In last week’s column, I talked about getting prospects to call you, and I cited a case study by Bruce Johnston, my associate LinkedIn expert. This week, Bruce discusses how he got prospects to want to talk to his client—a metal fabricator on the west coast of Canada, 2,500 miles away from his home in Toronto. He did this by using the connective magic of LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator. What follows is Bruce’s own explanation from his case study, describing how he uses a system called “FRAC.”
“F” Is for Find
I knew I would be using LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator search utility, so I worked with my client to come up with ways to find companies that fit their ideal customer profile. The key people they needed to have on board as their customers were product designers. As designers design metal parts and enclosures, the job title is typically “mechanical engineer” or one of its variants. Used along with a geography filter, I was in business.
Sales Navigator has a lot of filters. The key to running an effective search is figuring out which filters will bring the right people or companies to the surface without too many false positives. Task number two was putting together a list of companies that employ these types of people in my client’s target geographic territory. Using Sales Navigator, it came to 82 companies. Next, I took the list of companies and the products and services they provided to my client, and we tossed the ones that didn’t look like a good fit. I was left with 49 companies to pursue.
My third task, again using Sales Navigator, was to list all the relevant people at each company. For example, I looked for key executives in operations, manufacturing, and purchasing; plus, I did a deep dive into the engineering department looking for all of the mechanical engineering and design people. I also added anyone at the target companies that was a second-degree connection of mine on LinkedIn.
I was casting a wide net here, and if I could come up with 15 people at one company, great. What I wanted to do was to give myself lots of options. I didn’t want to attempt to contact just one person, be unsuccessful, and give up. When I try and contact someone at a target company, I am not just knocking on the front door; I am trying the side door, the back door, and even the windows.
“R” Is for Research
I researched what each target company does and the industry they are in along with where they are located. I reviewed the LinkedIn profiles and activity of all the people on my list, including checking who the mutual connections were between me and any people at the target company that were second-degree connections. I also used my email finding tools to see who on my list I could find email addresses for. This is a lot of research that most people don’t do. It is no coincidence that I am more successful than most people.
“A” Is for Aim
Next, I prioritized the order in which I would try to contact people at my target companies. This is a combination of how close they are to the person I want to end up speaking with and how easy they seem to be to reach. In general, if a person was a second-degree connection, I would use an introduction. If I could find their email address online, they received an email. If they pass my “are they active?” tests for LinkedIn, they received a LinkedIn InMail message.
That’s the easy part of the “aim” step. The hard part was writing the actual messages I sent. I don’t use templates, as the research I do gives me lots of information I can use to customize my messages. In each message, I included the following:
- A subject line that would get my message opened
- The reason I was reaching out
- That my client’s company is young but getting a lot of business from high-growth companies
- If possible, I would reference the prospect company’s high growth
- My call to action
“C” Is for Contact
Here is something else most people can’t wrap their arms around: In my one hour each day, I can typically send five outreach messages. Taking the framework above, crafting a personalized message, and sending it takes me 10–15 minutes.
I am often asked why I take so long to write an outreach message. Easy: Because I want a response. Sending a boilerplate message gets a boilerplate response. Tailoring a message specifically for the person it is going to results in a much higher response rate. So, I sent my five messages every day. If I received responses, great. I usually gave the message targets three to four business days to respond. No response? On to the next person on my list for that company.
This is another key to my success: Having multiple people at each company gives me lots of options. In one week, I reached out to 25 people in the five hours I have allocated for this program. As companies are processed through my program and either become customers, leads, or poor fits/not interested, I added new companies.
I started with 49 companies on the target list. Of those:
- Three are now customers that have placed seven purchase orders and added over 13% to the company’s sales in four months
- Seven companies wanted plant tours, which are solid leads because companies that have done plant tours have a high probability of becoming customers in the immediate future
- We are now on the vendor list for 13 companies, which are people we will keep in touch with because there’s business there, just not right now
- 11 were companies that I reached were either a poor fit or were not interested
- 15 were companies that I could not reach and gave up on. I found that the chances of getting a response fall to almost zero once I go through four people and get no response. The assumption here is that the lack of response from four people indicates we are a poor fit or that they are uninterested
- I have had conversations with 68% of the 49 target companies so far
- The response rate for LinkedIn InMail was 63%
- The response rate for email was 48%
This is Dan again. This is the basic framework for what Bruce does so effectively. Of course, there is a lot more "secret sauce" in this, including how to build those LinkedIn searches, what exactly he says in those messages to get such a good response rate, and how he can do it all smoothly in only one hour per day. Think about this, and please remember that Bruce did all of this from the comfort of his office in Toronto while his client was on the west coast of Canada. It’s amazing what a tool like LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator can empower you to accomplish once you learn how to use it.
It’s only common sense.
For a copy of the entire case study, email me at email@example.com.
Dan Beaulieu is president of D.B. Management Group.