I recently helped a young startup take its initial commercial strides in an established and regulated industry. This company was self-funded and managed to secure a couple pilots by leveraging personal relationships, but had yet to make significant sales or branding overtures with a limited marketing budget.
Leading up to this, I had lived several years overseas, and with a few exceptions my industry contacts were stale at best, and I was left to research and contact prospects directly. After attending a couple industry conferences and walking away with only a handful of contacts, I realized I needed a more productive way to 1) identify and 2) reach out to potential clients and partners.
Initial efforts proved unfruitful - despite using LinkedIn’s Premium Sales Navigator, which does a great job helping segment and identify prospects. I found that my outreach efforts suffered on the last unpaved mile as I grappled with LinkedIn messages, personal email addresses, and company switchboard operators.
There had to be a better way.
Tools of the Trade
After a considerable amount of research and trial and error, I experimented my way through a few upstart vendors, and ultimately found my way to what I was looking for (actually, a bit more than I needed). I found that there were two classes of vendors that could, in conjunction, meet my immediate needs:
Sales Intelligence Solutions (SIS)
These solutions provide access to the sorely needed work email addresses and direct dial phone numbers for C-Level, Decision Maker, and Influencers in my target segments. By installing the solution’s Chrome plug-ins, I could navigate to my targets using LinkedIn and then have his/her contact info presented in a convenient pop-out window.
Sales Enablement Solutions (SES)
The other equally important piece of the puzzle was a way to efficiently create drip email campaigns for the newly researched prospects. Traditional ESP vendors like MailChimp or ActiveCampaign cannot generate campaigns without opt-ins. SES vendors have a built-in “throttle” that takes a list of hundreds of emails addresses and quickly parses individual emails to each prospect, steering clear from domain blacklisting triggers. Better yet, it is possible to initiate a prospect’s campaign directly from the Chrome plug-in – an extremely convenient and one-step way to directly reach out to a prospect.
After contracting with the vendors, I was able to create campaigns ahead of the company’s biggest industry tradeshow and fill the 3 day event with qualified meetings – a huge win and boost to the pipeline.
After revamping the company’s website for inbound marketing, I was also able to create campaigns leveraging a White Paper and an Industry Journal cover article to generate qualified leads.
It is important to point out that I used enterprise solutions for these campaigns, which in retrospect turned out to be more than adequate for the company’s needs. For Sales Intelligence we contracted with ZoomInfo, which was later acquired by the other premium solution Discover.Org. The Sales Enablement solution we used was Outreach.io, which competes with SalesLoft on the high end of the market. For companies that use Salesforce.com, these solutions are well integrated through API’s and will be a comfortable fit into their technology budgets.
Solution for SMB’s
I have recently discovered Prospect.io - a solution that may be a great fit for small companies and entrepreneurs. It not only combines both Sales Enablement and Sales Intelligence into a integrated solution, but also has accessible pricing starting at $99 per month and flexible contracting that can adjust to short term needs.
Naturally, it does not have all the bells and whistles as its enterprise counterparts, but does present a more intuitive user interface that help users get started quickly, and is integrated with SMB CRM solutions such as PipeDrive as well as Gmail and Outlook email.
To learn more about how Sales Intelligence and Enablement Solutions can help hunters, inside sales reps and entrepreneurs achieve sales objectives, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Atlantify is an Atlanta-based digital agency focused on helping entrepreneurs and small businesses setup and grow their online stores and business projects.