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All Things Personalization with Tim Riesterer {Hey Salespeople Podcast}

Tim Riesterer is the Chief Strategy Officer at Corporate Visions and he makes it his mission to deliver customer conversations that win.

Tim and Jeremey discuss Corporate Visions’ recent study on sales engagement personalization and the key takeaways from it. The two discuss everything from increasing open rates to why salespeople should care about benchmarking in this data-packed episode of the Hey Salespeople podcast. 

Make sure to listen for how you can access this study and create your own immediately actionable takeaways!

tim riesterer

Listen here, and keep reading for some of the highlights from this episode below.


Corporate Visions’ Study Overview

Jeremey: Let’s talk about this incredible study that I came across, that you guys had done on personalization. So where do you want to start on that?

Tim: We’ve done a couple of studies on personalization because it’s such a hot topic. Sometimes I’m afraid in marketing and sales that there’s a lot of what we like to call “anecdata”, where people have strong opinions and have anecdotal experiences, and then portray those as science.

We like to go in a little harder than that and make sure that we all know that this is for real or played out in some sort of quantifiable and rigorous way.

One of the things we looked at was this idea that people think of personalization as sort of a ladder to climb, or a hierarchy to go up and that the ultimate Nirvana is to be speaking to the individual you’re targeting, speaking to them personally about things that are personally attached to them.

In all of our research, people in the industry say that’s where we should be with personalization. The thing that they believe is less effective, is the idea of just using industry, personalization, bringing in insight from the industry, and being able to compare the person you’re talking to his/her company and compare them to others in the industry.

The idea of personalization is to get them to process the message a little harder and to engage in it a little more and go a little further with you because it seems tailored to them.

We did a controlled field study with 7000 emails sent to cold prospects. So imagine these are stone-cold prospects, never heard from this company before. They meet the ideal client profile, both in terms of the size of the company, the segment they’re in, and the titles that we’re targeting. We divide them into groups. One group we’re targeting, where we are sending them a message that introduces a problem and a solution.

The opening statement is all oriented around the problem teed up as an industry problem that other companies like you are struggling with. “Here’s what they’re dealing with and we’d like to tell you more about it.”

Let’s say the segment is the banking industry. This is really important. With other banks, you’ve discovered that the underlying problem has more to do with a human issue versus a technology issue. For example, you introduce some need they might not have thought of, but you introduce it as something you’ve spotted because of your experience in the industry.

So that’s what it means to show open with like an industry insight. The company insight would be, “Hey, ABC bank, we noticed in your annual report that you’ve talked about wanting to have improved your mobile app and the singular view of the customer, and your ability to connect them to all of the important data”  So it would be the same business problem, but it’s the angle taken where we try to find a company-specific bit of information that we can tie to the problem.

So instead of it being about others in your industry, now it’s something you’re doing that we wanted to tie to the problem we’re going to attempt to solve.

Then the personal contact would be, “Hey, Jeremey, in your role as the VP of Customer Success at ABC Bank, we know that you are probably looking at how to create a more singular experience, etc, etc.”

So we are very personal in talking about you and your role in the company in case we’re trying to find something out there in the information world that connects the company to the problem. The third is connecting the industry to the problem.

Personal Personalization

Jeremey: On the personal side, I would have thought that personal would be you looked on my LinkedIn profile and you saw what school I attended, or you looked at my LinkedIn profile and you saw some achievement or social cause that I’m dedicated to.

It sounds like your personal personalization, I would almost describe this role personalization.

Tim: What we tried to control in this study was that the business problem setup and the solution was all going to be the same. So we needed an angle to get into the business problem. So it was very personal.

We know who you are, we know what job you have. We instructed people in the test that if they found something additionally personal that made sense, then we would allow them to use it.

Here’s the problem.

If you notice what school they go to and you write that, but you have no affiliation with that school, you just bring it up, that’s just sort of creepy. We wanted it to be sort of like a fair test, something that was connected to them in a way that showed we were talking to them personally. Yet, we didn’t want to go off the “Creepy Richter scale”, right? Otherwise, we think that’s too obvious.

THERE’S A LOT MORE AFTER THIS! Listen to the full podcast for more.


If you have a passion for the art and the science of sales, are looking to further your career, or just want to hear some great, practical tips, ‘Hey Salespeople’ is the podcast for you. Subscribe so you can follow along as Jeremey interviews the brightest minds in modern sales to bring you immediately actionable advice. Listen and subscribe here.

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