It is June and for me that means it is time for my annual trip to Chicago for IRCE & the Retail Innovation Conference. As with the registration to any conference I have received a lot of inbound emails and LinkedIn messages asking to meet. While I am always open to meeting new people and networking, this is literally why I attend these events. I am not a big fan of receiving templated emails with product offerings that are not a fit for my role or business. With this in mind I wanted to share some tips and tricks that I use as to not fall into this trap myself when doing business development.
- Create a handful of templates. Every email outreach does not need to be 100% customized, but it needs to feel that way to the prospect receiving it. I recommend creating a few templates that are relevant to different types of prospects you plan to reach out to. I have successfully deployed a couple strategies for this including breaking down prospects by category (retail, travel, & classified) or bucketing prospects by product need or feature (custom creative,upper funnel solution, brand safety). Once you have reached jedi levels and really know your prospects you will be able to group your templates by what drives the decision maker (revenue, incremental revenue, new customers, lower ROAS, higher AOV). Once you have a number of templates it is easy to create an email that is unique and relevant for each prospect outreach.
- Focus on developing a relationship not just selling a product or service. While I understand that it can be very easy to get stuck thinking in the short term and focus on just getting a monthly or quarterly meeting quota achieved to earn your bonus. A more strategic approach would be to focus on building a network that will yield you better and more consistent long term results.
- Do your research. I cannot stress this enough. You only have one opportunity to make a good impression with a decision maker. Sending a template that doesn’t make any sense to someone’s business will not help you to start a relationship with a potential client. I have received hundreds, perhaps even thousands of cold outreach emails from sales professionals who have seen a title on LinkedIn or an event registration list and reached out no matter if they have a product or service for my business or not. For example, while working at an ad tech platform having people reaching out sell ecommerce products and services for my products and shopping cart. However, one quick glance on my company website and one should have realized that we did not have any physical products, we have no shopping cart and therefore they probably shouldn’t be trying to sell me a shipping solution. I have even had numerous competitors reach out with key collateral, which is always surprising and sometimes helpful, but this is a topic for an entirely different post. That being said, a well thought out email proposing a win-win partnership will likely catch the attention of your prospect and get you a meeting or at the least, a response that will start the path to a relationship. It can be beneficial to research your prospect in addition to the company. Drawing a parallel to a University, friend or previous employer in common can often help improve the possibility that someone will respond, just don’t go overboard into their personal details. Many will appreciate the effort but will not want to feel intruded upon.
- Follow up. Even if you don’t close the big deal or get the meeting, make sure you connect on LinkedIn and follow up to thank them for their time. Ask if it is okay to check-in from time to time and make an effort to include them into your regular update and announcement emails. As people move jobs on such a regular basis, this person could be your next big client.
I hope that these 4 tips help you to create a more strategic approach to your cold outreach strategies. If you have any questions or would like assistance improving your outreach strategy feel free to reach out: Gary@midwestmarketingassociation.com.