- Our method works best for targeting SME to Mid-sized companies (less than 1000 employees).
- The approach typically works across industries, provided that the offer is compelling – we don’t do generic.
- It works best if you have a well-defined B2B product or solution that you want to take to market – and it’s great for breaking into new markets without needing to invest in boots on the ground.
- The ticket size needs to make sense, this is about quality over quantity; if you’re looking for somewhere between 5 – 15 high value leads per month, this is it.
- Though it works just as well to test whether there is a market for your offer, the analytics (real replies from real people) will get you closer to product market fit.
We focus on outbound marketing (email lead or demand generation), with email being our core channel. Our process is all outlined on our How we do it page; but in brief:
It starts with data: we have a centralised (compliant) database consisting of 400m+ records worldwide; which we segment based on your specific requirements. This includes targeting companies by industry, size, and location, along with the title or role information of the prospect.
We then craft a sequence of highly personalised, automated messages, targeting your ideal audience (at scale), with a message crafted to generate enough of an interest to evoke a response – and ultimately a meeting with your ideal prospect.
We custom build an email infrastructure for you, and use it to automatically send these emails, and once a prospect replies to you, the sequence of messages pauses automatically and you then take over the sales process from there.
Our role is to connect you to your ideal prospect; your job is to nurture (and close) those who have expressed genuine interest.
Every campaign generates a mix of hot, warm or cold replies, plus the odd OOO or non-response (and every now and then someone mutters something about GDPR and POPIA, but as our process and data are 100% compliant, we can send a polite “Not to worry” response.)
What is a hot reply?
This is a positive reply from the right person, in the right organisation (defined by you); expressing explicit interest in meeting with you, with some level of immediacy (i.e. they want to meet within 4-6 weeks). This is our North Star Metric.
Depending on the ticket size/deal value in real terms, this can equate to 5 –> 10 positive replies (per month) for the initial 6 -> 8 weeks (an approximate 0.3% – 0.7% positive reply rate). However, as each process is iterative, we refine each campaign based on the reply data – and we typically see a significant improvement once we’ve had the opportunity to analyse between 1500 – 3000 replies. Our baseline for performance is between 0.7% – 1% hot replies – although we do have campaigns that perform significantly higher and range from between 1% → 9%.
What is a warm reply?
We connect with prospects at various stages of their buying process, with varying degrees of understanding of their problem and how you can solve it for them. As a result, we observe a number of other warm replies (typically between 1% – 4%), which require more focused nurturing from you or your sales team to close. These are:
A request for more information: (prospect is sceptical but interested, which usually turns into meetings).
Future interest: the timing is not quite right, a prospect is interested, but asks to be contacted at a later date.
Referral: as we always target the ultimate decision-makers first, they often don’t want to meet directly, and refer you to colleagues or relevant department heads.
With prospecting, results are cumulative, this is important and great results take time. We’ve had cases where our clients have met with their ideal prospects in the first month of a campaign, but often we need at least 6 months to refine the process and improve the campaigns performance; based on replies, from real people.
We compile our data from hundreds of fully-compliant open and closed data sources — depending on the ideal target audience. This includes publicly available information: Linkedin, Google, Social media profiles, News articles etc.; along with premium opt-in data.
Once we have run this data through our intensive data cleansing and validation process, we bring it into our own centralised database – which currently contains 400m+ global B2B prospects, with up to 17 different data points (at a minimum each has a valid email address and company name).
Of course! Ensuring that targeted email prospecting is done sensitively, correctly and, is completely GDPR and POPIA compliant in the way we source, process, analyse and store data, is an essential element of our business.
Anyone can write an email, right? Not so much: there is method to our copy madness. Underpinning each sequence are basic behavioral economic principles (reciprocity, reliability, capability, care etc.) Then there are some proven ‘blanket’ rules that we work with when writing the emails for any of our campaigns:
- Be truthful, trustworthy and human (no marketing wordsmithing, false claims or grandiose verbosity – see what I did there?);
- Personalise the emails as much as possible to make the prospect feel that this email was written to them specifically;
- Use a natural, conversational tone (this is a first-touch email, not a sales pitch);
- Avoid using sales slogans, terminology or complex jargon. Use simple English regardless of the complexity of the offer, or the seniority of the target – we talk about using 4th Grade English, as this reduces the cognitive load to the reader and invites familiarity, making the email more likely to be read, understood and responded to;
- Talk about the prospect as much as possible (less about ‘ourselves’ as this becomes a sales/marketing email: pushy and overbearing);
- Focus on pain points or the issues that the target is worried about – this shows the prospect that you are thinking of them, and understand their fears and needs; that you understand the industry (so it is much more likely that your offer will help them);
- Keep some mystery so they want to find out more – do not outline your offer, and each USP, in its entirety;
- Ensure that there is a clear, focused call to action, with a sense of immediacy.
The targeted email lead or demand generation approach to marketing is called outbound, but is also often referred to as a ‘Spear’ approach (in marketing-geek). We like this term because it talks to the targeted nature of email prospecting where leads are of much higher value because we know upfront (based on criteria defined and approved by you), who we’re going to be emailing and connecting with.
This approach is in contrast to inbound marketing (which is often referred to as a ‘net’ approach – or ‘spray and pray’). The big difference is that this approach casts a much wider net and usually results in many more leads coming in, but, crucially, these leads are not targeted (as their information is all anonymised by the likes of Google & Facebook). More often than not, they are not relevant or even a good fit. This approach means you need to sift through a large volume of poor quality leads to get to the few high value prospects.
This isn’t spam: we prospect in the same way a normal sales person would prospect manually; we simply automate the outreach. We also mimic normal sending patterns (and only send an average of 25-175 emails per day), so it looks and feels like it’s coming from a real person. Google’s normal sending threshold is 500 emails per day, so at our maximum, we’re still at 1/5th of normal email activity.
It’s a no-brainer —for five reasons:
- Simple numbers: The latest Radicati Group, Inc. Email Market report states that (in 2021) there are 4.1 billion email users worldwide, which will grow to reach 4.6 billion by 2025. Almost 319 billion emails are sent and received per day. The two largest social platforms don’t even have half that number of users: Facebook has about 1.96 billion daily active users, and Twitter has about 217 million daily active users. If you imagine a full cup of rice is the number of emails sent every day, then by comparison, all the daily posts on Facebook would make a miserable 10 grains—barely enough to pick up with a chopstick. And all the tweets sent every day would be a measly 4 grains. Facebook and Twitter’s daily posts combined make up less than 1% the number of business and consumer emails sent each day.
- Email users are already ‘primed’ to buy from email: Customers already expect to get offers by email — and to purchase based on those offers. They therefore have a high tolerance for offers, and are more likely to be in a buying frame of mind when they read email. On social platforms they are generally there to catch up with friends, browse frivolous content, and play games.
Using email, you can ‘train’ your customers to expect offers while simultaneously teaching them about your value—day in and day out. Your best prospects therefore begin to not only expect offers from you, but to desire them. And because you have the ability to make effectively unlimited contacts, you are infinitely more likely to catch them at a time when they’re ready to buy.
- Email gets 14× more attention per customer than any other medium: Research from Ecommerce Quarterly shows that email users are 14x more likely to see your message in the first place. Facebook and Google can limit who sees your posts or ads—and they make you pay for every click. But email always goes to every subscriber you intend it to—for virtually no cost at all.
You’re far more likely to get face time with your prospects if you use email, because email contact is non-invasive. Social is a huge content environment featuring hundreds of other messages in competition with your own. So it won’t stay top of mind even if your prospect sees it. In an inbox, by contrast, your message is persistent, and doesn’t go away until some action is taken. It can easily be saved, searched for, and responded to. Provided you say things worth reading, email will give you minutes of time each day. (Minutes are like dog years on the internet.) Indeed, research shows that most people open email from a maximum of 16 ‘trusted advisers’ —and they almost always open these emails. If you can get into this inner circle, you get undivided attention. That is what our method is all about.
- Email is the most personal and professional medium: In the vast majority of cases, business-minded people don’t go to Facebook for private, 1-on-1 conversations. They write an email. Emails are like the letters of the internet; they simulate a personal connection far better than status updates or tweets ever could, while being extremely easy to automate and track. True—1-on-1 conversations through social platforms will always be more personal still. But these cannot be automated, whereas anyone replying to your email can start a 1-on-1 conversation with your sales team in their mailbox, and you can easily track it. Moreover, social messages lack professional gloss. When it comes to building real business relationships, the ‘grown-up’ medium is email.
- Email is years ahead in terms of advanced automation: This brings us to the final reason that email kills social stone dead: automation. While it is certainly possible—and increasingly so—to automate social media marketing with fancy online tools, the state of the technology is still basically in beta. Email, by contrast, is a mature, robust option where all the kinks and difficulties have been long ironed out. Most importantly, it is virtually impossible to replicate the kind of content journey with social media that eventually leads people to buy. With email automation, creating, adapting, and iterating on this kind of content quest is a breeze.