The Ultimate Guide To Booking Meetings With Fortune 1000 Companies
It was over two years ago now. I just started a role at a new startup. Our target market consisted of mostly enterprise accounts. The biggest names in the world were target accounts like JP Morgan, Intel, Microsoft and Crain’s.
Our technology could help their businesses see huge returns and the deal sizes on our end often had potential to grow into $1m – $2m / year accounts. All this was well in good, except we couldn’t figure out how to get their attention or generate enough meetings.
Our product was new to the marketplace and the people we were reaching out to (CMOs, SVPs, VP in marketing and technology) were extremely busy. They simply didn’t have the time or budget to pay attention.
After a dismal month of very few quality meetings generated our CEO created a contest that would incentivize all salespeople to get as many meetings as possible. Being new to the team I really wanted to win.
I already had experience with sales automation technologies and email marketing but I knew my typical tricks wouldn’t work here. We were too early stage of a startup and the companies we were selling to were too big for a typical automated email campaign.
Because the accounts were so big and the stakes so high I had to up the ante. What I ended up doing was creating a unique outreach approach that not only won the competition (booking twice as many meetings as any of my colleagues) but also helped generate a lot of new business. The approach is what I now call Semi-Personalized Sales.
Introducing Semi-Personalized Sales …
I created Semi-Personalized Sales in order to penetrate notoriously difficult strategic enterprise accounts. A few examples of companies this has worked for include JP Morgan, HP, Dell and Forbes.
It goes beyond typical sales email drip campaigns by offering a highly valuable, highly relevant piece of collateral that everyone within the organization will find valuable. The collateral itself is not only tailored to their vertical, but tailored to their department within the company. This is the key. Collateral so good that the company would pay for it. I’ll go into this in a bit more detail further down this post.
The reason I call the method Semi-Personalized Sales, is because it’s the perfect balance between Automation and Personalization for these large accounts. Meaning, it’s not completely set it and forget it, but it does let you scale quicker with better results than any other system out there.
Why is the balance between automation and personalization so important? Because too much automation in prospecting will lead to messaging that looks like this …
I’d like to introduce myself as Director of Company X Asian Conference, sister event to the Company X European Conference and US conferences which you may know better.
Are you, like many other eCommerce solutions providers, looking east towards greener Asian pastures?
If so, I’m keen to make sure you and your counterparts in Asia receive the relevant information to partner at the only Asian conference for eCommerce & Multi-Channel Retail Innovators.
Can you speak at 11am (Singapore Time) tomorrow to see how we can help you put your business case forward to over 500 Asian eCommerce Leaders?
“Great eTail Asia event in Singapore. I was able to meet with the full South East Asian e-commerce ecosystem, build new useful connections and learn about new key trends.”
– Momchil Kyurkchiev, CEO, Co-founder, Leanplum.
I would be grateful if you could reply to this email and let me know what’s the best number to reach you on?
I’d really appreciate your help with this and look forward to speaking with you.
eTail Asia Director
P.S. If you have an Asian counterpart, can you help me reach out to them this week with an introduction or a recommendation on who I need to contact?
Now, this email has so many issues, I can’t even begin to go into all of them. To list a few: My company has no Asian presence, he started the email about himself rather than the value he could provide, there’s all kinds of weird and distracting formatting and it’s way too long and not getting to the point quick enough.
Besides the messaging, this guy is clearly misusing some sort of sales automation technology by filling it up with thousands of contacts and sending them all the same tired messaging. Sure, this technology lets him reach many potential prospects, but his messaging strategy is so poor I’m sure his email to meeting ratio hovers at 1%.
The other end of the spectrum is taking an overly personalized approach. That’s where you don’t use sales automation but instead research every company and prospect thoroughly before approaching them.
That means checking them out on Linkedin, reading their company’s annual report, following them in the news, thoroughly investigating their website and then sending each on an individualized email 5-7 times before they actually book their first meetings.
Now the email to meeting ratio is usually much, much, much better with this approach, especially when you tailor the value proposition of your product to their role, title and company. Here’s an example of a message I used that would have a much better reply rate …
Hope you’ve had a lovely weekend. I reached out last week but thought another message could help. As an FYI, I also shot a line to Ted, Kenneth and Roy.
I watched the intro video on your website in order to assess where I may provide most value. After reviewing, I think it’s through our cross-device identification data. We can help expand your audience, improve attribution and provide better results for prospects.
Happy to share my research and case studies on a 15- 30 minute call. Would you be open to setting some time up Thursday or Friday this week?
Now this is a much better email. It references her colleagues to build social proof, it’s short and to the point, it emphasizes I’ve done my research and explicitly states the value I can provide. Now even though this approach works, and it’s recommended by most of the gurus out there, I’m here to tell you there’s a better way.
But Steven, nothing’s better than sending a hyper-personalized high value message!
Shush up imaginary italicized voice and be patient, the kicker is coming. But first an explanation of why:
The reason I don’t recommend this as your only approach is because of how few messages you can actually send like these. Sending out personalized messages to everyone is very time consuming.
My guess is it’d be tough to send out more than twenty-five messages from this approach. You’ll likely book a meeting or two from those reach outs but it comes at a price.
The price is how limited you are in your outreach and how time-consuming the task can be.
All this, of course, is a precursor, to why I think I’ve found the right balance between automation and personalization for large strategic accounts and want to share with you.
So What’s Semi-Personalized Selling and How Does It Work?
Semi-Personalized selling is a great strategy to use when you’re trying to get into enterprise companies but you don’t have brand recognition and are selling a complex offering that’s hard to explain in an email.
Tools You’ll Need
ZenProspect breaks the mold when it comes to sales automation technologies. It’s the swiss army knife of sales tools. The two primary functions are a lead database and a tool for drip campaigns.
The lead database is incredible because it pulls leads from so many different sources like Linkedin and Angellist and then allows you to filter it.
For example, if you are looking to pull a big list of VPs of Analytics from Ecommerce Websites you can easily filter the platform to create that list.
Afterwards, you can either push that list into a CRM like Salesforce or push them into a drip campaign that you’ve created.
The drip campaign will be key for the Semi-Personalization approach. In case you’re new to this terminology, what a drip campaign allows you to do is to front load a number of emails (lets say 7 emails) and have them send out at set times to a list of people you enter.
For example, I write seven message tailored to all of those VPs of Analytics and set them to send three days apart. Then upload a list of VPs of Analytics and I got myself a drip campaign, woohoo! (Remember, this is where the automation comes in … the wrong messaging within those messages is where it can get spammy).
Another tool you may want to try out, if you don’t care for the leads, is Salesloft. I’ve used it for years before discovering ZenProspect and can attest that it’s also very good!
2) Quicktime or Camatasia – Both of these are softwares that allow you to record videos. Essentially a screenshare with a voiceover and maybe a couple of effects thrown into the mix.
You’ll need this because as part of the method, we’ll record a video that we’ll want to be relevant with our group of prospects. This will be our High Value Collateral, a concept I’ll get into a little bit later in the blog post.
3) Wistia – Finally, the last thing I want to mention is Wistia. This is a great tool where you can upload your videos and see analytics on who watches which videos and how much of each video they watched. We’re going to use data from Wistia to help us qualify the best prospects to go after.
Steps of Semi-Personalization Sales
We’re finally here, the actual process of Semi-Personalization Sales! I think the best thing I can do to explain the process is to show you through a live case study of how I went after the B2B technology vertical at my previous company.
Here’s a short video where I explain the entire process via slideshare, as well as some text below to help explain.
Semi-Personalized Sales Case Study and Explanation
Step 1 – Identify The Companies
This step is pretty self-explanatory. You want to choose a vertical where you can pitch the same value proposition to everyone in that vertical and they are related somehow. In the example in the video, I chose large B2B technology companies. I shared a few examples of the ones I actually went after in the slide below.
Step 2 – Identify the Contacts
Once you know the companies to go after you’ll want to create a list of all the titles you want to reach out to at those companies. If you’ve implemented ZenProspect it will be crazy easy for you to do.
You’ll simply enter in the names of the companies you’re going after, the titles you want to go after and pull the appropriate list.
If you’re going after huge enterprises there may be as many as 10-20 contacts you’ll pull for this exercise.
Oh and if you aren’t using ZenProspect then there are many other ways to retrieve a contact’s email. I suggest you check out Scott Britton’s post on finding anyone’s email address.
Step 3 – Create High Value Collateral
High Value Collateral Example I’ve Used At Previous Comapny
Now this part is very important. In fact, it’s the most important part of the whole system. The High Value Collateral is what you’ll put within the email and what makes the approach so powerful. I’ve included something that I’ve used at a previous company but something totally different could work at yours.
The key is to create a piece of content that you’re creating ESPECIALLY FOR THE COMPANY you’re targeting that should be so valuable to the client that they’d be willing to pay for the information. Now the trick here, is to have the framework work for an entire vertical, but put it in a wrapper that makes it look like it was created just for that company.
If you watch the video above, the first part, and last part is me speaking generically into the camera. Only the middle part is custom tailored for the client. Additionally, the messaging in the middle is similar to all other tech clients I pitch so I can churn out these videos fairly quickly while still having the look and feel that I created it just for my prospect.
A few other examples of high value collateral could be:
– A whitepaper that challenges the very notion of how companies in their vertical do business and provides insight into how your offer is the solution. Make the front cover and a few words within the whitepaper tailored to the company itself (i.e. A finance white paper but the cover and some of the content inside is about JP Morgan).
– A slide share that outlines a day in the life of a consumer in their vertical and the issues they come across without having your solution in place. Again, make sure some of the content has logos and insights specifically geared to company you’re targeting.
– And my personal favorite, a video I created that shows where the missing opportunity is and how my product can help them make money.
Remember, think about scale and automation. How can you create a piece of collateral that will seem like it was tailor made for the person you are targeting but can actually be used or repackaged for others.
Step 4 – Craft your emails
Now this part is very important. You are going to want to craft 5-7 emails for your drip campaign. The most important aspect is the High Value Collateral within the email. This by the way is what makes this approach so powerful. It’s the fact that you’re including a piece of content within the email that’s so valuable the client may have been willing to pay for that information.
And this is what makes this approach so special and different.
You aren’t sending them some spammy drip campaign. Each email contains extremely powerful High Value Collateral that should blow the prospects minds if they see it.
Step 5 – Upload Into Drip Campaign
Next step, you’ll simply want to upload them into your sales automation software, in this case, ZenProspect. Upload the email along with the link to your high value collateral and watch the results.
Step 6 – Fire away and follow up!
As the emails are sent you will be able to track who has opened your emails and who has clicked directly within ZenProspect. Those who have opened and clicked many times are your hottest prospects. If you’ve used Wistia to upload your videos then you can also track how much of the video they have watched which gives you even more insights as to how hot they are for your product and your solution.
Expect to get some incredible responses when you use this approach. Not only will prospects reply and happily provide you a meeting with major stakeholders in the business … they will also compliment you on your approach and even ask you how you did it!