sales strategy

25 sales targeting tactics to increase conversion rates

lemlist team
November 22, 2023
7 min.

Searching for your leads can be extremely boring for one simple reason.

You wanna press send ASAP and see how many leads you can convert.

But what if I told you that 51% of your success depends on your sales targeting. It's essential to do the research right as it will tell you who are the right leads that may actually be interested in what you're selling and how you should approach them.

What is sales targeting & why you shouldn’t send campaigns to anyone

Sales targeting is the process of determining who your ideal prospects are and then using techniques to search for these leads so you can send them your outreach campaigns.

bored rep doing sales targeting

Honestly, this sounds like a bunch of fluff. 🤢

There's only one goal you should keep in mind. Find people that are going to improve their business by using your product/service.

And if this isn’t enough to convince you, see what happens if you start sending outreach campaigns to everyone.

Introducing the SDRs worst nightmare, the quadrant of death. ☠️

sales targeting done wrong

Let me show you an example.

This is a message our lovely digital marketing manager, Charlie, got in her LinkedIn DMs recently.

And to preface… no… Charlie doesn’t have a gambling problem.

terribly targeted DM to Charlie about gambling

Like, really?

Imagine this kind of targeting and conversation in real life.

How to target prospects that will lead to conversion

What can you do to find the people that are most likely to convert and stay happy clients? This is your step-by-step guide.

Step 1: Determine who your target prospects are

You should construct your target audience that fits both:

  • Your ideal company/account
  • The ideal position at this company

Take lemlist for example, this would either be a sales leader working for an SMB with a sales team running outbound or an agency owner/head of sales.

You want to get specific on the type of profile to look for so it’s 10x easier when you get to the point where you are using the fun tactics I’m about to mention.

P.S. To save you hours of research and boost your reply chances, we’ve prepared this free, step-by-step guide that will help you:

✓ define the companies you want to target (your Ideal Customer Profile)
✓ define the people you want to get in touch with (your buyer persona)
✓ segment buyer personas into tiers for best outreach results
BONUS: get access to the buyer persona template that got us 20k+ customers!

Step 2: Find the sales targeting tactics that work best for this ICP

FINALLY, this is the fun part. You can let your creativity run wild when you’re finding the real people behind your ICP.

finding perfectly targeted leads meme

Here are 25 sales targeting tactics you can use to find them, broken down by type of targeting strategy.

Also, I tried to make this list as actionable as possible so you should be able to open another window and do it while you’re reading. Happy targeting!

Targeting based on buying signals

These leads are more likely to be ready to make a purchase because they are in growth mode or have recently got some extra change in their pockets.

  1. When a company is hiring

If a company is hiring it usually means their processes are going to change a bit since they are adding more people.

For example, at lemlist we pay attention to when sales teams are hiring since we help these teams boost growth with outbound.

To use this tactic you can either use LinkedIn sales navigator account filters to find companies that have grown their sales team, by following the company and your target lead on LinkedIn, or by using a tool to set up notifications.

This is what that filter looks like on sales nav:

department headcount growth filter on sales nav

2. When people change their role

For example, if you see that someone you follow goes from SDR to Manager/Head of/Director.

We say this is a buying signal because generally when you start a new role you are looking to introduce new tools and tactics to increase performance within your first 90 days.

To do this there are a few things you can do:

  • Follow these targets on LinkedIn
  • Set post notifications for them on LinkedIn (the little bell on their profile)
  • Add them to a list on LinkedIn sales nav and activate notifications when something changes
save a lead for notifications on sales nav

3. Company raised funds recently

If a company raises funds they obviously have some money to spend, but this also means that they will be trying to grow the company.

You can also learn so much about their initiatives this way, since there are usually press releases and articles which will state what they hope to do with the funding.

To find targets this way you can:

  • Follow the company on LinkedIn + turn on sales nav notifications for the account
  • Use Crunchbase to identify leads that have raised funds recently
crunchbase search for funding rounds

Or you can also do this manually by using google news or through a google search, filtering by site, like the screenshot below:

google search for funding rounds on techcrunch

4. Company went IPO

If a company goes public, this is usually a sign that things are about to change.

This one isn’t a silver bullet by any means, so you’ll need to do some manual work.

My advice? Pick one sector. Looking where your best clients are is a great place to start.

Then double down on reading the financial news for this sector at least once per week. And thanks to algorithms, the more you do this the easier it will become to get the info at your fingertips.

Create one campaign for people that fit with this segment and personalize as needed when you see that a company that fits with your account ICP has gone public.

Some good sites to keep you in the know:

good sites for IPO news

5. Executive change

This one is pretty similar to when a company is hiring or when people change their role. But it’s a different signal because you’ll get a ton of info about what’s going on internally depending on who they hired for what position.

For example, if you see they are hiring more experienced execs, they might be trying to focus on things that require specific experience and use tried and true strategies to get there.

We can learn more about these execs and see what they did in the past.

And you can use the same ideas as with hiring or changing jobs:

  • Following the company on LinkedIn
  • Following key players like the CEO and “head of” various departments
  • Turn on sales nav notifications for the account to see when they gain new employees

Just remember, those first 90 days are vital so it’s best to land in their inbox within the first couple weeks.

Based on “interest signals”

Yes, I made this phrase up.

These are the leads who have sent signals that mean they might be looking for a tool like yours.

6. Asked a question related to you in communities

Let’s say you offer a tool that integrates with a CRM. People can ask questions related to the specific CRM your tool works best with.

Either way, this is a great group of people to reach out to because they are expressing interest in what you offer.

How do you contact them?

  • Go to LinkedIn and Facebook and search something related to your ICP. For the CRM example I could search “B2B sales”.
  • Filter your results by groups
  • Take a look at the descriptions of the top 5 results for each search and pick 1-2 from each search.
  • Once you’re accepted (many good communities require approval), you can search for topics within the groups. On LinkedIn you can just use control + f, but Facebook has a specific search function at the top right corner of the group page.
lemlist family search button
  • And then once you type something related, you’ll see all the posts that mention this.

Take a look at this example in our sales community:

facebook group search and results

But this can apply to any Facebook community!

example 2 of facebook group search

So you can look at who commented, and either put them in a multichannel sequence with some connection first or just send them an email if their comment was enough to qualify them.

7. Bought a service/tool that fits nicely with yours

With lemlist for example, I’m a big fan of the Pipedrive & lemlist integration. It works seamlessly and just makes sense for sales teams. And by targeting Pipedrive users we know that we’ll be hitting up the right people.

So how could you find this info?

  • Followers of the company’s LinkedIn page
  • Their community (ex. Pipedrive marketplace, lemlist family)
  • Other communities (slack, Facebook groups related to the product)

8. Reach out to people whose pain points fit your experitse

Ask yourself “what do we do really well”. Find people who are struggling to do that.

Facebook groups are your best friend for this because they allow you to easily search and find a large group of people to reach! Just use that search function from earlier.

9. People that didn’t reach objectives for what you solve

To help people reach their goals you can go a couple routes:

  • turn on notifications for people that fit your ICP, if the post about goals add them to a specific campaign created for this
  • search “#goal”, “#OKR”, “#objectives”, etc. on LinkedIn, select people that match with your target audience, import them to your campaign

To give you an idea, I tried it out for myself using #goalsetting, looked at all the results, and found this post:

post from LinkedIn hashtag search

Then all I had to do was go to their profile, activate lemlist extension, and send the lead directly to my lemlist campaign.

how to import the lead to outreach tool

As you can see in the screenshot, I've also added an icebreaker which is going to be a unique intro line for this person.

Plus, the extension will enrich the lead with all necessary info from LinkedIn + their professional email address.

10. Notifications from review websites for who is searching for a tool like yours

You might already be doing this one, but if not it's super easy!

When you have a G2 pro account you can use their buyer intent feature to track who is searching for your software or similar ones.

Based on marketing actions

People who performed actions to show interest in your company specifically.

11. Followers of your company LN page

You’ll just need sales nav and follow these steps:

  • login to sales nav
  • start searching for leads in “lead results”
  • add the filters you need to identify your ICP
  • and finally add the spotlight filter “leads that follow your company’s LinkedIn page”
leads that follow your company on LinkedIn search filter

I used “sales” to search, then added the SaaS industry filter, and I also added only management levels under seniority so I knew that we would find decision makers.

Add the “leads that follow your company on LinkedIn” filter, and you’re good to go.

Just like that I found 293 people I can target.

And the beauty of it is that I can import this list directly into my campaign, and it will automatically identify which leads are in other campaigns so I know not to reach out to them.

Oh and if you dont have sales nav, no biggie. You can just use this phantom on Phantombuster:

leads that follow your company on LinkedIn search filter

12. People that engage with content of a power user

Identify a list of power users that fit with your ICP and turn on post notifications for these people.

When they post you can use the URL with PhantomBuster to scrape the info of people that engaged. There’s phantoms for LinkedIn post commenters and likers that you can use:

leads that follow your company on LinkedIn search filter

13. Engaged with your content

Same deal as the previous one, but with your own content!

These are 🔥 leads because they already know you and are interested in what you do.

14. Content download/event attended

People who download content from your company or attend one of your events are more likely to purchase.

Some people hate this tactic because they don’t like getting follow-up emails. Fair. But tbh, we get great results with these campaigns, and people tend to receive them happily.

The key is to add another level of targeting and personalization, not just the content/event!

Because in reality, a content download in itself is not enough to reach out to a lead. For instance, today I downloaded a piece of content from Gong.

I’m definitely not in their target audience and if they contact me the chances of conversion are pretty tiny. Even though I enjoyed the hell out of that content, it doesn’t mean I'm a good fit for what they offer.

But if our Head of Sales downloaded it, that would be a different story.

Based on competitors

Identifying people that are interested in a tool like yours.

15. Left negative review of your competitors

They don’t like them, but they need a product that solves these problems.

Doing this is surprisingly easy:

  • Go to G2 and search for your top competitor
  • Filter reviews by number of stars (1 & 2)
  • Identify trends
  • Find respondents on LinkedIn
  • Add to your personalized campaign that focuses on the main problem you discovered in the "identify trends" step.

For example, I tried this out with Intercom’s competitor, Zendesk. And I saw a ton of reviews like this one:

zendesk 1 star reviews on G2

So if I was an SDR from Intercom I could add these leads to a campaign, and I would somehow mention the importance of being able to reach support fast and with truly helpful answers.

The only problem with this one is that as of right now G2 doesn’t have a feature that automatically alerts you and identifies it as a buying signal, but hopefully in the future 🤞(yes I have already bugged their support about this ).

16. People that are evaluating a competitor

This one G2 does tell you about! You need to have a G2 power account, but then they will notify you when someone searches for your competitors and lets you identify it as a buying signal.

Easy, and a great buying signal!

Based on relationships

Your network is your net worth! Use those connections to your advantage.

17. Common VCs

If you’ve raised funds, the network of your VCs are a fringe benefit of the deal. Use it!!

They've probably sent you a list of contacts that could be interesting to you, but if not just contact them and see who else they have backed.

Then all it takes is an email or a call to ask for an intro.

18. Connection with: founder/CEO, advisors/board, C-suite/head ofs, happy customers

Same deal as the previous one, but with a different connection. Most people really don’t mind making these intros, so reach out and ask! You’ll never get what you want by sitting shyly in the corner.

19. Former employees of your best clients

This means exactly what I said in the headline. They used to work for a great lead of yours, and now work for a different company.

And, bonus, it’s super easy to do with LinkedIn sales nav.

Check out how to do this (plus some other LinkedIn sales nav tips) in this video:

20. Similar people to your best clients

This one is also in the previous video, but you can come up with a list of people that are similar to your best clients by using the “view similar” option on LinkedIn sales nav.

21. Active on LinedIn in the last 30 days

And with any of these that you are using LinkedIn for, you can apply the filter “posted on LinkedIn in the past 30 days” to get even better results!

22. Competitors of clients (careful with this one)

I have a love-hate relationship with this one. Because here’s the thing, these leads will be good because you know you rock at solving their problems.

BUT your current clients might feel like you are giving their competitors their playbook. So my advice with this one is not to mention your current client in the email.

I know it’s tempting, but I have faith that you can make another connection that won’t burn bridges.

So, to finding these leads is pretty simple:

  • Google "client name’s competitors"
  • Find the company on LinkedIn
  • Look for your ICP in their list of employees
  • Add to your campaign

And just like that you’ve got some good leads without sacrificing current clients.

Based on history w/ your company

If they have shown interest in your solution in the past.

23. Requested a demo but didn’t schedule

Time to pull out the CRM. I know, don’t get too excited.

Here’s the reality, an overwhelming number of people don’t show up to demos.

Everyone has busy periods where they get distracted. So, why don’t you try to reach out again and see what’s up? Maybe they have more time in their calendar right now.

So to do this just navigate to the “closed, lost” section of your CRM, identify leads that never showed, and add them to a retargeting campaign.

24. Closed, lost

And, while you’re in the closed, lost section… let’s make the most out of it.

Check out all the reasons why you lost the deal (went with a competitor, wrong timing, weren’t big enough/didn’t need your tool yet, etc).

Chances are you can get some great leads here.

If they went with a competitor for instance, try doing a check up around month 9 of their 12 month contract. How are things going? Maybe they aren’t happy and are looking to switch.

They weren’t big enough yet to need your solution, guess what..they just hired 20 people and did another funding round. They might be ready to start using tools to help them become more efficient.

You get the point. Closed, lost is a great opportunity for leads that are already qualified.

All you have to do is create a campaign for each type of closed, lost, so you can add them in as you go.

25. Ghosted you

ghoosted leads meme

Sometimes you get ghosted. It happens. This hurts in the dating world, but even more so in sales when your bonus potential depends on it.

But just like with the previous ones, it doesn’t hurt to try. And since they are already “lost” you can have a little fun with it. Call them out on their ghosting, see what happens.

Step 3: How to set up your sequence for targeted leads

Good news, you're ready. It's time to get your campaign fired up. 🚀

I’m going to give you a real example of a sequence we sent based on one of these targeting techniques. You'll see who we sent it to, which channels we used in the campaign, and even what the copy of the intro email looked like.

And of course, you'll discover how to replicate the tactic for your own outreach!

Sales targeting in action (real targeting strategy example)

We sent two very similar campaigns to targeted sales leads that followed the lemlist LinkedIn page (tactic 11 above).

The first campaign was for teams with 10 - 50 employees and the second was for teams with 51 - 200 employees. And we kept the same steps for each campaign.

LinkedIn page followers targeting sequence steps

From the outside it seems to be the same thing for both segments, but one key difference here was the content inside each of the steps.

To show you what I mean, take a look at the two intro emails for each sequence:

first email for leads with 10-50 employees

The email above was sent to lemlist page followers with 10 - 50 employees, and the one below to those with 51 - 200.

first email for leads with 50-200 employees

Everything about these emails was using the same ideas, except the second one has a personalized sentence in the intro (the icebreaker tag). I’ll explain why in the next section.

We used mainly email, with some LinkedIn profile views and a well targeted message that only used basic personalization (like name and company), and one custom image with the lead’s first name.

It worked like a charm for us, check out these results…

results from LinkedIn followers camapign

Just be sure whenever you're using social selling that you're only using channels where your leads are present and active!

And of course we used lemlist to import our leads from LinkedIn and send this targeted sequence.

If you want to test it out for yourself, set up your account in seconds.

But wait a sec, let’s go back to why we only used the {{icebreaker}} tag for one of the sequences…

How to adapt your message based on your targeted leads

can't figure out what sequence to send meme

This might be you right now, and that’s okay. It’s confusing.

You’re thinking: Do I send cold emails? Call them? Slide in the LinkedIn DMs? Voice messages? You get my point. There are lots of options and opportunities! How ever will you choose???

It all starts with your leads. You’ll need to answer:

  1. Which tier your leads belong to
  2. How to target your leads based on this

Take a look at those 25 tactics I gave you, which ones did you note down that you think could really work for you?

Now answer: Are the people that you find using those tactics going to be the ones that get the most value from what you offer? If the answer is yes, those are your tier 1 leads. Let’s call those your all stars.

Now let’s do the reverse.

Look at the list again, which tactics would get you leads that would be interested, but honestly wouldn’t get the most out of your offer? Those are your tier 3 leads, your benchwarmers. Still an option, but not the ones you’ll heavily invest in.

And now look for everything in between.

The tactics that could get you leads that won’t be your best users, but will still get a lot of value from what you’re offering. You can probably guess that those are your tier 2 leads. Aka your big shot players.

Now that we have that straight, you’ll match your players with the correct plays.

Just like in basketball, you don’t send your benchwarmers to make the money shot in the playoffs, right?

Same goes for cold outreach. You aren’t going to send a hyper-personalized campaign to your tier 3s.

tiers and personalization explanation

Tier 1 targeted leads

So basically you only want to use things that require high personalization to your best targeted sales leads, the people that are going to get the most value from what you offer. The tier 1s.

This includes things like personalized videos, landing pages, and voice notes along with personalized sentences in emails and calls for each lead. And if you use this combined with a multichannel approach, you'll get some pretty lemazing results.

Then with the other two targets you’ll use lower levels of personalization.

Tier 2 targeted leads

So with the second tier targeted leads you should include at least one personalized sentence per campaign for each lead, and you can also include things that are easy to personalize like custom images.

But one thing that you should know about these targeting tactics is that you don’t need to mention them in your outreach.

are those targeting tactics useless meme

But before you freak…these tactics will be super useful in your outreach! Because by using them you can be the right person at the right time.

The goal is to be the person that contacts them at the very time they are looking for your solution - like it’s magic.

And use personalization to establish a personal connection, instead of the targeting technique…because in all honesty do you really care how the person cold emailing found you?

I mean tbh, people pointing out to me that I attended an event is not going to win over my budget.

What will win my budget is them perfectly pinpointing a problem that at the moment I’m trying to fix. You feel me?

So use these tactics as levers to land in their inbox at the right time and start your email with a personalized sentence, an {{icebreaker}}, to grab interest and show you really know them.

Tier 3 targeted leads

Lastly, for the third tier you’re going to stick with basic personalization, like custom images and custom tags, since you aren’t sure about the return on investment you’ll get from these leads.

You can also make basic generalizations about the industry that they're in, or use a piece of generalized info from the targeting tactic you used to get them. Like if a company is hiring or raised funds for example.

An easy way to remember all this is: the higher the value for your lead, the more effort you should put in!

Which brings it all back to the example from before. The reason why the first email didn’t have a personalized sentence, the {{icebreaker}}, is because it was sent to tier 3 leads. We knew that they aren’t the users that get the most out of our product, and it’s more beneficial to spend our personalization time on leads that will.

Prioritizing your personalization based on tiers will save you tooonnss of time so you can hit send faster and get a higher conversion!

lemlist team
Your source of actionable outreach tips and strategies that will help you get replies and grow your business.
Get weekly outreach tips
Thanks! You've successfully subscribed to lemlist newsletter
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Multichannel Expert

/ MO
Per user / 5 SENDING EMAIL
Everything in Email Pro
Email finder + verifier (500 credits/mo)
500 free credits per month
Linkedin prospection
LinkedIn voice notes
with Aircall
Cold calling prospection with Aircall
with Aircall
Advanced campaign conditions
Custom landing page
Premium support chat

Outreach Scale

/ MO
Per user / 15 SENDING EMAIL
Everything in Multichannel Expert
Email finder + verifier (1,000 credits/mo)
1000 free credits per month
Dedicated account manager (4+ seats)

More than 10 users?

Multichannel Expert

/ MO
Per user / 5 SENDING EMAIL
Everything in Email Pro
Email finder + verifier (500 credits/mo)
500 free credits per month
Linkedin prospection
LinkedIn voice notes
with Aircall
Cold calling prospection with Aircall
with Aircall
Advanced campaign conditions
Custom landing page
Premium support chat

Outreach Scale

/ MO
Per user / 15 SENDING EMAIL
Everything in Multichannel Expert
Email finder + verifier (1,000 credits/mo)
1000 free credits per month
Dedicated account manager (4+ seats)

More than 10 users?

Multichannel Expert

/ MO
Per user / 5 SENDING EMAIL
Everything in Email Pro
Email finder + verifier (500 credits/mo)
500 free credits per month
Linkedin prospection
LinkedIn voice notes
with Aircall
Cold calling prospection with Aircall
with Aircall
Advanced campaign conditions
Custom landing page
Premium support chat

Outreach Scale

/ MO
Per user / 15 SENDING EMAIL
Everything in Multichannel Expert
Email finder + verifier (1,000 credits/mo)
1000 free credits per month
Dedicated account manager (4+ seats)

More than 10 users?

What you should look at next

Receive weekly outreach tips in your inbox, sent to 210 000+ salespeople, marketers, founders, and entrepreneurs worldwide!

Subscribe to the lemlist newsletter
You've successfully subscribed to the lemlist newsletter!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.