Episode Summary

You’re craving attention from prospects. Something just isn’t quite hitting the mark. Why is this?

Simply put, your mental model of them is wrong. Maybe you’re working with one ideal customer profile (ICP), while marketing is working with another. There’s no real unity with a single, effective ICP across the whole company.

But what is a mental model, and how can it help you engage more prospects more of the time?

“A mental model is really just a simple way of setting a rule that says, This is my view of how the world works,” explains Kyle Williams, founder of market insight consultancy Brickstack.

Mental models are inherent, so you’ll create them either way. The difference is that you have a choice about whether you do it intentionally and reap its benefits or just sit back and watch the mayhem of having multiple ICPs.

In this episode of B2B Power Hour, Brickstack founder Kyle Williams helps break down:

⚡ What mental models are and why you create them

⚡ How companies can (and should) get involved with ICPs

⚡ Why the drivers of your total addressable market matter for servicing the right way

⚡ How to supercharge your team for unique and powerful ICP insights

⚡ What relevance, resonance and reach do for your TAM

⚡ The importance of refining your targeting for going to market

⚡ The alchemy of transforming insights into messaging

⚡ And a lot more!

Join us as we take a deep dive into what makes your prospects really tick, so you can finally address your whole market (not just a part of it) with one fantastic customer profile — instead of 19.

What he does: Founder at Brickstack

Key quote: “There's the moments where you can get caught in chasing something that will never scale. You do have to keep that in mind, but it's more of starting [by] targeting with scale in mind, than starting with scale with targeting in mind.”

Where to find him: LinkedIn

B2B Power Plays

Top takeaways from this week’s conversation

👟 If you want to understand real market drivers, get deep inside their heads.

Forming mental models, like lockpicking, is hard. But unlocking the right mental model will expertly combine the answers to Why do you want them? as much as Why do they want you?

To understand why customers want you, talk to them. Find out the moment they knew they had to make a change, their considerations and why they finally landed on you. Build empathy by focusing on the problem more than the solution.

Talk to the sales rep who knows how the call will go — the one with the “spidey sense.” But asking them what a good customer looks like isn’t sufficient. (The answer will be either too broad or too idealistic, and it will encourage us to inhabit contexts we don’t live in.) Instead, ask to see their screen and dive deep into the rep’s mental — and actual — processes.

This way, you’re getting the sales rep to think like a marketer — and you’re able to distill that rich detail and experience and translate it into what you need.

🔮 You don’t get to decide relevance, but you can resonate with the right messaging.

To reach the right ICP, you have to refine the three Rs: relevance, resonance, and reach.

But if you’re debating personalization versus relevance, you've already lost. You’re formulating how you’re communicating your message. Relevance doesn’t happen during messaging — it happens at targeting, which is where most good go-to-market strategy takes place.

Scaling and targeting often clash when you’re reaching out 5,000 times a day to hit CAC/LTV metrics. But relevance becomes a pre-existing condition if you flip the order and understand:

  1. Who is this for?
  2. How do I communicate properly with them?
  3. How do I do that enough?

You don’t get to decide relevance: The prospect does. But thinking about it in this way means you don’t even have to be the one to decide relevance.

What you can do is resonate, and this is where your messaging comes in.

👋 Mental models aren’t written in stone.

World-class poker player and PhD graduate Annie Duke talks about how you need to refine your mental model — not just dig in on it. Mental models aren’t a gold standard: They’re heuristics to be tested and validated.

Running experiments based on your current mental model provides market feedback either reinforcing or refining your model.

Even ineffectual marketing teams serving armies of salespeople with an outbound strategy based on LinkedIn customers can offer insights to change what to do next.

It’s not just about being more likely right than wrong. It’s about creating “a situation where failure mode makes you better instead of worse,” Kyle says. You’re getting comfortable placing bets on different approaches even though you don’t know the right one.

Episode Highlights

Inflection points from the show

[1:13] Mental models: Kyle shares what mental models are, how they’re important and why you need to intentionally create mental models in the B2B world.

[2:40] Goal-scoring: What Kyle calls “shadow” ideal customer profiles (ICPs) are totally different for each team (and even each salesperson). Having disparate mental models is like wearing blindfolds and trying to describe different things.

[5:04] Fall in line: Creating a company mental model — a shared consciousness of collective wisdom — could be the answer.

[8:09] In the driver’s seat: Establishing the actual cause of buyer behavior (instead of what it appears to be) is at the root of market drivers. Kyle clarifies how to understand this and how he zeroes in on the answer.

[17:43] Unpack and synthesize: Leveraging team insights is hard. Playing detective is one part of it, but so is being able to piece insights gained from someone else’s mental model into a larger vision.

[23:49] Predicting big wins: Kyle shares his wisdom on figuring out and creating relevance, resonance and reach. Annie Duke’s Thinking in Bets provides a great framework.

[33:16] Into the refinery: More teams should take an approach of testing out different ways of doing things, looking at the feedback and then refining the mental model accordingly.

[35:48] Social selling: Once the mental model has been refined, it needs to be turned into messaging that really resonates.

[37:25] Equipped to succeed: If you’re there to talk or demo, you’re dispensable. Salespeople of the near-future need to adapt and grow to the new way of selling.

[44:31] Kyle’s power hour: How would he spend an hour to make a difference at a company?