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Pitching Every Midsize Business in America (for Fun and Profit) (Anand Kukarni, Co-founder, LeadGenius)

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Figuring out every midsize business in the country is tricky – but if you can do it, you can pitch a lot of them... fast. I'll share two stories from the trenches about how we got the data to run outbound sales campaigns targeting SMB at ridiculous scale, as well as how you can do the same.

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Pitching Every Midsize Business in America (for Fun and Profit) (Anand Kukarni, Co-founder, LeadGenius)

  1. 1. Pitching Every Small & Midsize Business in America (for fun… and profit) Anand Kulkarni Co-founder
 LeadGenius @leadgenius
  2. 2. Who’s talking? • Co-founder / Prez LeadGenius.com
 • Ran sales at LeadGenius for 4 years, with a network of 500 virtual SDRs
 • ex-PhD from Berkeley, 
 NSF Fellow 

  3. 3. LeadGenius software manages outbound / 
 account-based sales for fast-growth companies: • building lists of 
 target accounts
 • mapping decision makers at accounts 
 • launching customized prospecting email from sales reps
  4. 4. The inside view on lead generation and outbound processes. • I’ve had an inside look at how dozens of companies have set up their outbound sales processes.
 • Both startups and enterprises • 1-person operations to 500- SDR powerhouses • We eat our own dogfood!

  5. 5. Today’s Story • In 2013, one of our customers approached me with a special request: to find and pitch (almost) every small and midsize business in America.
  6. 6. Today’s Story • In 2013, one of our customers approached me with a special request: to find and pitch (almost) every small and midsize business in America. • This is how I did it.
  7. 7. What I’ll share with you today:
  8. 8. What I’ll share with you today: • Tales of how we helped a customer identify and pitch every small and midsize business in America!

  9. 9. What I’ll share with you today: • Tales of how we helped a customer identify and pitch every small and midsize business in America!
 • How you can try these neat tricks at home inside your own organization!
  10. 10. 10 The Motivation Why try to pitch everyone in the country?
  11. 11. Why Pitch Everyone? The Motivation The Answer:
  12. 12. 12 “Once you’ve found product-market fit,
 the only acceptable limits on your sales growth are: * How fast you can hire top talent. * How fast you can fill your funnel with leads.”

  13. 13. 13 “Once you’ve found product-market fit,
 the only acceptable limits on your sales growth are: * How fast you can hire top talent. * How fast you can fill your funnel with leads.”
 — Parker Conrad, Zenefits
 Fastest-growing SAAS company of all time.
  14. 14. The way “filling your funnel” with SMBs used to work: • Marketing buys a giant list of names, emails and phone numbers (also, buy lots and lots of ads) • Sales hires a huge, costly, and hungry sales staff • Hungry salespeople work their way down that lead list with cold calls,
 in-person visits 14
  15. 15. This keeps sales & marketing busy, but… • Marketing spends thousands / millions on list buys & ads • Sales spends $60K-$100K / year per SMB rep working their way down the lists
 • 2% of the leads convert per month • 98% of the contacts die • That’s a huge amount of wasted budget. 15
  16. 16. Is there a better way? • Let’s build an outbound SMB program to pitch everybody in the country first.
 • It’s going to be driven by sales – so sales is going to write a message to each prospect. • If someone says they’re interested, we’ll point them to sales. 16
  17. 17. Let’s go get them. • Collect data at scale.
 We built a list of every small business in the whole country (engineering optional!) • Learn their pain.
 We researched relevant data about
 every one of those customers to 
 pre-qualify • Pitch at scale.
 We wrote each one of those 
 customers a targeted, personal 
 message from a salesperson 17
  18. 18. 18 Building the List How many businesses are there in the United States?
  19. 19. Counting them Up • There are 27,908,021 American businesses according to the 2012 US Census. • 6,049,655 of those employ more than one person.
  20. 20. Counting them Up • There are 27,908,021 American businesses according to the 2012 US Census. • 6,049,655 of those employ more than one person. (Those are the
 interesting ones.)
  21. 21. Counting them Up • There are 27,908,021 American businesses according to the 2012 US Census. • 6,049,655 of those employ more than one person. (Those are the
 interesting ones.) How would you get them?
  22. 22. How did I get this data? 22
  23. 23. How did I get this data? 23
  24. 24. How did I get this data? You can go to a series of websites: • Yelp (47M establishments) 24
  25. 25. How did I get this data? You can go to a series of websites: • Yelp (47M establishments) • CrunchBase (650K Companies) 25
  26. 26. How did I get this data? You can go to a series of websites: • Yelp (47M establishments) • CrunchBase (650K Companies) 26
  27. 27. How did I get this data? You can go to a series of websites: • Yelp (47M establishments) • CrunchBase (650K Companies) • AngelList (289K Companies) 27
  28. 28. How did I get this data? You can go to a series of websites: • Yelp (47M establishments) • CrunchBase (650K Companies) • AngelList (289K Companies) • Manta 28
  29. 29. How did I get this data? You can go to a series of websites: • Yelp (47M establishments) • CrunchBase (650K Companies) • AngelList (289K Companies) • Manta • Secretary of State Databases (everything else) 
 29
  30. 30. How did I get this data? You can go to a series of websites: • Yelp (47M establishments) • CrunchBase (650K Companies) • AngelList (289K Companies) • Manta • Secretary of State Databases (everything else) 
 We didn’t go to… • Data.com • Dunn & Bradstreet 30
  31. 31. How did I get this data? For each site: • Put every business on the site
 into a CSV file • Figure out the business owner(s) • Figure out the owner’s email address • Verify it 31
  32. 32. How did I get this data? For each site: • Put every business on the site
 into a CSV file • Figure out the business owner(s) • Figure out the owner’s email address • Verify it 32
  33. 33. How did I get this data? For each site: • Put every business on the site
 into a CSV file • Figure out the business owner(s) • Figure out the owner’s email address • Verify it 33
  34. 34. How did I get this data? For each site: • Put every business on the site
 into a CSV file • Figure out the business owner(s) • Figure out the owner’s email address • Verify it 34
  35. 35. How did I get this data? For each site: • Put every business on the site
 into a CSV file • Figure out the business owner(s) • Figure out the owner’s email address • Verify it 35
  36. 36. How did I get this data? For each site: • Put every business on the site
 into a CSV file • Figure out the business owner(s) • Figure out the owner’s email address • Verify it 36 I’m assuming you’re not using developers to: • Write crawlers, build machine learning systems, get fancy
  37. 37. How did I get this data? 37
  38. 38. How did I get this data? 38
  39. 39. Virtual sales backup 39 In-person SDR:
 $80K/year (full-time)
 Slow to hire
 Competitive retention
 Virtual staffers:
 $10/hr-$25/hr (contract)
 Unlimited, scalable supply
 Dedicated + motivated
 Who should do the work?
  40. 40. 40 We used a lot of people. Manila Belgrade (100 total)
  41. 41. 41 Management: break out by states, then
 by industry. California Team New York Team
  42. 42. 42 Learning the Pain Researching each prospect
  43. 43. Why not pitch every business the same way? • If we’re going to reach out to everybody in the country… 
 let’s not waste the pitch! • Personalization works • How can we do it at scale?
  44. 44. We researched each prospect at scale! • Datanyze & BuiltWith:
 Look up the lists of technologies used by each company
 • LinkedIn:
 Look up the job history of each prospect at a company.
  45. 45. We researched each prospect at scale! • LinkedIn connections – who do you know in common? • Coworkers – who else works there on their team? • Social media activity – have they complained about your competitors? • Product usage – what are these folks using? • Hiring patterns – are they hiring for roles that would use your product?
  46. 46. 46 Pitching Everybody What’d we say and how’d we say it?
  47. 47. Software for Emailing 47 This market’s exploding! • Tout • Yesware • Outreach.io • Sidekick (Hubspot) • PersistIQ • Quickmail 
 We ended up rolling our own
 so that we could rapidly classify replies.
  48. 48. Strategy 48 Set up unique campaigns for each state and industry. 
 Send prospecting messages from
 individual sales reps – not marketing messages.
 
 Use all the data we collected to make sure the messages were personalized to the person, business, and need.
  49. 49. Pitching leads From: anand@leadgenius.com
 To: sarah@hotlead.com
 Subj: Michael said you needed insurance? Hi Sarah, I saw you guys were hiring for HR. We know each other through Michael James and I wanted to see if we might be able to help you scale your HR practices. I have an HR tool that automates your insurance selection.
 
 Let me know if you’d like to chat further – we’re doing this for SoldLead8 already. BTW, congrats on your recent round! Cheers!
 AK 49 Subject line = crucial.
 
 Don’t use “quick question!”
  50. 50. Pitching leads 50 Make it a custom, handwritten email Don’t be salesy! 
 Be helpful.
 
 From: anand@leadgenius.com
 To: sarah@hotlead.com
 Subj: Michael said you needed insurance? Hi Sarah, I saw you guys were hiring for HR. We know each other through Michael James and I wanted to see if we might be able to help you scale your HR practices. I have an HR tool that automates your insurance selection.
 
 Let me know if you’d like to chat further – we’re doing this for SoldLead8 already. BTW, congrats on your recent round! Cheers!
 AK
  51. 51. Pitching leads 51 Be genuine + helpful – don’t spam.
 
 Show social proof. 
 Prove you’re not a robot –  include personal Double-Tap: LinkedIn profile view on the same date! From: anand@leadgenius.com
 To: sarah@hotlead.com
 Subj: Michael said you needed insurance? Hi Sarah, I saw you guys were hiring for HR. We know each other through Michael James and I wanted to see if we might be able to help you scale your HR practices. I have an HR tool that automates your insurance selection.
 
 Let me know if you’d like to chat further – we’re doing this for SoldLead8 already. BTW, congrats on your recent round! Cheers!
 AK
  52. 52. How much of this email had to be written 
 by hand? Question
  53. 53. How much of this email had to be written 
 by hand? Answer None.
  54. 54. Mass customization 54 Binary buying signal 
 (compelling event – one of four possibilities) From: anand@leadgenius.com
 To: sarah@hotlead.com
 Subj: Michael said you needed insurance? Hi Sarah, I saw you guys were hiring for HR. We know each other through Michael James and I wanted to see if we might be able to help you scale your HR practices. I have an HR tool that automates your insurance selection.
 
 Let me know if you’d like to chat further – we’re doing this for SoldLead8 already. BTW, congrats on your recent round! Cheers!
 AK
  55. 55. Mass customization 55 LinkedIn… (obviously) From: anand@leadgenius.com
 To: sarah@hotlead.com
 Subj: Michael said you needed insurance? Hi Sarah, I saw you guys were hiring for HR. We know each other through Michael James and I wanted to see if we might be able to help you scale your HR practices. I have an HR tool that automates your insurance selection.
 
 Let me know if you’d like to chat further – we’re doing this for SoldLead8 already. BTW, congrats on your recent round! Cheers!
 AK
  56. 56. Mass customization 56 Sector-by-sector comparison through a lead list to find sold customers in their sector From: anand@leadgenius.com
 To: sarah@hotlead.com
 Subj: Michael said you needed insurance? Hi Sarah, I saw you guys were hiring for HR. We know each other through Michael James and I wanted to see if we might be able to help you scale your HR practices. I have an HR tool that automates your insurance selection.
 
 Let me know if you’d like to chat further – we’re doing this for SoldLead8 already. BTW, congrats on your recent round! Cheers!
 AK
  57. 57. Mass customization 57 Background Research From: anand@leadgenius.com
 To: sarah@hotlead.com
 Subj: Michael said you needed insurance? Hi Sarah, I saw you guys were hiring for HR. We know each other through Michael James and I wanted to see if we might be able to help you scale your HR practices. I have an HR tool that automates your insurance selection.
 
 Let me know if you’d like to chat further – we’re doing this for SoldLead8 already. BTW, congrats on your recent round! Cheers!
 AK
  58. 58. 58 Putting it All Together How’d this all work?
  59. 59. Our basic unit of pitching A 3-person team: • 1 virtual lead generation rep • Researches new leads • 1 outreach/writing staffer • Sends emails • 1 manager/QA staffer (!!!) • Saves you time 59
  60. 60. Putting it All Together We gave prospectors: • LinkedIn Premium • Email access in MailGenius • Pitching on behalf of sales reps inside organizations We gave researchers: • LinkedIn Premium • Google Spreadsheets • Import.io • Rapportive • Toofr (verification) • Datanyze or BuiltWith 60
  61. 61. Sample results One team of 3 like this can produce: • 30 verified leads per hour • 1200 leads per week • 1200 emails per week 61 33 teams could produce: • 660 verified leads per hour • 26400 leads per week • 26400 emails per week
 • ~1.5 million leads a year
  62. 62. 62 Results
  63. 63. 63 Results 3M companies were collected over 24 months.
 120K person-hours of research
  64. 64. 64 Results 3M companies were collected over 24 months.
 120K person-hours of research 
 Someone at your company probably got an email that started with us. Campaign low: 0.1% PRR Campaign high: 30% PRR
  65. 65. 65 Results 3M companies were collected over 24 months.
 120K person-hours of research 
 Someone at your company probably got an email that started with us. Campaign low: 0.1% PRR Campaign high: 30% PRR
 
 Our customer picked up 2000 new clients in the first 12 months of prospecting.
  66. 66. 66 Results (your inbox may vary)
  67. 67. 67 Results
  68. 68. Would we brute-force
 collect this info again? Recap
  69. 69. 69 No.
  70. 70. 70 No. We already have a database
 of every small and midsize business in the country.
  71. 71. 71 You can do this today using the same
 tools we used two years back, but… by now LeadGenius (+ others) have built: • crawlers + automated extraction tools • automated verification tools • tools to dump into CRM
 
 
 
 
 No need to reinvent the wheel.
  72. 72. Takeaways You can do things that don't scale when going after SMB, if you use the right technology.
 Sales can pitch small and midsize businesses using the same tactics that work in marketing (personalization at scale). Use technology and data collection to make your prospecting targeted and customized.
  73. 73. That’s it! • Tell me what’s working for you:
 anand@leadgenius.com, @polybot
 • If you want to use our software or data:
 www.leadgenius.com, @leadgenius 73
  74. 74. What I’ll share with you tonight: • Strategies we used to:
 — source hundreds of leads / week on the cheap, using either software (free or paid) or virtual staffers (paid)
 — pitch and engage with 50-100 small and midsize customers per day, automatically and convincingly
 –– repeatably generate consistent sales from virtual outbound, either solo or with a marketing team
  75. 75. 75 Advanced Techniques That Work
  76. 76. 1. Content marketing mash-up. Share targeted content aimed at your audience at the same time as an email campaign. (LinkedIn, email). Ask marketing for help. 76 Blog Post Dedicated Landing Page Outbound
  77. 77. 2. Scripting responses 77 From: anand@leadgenius.com
 To: sarah@hotlead.com
 Subj: Quick Question, Sarah Hi Sarah, I saw you guys were hiring for SDRs. We know each other through Michael James and I wanted to see if we might be able to help you scale your SDR team. I have a few extra SDRs we can push your way. 
 
 Let me know if you’d like to chat further – we’re doing this for SoldLead8 already. BTW, congrats on your recent round! Cheers!
 AK Interested? Here’s 3 times that work for me! Here’s more information! Check back later. Specific question Automatically schedule a follow-up mail
  78. 78. 3. Send before you hire. • Reps ramp far faster when they have leads to close against. • When you hire a sales rep, start sending emails for them! • Let them walk into ready deal flow and live calls. 78
  79. 79. 4. Other outbound tips • Mix it up! Authenticity is maximally important as email becomes an increasingly crowded channel. • Consider non-email channels (InMail) or asking for referrals from your own network to penetrate into companies before contacting 79
  80. 80. 4. Other outbound tips • Rank your leads. • Don’t send outbound to EVERYBODY • Message against buying signals. • Start with folks with hot “buying signals” 80
  81. 81. Monitor your team closely to make sure it works. 81 ROI is everything!
  82. 82. Monitor your team closely to make sure it works. 82

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