Finding the perfect person to contact at a company can be difficult. In some cases, you’ll want to tap into the C-suite. In others, you’ll want to interact with the end-users. And other times, you’ll land somewhere in the middle.
So how do you determine who you should reach out to via cold email? Even if you’ve already cultivated product champions within an organization, the answer isn’t so cut and dry.
On our episode of Cold Email Outreach with Jeremy & Jack, we shared some tips for finding the perfect person to contact at a company so you can increase your chances of making a sale.
To find the right contact, ask yourself: Who’s really benefiting?
Before you get too deep into crawling company directories and LinkedIn profiles, take a step back and ask yourself: Who’s really benefiting from my product? The end-user or the company itself?
Another way to approach this question is to ask: Why did we make this?
If the goal is to solve a pain point within the industry, target the end-user. Although they’re likely not the ultimate decision-makers, if your product serves their needs or solves a problem, they’ll be ecstatic. They will become a champion for your product and advocate for it internally within a company. Ideally, you can let them upsell your product to the key decision-makers.
A great example of this is Stripe, the payment-processing tool. Because PayPal’s clunky interface was letting developers down, Stripe saw this as an opportunity to become the preferred payment tool among developers — people creating the online payment systems for websites. So Stripe went straight to the developers, the ones who’d be working with the product, and pitched it to them.
They were all ears when they heard about Stripe, and this is how the company made inroads in the early days.
On the other hand, if your product will help a company save money, increase efficiency, or reduce risk, you’ll want to go straight to the top.
Imagine you’ve developed a product that’ll keep a company’s financials more secure. The employees in HR won’t really care about this. Instead, you’ll want to target someone like the CFO, because they’re the ones who’ll be the most invested in securing the company’s financials.
To find the perfect person to contact, also consider…
In addition to thinking about who’ll most benefit from your product, there are a few other elements you might consider. These include:
- The size of the company and its structure: If you’re reaching out to a smaller startup, then it might make the most sense to reach out to the CEO, CFO, or CTO, for instance. If you’re reaching out to a large corporation, depending on how flat or hierarchical it is, then you might want to consider reaching out to a mid-level manager.
- The price of your product: Are you selling a $100 product or are you selling a $10,000 product? If your price point is low, then there’s no harm in reaching out to the end-user (the person who will benefit from it!). Sometimes, if they find the product useful enough, they’ll just pay for it with their own money. However, if the product is more expensive, it’ll take more convincing from the higher-ups — the ones who have a hold on the budget.
- The length of your sales cycle: If your sales cycle is shorter and the product is easy to start using, then you might only need to talk to one or two people at the company to get them on board. If your sales cycle is lengthier and your product requires tech support and/or training, then you’ll likely want to get in contact with several people at the company.
Next: Figure out what works — then scale
Once you’ve determined the perfect person to contact and how to contact them, it’s time to think about scaling your approach through retargeting, better trials, or onboarding demos.
Your business model will play a big role here, too. You might want to think about using a freemium model to your advantage.
Trello is a great example of this. It has a full freemium model, which allows companies to onboard employees and adopt the platform — for free. They can use it and fall in love with it without paying a cent (a great Land and Expand strategy).
Once folks are on board and Trello has become part of the company’s process, the product offers premium paid features that appeal to or solve issues for upper management, like extra security features.
Other platforms have used this model, too, including Zapier and Notion. This is a long-game strategy, but it can work.
An even longer-game plan would be offering your product in a bootcamp, so users can learn how to use the tool for free before they opt-in.
For example, there are a ton of coding and development bootcamps out there. You could offer up your tool for free as a part of a bootcamp, so users can become familiar with it and will start using it.
Then, they’ll come out of school knowing and using the tool, and others in the market will take notice and want to jump in. Eventually, it’ll become the de-facto option and an industry standard. That’s what happened with 3ds Max, a 3D modeling software. Again, this is a long-game plan, but it has worked
And, finally, here’s a super long-game example of what this might look like: When Nestle introduced coffee to Japan in the ’70s, it saw little success. Japan just wasn’t a “coffee country” — yet.
So Nestle introduced coffee-flavored candy and desserts to Japan, so people could become better acquainted with the flavor. Fast forward to 2014, and Japan’s coffee market was hitting record highs.
You probably don’t want to shoot that long term, but you will want to test out different approaches as you scale.
Additional pro tips to keep in mind as you make contact
Once you’ve found who you want to contact, you’ll want to keep these tips in mind as you move forward, so you can make the most out of your new relationship:
- Having a product champion within a company is great, but remember not everyone is a salesperson. That product champion can’t sell your product to the CFO as you can, so ask that end-user about the best point of contact, to be able to really highlight the value of what you’re selling.
- You’ll absolutely want to collect testimonials from your end-users, but it’s just as important to gather testimonials from higher-ups. That way, if you’re sending a cold email to a CTO, you can use a more tailored testimonial that’ll better align with their goals for the company. Testimonials are a great way to demonstrate your social proof and help businesses understand how they can use your product.
Finally, don’t forget to ask for referrals. See if the decision-makers you’ve done business with have other connections within the industry. Get their names and contact information. Then, you don’t have to worry about who to contact next!