B2BNXT: Who is your ideal Client?
SAHDEV THAKUR: I work with software development and support firms, and basically helping them build lead generation engine. What that means is automating cold outreach.
These companies are companies who offer a customized software development solution to larger organizations and enterprises. So, most of these companies that I work with, they specialize into Microsoft, or let’s say, Oracle and so on, and they go into these enterprise and they do various customization work for these companies. So, the company that I work with now, so they specialize into travel, and travel solutions. They go into big travel companies and help them customize solutions for them.
B2BNXT: What challenges do your clients have?
SAHDEV THAKUR: If we see what’s happening, we all agree on importance of online marketing and digital marketing, and having that strong digital presence. But, still we all need to do cold outreach. In B2B, what we have seen is if we don’t have large pool of people to contact with, so even the customers that I work with my clients, they have target of 500 to 2,000 maybe target clients or customers. So, how do you go about it? And that is not that people gonna just search on Google and just come in, and start conversation with you. Yes, that is important, but again, what happens is you need to have a cold outreach process in place. And customers that I work with, I help them increase that efficiency by at least 50% of their cold lead generation practice or engine.
B2BNXT: Which cold outreach method works best?
SAHDEV THAKUR: I think number one thing that works is emails. So, foot down, you need to have a proper cold outreach strategy for emails. And there are tools which allows you to do that. So, it’s not just putting hundred contacts together and just blasting all that together. There is a madness to that matter and there is a system that you do that. You strike and you analyze.
If you see the sales job is now combination of marketing and sales. You need to be more analytical, you need to think of what’s happening to those emails, where they are going, who’s opening, who’s not opening, and start refining and fine-tuning that whole approach.
Okay, so what I help companies do is build this lead generation engine and automating when I say that, so it’s combination of tools, it’s not just one tool. One of the tools that I really like is Reply.io, and what that does is that it allows you to configure various emails at various stages, but what I’ve seen is that you really need to pay attention to the subject line, and the content of course. But, subject line is the first thing that people are gonna either open or not open your email. And if you don’t get that right, your open rate is not gonna be much [inaudible 00:02:52]. But once they open, of course the content doesn’t need to be full page, two page. It has to be just very small, couple of lines and talking straight to the point.
Subject lines that has worked best for me is when I try, is the same just saying quick hello, hyphen, saying what that solution is about. So, if it is about, let’s say, video production or something, so it would be ‘hello, hyphen, B2B video production service’ or ‘introduction’, or ‘intro, hyphen, B2B video’. Just combination of that what exactly service is that needs to resonate through that. And yes, you can try to confuse people by saying hello or just something like that, and you will see much more open rate, but the response won’t be much there, and people will hitting spam and all that, in which you don’t really want to do.
Now, going into the email, what you want is yes, you want to introduce yourselves and your ‘Hi, I’m this’ and this is what I do, and just quickly one line, short line that what is that you do and how it has helped your customers. So, because the people that you’re contacting, you have already researched those contacts and you’re contacting these people and if you can give some reference point of similar customers who you have worked with, that helps. So, for example, that if it is a retail company that you have helped in past, you can say that recent client that we helped, this is what has happened to them or this much progress they have made. That really helps, but keeping it very short as big as the text should not move away from the mobile screen, because people are not always gonna be in front of laptop. They’re gonna be mostly on their phones, they’re gonna quickly check and they either delete it or keep it.
B2BNXT: How do you target the right people?
SAHDEV THAKUR: What I have seen with my customers or clients, what they do is, they invest heavily into databases and they invest into tools, scraping tools. And they do a mass outreach through that. But my strategy is very simple. The idea is to invest your time everyday, and find those ten to twenty targeted contacts and put it into the system that I helped design, we’ll talk about that. And that will give you consistent result.
When you do this over period of time, you will start accumulating [inaudible 00:05:08] of contacts, but let’s say if I am targeting travel company and I’m offering a AllerTech solution to them. So, in that case I will put my effort and energy going onto LinkedIn and researching that particular company, that who is that decision maker who would be relevant to my service. And once doing that, that will also help you analyze and identify, over period of time, that who will be the right contact. And our databases what I can just say, travel companies, New York, and I can say, keyword in their title analytics or something, it could just be some analyst even, or it could be just a CA or having AllerTech experience or whichever, and it just dilutes the whole purpose. But if you really target those director of analytics, or CA or let’s say CMO many times, because chief marketing officers are more interested in data out there. The results will be much better.
Let’s take ane example of the engine that I will develop. So, there will be tools from LinkedIn, so LinkedIn is the prime tool. So let’s say I would start identifying people on LinkedIn. And then, I will have Hunter, as an example Hunter.io for email extraction, and it integrates with LinkedIn so you’re working in the browser. So, what I would do is I would simply say that okay, this is my contact that I ideally want, John. I would just click that ‘add it to Hunter’. And in Hunter, there is a list, in which I really want to add him to, so that list is let’s say about analytics as an example. Now at the back, Hunter is further connected to Zapier or which connects various tools and allows you to talk to them. Then Zapier will pick it up, that okay as soon as there’s a new contact, and if I find an email, pick it up, put it into Reply.io, which is an email cold outreach tool.
So it will pick up and put that list who’s off analytics and it will pick that email, put it into the new campaign of analytics in Reply.io, the email sequence will start from there. From there on, if there is ever response that John gives, or if there are some views that happen for John, that contact will be further pushed into your CRM and it could be HubSpot or Dynamics, and that is something Zapier itself takes, get off it.
And if you see the whole sequence now, it is going from your Linkedin to finding email, to sending email to once there is responses and all that taking it back to CRM. In CRM again, you configure it into particular lists and automate it there. And okay, once it sits there, it is also simultaneously sending you messages and emails that if there is anything else to do. If someone has responded, that’s fine. Then you start engaging into conversation, but there are many times people don’t respond, but they view your emails. So that intelligence is also important. So if they view your emails, that contact is still important even if once it goes into CRM, the system will notify you saying okay, this person has opened your email ten times, seems that is something he may be interested into. So you may now take this contact, go over LinkedIn, connect with him or her, saying that hey, I tried reaching out with email and I’m trying to get in touch with you, can we have some time slot to talk or something, or whichever way message you want to do.
So now your chances, he is already warm now from cold he’s warmer, and reaching out to LinkedIn makes much difference and you will definitely see some responses.
B2BNXT: What results do you typically see?
SAHDEV THAKUR: Through this process, I would say that at least whatever lead generation that you are doing, so I have seen at least 50% of efficiency increase of traditional approach, of just doing cold calling or just sending emails randomly to people and trying to connect, or just sending LinkedIn messages. Works if you do this, you are doing much smartly and intelligently. And you’re keeping on these contacts accumulated in CRM and recycling them again into the system, which will give you more and more results [inaudible 00:09:12].
So, this process which we discussed, so let’s say this is campaign one, stage one. So, everyday you are collecting ten to twenty contacts. So let’s say in ten days, you have 150 contacts as an example. Now 150 contacts out of that, let’s say the response rate as been 20%. So, 20 people are now from cold, they have converted to warm. So, either some have responded via email or some have viewed your emails or et cetera. Now all they start funneling up into CRM. Now, after a month time, let’s say this whole process takes a month. These people, it will trigger automatically and put them into a second round of campaign, to reply and email them and saying that okay, now if they have been sitting over there, they have finished the first round of campaign, wait for two to three weeks, and then start the second round of campaign. But simultaneously it will also tell you [inaudible 00:10:04] start connecting them over LinkedIn and et cetera.
And then, as soon as they going to campaign, you will see again twenty to thirty person or way much more response rate of those people and to take the forward.
It’s basically the mindset that you need to work with. It’s every time, it’s not everyone is just gonna convert into customer. You need to think of different creative ways to engage into conversation with these people as well.
Campaign one is, if you see, is introduction of your services and et cetera, and many times companies will come back to you and say yes, I’m interested, let’s talk further or whichever way. But many times for some other reason that person is busy, doesn’t have time or et cetera, so what do you do about that now? We know that that person is the right contact, I know that he is my, let’s say he is into travel business. He uses this particular tool or he has this particular need of service, so there is no doubt that my services should not be of value to him or her, unless he is already using something else. So I need to get that conversation across, or at least have that message saying sorry, we are not interested. Or, he will say that we have something else that we already utilizing, or whichever way. So, unless I get that answer, I want to keep connecting with him, and keep recycling him, and getting that answer out.
So, first would be an introduction. The second campaign is very similar to that, but now I’m putting more reference points in there. That hey, I got in touch with you in past, but just wanted to share that one of the other travel companies that recently worked, we did this, this, this, et cetera. So now there is much more need to the content than before. Because now, we have already shared with him what we do, but now we are saying what we have done for our clients and what type of results have come out. And that will trigger the interest further.
B2BNXT: What’s your ‘Secret Sauce’?
SAHDEV THAKUR: I still feel that ten contacts. There’s no kind of secret sauce, it is just about identifying that contacts and just having that follow up strategy. That’s it with them. And you will see some response out of them. Yeah, you don’t need to come out as spam, that he is just spamming me for various reasons, but having creative touchpoints. So touchpoints could be what? Let’s say if you have certain contacts in database who you know are your target contacts, so you would go like their content on LinkedIn. You will go read with their tweet or whatever they did. So, these are various different type of touchpoints that you would know. So now what is happening is that if someone is reaching out to me, if it’s just sending an email, okay I may respond, I may not respond. But now I’m keeping a constant connect with me, somewhere I’ll respond to him, because I feel obliged that okay, I need to do something, but it needs to be a nice, refined way other than just being one-way, okay done, he’s not responding, go to next.
Because what I’ve seen is mostly customers who say that they are no interested, what that means is that they’re not interested right now. What the situation is tomorrow, we don’t know. So we need to have the touchpoint again, for tomorrow, or I mean, next month or whatever that is, and there will be some interest.
The biggest thing that I’ve seen is where companies fail into the system is that not putting this follow up strategy in place. Companies constantly do it, keep looking out for new contacts, new leads. But they don’t take care of existing leads or contacts. And the idea is that if we know that these ten companies are our ideal customers or contacts, then we need to find creative ways to find solutions. If it is not person A, did we get we a person B, person C, so in each company the frame that we have is that at least get in touch with minimum of five different people, at five different intervals. So it’s not just one person, so we want to get in touch, so every sales person has a target okay, if you’re not any response, how many people within the organization have you contacted? And it should not be one blast of one together and just one month send it, but over a period in different campaigns or different cycles.
So at least minimum, get in touch with five people within the company. You will see some response, some that either someone is gonna forward that email or someone is gonna put you in touch with somewhere. And in email always have that tagline saying that if you’re not the person, can you please put me in touch with the right person I’m trying to get in touch. And many times you’d be surprised how many times they will be ready to help, like okay get in touch with him or her. And take that reference point and get in touch with him or her.
As your first point of approach or first email, you should not put all that information together. I think that’s second or third or fourth email, where you’re putting more credibility within your content. Because if someone is not responding to your message over period of time, I think he or she is in doubt whether you can offer work you are offering or you can do what you’re doing and at that point, yes we do inject some content or reference point to that customer that is more relevant to him or her, to build that credibility, yes.