Show Me You Know Me

I heard the acronym SMYKM for the first time from Neil Ryland ( in 2014 - a great Sales leader I was trying to hire to replace me at ON24.

He went on to become a highly successful & respected CRO, and I'm happy to still be in touch with him.

I'm not sure if he coined the term, but I've been using it ever since - and seen it used by many others.

Show Me You Know Me

At the core, it simply means that you need to show the prospect that you know them, or at least something about them that resonates - not just talk about yourself and address them in a generic, mass, automated way.

The typical way I have seen it used over the years though, is mostly misguided.

"I see you attended X university"

"I see you have been promoted - congratulations!"

"I read your blog post 'how to do X' - great stuff!"

So what?

Especially over the last 5 years where automation solutions have taken over, these "personalisations" are useless.

For me, there are 2 ways to leverage Show Me You Know Me properly.

Be real, be human

Find a way to establish a personal connection, that will trigger a response.

Questions are a good way to do this.

"I see you know X - she's great, how did you get to know her?"

"I listened to your podcast/read your blog post 'x' - what do you think about...?"

"I read your profile and was suprised to see X - what [insert enticing question]?"

"I'm also from [location] - do you know [insert local knowlege]?"

Buyer persona

This is my favourite approach - I'm more of a business geek than a people person, so I prefer to focus on what can resonate from a business perspective.

Especially at scale, this can be (partly) automated with great results.

Here the goal is not to show that you "know" the person, based on a random personal tidbit of information, and trying to connect at a personal level.

The goal is to show that you know their business, their challenges, their goals, their industry, their competitors, their customers, their market, and especially... their pain points.

This is where having defined upfront & clearly your Buyer Personas is key.

How to build an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)


More "personal", ie appealing to the person's pains, challenges, goals, etc.

"How do you tackle [pain point] on a daily basis? It seems to be a major challenge for people I've helped in a similar role to you."

"X at [company in your industry] shared that [pain point] - he's a client of mine whom I helped with this. Is this something you struggle with too?"


Best for displacement campaigns.

"It seems you are using X - do you struggle with [insert pain point]?"