Cold calling is a tough business, though a necessity for many companies. The cost of sales is high, as is sales rep rejection and fatigue. Imagine if email could significantly improve your engagement rate with otherwise cold prospects. If executed well, it can, explains Scott Britton with life-longlearner.com, the forensic accountant of the email world whose company was acquired by Constant Contact for $100M in 2012.
Assuming you know the name of a targeted company, but don't have the buyer's name or email address, your search starts on LinkedIn. Utilize the Advanced Search feature to look for both the department and title that you imagine for the decision maker at the targeted company. This may net a number of responses. To further winnow the list, look for "implicit signals," says Britton, such as the skills for which they are most endorsed. If you're looking for someone in HR that oversees recruitment, you're looking for the candidate most endorsed for "recruiting" vs. "benefits."
If both title and job description are vague, review the details for prior positions. Candidates tend to stay within their chosen field. If you see a track record of recruiting in prior roles, with a current seemingly vague title of "VP," you likely have your prospect.
Read through their recommendations to further validate you have the right decision maker and to see how others address him. If his name is Matthew, but colleagues call him "Matt" in endorsements, use the shorter option in email communication so you don't call attention to your lack of familiarity.
With the name in hand, now it's time to find their email address. There are a handful of popular formulas most companies use to construct employee email addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and first firstname.lastname@example.org. Download the free Gmail plug-in called Rapportive.com, and then enter each combination that you imagine for your prospect's email address into a new mail message in a Gmail browser window. When you hit the right combination, you will likely see quite a bit of contact information for that prospect auto populate such as their Twitter handle, LinkedIn URL, website address, etc. Don't use Gmail? Open an account exclusively for this purpose.
If you're still coming up short, search Google or Twitter for your prospect's Twitter handle. Then visit Snapbird.org to search that person's Twitter history for keywords such as "email me," "contact me," or the company's website domain which likely makes up the last half of their email address (e.g., "@companyname.com"). Twitter will scour the archives for conversations featuring those keywords -- tweets where your prospect likely shared his email address publicly.
Utilize these unique techniques for identifying a high-value target's name and email address, and you'll likely find success about 75 percent of the time.
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