So you’ve been slaving away for months now building the perfect SaaS product, or mobile app, or whichever type of startup you managed to dream up.
Up until today, you’ve been absolutely certain that your product is exactly what the market needs. Once they sniff it out they’ll throw all of their credit cards at you, and you’ll ride your hockey stick graph all the way to unicorn island.
But now, as you’re about to hit send on the first batch of cold emails to potential B2B customers, all of a sudden you’re feeling a little less confident.
What if no one responds to your emails?
But if statistics are anything to go by... 90 out of 100 people won’t.
Early-stage cold outreach is not about making sales.
Early outreach is about gaining a very clear understanding of exactly who your target audience is, so you can maximize your sales results later down the track. That’s step one, and it tends to be overlooked or misunderstood.
Let me give you an example of what I mean.
Most early-stage founders use the spray and pray approach. They pull, say, 2,000 leads out of a magic hat (or copy/paste email addresses from random sources). Then they blast them with the same generic email content.
Let’s say 20 out of the 2,000 leads respond. That becomes their baseline conversion rate: 1%. But this number alone is misleading because it doesn’t take into account who your random audience is made up of.
It doesn’t take into account that some of those random leads are inherently more likely to buy your product than the rest of them — and you’re missing out on identifying this easy-to-convert audience because you aren’t tracking important information like company size, funding amount, industry, the software they use, etc.
Being too focused on making sales early on can cause downstream problems.
A small portion of the 2,000 leads you sourced fall into a very specific bucket that you can’t see. If you cut that list down to only companies in the 10-50 employee range, for example, you might find that the conversion rate of that particular bucket is actually 2%.
So you’ll sell twice as much if you focus on that smaller audience.
Now, within that smaller bucket, if you look at only the companies in New York City, for example, you might find that the conversion rate there jumps to 3%.
And if we go even further and look at only the contacts within that bucket who also have “controller” in their title, for example, we might find a 4% conversion rate among this very niched-down group of leads who really resonate with your product.
We’ve discovered our ideal customer persona.
So, some founders get stuck trying to improve their 1% conversion rate with brute force on random audiences, while other founders focus on audiences that are far more likely to convert, giving them exponential growth down the track.
Early-stage cold outreach is about discovering your high-converting audiences.
Once you’ve identified the ultra-specific audiences that convert best for your business and nailed down personalized messaging that resonates with each audience, only then should you start scaling up your sales efforts.
Otherwise, you’re pouring resources into a leaky bucket.
And just to clarify, I don’t mean you need “personalize” each individual email. I mean you need to personalize the content to match the group.
Early cold outreach is not about making sales… it’s about measuring and understanding how different audiences react to your product and building a scalable sales model. Then you hire a sales team to execute your proven plan.
That’s what our persona-based lead generation platform (Sona) does. It helps you find your ideal, niched-down customer buckets so you can focus your sales efforts on high-converting leads.
If you’re an early-stage founder, we’re launching a heavily discounted starter plan to help you source the leads that are most likely to convert, so you can optimize your outreach. Get in touch with email@example.com for more info.