B2B Prospecting these days is completely different with the number of tools that are available.
There are numerous (affordable) softwares that exist to amplify your efforts, in every step of the process.
With the plethora of options available, what do you chose? That very much depends on your 'why.'
In September 2019, I took a role as Head of Business Development with 2key. It’s a remote position, with a partially distributed team of 18 and an office in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Business Development can mean a lot of things. “Business development is sales,” “Business development is partnerships,” “Business development is hustling”.... In reality, it's all of those things and more. One description I liked was: “Business development is the creation of long-term value for an organization from customers, markets, and relationships.”
For us, in this role, with a Startup/pre-product/market fit company and product, the role is all about getting customers to use (and hopefully eventually love) our products.
Being a Business Development team of one (now two...), there are many things that I can spend my time on. Obviously, it’s all about leveraging software (and at times, my assistant) to amplify my efforts. As with everything, trying to do so in a more methodical way.
At 2key, we have a number of products/verticals. The one I chose to focus on was our product for charities, so with this I could use a nice outbound B2B Prospecting strategy like what I'm outlining below.
Over the years, I’ve realized it’s more about measuring twice and cutting once, with nearly all things. Right now I’m spending a disproportionate amount of time fielding phone calls (1x1) and replying to email campaigns, so I’m due for a reflection and reset here shortly as the process needs to be optimized again.
Below are a list of tools I'm using for my B2B Prospecting, which allows me to do more despite being such a small team.
B2B Prospecting, so many opportunities.
When starting down the path of email marketing, it’s always tempting to want to buy a list. Or just get a big ol’ list from somewhere. I’m constantly reminding myself; that it’s not about having a MASSIVE email list, it’s about how many of these leads actually convert.
Ultimately, I’d much rather have an email list of 100 people and convert 50 as opposed to an email list of 1000 people and convert 50.
I use Hunter for looking up emails associated with a specific domain/website.
It's a free (up to 100 emails) plugin.
How it works - Whenever you’re on a potential customer’s website, you can click on the plugin and it’ll pull all the known email addresses for THAT domain/website.
This is from their site: “The Domain Search lists all the people working in a company with their name and email address found on the web. With 100+ million email addresses indexed, effective search filters and scoring, it's the most powerful email-finding tool ever created.”
How Hunter gather’s emails: “At Hunter, we are convinced the most valuable data is sourced and processed using transparent methods. Every single email address we collect and distribute in the Domain Search has public sources we indicate, along with the discovery dates.”
Pretty cool tool for a few email addresses here or there. They do have some other useful features, clearly on my list to investigate some of these.
I use GetProspect to pull emails associated with LinkedIn Profiles I’m targeting.
It’s a free (up to 100 emails) plugin. I actually pay so I can pull 1000 emails per month for $29.
How it works - Whenever you’re using LinkedIn for prospecting, you can pull that prospects email address and send them an email (as opposed to connecting with them and sending a note on LinkedIn or sending an InMail on LinkedIn)
Really powerful tool when used with LinkedIn for prospecting. Highly recommended.
Looking into their Search Tool, which essentially makes the Linkedin email extractor not needed and you can perform the search within GetProspect itself. Haven't found this quite as useful yet.
Parsehub is a web scraper, built friendly enough for Luddites like me (and even my assistant to run). It’s really fantastic. For nearly any repeated task, you can use Parsehub and really dump some gasoline on your efforts.
From their site: “Easily instruct ParseHub to search through forms, open drop downs, login to websites, click on maps and handle sites with infinite scroll, tabs and pop-ups to scrape your data.”
This thing is amazing. They have some great tutorial videos and it's a REALLY powerful tool (not just for email gathering).
Above are the main tools I’m using right now for email gathering. Again, always making sure that these are REAL prospects that are interested in our products, and not just the vanity metric of building massive email lists.
Some other tools that I’ve been investigating to pull in more (quality) emails:
All of the above are used for outbound sales.
I'm experimenting around with pulling in lists of websites, uploading and running it through some of these softwares to pull actual emails for those domains.
One tool I’m excited to try out is LeadFeeder. Here you go: “Leadfeeder is designed to help you discover potential new leads and prospects by tracking which companies visit your website, even if they don’t fill out a form or contact you.” Oh yea..
Ok, so I have a list, now what the hell do I do with it?
I’m still looking for a better all-in-one CRM (likely go with Active Campaign or HubSpot - which can get really pricey quickly if you’re using their marketing platform too).
I use Reply.io to send automated email sequences to email prospects.
There’s a 14 day free trial, and then it’s a paid plan starting at $70/month.
How it works - Automated email sequences. From their site: “The multichannel sales engagement platform which automates personal email outreach, calls, and tasks, while Sales can focus on what really matters - closing deals.”
Amazingly powerful tool for automated emails. Loads of helpful little features built in. All praise right now.
Built into Gmail, this is a really easy-to-use CRM for emails. I’m using it for high-priority prospects, to make sure I remember to follow-up with them. Still figuring out how to use this with Boomerang.
There’s a free version that is still very useful.
So, I tried to use LinkedIn for some prospecting, and ultimately, I didn't have the sort of returns I was expecting.
I tried manually at first, as I always do prior to entrusting a software to do it as scale, and really didn’t have much luck.
I know, LinkedIn is great for this stuff, but I just didn’t have the sort of responses I was looking for to continue pushing so much effort in it.
I’ll revisit later this quarter, but the tools I was looking to try:
Dux Soup undoubtedly is a great tool. I was using it to automatically engage with prospects on LinkedIn.
There’s a limited free version, then paid plans starting at $15/month.
How it works: “Dux-Soup automatically views your LinkedIn prospect profiles, endorses their skills, follows their LinkedIn activity and sends personalized messages on your behalf."
You can also set up an automated LinkedIn drip campaign to your prospects that stops automatically when a prospect responds.”
From their site: “With Dux-Soup it’s easy to find, attract and engage with your prospects on LinkedIn. Let Dux-Soup automate your LinkedIn lead generation leg-work, so you can focus on growing your business and closing deals.”
I've also been recommended Octopus CRM for LinkedIn prospecting from a number of people. Will check it out.
Note: These softwares have the potential to get you a ban from LinkedIn. Automating mass connection requests and messages through the platform? Yea, they're not going to like that. Use at your risk. Or better yet, build a crawler, make a list and hire an assistant to do the outreach manually?
These are the tools I’m using for my B2B Prospecting efforts.
Note that this is only a piece. After the initial outreach there are reply sequences, and onboarding that must happen for each lead.
Currently, I’m working on figuring out how to get more inbound leads (MQLs), manage my warm leads (better CRM tracking), and automate the onboarding process to remove the 1x1 (non-scaleable) sales call. And, like always, working smarter and not harder.
Special thanks to Sean Tierney for spending so much time with me helping out on all this stuff, taking a lot of tools from his playbook!