Imagine this scenario – you know who you want to get in touch with. You know the exact type of people, their age and work experience, their position in the company and their responsibilities. In short, you know exactly who you want to reach out to. But how do you get their email address or phone number?
That was the biggest issue I had when I was first starting out with cold-emailing (or email prospecting), or email sales and marketing automation in general. I was always lost about that one thing.
Where and how do I find the right email contacts for prospecting?
What I did was start out with the basic ideas. Finding some on-line databases of companies, looking up a specific industry and then checking the company websites one by one, in order to get the information I needed.
Now, this approach worked well enough for a beginner like me. The information I gathered was mostly accurate, but the problem was that the whole process was painfully slow. I couldn’t get to more than 30 to 40 contacts per day this way. And when you want to prospect a big market, you know that you need a few thousand fresh contacts, each month. So that was too slow, to say the least. ?
So, what do you do at this point? You supercharge your lead-generating skills, that’s what you do.
There are plenty of tools out there that can help you find relevant information about anyone or anything. For email prospecting, this is the set of tools that I use:
- LinkedIn. It might sound obvious, but don’t laugh. Many people don’t know how powerful a tool LinkedIn can be when used with some outside of the box thinking. With a bit of tweaking, you can search your local or faraway connections by industry, country, job-title, and more. True, you still can’t locate their email address directly on LinkedIn, but you do get a lot of info to continue with. Or, if you think that can work, you can contact them directly with private messages there.
- Use a data provider (I personally use datafy.it). With data providers, you put in your criteria based on which it should search for contacts (put in the name of the companies you found on LinkedIn for example) and see how many direct emails they come up with for you. You’ll be surprised at just how much data services like these have, in case you haven’t used them before.
- Reverse IP lookup with Lead Forensics. Ah, the inevitable “you don’t know what you don’t know” catch. Sure, you have visitors on your page, but what exaclty do you know about them? Where are they from, how long were they on your site, what was of most interest to them, what was the reason for them to not continue and become a client/buyer? Pick up the phone and call them. There is nothing more to it, just call them up and ask “Hey John, I see we had a visitor from your company who stayed on our page for 30 minutes. Were you looking for XYZ?”. Some other tools, like KickFire or Hunter.io, also come as Chrome extensions, making them incredibly handy for when you are stalking people’s emails.
- Referrals. Do not underestimate the power of asking. Simply coming up to your acquaintances with a question like “Who do you know that I should be talking to?” could yield incredible results, getting you great, relevant leads (and their contact emails or phone numbers) straight away.
- *BONUS* In case you need emails from a whole audience in a B2C environment, here’s just one idea: why not organize a viral contest? It could be a sweepstake or giveaway of any kind. You can check out tools like Vyper.io that make setting up a giveaway and collecting participants’ emails a hassle-free process. Again, this works for a completely different target audience than the rest of the tricks, but we didn’t want to leave anyone high and dry if this is what you actually need.
Now, here’s the rundown of the process I use to tackle the mission of collecting the right contacts:
Step 1: Check Lead Forensics daily, and follow-up with relevant visitors often.
Step 2: Communicate with my dataprovider and receive lists of emails with other data, based on the criteria I provide. In my case, that’s company size, country, industry, job title, verified email and so on.
Step 3: Expand my linkedIn network daily, and get in direct contact with the relevant people
Step 4: Import the information in our sales management tool and start designing emails for an automatic prospecting campaign.
And that’s all there is to it. Easy enough, isn’t it?
There are of course many different ways to go about this and you’ll need to do some testing in order to fine-tune the process for your needs. What’s been your trick for this lately? Let’s talk more in the comments below.
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