Startup Sales is helping early stage B2B startups get to $1 million ARR then scale to $5 million.
With this podcast we help founders and early sales leaders with building a repeatable and scalable sales process.
We have a bootcamp for early stage startups with an average sales price over $1,000 monthly. In the bootcamp we work with you on getting traction in sales by creating a structure for your calls, demos, POCs and communication. We help find the right way to price your product to reduce friction and make it easy to buy.
Learn more at StartupSales.io
This weeks guest is Mark Colgan.
You can find Adam’s LinkedIn profile here.
Free test of task drive: Start here
[0:00] Hey, everybody, welcome to another episode of startup sales This week. We speak with Mark Colgan all about outbound.
You know how to get your lead lead sourced so that you could actually find who to talk to and how to actually start to outreach to them.
So it's gonna be really interesting episode, especially in these times. Ah, where you need to go out and kind of find more of your clients. Be more proactive.
It's really terrific. Mark has also been very generous and given a link that's in the show notes for two weeks of task Drive for free. And what task drive is is the company he is with.
They actually have, like a full time person. That's, Ah, researching your leads and putting together compiling a list.
And it's not just, ah, you know, go through LinkedIn and copy paste emails. It's riel real work.
It's a lot higher value than then. There was automated processes, so I highly recommend you test it.
There's a link in the show notes for 23 weeks. They'll give you a lot of good leads and show you how how they could do it, how they work.
Ah, I use them myself Really terrific.
[1:07] And in the meantime, if you're in early stage, start up.
If you're after seed and you need to get your initial sales traction, and you need to figure out a map out your cell structure and get your KP eyes to show your investors for Ah, around a,
then reach out to us that start up sales dot io that start up sales dot io.
This is what we do is we helps startups early stage get from from seed to a and an A to scaling.
So for more information, go to start up sales that I Oh, in the meantime, let's start speaking with Mark.
[1:43] Startup Sales is a podcast about what it's really like to get a business off the ground.
We talk with founders CEOs and sales V. P s. From the high tech market, you'll learn howto build and scale a sales team.
You'll also hear about the growth challenges and tough decisions from others who have had both successes and failures.
And now your host of the start up sales podcast, Adam.
[2:16] All right, Mark. Thanks for joining us. Hey, Adam. Great to be hit. Thanks for inviting me.
[2:21] Great. Can you Ah, give everybody a little bit of background about you, who you are and what your expertise is?
Sure, Yes. So my name is Mark Colgan. I've bean in sales and marketing specifically be to be for the last 12 years.
I'm currently the chief revenue officer at Task drive, which is an outsourced outsource cervix service for lead research and lead generation.
Um, previous that I worked as a consultant. I spent a lot of time implementing on dhe, delivering on boarding for CRMs marketing automation.
And before that, I was a goat, went through a Texas accelerator over in North Carolina.
So not only have I consulted and implemented the technology side of things, I've also worked extensively with multiple companies with their outbound prospecting. And that's really what we're we're covering today.
Excellent. So, on the outbound prospecting, that's ah, one of the hardest, most difficult thing to to do it. Or the scariest thing I would say for for companies. Yeah. Yeah.
[3:23] All right. So where does one start when somebody wants his begin out pound prospect process.
Yeah, it's a really good question, and I think a lot of people start in the wrong place.
They just think writing that email, sending out volumes of e mails to people, but really an effective out battle strategy you really want to start with understanding who you're trying to speak to.
You need to understand that you're not. You're not there to pitch and sell in that first email, which is a mistake a lot of companies make.
But you are really drunk trying to establish a community, a line of communication and start a conversation with them.
So really, it comes down to understanding the ideal customer profile. So they're the accounts or the categorizations off accounts that you want to target, and then you need to understand who are those individuals within those accounts? So what personas are you targeting?
And this is really important because different personas need different messaging on.
You should be personalizing your e mails and your outreach messaging, whether that be over the phone and voicemails over linked in based on the persona and the problems and challenges that those personas have been facing their day to day role.
[4:35] So so many founders are scared to only choose one persona and one ICP because they well, we could sell to these people. We could sell these people.
And I like how you I agree with you that you should only choose one, but what do you What do you say to that when you when you have multiple people that you could sell to Yes. So I say you can still sell to multiple people.
Just make sure that you are personalizing the messaging into different campaigns.
So let's say that you're trying to influence the end user, and then you're trying to sell toe to the decision maker.
Those two people have different use cases for the product or service that you meet that you may offer, and then therefore they need different messaging in terms of what they want to read and what they need to need to see.
So and even if these were, let's say you could sell to hate your managers and marketing managers.
For example, let's say you had a product or service that that that both of those could could use the hate. Our people have very different challenges in their day to day, then a marketing person.
But the point is, you can still sell to both. It's just that you need to create different and personalized messaging purpose owner. So that's what I usually say, to founders.
The other option is just focus on one for now and take the land and expand approach from crossing The chasm, which was a book back about software before, is really software.
Um, where you you go after and dominate one market and you get to the beach head and then you expand.
[6:04] Yeah, All right. So before we get to the e mails and what to write and what kind of messaging to have, you know, how do you compile the list? How do you get the e mails of the contact information for these people?
S O Adam? This is the bit where I can really geek out on talk about help finding this sort of data.
So before I go into some of the strategies and techniques, it's definitely worth remembering that you need to know who you're looking for in terms of those accounts. So which companies are you going to look for on which individuals within those accounts on dhe?
For me, this is really important because you really want to find out.
That's all. You need to remember that, you know, at any one time only 3% of the market is actively buying, 7% are open to vying, and the remaining 90% are actually in a buying cycle or looking to make a decision.
So what I like to do is build lists and source leads around triggers and signals those could be account signals like raised around funding.
[7:07] It could be personal triggers like has shared related content, or it could be again going back to the account. It could be that they're hiring and expanding in their team.
And if your product or service help solve a problem for growing teams, then that's a perfect opportunity to speak to somebody because you know that they're going to be experiencing the pain point soon.
So to cut, to cover that again, it's about building dynamic lists on an ongoing basis rather than building just a huge list off a wall.
Why do they hate our managers across North America? Because not every hate our manager, Chris North America, is going to be in that buying cycle on dhe.
It may also be the case that there no actively looking for a solution because they don't even realize they have a problem.
So it's trying to find people that do you understand that they have a problem on looking for those signals.
[7:57] How do you find if they just raised the fund or of their hiring right now?
Yes. So for raising funds, you can look at Crunch Base, which is a crunch based up. Comet has a pro, but the free searches is very good as well.
The one thing to keep in mind is that they may have raised funds before in The news has come out a day later.
But most companies are quite keen to push the press release out when they have raised funds.
But so that's one looking at raising funds when it comes to hiring.
Linked in is my friend LinkedIn is one of my go to sources for pretty prefer a love of this research Because it's the most up to date database.
You could have access for all the paid pro databases. But LinkedIn will always be more up to date because most people that have profiles on there are have ah have a personal interest in keeping them up to date.
Most people in big databases are just data points, and it's not them keeping up today anyway. So Lincoln.
But when it comes to jobs, what I like to do is pretend I'm a candidate looking for a role, so I plug in the job title that I want in my next role.
So let's say it was HR manager and then I can get alerts every time that a new role has been advertised that fit that criteria.
And then for me, that's a company that is growing, most likely growing. So I will then want toe start the conversation with the hiring manager, which could be a little bit tricky to find who the hiring manager exactly is. But you can give it your best guess.
[9:21] Interesting. It's Ah, it's really good. And when you when you're creating those alerts, are you looking for like a like a specific company size as well?
Uh, can you Can you drive drill down into that much detail?
Yeah, you can't so much in on linked in from It from a job searching, although with that, I believe they might have a room like a recruitment plan so you might be able to as a candidate Sorry, who might be an upgrade.
But just even using the normal qualify, the normal linked in another way that you could do it.
It's follow the companies that are within your ideal target.
But I still find the most effective way is get all of the alerts. You're going to need to look at the company anyway to find out who the hiring manager is.
And it's very easy to cook on one link to get to the company page Arlington, which tells you how many employees they have.
So usually that's it. Just one click to find out.
Okay, so now we've got the list of companies and.
[10:21] People within the company. How do I get their contact information?
Sure. So what's great about the we stick with the example of the hiring is most job descriptions will say reporting to or reports, too.
So I typically just do control lef t to find within the job description on Dhe will find that they report to the HR director or whoever that may be.
I then would then click to find out that individuals profile on Linden and you could use a number of different chrome extensions or tools to find that data lead. I Q.
Seamless. Aye, aye, there to two tours that sit on top and surfaces data for you.
Then, if you want to be a bit clever, you can or more efficient that say you could use someone like Zappa.
Zappa allows you to connect different tools to each other.
On one, as after I've set up in the past is as soon as I add a contact from LinkedIn, they automatically get added to a spreadsheet in a row,
and then therefore, I have that data already put in and piped into a spreadsheet, so I could then decide to do the next thing with the campaign, which is usually send the message.
Yeah, All right. So let's get into that messaging.
[11:32] How Where do I start with that? Yeah. Okay, so again, I mentioned personalization from a messaging point of view on really, there's three levels or three tiers of personalization.
You can personalize it on an individual level, so that could be referencing something that you saw in their profile.
It could be referencing their job title there something that something that they shared recently on the dinner, a podcast they appeared on.
Then you've got the persona level. So that's typically the challenges on dhe and also their motivations and drivers that that they may have.
So you'd want to make sure that you're targeting and take sorry, tailoring your message based on the persona.
And then the final one is the account level.
So it could be that you referencing the fact that you can see that they're hiring for pay tri managers where it could be that the referencing that they raised a round of funding Um.
[12:25] There's so much advice around writing these messages, I like to use a few frameworks.
Um, the the some of the key things to remember, though, is that the subject lines job is to get the e mail opened.
The first lines job is to get the second line red, and then the third line is the court election to get them to do something in terms of again, we can go into the templates in a bit more detail we can share after potentially.
But one of the things to remember is that you really want to encourage a reply.
I would highly recommend that most founders and start up don't put links in that. First email, just from a spam point of view, is getting very, very hard to get into the right in boxes these days.
So what I mean by that is ask a question off. Would you like to find out more? Never assume that they want to see your one pager.
Don't send them your pitch deck. Don't send them a demo. It's you asking whether they have the challenge that your products can can help them overcome s so that would be my general advice on, you know, at a very high level about emails.
[13:29] Yeah, I like that. I always tell people that the whole point of that is is to engage them, not to sell him.
You're not trying to close close them right now and get the credit card. You're trying to just engage and start that relationship.
Yeah. And another thing, that reason why you want to ask a question on you could ask a closed question. And that usually goes against most cells.
Advice is, you know, you should answer. Used to ask open questions, Percy of the open questions a great when you're having a conversation already.
But if you want to qualify someone in or out asking a close question well, get a better response in an open question because an open question might be too much effort for them tow reply with.
So I liketo finish my court, tackled my email call to action with, um, would you be interested in finding out more now if people were planes? They know I've got two things that happened there.
One. It's a little bit of a signal to the spam gods that actually this email isn't spout is not being marked a spam. It's being replied.
I'm not sure scientifically how much impact that has. But I my gut feeling is that it does help.
And then from a from a second tight, I can then handle that Objection.
Depending on what objection handling I've gone through before. Thio have ready in my canned responses pretty much.
[14:41] What's a typical ah response. So no, If it's ah you know, would you be interested in finding out more than I might like to ask When would be a more more important, a better time thio toe ask. We'll have that conversation.
Yeah, if it's if it's notjust. Okay, So how are you? Hi. How are you overcoming it at the moment.
So overcoming whatever the solution is that your that you're trying to sell We're trying to talk about Yes. So those are the two. The identical weapon.
[15:08] Okay, So your first email is kind of talking about, like, what kind of problem that they would be having that you will solve.
But you're not mentioned that you solve it. Your first bringing up a you. Do you have this kind of problem? Yeah, correct.
Okay, so it's really important to understand your i c p to kind of understand what kind of problem they're gonna have cause As he said, if you're talking to the CEO and or you're talking to the end user, they still have the same problem. But it affects them in a different way.
For example, like the CEO, it's a financial problem for the end user. It's like efficiency problem. It's It takes me three hours a day to do this.
Yeah, on 11 of the reasons why I love the hiring example is because no matter what job title they are, if they're, if they're hiring, they're going through the same pain point.
They Eva don't have somebody in place or somebody's leaving, so they need to replace somebody or fill a gap.
[16:03] So they've got to go through interviewing on screening. And not everybody is a natural interviewing. Know everybody's great asking, probing questions.
No, Everybody's great at determining whether someone is, uh, you know, embellishing the truth a little bit in their responses.
So screening and interviews is a challenge, and then they've haven't on boarding challenge. So once they've offered somebody the role and they may be negotiated their their start, date and salary, they don't have toe on board them and bring them up to speed.
So that's another challenge that a any hiring hiring manager has.
And if you can speak the same language as Andi, talk about the pains that they're going through, even if your product doesn't solve that a particular challenge. But you're still helping and do it.
Your positioning yourself. There's no another sleazy salesman or someone drive the pitch to them.
You're coming from a place of offering value, and that's something that we spoke about before. Is that always being always leading with value on that, something I can cover when we talk about the follow ups?
[17:02] Okay, I think that's super important. Is is that value aspect definitely on dhe.
You know, for a lot of startup founders, I often get asked, you know, how do I find out what is valuable.
What what is valuable content on a lot of the objections that I've had from conversations with founders before this? A mark. I don't have time to create content, but I'm not saying you have to create content, but you could share content.
You could actually share content from long competing product or on industry report that helps them overcome Andi overcome the challenge of having and his valuable on again. This is where you could.
You could bring these into the follow up e mails, which just as important as the first email.
Yeah. All right. So what are these? Follow a Penis.
Yeah. So the majority off sells people and founders as well. They give up after most of the time. The first email.
There isn't s set sequence of follow up e mails.
[17:57] I'm gonna butcher the step. I'll try and get the best.
Remember it. I believe most cells people give up after four touchpoints.
[18:07] Most buyers respond after four touchpoints.
So if the majority of people are not reaching that magic number but yet the buyer is reacting after that number, then it's just it just doesn't work.
It'll in one particular sequence that I was helping a company run.
We actually found out that the four female with the subject line and the message really resonated with the audience.
So we were getting loads of responses to the four female.
So another thing to mention here, Adam is like, don't don't put all of your contacts into a list on blast out with the same message.
Do it slowly so you can literally, over time and again. In this example, we took the four female and swapped it with the first email because we knew that that was,
causing a reaction or a reply on, then once we put that as the first email, if the first e mail had a lot more responses as well.
[19:02] There are a number of reasons why people don't reply to emails. I don't do it sometimes because it's just it's not a burning hair on fire moment.
I might have read the email when I probably shouldn't be checking my phone and I'll come back to that on. Do you know you just forget because they're interrupting your time rather than the other way around. When, when, When you're sending out, Cody knows.
So we have to follow up. So I always suggest around seven emails.
I always suggest a multi multi channel approach as well.
So depending on the lifetime value off your off your product or the average order value Anderson on the sales nature. So it's a very it's a very transactional sale. Low friction.
Then you probably won't use many channels because usually that that does sometimes allude to the fact that the average order values quite low.
But if it's more of a relational relationship cell, longer cell cycle, larger deal sizes then definitely introduced different channels, and those could be linked in or other community platforms where your audience spends time online.
[20:08] It could be video. I like to use video in prospecting was not at the very beginning, but usually in the third off four female.
Or maybe I just dropped a video after somebody except a connection request on LinkedIn.
You can use direct mail if that's appropriate as well. Um, on DDE voicemails and cold and calling as well.
There's been a lot of studies to say that it's more effective if you cool voice mail and email in the same day or within a matter of minutes because you have more touch points with with those.
And then the second point about follow ups is just continue to add value.
So share additional content, share your insights and your your own opinion.
Share a story from a customer of yours that discovered something from using your product.
But again, try and solve the problems that you know that they're facing on another.
So I didn't finish saying it before. One of the other objections I have from a lot of founders is that.
[21:06] They don't have time to do customer voice research or speaking to their customers.
I would say fine time because and delegate other things. It's one of the most important things that you can do, especially in the early stages.
But another thing that Okay, I'll accept that sometimes you do have other things and you can't always Ah, but cools with potential customers.
Look at job descriptions, go back to the job descriptions and have a look at what their responsibilities are and have a look at what they are being brought in to do,
because they effectively, the first few bullet points there, will highlight what's important to that company on When s I used to work in recruitment, which is why I probably a little bit more fascinated about job getting jobs. Job ads.
[21:50] But when someone a hiring manager, writes a job description, they typically prioritize the most important things or the most important action items at the top.
So those 1st 3 bullet points you'll notice sites that start to notice, notice a pattern if you look at multiple job descriptions and then from there, you couldn't understand that.
Okay, A common objective for most marketers is brand awareness and qualified leads that simple? Yeah.
[22:19] All right. And so you say seven touches.
It should be about seven touches, and when you call and leave a voicemail, that's one touch.
Unless they pick up on it. Just call. But ah O R N e mails another Lincoln would be 1/3 like spread over How long of a time.
Yeah, I know. So why would I would say sorry is a minimum of seven e mails, but that's not this more than seven touches, so it does. Very. It's very hard to give a figure.
Andi is also very hard to find a balance between harassing and stalking someone on descending appropriate amount of e mails out.
I'm so typically most cadences last just over a month.
But what I would say is that if you have when you are producing content or you're coming across, have a content.
You can put people that go through a month's cadence into a reactivation campaign, where you then drip, feed them with other content as well, or you try another tactic.
[23:15] You know if if you're sending the email from yourself, is a account executive.
[23:21] It might be better to send. It might be better to send email as from the founder, not yourselves person if if If you have a sales person.
So it might be just that you tried a different approach, but it's really it's hard to give, you know it should be 21 touch points across 90 days. And that's the perfect. And if you do that, you'll be billionaires like I'd wish. I wish it was that simple.
Yeah, it was just cookie cutter. Exactly.
[23:45] All right. And what are some ideas for that reactivation campaign like because, as he said, it's hard for people to come up with content all the time.
What could you put there? Yeah, so again it goes back to understanding their challenges on dhe. Their pain points on dhe some of the things that frustrate them in their role.
Um, I know that I target what?
Sorry. One of my audiences is head of sales development,
and I know that they are need to hire STRS They need onboard STRS and they need to improve the efficiency of the str,
and they do all three of those things to try and get str is booking more meetings and adding pipeline opportunity to opportunities toe the pipeline.
So that's five things that I can think about. But I could start to have a conversation with thes that these prospects about because they have that.
You know, it's hard to find the right str It's challenging toe on board them all but a couple of tactics you could use or strategies.
[24:45] You are in a position to host a podcast that could be a good opportunity to reach out to somebody and ask them if they would like to be a guest on the podcast.
You could potentially just do a short survey on try and build some of your own content based on the responses from people again.
The whole point here is just to start a conversation, and it's just a CZ important to qualify people out of the sales process. It is to qualify them in, if now is not the right time or they're not a good fit.
It's okay to admit that and leave on to the next prospect, but you've got to remember that no means no for now because that person might start a new role.
That company might raise funding in six months time and now is the right time.
Eso yet reaching out for podcast, asking if asking for their opinion on a certain topic.
I've sent e mails out in the past saying We're planning our 20 market just a 2020 content calendar here.
The topics we're thinking about writing, which one would you be most interested in reading?
Well, most people like giving their opinion when they're asked on decks.
People like giving her a penny when they're not asked as well. But But yes. So if you if you reach out thio reach out to them and share a bit of content or ask their opinion, that could be a very, very good way to warm up the conversation before finding.
Do they have a hair on fire challenge at the moment that you can help themselves?
[26:06] I like that you're involving them in what kind of content they want to read, so that when you send it to them, they're Maur engaged with the content as well. Yeah.
[26:15] And it helps build that stronger relationship at the same time.
Because then you're not coming across. Is that, as you said before, the sleazy sales person just tryingto hey, buy me look at all my features. Yeah, yeah, I know. One of the things that I have leverage successfully, in part is my own network.
So I spend a lot of energy and a lot of time, like growing my network and staying in touch with many of people as I can.
And I can't. Maybe it just mean naturally. But when I meet somebody new, I think all who would Adam like to speak to? And then I might even ask Adam. Adam, who within my network would you be interested in speaking with on Most people will be able to give you nine, so that, actually I'd really like to speak to CFO's.
Well, whatever it may be s Oh, yes, A leverage. Your network. If you have no content, you're not gonna write any content. You could always connects people together.
Yeah, great. Mark is has been a lot of help, and I think I, uh, given like a lot of good advice for people to get started and get the ball rolling, and I think that's what's really important.
How could people reach out to you? And if they want to get more information and start a conversation with you?
Sure. So the best way to reach me individually, years on, linked in. So it's Mark Colgan, Um, or you can reach out to me out of my email at Mark at Task dr dot com Andi. Uh, yeah, I'll respond Totally knows that. Come through.
[27:31] Great. I'll put the linked in description as well in the description as well. So it's easy. One click away mark. Thanks so much.
She has Adam take a bite. Thanks for listening to start up sales with Adam's Springer.
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