick one segment to help. If everyone from farmers to bank CEOs can benefit from your product, pick a narrow segment where you have the most amount of existing customer data on.

This is especially true for products that don’t have a very narrow ideal customer profile or that have grown a ton via inbound.

So, part of this exercise is being able to start by crafting two sentences…

  1. The law firm Turner and Hooch converted 3% of their web traffic into text conversations with Avochato, which led to $600k in additional deal volume, well above the $100k in deal volume with their old lead form.
  2. So what you’d do is start by creating a list like... “Avochato is perfect for lawyers who have over 10,000k web visitors a month and want to convert more leads from their website.”

Once you can do that… proceed.

Cold Outbound Today: The Scale Question

I stole these emails. The point here is to describe the classic outbound sales conundrum.

1-1 Emails OR...Scaled Emails

Subject: Front and JBarrows

Hi John,

My colleague Hugo attended your “Driving to Close” webinar first training session last night - Loved it and told me he will add your scorecard technique to his pipeline routine check!

In your webinar, he noticed you are using Outlook, and said your team has had to adapt to this new COVID-19 reality by doing more webinars (70% of your business is normally onsite). Hence, I assume that you now deal with more emails than usual.

Front helps over 6,000+ companies save tremendous time on emails so I thought someone as busy as you would find it relevant too.

When would be a good time to schedule 20 min on your calendar this week?

PS: For context, your CRO and long-term friend Chris started a trial of Front in March.

--

Josue Vital Account Executive Front

Subject: Hi Jordan - Following Up

Hi Jordan,

I am Nikita Garg from Marquee Equity.

I hope you and your family are in good health and spirits amidst this pandemic.

A few days back I wrote to you to check if Rocketship Labs is raising capital and if you'd like help with getting meetings with investors.

Since I didn't hear back from you, I'm guessing you were busy and am sending a quick shout out.

Here's a quick video of our Founder speaking about why he created Marquee Equity and how it works - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VKC9J4ZOJc&t=2s

We've worked with over 750 companies in the past 18 months and I'd love to walk you through some of these examples.

Here's a quick testimonial from Sumeet Maniar - Founder & CEO of wellbrain.io:

"I raised capital from Marquee and so did two other entrepreneurs I recommended Marquee to.."

I'd love to get on a call to get to know you better and brainstorm on how we could work together.

Hangout/Skype would be ideal as I can then share my screen and show you examples of companies meeting investors.

If you'd like me to stop reaching out, please just reply to this email and I won't contact you going forward.

Schedule a call with me here

Time = ~1 hour per emailTime = about 0 seconds per email.


The one on the right was stolen from my spam folder, but it’s actually not THAT different from what most B2B sales teams are doing today. Sure, it’s not best in class, but it’s sort of what most emails look like today.

The one on the left was stolen from Close.io’s good email templates. And, to be honest, they don’t talk too much about the pain (it’s mostly like, I noticed you were drinking Coke… want to try Pepsi?).

It feels like these are the options today for sales.

Scale it with persona / ideal customer profile based messaging or send these crazy 1-1 messages where you invest 45 minutes to watch a webinar.

I think this is a false choice.

You can scale AND

Get high reply rates.

BUT, persona-based messaging isn’t the best way to do it. It’s just not focused enough.

Read more about these milkshakes here.

You need to group people by their pain, not their titles.

People can hire a milkshake to do many different things… so don’t come to a body builder and say, “our milkshake is great to cure your boredom”

To do it right you can’t just export names, companies, and emails from a database. You must it enrich it further and communicate the work you did to the lead at scale.

Here’s how to do it...

What Is Pain and How Do You Identify It?

Do you know which leads will pay you 10x based on their pain?

Or which leads have 100x the problem of other leads?

Or which leads can’t use your service at all?


Forget about scale for just a moment. Pull up any one of your leads right now.

How would you determine how much pain they are in?

Examples of Pain-Based Qualification

It’s much easier to understand by example, because what I’m talking about cannot easily be pasted from one company to the next.

It requires understanding your ideal customer and the tangential (often public signs) of the benefits of your product so deeply that you can find proxies for their pain.

So, here’s a table of companies I’ve worked with (or own in the case of Scout) and the segments we were targeting.

Let’s look at them 1 by 1 so you can see how I did pain based targeting.

Company

What they do

Segment we were targeting

Primer

Serve ads to specific people and build leads lists

Demandbase and Terminus Customers still running ads today.

Pico

Monetize online communities.

Yoga companies struggling to move their offline communities online.

Scout

Acquire customers with (physical) postcards.

Solar companies who can no longer do door knocking for lead generation.

Flatfile

A developer tool to  allow companies to help their customers import clean data.

Enterprise companies who have written a bunch of information about how to format a CSV for importing.


The goal is to give you examples of how Tarik and I have done this so you can start thinking in the right direction.

Don’t get bogged down in the time it takes to do these steps, the end goal is to make the task so simple that you can OUTSOURCE it. More on that at the end.


This is to open you up to new ways of finding qualified prospects.

Here are some ideas of what this pain looks like for specific companies, to help you understand how you might do this for your company.

A Big Change in The World

  1. (e.g. For Scout, Solar installers used to get their customers by door knocking… they can’t do that now).
  2. (e.g. For Pico, Yoga studios struggling to go online that we can find by combining a Google Advanced search on yelp.com with COVID-19 messages).

Current Slow-Loading Pages

  1. (e.g. For Strattic, they can drastically speed up your Wordpress site to improve conversion. So, we can use fastorslow.com + builtwith.com + wpsec.com + similarweb.com to find Wordpress sites that are slow, insecure, have high traffic, and estimate improved conversions based on industry data)

Currently Running Paid Ads, but Aren’t Getting the Right People to See Them

  1. (e.g. for Primer, we can look at Facebook Ads explorer + LinkedIn Company Pages, enrich with ad launch date, enrich with who is liking/commenting + enrich with similarweb and estimate what they pay for ads and determine if the people engaging with the ads are their ideal customers.)

Have a Ton of Documentation on How to Import Data in a Slow and Painful Way

  1. (e.g. for Flatfile.com, they wanted to target enterprises that made their customers jump through a TON of hoops to import data. So we pulled a list from Crunchase of Enterprise companies, filtered down only to companies that have Implementation Manager titles, and then used a Google Advanced search on each site to see how many results they had for CSV Import on their site to quantify just how much documentation they write on importing data).

Doesn’t that sound exhausting and terrible to find these people? Can’t you just spam more people?

This work is HARD, but it’s not super TIME consuming after you’ve done it a few times.

Let’s dive in!

Company Case Study: Primer

Primer helps companies run targeted ads to people, not IP addresses or companies, build qualified leads lists, and automate LinkedIn outreach. This all drastically improves cold email reply rates (warm up your audience).

Anyways, it’s not terribly important (although, I really love it and Keith is great).

We targeted two segments, but the first was Demandbase and Terminus customers via BuiltWith.com

These two companies do company based targeting (i.e. like IP based targeting).

Well, most people are working from home, so it doesn’t make any sense to target companies based on IP addresses as no one is in the office at Facebook or Google or Peerspace.

But, you’d be a fool to target Peerspace to do marketing because their business, like AirBnB, was based on large social gatherings. So, they aren’t doing many bookings and certainly not doing ads.

This is where we need to narrow in...

Step 1: Build a Starter List

Sometimes it’s easier to just find all people with a similar pain, but sometimes it’s easier to start with a generic list and refine + enrich it.

For Primer we wanted to target DemandBase and Terminus customers since we know IP based targeting isn’t working right now.

So, we find all companies using these technologies via BuiltWith, but Clearbit and Apollo are other places to find this data, too.

Step 2: Remove People Who Aren’t Running Paid Ads Now

Airbnb may have been a great company to target in January (let’s just assume they were using Terminus), but April is not January.

So, we couldn’t depend on “raised more than X” or more than “Y employees,” even if they were a customer of these tools. And, targeting based on “demand gen” title makes no sense now either.

On the face of it, it’s a pretty stupid email to send someone saying, “want to improve your ad targeting?!” if they aren’t running them now.


That’s like asking Bo Jackson if he’s having any problems with his swing these days… yea, maybe he was when he was playing baseball.

So, step 1… reconnaissance. Public data is AMAZING.

Let’s take Peerspace.com and dive into this company.  

Let’s look at their Facebook Ads, and their LinkedIn Ads.

Facebook Ads
LinkedIn Ads


We found 1 LinkedIn ad for Peerspace (for example).

But, how can we tell if they are still running ads? It turns out that there is one ad on LinkedIn.

And, one comment.

So we date stamped that comment and it was 1 month ago. So, we disqualified Peerspace.

And, it was pretty easy to qualify companies either by comment time on LinkedIn or launch data on Facebook Ads explorer.

Active Facebook ads = a partially-qualified prospect.


Facebook shows us the launch date. Now we will ONLY include leads that have an active Facebook ad and a LinkedIn Ad with a first comment date later than April 1st, 2020.

Step 3: Quantify the Pain

So, now we know who is still running ads. Now, what’s the hook?

Sure, we could say “Demandbase doesn’t work.” But, we can do better.

Let’s look at what other data we can pull. Here’s Atlassian.

Ad Platform

Recent Ad Name

Number of Comments on Recent Ad

# of Likes

# Comments

LinkedIn

Don’t spend millions on ITSM. Atlassian helps you accelerate IT service delivery without high cost and complexity.

7

787

7


So we know they are running ads now.

Now you could get SUPER fancy and use SEMRush or AHREFS or AdBeat, but I like free.

So let’s use the free SimilarWeb Chrome extension.

Don’t worry about scale at this point. “What” is a much more important question than “How” for now.

The key metric here? 1.63% spent on display ads.


Alright, so let’s add this data to our spreadsheet.

Notice that SimilarWeb tells me a % of traffic that comes from ads.

That means we can back out to the number of visitors and back out into a super conservative estimate of their paid traffic by taking average CPC numbers.

Monthly Traffic

Prog Display CPC (source)

% Traffic Display Ads

Display Monthly Spend

Social Ads CPC (source)

% Traffic Social

Social Monthly Spend

16,400,000

$0.79

0.0163

$211,182.80

$0.97

0.0123

$195,668.40


You can round and sum the amounts too… $195,668 + $211,182 = $406k. That’s a low ball estimate of what Atlassian spends on Ads per month.

There it is… now we have quantified the pain. We have a conservative estimate of how much Atlassian spent this month on their paid ads.

Here’s a specific LinkedIn Ad we grabbed.

Then here’s a quick screenshot of the people who liked it.


And, we grabbed an existing reference customer for Atlassian.

Reference Customer

Customer Name

Customer Title

Cancer Research UK

Greg Franklin

Agile Lead

Now’ we’ve got the makings of a great outbound process.

Step 4: Do It at Scale

Scaling this process is the same across companies and results in the same challenges, so we’ve got a whole section for this.

Step 5: Write the Email Template

If you’ve done your research, your list work, and your enrichment righ, you can send an email like this:

Cold Outbound Template – Personalized by Pain

Subject: Atlassian’s comments on “Don’t Spend Millions” ad on LinkedIn!

Hi Mike,

Came across Atlassian’s “Don’t Spend Millions” ad on LinkedIn. As I was looking through the Likes and Comments I saw several people like Will Ledbetter who didn’t seem to be similar to your ideal customers. This is why I’m reaching out.

What if you could be certain that 100% of your ad spend could target more people like Greg Franklin (Cancer Research UK)?

I’m Keith, the CEO of Primer. In April, Forethought used Primer for ad targeting and spent $5K on digital ads to generate $24K in closed-won deals, and Rippling boosted their paid ad CVR by 300%.

How interested are you in targeting ads only to people like Greg Franklin?

Or You Could Try This...

Subject: Saw Atlassian’s “Don’t Spend Millions” ad on LinkedIn

Hi Mike,

Came across Atlassian’s ads (e.g. “Don’t Spend Millions”, “As your business grows, so does the number of vendors you use”) on LinkedIn and Facebook. Based on website traffic data via SimilarWeb and average CPCs it looks like you’re spending at least $406k a month on display and social paid ads. Does that sound about right? This is why I’m reaching out.

What if you could be certain that 100% of your $406k would go only to more leads like Greg Franklin (Cancer Research UK)?

I’m Keith, the CEO of Primer. Primer helps companies like Carta and Rippling target specific leads from their CRM with ads on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google Ads.

In April, Forethought used Primer for targeting and spent $5K on digital ads to generate $24K in closed-won deals, and Rippling boosted paid ad CVR by 300%.

How interested are you in targeting ads only to people like Greg Franklin?

Step 6: Profit

Now you just have to close the deal on calls. Need help closing? Reach out to Jamie.

badda bing badda bang | Tumblr

Company Case Study: Pico

Pico helps companies monetize their online traffic and communities.

Think, “The New York Times Paywall for anyone.”

Since this whole garbage started a bunch of places like Gyms and Yoga studios had to move online.

And that online transition was tough for a ton of them.

Pico could totally make the transition easier for them by offering paid one time passes on your website.


But, how do you find yoga studios that want to make the transition that are attempting to go online?

Keep reading.

Also, here’s the video version, if you prefer to see it vs. read it.

Step 1: Build the Starter List

The first thing we did was look at Yoga studios on Yelp.

And we noticed this generic message that Yelp put up:


Or, with a nice big zoom...


Now, we started seeing this message on a bunch of sites, so it’s clear Yelp wrote it for everyone.

However, it said something different on barre3’s page, something very interesting.



AH HA! We’re on to something.

The world’s greatest webpage… GOOGLE ADVANCED SEARCH.


What we’re looking for are Yoga gyms on Yelp that are anywhere in the country that don’t have the generic message.

There are only three components here:

  1. The site is only Yelp.com
  2. I want to EXCLUDE COVID-19 Advisory: Due to ongoing precautionary measures, please contact the business directly for updated hours and availability.
  3. I want to INCLUDE Yoga so we can message Yoga studios specifically.

TA-DA!! 7,560 results.


Now, I just needed to define what data I wanted from these results.

Step 3: Define What Data You Want

This is key.

Once you have everything in one place you must define the data you want. Now, it all depends on what you want to do with this data. Don’t just go hog wild.

"I want the name of every turkey in the great state of Wisconsin…", just – no.

You want to ask for data that’s easy to describe. Think, "copy the link of every search result" vs. "find a good reference customer name on their website".


In this case, I’m not actually going to email them.

I mostly want the websites so that I can find all of the emails on the site and then drop those emails into a Facebook custom audience.

But, you could imagine a bunch of this other data I got could be very useful in an outbound sequence.


Step 4: Do It at Scale

I had an outsourcer grab emails from all of these pages so that we could use them as a custom audience on Facebook.

Step 5: Profit

Now you just have to close the deal on calls. Need help closing? Reach out to Jamie.

Company Case Study: Scout

A self-serving case study. I own and run Scout. We’re a postcard marketing company.

But, enough about me. Now, more about me.

I wanted to target solar companies because we have a solution that targets the 7 nearest neighbors with a personalized postcard that prospects based on the 6 nearest homes to each customer.

Hyper-local social proof.


I started by looking at all of the solar companies in the United States.

And then I chatted with Carter Lavin who knows the California solar industry in and out.

He told me that 50% of the nation’s solar was done in California (~1M homes in California and 2.3M in the country). So, I doubled down on California.

Then, Carter pointed me to a free data set, California NEM data.

What. A. Gold. Mine.

This told me every installer ID, name, system size, and data for every residential install in the state of California.

This means I know the total system amount installed, their best zip code, how many zip codes they were first in.

Through some additional research, I created a spreadsheet that told me:

  1. How many total solar installs have happened in that zip
  2. How many total roofs qualified for solar via Google Sunroof
  3. How many total roofs are left for solar
  4. The best zip code for each installer
  5. The average price of a system in that zip code
  6. The number of homes I think my system can help convert

This means that I can send an amazingly personalized email with data that the installers may not even know.


So, now I can use this data to both focus on the biggest customers as well as to communicate based on my value to customers. Or, put another way, the expected number of customers I can help them acquire.

And, done right… really right… you go from a regular (but good) reply rate of 4% to a killer reply rate of 19% (that was all positive and I expect it to generate about $30k of profit when all is said and done).


It obviously matters that I am doing something that really no one else is doing (but clearly works in person--clovering/doorknocking). Here’s what these postcards look like.

Every 6 postcards are unique, like so:

For a neighbor of Geneva P.
For a neighbor of Lei Z.


BONUS: Get an SEO Boost from Your Cold Outbound Research

Because I’ve already made sense of all this data, there’s no use in letting it go to waste.

I’m creating programmatic pages much like the pages that Apollo created that led to a ~30x jump in their traffic.


How to Outsource

Now you see all this work and think… I’d rather keep spamming. I will fix it in volume.

But, that’s the wrong way to think about it.

The best way to think about this is, are there some customers that will pay 10x others? If so, what does 1 or 2 or 5 more of those customer do for your bottom line?

That’s really what outsourcing can provide.

Instead of downloading a list, you pay a little bit extra to create leverage and drive those much bigger deals.


A = Your work

B = Your prospects caring enough to move

C = Outsourcing! (it’s way over to the right with most “list download” options).

It’s a lot of work, but when it’s done right it’s 10x more valuable than the work.

But, before we can hire someone, we need to know how to structure OUR work first.

How to Hire – An Aside

Before you begin, you must find an outsourcer.

Seems easy, right?


We’re going to get into how to find an outsourcer in a second.

To do that we need to put together a great scope for a test, hire a handful of outsources, and see what comes back.

Before you can hire, you must know how first to scope your ask.

Let’s dive into that and we will come back to how to hire later.

First, You Must Prepare

The first thing to know about outsourcing is that if you give a bad instruction, bad results come out.

A bad instruction looks like a good instruction until you actually try it yourself.

Garbage In, Garbage Out


To prepare properly you first should define what you’re going to do with this data. It may turn out that you don’t actually need all of the data you are seeking.

Make sure that you have a great understanding of what it is you're trying to accomplish, what does success look like?

Once you know how you’re going to use the data, you should build the first 10 rows of any spreadsheet you outsource.

Then, if you pause at any point, make your ask simpler and refine.

Here are some examples of how this goes wrong if you don’t do the first 10 rows yourself.

So, you may say to your outsourcers: give me the VP of Sales + Mission Statement.

Two things to consider:

1. The VP of sales might also be VP of revenue, growth etc.

2. And  a mission statement might also be our story, about us, etc.

Once the video is super clear – create written instructions.

As long as you don't have multiple assumptions in your videos you should be able to walk through the recorded video and follow along.

Remember that less is more, make people think less on where to find stuff or how to do something so that they can focus on the work and not making constant executive decisions.

Create a master doc with your instructions, what success looks like, and any other resources required to achieve success.

One recommendation is to use a project management tool or create a tracker in a spreadsheet.

Track the time required to create written instructions for your video. This is a good baseline for how long the actual task might take.

And, if you don’t specify, the outsourcer will multiply your bad instructions 100x.

You need to remove the context and keep things super simple.

The biggest mistake that people make when they outsource, is that they think everyone has the same context they do.

It’s essentially "the telephone game"…


Often they forget that they have spent so much time doing research working on a particular problem that a new person who sees this problem today will not have the same context.

In order to have the best results we need to think of how we keep things super simple and create rules that we need to discover.

So, record yourself doing 10 rows with Loom, refine the instructions, and do it again until no row requires you to stop and think, “wait, what should I do here?”

Define a timeline for your project- take in consideration that not everyone is as fast you are, one recommendation is to add 1.5-2x the time required.

How to Hire An Outsourcer

By now you’ve recorded your Loom video. You’ve written out the instructions. You’ve got this thing ready to go.

Now it’s time to find a great outsourcer.

Post your job on Upwork.com and onlinejobs.ph. But, also, you can try other places too like US students. Find a community college career center to post your job.


Pro tip: Gig-worker sites are great, but it’s much better to find hard-working people on Twitter/LinkedIn/Instagram that are in other parts of the world that would be willing to help. Hard-working is the key!

The goal is to ship it to at least 20 different people. Do NOT hire a firm or agency, always hire a person as the price will be better and so will the communication. Agencies don’t learn, people do!

Once you’ve posted, here’s what you’re looking for:

  1. Do they ask questions about the task?
  2. Do they communicate timelines?
  3. How do they charge (pay per hour, not per row!)?
  4. How good is their English?
  5. Are they humble and easy to work with?
  6. How quickly do they respond on Skype / WhatsApp when you message them?


Once you’ve given the same task to 10 people, pick the one that comes back with the best stuff and work with them exclusively.

Simplicity allows us to create efficient workflows when we start to outsource work.

Outsourcing should follow the $5 Starbucks method, in that if you had $5 and you went to Starbucks could you get anyone in that Starbucks to complete the task for you?

The more prep work you do the better result you’re going to have. Invest the time up front and you’ll save infinite amounts of time when you run your quality assurance checks.

Make it as simple as you can.


The less time you ask someone to think during an outsourcing task the much easier it will be to get it right.

Think about yes/no tasks rather than tasks that ask, “find the first name of the person you find on the about page.”

What to Pay an Outsourcer

This is a complicated topic, because it depends. If you find a student in the US they may be much more capable, but more expensive than an overseas student or Upworker.

And a student may be less intrinsically motivated as they are just beginning their journey to responsibility.


And, different rates make sense in different markets. But, it’s okay to pay more for GREAT results.

Pay more for a person who will:

  1. Proactively communicate timelines and hit them
  2. Catch the details others forget (Does David go by Dave?)
  3. Ask questions when they are stuck
  4. Care deeply about their results

While many outsourcers charge per row, we don’t suggest you take this arrangement as it doesn’t align your incentives because "done" will always be take precedence over "great".

This means your outsourcer will not focus on quality, but quantity. And, that defeats the purpose and will lead you to stop using them.

Don’t pay per row!

It may be better for you in the beginning, but it’s your responsibility to help educate, teach, and help your outsourcers become more efficient. Pay per hour.

Investing time in proper prep work will make the difference of you looking professional and totally wasting your money.

Here are some email responses you don't want to receive from prospects, due to bad outsourcer work:

  • “I’m not a {insert incorrect title here}.”
  • “We are not a cybersecurity company.”
  • “We don’t have a solar department here.”
  • “My name is Tim not Tom.”

How to Manage an Outsourcer System

This is the secret sauce. And, it’s really about documenting everything you do to get better over time.

Elements of a great system:

  1. What work is to be completed?
  2. How will the work be completed?
  3. Realistic timelines
  4. Instructions
  5. Tracking
  6. How will the work be QC’d?

Pro-tip: how will you use this information further- is there more processing involved?

We suggest you use project management tools or trackers help organize the flow of information.

You’ll get much better results in less time.

The reason you document the hell out of this is because you’ll build up institutional knowledge over time so you can scale your outsourcers (like the Dave vs David thing or adding é on names).

Categories that you should care about are:

  • Instructions from previous assignments with similar requests
  • Timeline management
  • Standard assumptions
  • Contact information
  • Availability
  • Status updates-- instead of having them content switch, give yourself an opportunity to follow from a glance

How to Verify and Improve

The downside of paying per hour is that you have to have a process to ensure that the data you get is great.

This is where your system will either carry you or bury you.

If you get bad results the first question you must ask is, “Was this a good task to outsource?”

The second question is, “Did I do a good enough job at describing the task?”


Elements of a good QA system:

  1. Develop a method to check over the work quickly or hire another outsource to check the results or use automation to check the results.
  2. Have a place for your agent to contribute their notes- this will help if they have any questions, concerns, or comments. The last thing you want to do is thinking of the rationale of why someone did something a certain way.
  3. Setup the spreadsheet to have horizontal flow- this makes it easier to work and reduces the ability to make mistakes.
  4. Reduce the amount of auxiliary thinking by creating binary steps this will both speed up the execution and succession

SECRET SAUCE: Ask them to record themselves immediately trying to complete the first three rounds or items. Since it will give you an understanding of where your instructions have air in them. Additionally this will set expectations of timelines.

A Reminder about Simplicity

Build out as much static information as possible to eliminate on the number of steps. The golden rule is to keep instruction as clear as 1 or 2 within 3 steps.

Sometimes this cannot be achieved and this is where instructions you created will either make or break you).

For example:

  • [GOOD] "Copy all of this (and we will edit the data in post using formula)."
  • [BAD] "Copy part 1 then go to part 3 and copy part 2 then paste here then go to this page and do this".

Eliminate the need for "context-switching". Having everything in one centralized place keeps your outsourcer focused on the assignment, instead of “Where was that website I needed to go to in step 21?”.

Finally, consider the following two questions:

What happens next with this information? How will I use this data to reach my goal?  

A Final Note

It’s easy to feel dizzy about all of this. Very easy.

But there’s nothing that will help your business more than being able to answer the following three questions:

  1. Do you know who can get 100x from your product?
  2. Once you know that, how do you identify them?
  3. Once you identify them, how do you identify their pain at scale?

#3 is where great outsourcing comes into play.

About the Authors

Jordan Crawford ran growth at Zinc.io (YC W14) and moved them from $1M to $100M in GMV in 2 years. I run a postcard marketing company, have helped improve chat conversation rates by 6x+ (here's how) for Lucidworks and I currently do marketing, sales, and strategy consulting for Bouncer (YC W19), Topic, and Commsor.

I take pictures and once represented the US in the World Junior Badminton Championships.


Tarik Sehovic is a founder, investor, and growth strategy consultant.


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