Alan Ruchtein Landbot
Alan Ruchtein

The Startup Effect

QualifAId Sales Meetings: Maximizing Sales Success with Alan Ruchtein

Outbound sales strategies that boost booked meetings by 25%
The value of tackling the symptom, not only the pain point
Leveraging AI and keeping it personal (without being creepy)
the startup effect logo
the startup effect logo

Qualif“AI”d Sales Meetings: Maximizing Sales Success with Alan Ruchtein

When was the last time you showed up somewhere with no idea why you were there? And we don’t mean when you forgot why you entered a room as soon as you walked through the door. 

Every customer you have has a reason they’re looking into your product or service, even if they don’t immediately know what that reason is.

That’s why the discovery call starts before the discovery call. 

Customer enablement starts the moment they enter the sales cycle, and that moment could be anywhere from first touch to booking the meeting.

Alan Ruchtein, Founder of The Startup Effect, has a particular focus on developing systems that allow sellers to address both their customers’ problems and the underlying causes of those problems with personalization without crossing over into “creepy.”

In his conversation with Rachel Ann Kreis, VP of Marketing at Landbot, Jiaqi Pan, CEO & Co-Founder at Landbot, and Cris Villar, VP of Customer Success & Co-Founder of Landbot, Alan walks through his process of applying AI to the sales cycle and how to tailor your sales approach to buyer emotion.

Outbound Sales Strategies That Boost Booked Meetings

If you're targeting personas within an ICP and a specific industry or company, it's more likely to have better results — this is no secret. But that’s not all there is to the story. 

Persona-based selling is only half the process for booking more meetings. Are you educating your leads? Do they know your value before they join? Avoid no-shows by showing them what they’re showing up for.

Today, customer enablement isn’t optional if you want to build a strong connection with your customer base. That means investing in:

  • Case studies on specific use cases
  • Videos showcasing lead-specific relevant features 
  • Blogs walking through features or success stories
  • Product or service guides 

Help them understand that you are the potential solution to their needs, and follow a methodology. 

“There's not a magic formula here, because you have different approaches,” Alan says. “There are different approaches when you are selling — but if you have some system or process to follow for how you discover where the questions that need to be asked are, it’s always better than jumping in and going from one question to the other, when you're doing a discovery call.”

How you use techniques like mirroring, matching, pauses, silences, etc., are all ways to tailor your approach to meet the potential buyer's emotion at the moment, and get to the root of why they’re there, what they need, and how you can provide the answers.

Alan uses the following framework for how to prepare for a discovery call: 

  • Research before the call: what solutions are relevant to that specific lead? Find the material that will best prepare them for the call and equip them with it. This can also mean leveraging AI to gather answers ahead of time to narrow in on what the lead's chief concerns are.
  • Research during the call: learning firsthand about their pain points, walking through the information, and ensuring they understand their options.
  • Research after the call: follow up, lead nurturing, reaffirmation, addressing any lingering questions.

“At the end of the day, you need to start giving, giving, giving, and that will get back to you with better results,” Alan says.

Utilize the tools at your disposal — such as LinkedIn's advanced search and messaging features — to deliver precise and relevant outreach.

Tackling the Symptom, Not Only the Pain Point 

The best way to fight an illness is to address the symptoms. You don’t start by cutting the hand off — you understand why the hand hurts, when it started, and possible solutions to the pain. 

The same is true for addressing customer needs — you need to not only the pain point but also the symptoms of the pain point.

For Alan, AI is the ideal tool to niche down as much as possible within the buyer persona definition and gain the understanding needed to address both pain points and symptoms. 

“We are losing the focus, or not taking consideration, of the symptom — which is the real emotion behind the pain,” Alan says. 

There are two main aspects to consider when niching down — the specific title and department of your lead, and your tech stack.

When you're talking about the symptom — for example, if you're selling to a CFO or Financial Director, their KPIs are different. They are measured with different scenarios and different KPIs, and they have different responsibilities. 

What happens if you're always trying to send a message saying, “We're going to help you save time and money,” that could also be your competitor. Any other seller will tell you, “We will make you more efficient money and time-wise.” 

What can you say that speaks more specifically to that potential buyer's emotion and desired outcome? 

Your tech stack plays an important role here as well. Alan cites that there’s no precise tool that he recommends — considering the speed of new sales tools coming to market today — but the most critical part is determining what your North Star is for results regarding tech.

“Understand what you’re selling, the tests you need to do on the experiments, and your KPI or ‘North Star’ in terms of what metrics you need to get, and then use 1-2, 3-5 tools to achieve them,” Alan says. 

It does not have to be an elaborate system. As long as it allows you to hit your markers, send the emails, do the outreach, and so on, the exact tool that does that best is interchangeable. 

Manual scaling is typically impractical in today's landscape, so find what tools serve you — and your customers — best.

Leveraging AI and Keeping it Personal (Without Being Creepy)

It's not only about personalization and niching down — it's also about relevancy. You wouldn’t want a prospect to open an email with details about their life that are entirely unrelated to the topic. 

It’s crucial to be intentional about what information and data you use to personalize outreach, and today, there are even tools meant to support those efforts.

“There is still a lot of room for improvement. And we will see more tools coming out within these AI SDR agents,” Alan says. “Right now, as far as I know, they are just working based on their behavior so that they can find that persona within the net.” 

These AI tools scrape data from LinkedIn and various sources and, depending on posts and engagement, generate icebreakers based on that activity. 

One tool Alan recommends exploring is Twain, a free Chrome extension where you can input all insights of your company, who you're targeting, and different email tone formats, providing an ideal data point. 

“You just need to jump into AI. Whatever AI you can use, either for free or the pro version, why not leverage it?” Alan says. “We need to take the myth that if you're starting in AI, you need a team of 25 experts and 15 tech stack tools, integrated all together. That's not happening.”

Alan emphasizes the need to answer three questions before leveraging an AI tool: 

  • What is the cost of setting it up? 
  • What confidence do you have in how it will work? 
  • What is the impact going to bring you? 

Understand your lead. Determine what level of personalization makes sense for that specific situation. Choose the right tool. Take action. 

Interested in learning more? Listen to our full conversation with Alan on the latest episode of Ungated Conversations, where we dive into leveraging AI in sales, how to increase booked meetings and decrease no-shows, the importance of relevant personalization, and more. 

Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast player.