hen launching your business, the most difficult thing will be to find customers (not to build your product…). Having clients gives clear direction, and the lack of clients is obviously the number one cause of failure for startups.
So when we do research, we hear about strategies based on anglicisms or complex acronyms: inbound, content marketing, SEO, SEA, outbound… But let’s focus on the technical term which is really important: lead generation . The lead generation or business development is primarily the art of capturing the attention of your recipient to convince him to talk to you.
The key to this millennial art? Succeed in building a relationship with your interlocutor! What is there left for you to do? Send thousands of emails to the whole world, tell them you have a great product and ask them 1 hour for a call to pitch your solution and sell? Of course not ! The lead generation is a skill, and automation of email that goes with it is part of a more comprehensive strategy (covered in this article) which envelope:
- Defining the right targets
- Searching for targeted prospects
- Find and clean up contact information
- Sending PERSONALIZED messages automatically
- Monitoring, essential to all this
In short, you will understand, the lead generation is not exactly waiting for prospects to fall into your mouth after your automatic emails, but rather to open your wings and fly for hours in search of the right prey
Preamble: this method and these tools make it possible to generate an average of 10 meetings per week at Start The F Up , mainly for large account customers. It also allowed clients, entrepreneurs or startups, to generate hundreds of meetings. It works primarily for B2B activities, other methods and tools are to be used to ensure growth in B2C.
Define your personae and your value proposition
Who are the people you talk to?
The personae are the profiles of the different people who are experiencing pain that your product is responding to, and whom you are looking to contact. Here is the canvas you need to build them without forgetting an element: here ( Step 6 ).
Make the effort to build your personae. This is essential, because you are not going to advance the same arguments to the CEO of an SME of 50 people, to the CFO of a box of 200 people, or even to the CTO of a startup that barely starts, etc. . Then we hope you know what you are selling … Otherwise imagine the prospects you are going to contact. How could they understand it?
Here are some tips to structure your offer:
Value proposition (1–2 sentences) We help [ our target ] to make [ pain point ] thanks to [ our super secret sauce / unbeatable and unbeatable advantage in their market ]. To you !
Competitive advantages How do you differentiate yourself from others? What more can you bring?
Once your offer is defined, you can start prospecting! Good news, we live in a connected world. Very connected. Your targets have probably already shared their emails or other profile information somewhere on the web. And you can have access to it. In particular thanks to dozens of tools that are available to you to do this work.
Search for targeted prospects
The Linkedin advanced search (free) is already a good start to start at first. The criteria are numerous and you can go far to get your hands on it. This is ideal for a start-up project.
Sales Navigator (≈80 € / month) is the ultimate search tool on Linkedin. You do B2B, you cannot do without it especially when you start to increase the rate of your prospecting. You will have access to advanced filters such as: company size, prospect news, seniority in the company, hierarchical level, etc. ALL Linkedin profiles in the world (more than 500 million users) are there, at your disposal, ready to get in touch to do business!
How to get started?
- Take back your personae
- Search by persona
- Use filters to match your searches with the criteria of your personae
The essential criteria are: job title, box size, sector of activity. Then add your criteria, and go a little further with Boolean searches (and, or, not…). A good search will give you around 200 profiles that match your persona.
Find up-to-date contact information
That’s it, you’ve identified hundreds of people who would make perfect customers for your solution. But how do you contact them without their email or phone? You have 2 solutions: either go directly through Linkedin, or extract their contact information (email, phone)
To retrieve the professional email:
– Skrapp – once your research is done on Linkedin / SalesNav. Launch the Skrapp plug-in on the results page, the tool will find the available email addresses and organize them in a CSV to export. – Hunter and VoilàNorbert – less mass collection and more targeted research. The tool gives you a probability score on the email.
Continue your research, and collect between 100 and 200 leads before moving on.
To retrieve the landline or mobile phone number:
Lusha or Kaspr allow you to retrieve phone numbers for cold calling (another world! Off-topic for this article 😉)
Correct and enrich your prospect lists
The lists created by the extraction tools are not always complete, and can especially extract obsolete information. You will therefore have to correct and enrich your databases to ensure you have the best up-to-date information.
DropContact is a powerful tool that will allow you to do these 2 actions automatically and in record time.
Add the list of emails found in CSV, launch the script and let go.
Clean up your prospect lists
Here we are looking for up-to-date contact information. Firstly because you want to be sure to contact the person directly, but also to preserve your “ e-sender reputation ”.
The “e-sender reputation” is your online reputation as an emitter of emails, it is notably attached to your domain name and your email address. If too many of your emails go out in “ spam ”, “ bounce ” or “ undelivered ”; then you will destroy your reputation, and then go back up … Good luck!
Neverbounce – just pass the list in the tool that will clean the base and indicate weeds (emails). You will ensure a high deliverability rate and will not take any risk for your domain name reputation.
Warning: before you start in this part 4, you must have started your prospecting by hand before ! You must have made successful contacts, have already spoken to customers and understood their needs. And this, in order to be relevant in your messages! If you are working on a project where your prospects are counted in a few dozen. We recommend that you do not use the tools that follow in this way. A more “ sniper ” approach will be necessary: smaller prospecting lists, and even more personalized emails, sent by hand.
Send your messages automatically
You will now send automated messages to your prospects, in the form of sequences.
A sequence is a series of e-mails timed in time that you will send to a prospect to relaunch it until an action of your interlocutor (answer, organize a phone call, video or appointment).
You should NOT talk about your product / solution! In any case at least, and rather by talking about your value proposition, your mission and your differentiators. You need to focus on the general problems and needs, of your persona, that you are going to solve, and the value that you are going to bring to their business. For example, if you are selling a productivity tool. Do not focus on the tool and its functionality (because it is your ego that speaks), but the value that the tool brings to employees: increase productivity, and save time.
Structure a sequence
Here is an example. Longer, shorter, closer, more spaced sequences may also work depending on the type of client and your industry.
Mail 1 : short, briefly describe the problem you are solving.
Cite solid references and ask for a meeting to discuss. Give the impression that it is an email sent by chance. “I saw your business go by recently, I wanted to write to you”. You can also flatter the person’s expertise.
Mail 2 : relaunch: “were you able to take a look at my email? ” It’s human speaking to a human!
Mail 3 : talk a little more about the problems you have solved with your customers.
Mail 4 : relaunch with customer quotes or links to interesting articles you have written on problems you have solved.
Mail 5 : Activate an emotion in your prospect with new arguments.
Mail 6 : last chance email…
For the content, play with creativity! Some tips that work well:
– Object of type: MABOITE x CUSTOMER. 3 words are often the best email objects in terms of openness.
Tip: Keep it short and concise, as if you write an email by hand every time. Your entire email should ideally fit on a phone screen.
Follow up every 3–6 business days.
That’s it. Your sequence is ready for draft. You will be able to send. But before !
Buy another domain name for your mass mailings
For your automated prospecting, you must use a domain name different from your professional emails. Because if you make a mistake, or go a little too quickly, you run the risk of passing your entire domain name into “spam”.
So buy a similar additional domain name! And do all your automated prospecting from this one.
An example: Jean Dupont – ACME corporation Professional email address: email@example.com Address for automatic prospecting: firstname.lastname@example.org
Preheat your email address
You should then “warm up” your email address.
“Warmer” – your email is unknown to all web robots that define your reputation. So if this is the first time that you send mass emails with this email address, you will not have sufficient “ e-sender reputation ” from the first day… It will therefore be necessary to reheat your email address in order to ensure flawless deliverability to show all robots that you are trustworthy. It can seem boring when you are on the sender’s side, but it also protects you from spam all day long!
Start by sending a very small volume of emails to create the warming effect, and gradually increase to reach a cruising speed: 10–20 emails / days, then 50–80 / days a month later. Maximum speed allowed when the engine is warm = 400 emails / day.
Please note: warming up your domain name and emails is a very important step. For a total blank email address, we recommend that you warm it WITHOUT AUTOMATING towards prospects at the start. Send emails to contacts who answer (about fifty friends for example). It must give the impression that it is a normal address, with replies, making appointments, exchanging attachments, etc.
Then, and only after a few days, start contacting leads by hand and get initial responses. It will also help you to work on your approach messages. Once you’ve found the right hook, you can start the automation. Sending? Always not…
Customize your sequences
Nothing worse than receiving generic emails, in which you do not find yourself and which bring you no value.
You have retrieved emails from your prospects. OK.
Get to know them better: their business, their needs. Start by talking about your areas of expertise related to your personae and their problems. You can especially think about it by verticals to be more relevant.
To go further and in a more sniper and qualitative mindset : what is their latest news, the latest share on Twitter (follow them), their latest blog post, etc. Be creative! Gather this information in your list (now all nice and clean, full of contact information and research on each of your prospects). Open a spreadsheet or Airtable ; and add 1–2–3-X columns then enter the custom elements for each of them.
On Linkedin directly Send a connection request, then a message on Linkedin to your prospects is a technique that works, and will always work. As long as you have a relevant, nice and short message!
To automate this:
Linked Helper (you can also go to DuxSoup ) will allow you to automate: the connection request, the sending of a message, the like of a post, etc…
Linked Helper will do the work for you in your browser, and will imitate human behavior so as not to be blocked by Linkedin (so it is not instantaneous). It is a great tool that mainly allows you to automate messages with dynamic fields.
The sequences are still badly managed, and you will not be able to stop the sequence once a response has arrived … So be careful, and watch your sequences well!
MixMax , Woodpecker or even Klenty allow you to automate work without added value: copy and paste, fill emails by hand, etc.
With these tools, the email will leave your mailbox as if you wrote it yourself. To find inspiration to write your best prospecting emails: Good email copy .
Manage your leads and their responses
Forget about a raise. Do not respond to a return email. Do not raise the person after returning from vacation. Send a document three days too late. Between fatal errors and generic oversights, it’s the little details that make the difference!
CRM = Customer Relationship Management → Customer relationship management.
Use a good CRM! Organize it according to the needs of your business / project, and don’t forget reminders. Do your follow-ups well; follow the progress of your prospect until the signing of the contract.
– PipeDrive : a benchmark for SMEs and startups in Europe.
– Streak : the new kid. Perfectly integrated into Gmail or Gsuite, you will have direct access to your pipeline of prospects, and will be able to link exchanged emails to the right prospect without leaving your email interface.
The integrations of CRMs with emailing tools are powerful, and you will be able to automatically enter the prospects who respond into your CRM: Klenty → Pipedrive → Resumption of contact manually.
The l ead generation by direct message or phone call is still the most used and most effective prospecting means, but we must learn to do it!
Personalize your approach, get to know your prospects, and really be in a position to solve their problems. Once you understand this, automate the repetitive parts to have even more quality time to spend on them.