Our company sales model is based on partners reselling our services to their customers. The challenge for us was quickly identifying companies interested in a partnership. We believed a channel partner trade show was the ticket. We did what everyone else did. Offered a cool give away as a means to collect business cards. During the show, many of these companies indicated that they were interested in reselling our services. Yet when I tried to contact these people after the show, very few would respond to my voice mails or emails. I continued to try and reach these people modifying my message, but nothing worked well. While these weren’t quite cold calls, it sure felt like it. Since cold calling is not my strong suit, frustration set in and I dreaded making calls.
I was talking with my business partner about the problem and he suggested sending out an eNewsletter (Newsletters delivered via e-mail) that had educational content likely to interest my target audience. Our company has a ton of third party educational articles as well as our own educational content. These newsletter tools provide great reporting that shows you who opened the newsletter as well as the links they clicked.
Rather than create a newsletter that had many different topics, we picked the 3 topics likely to generate interest. For each topic, we wrote a “teaser” paragraph and then provided a link for those that wanted to learn more. We sent the newsletter to about 100 people. About 75% made it through spam filters. Of those that made it through, over 35% opened the newsletter. I called only those people that “appeared” to have read it. What really surprised me was how receptive many of these people were about partnering with us? 70% of the people I talked to were interested in discussing our program in more detail.
If you decide to use this approach as a means to identify prospects, make sure your newsletter is educational and don’t send it out too often (once a month max). Also put your best educational material in the opening paragraph. People quickly lose interest if it isn’t relevant. Make sure you follow-up with a phone call within a couple of days. If someone was interested to read it, they are likely to take your call.
There are many tools on the market. Our company used a service from Swiftpage, but other services such as Constant Contact and Vertical Response have similar capabilities.