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Cold Email Prospecting: Prospecting Is Real Work

Cold Email Prospecting: Prospecting Is Real Work

Liston Witherill
Liston Witherill
3 min read

“Wax on, wax off. Don’t forget to breathe – very important.”

The words from the legendary Mr. Miyagi in the movie Karate Kid have lived a longer life than even Daniel’s famous crane kick to end the movie.

In the scene, Mr. Miyagi is teaching Daniel to wax his classic car. That’s just the surface-level lesson. What Mr. Miyagi is really teaching Daniel is mindfulness, meditation, and the power of repetition. Following these simple instructions ultimately led Daniel to the automatic application of the movements in a karate tournament.

Repetition leads to mastery.

It may be a reach, but prospecting is a bit like that. Washing a car can feel tedious. Prospecting can too.

But the process of building a prospect list ultimately teaches you more about where and how to find your Perfect Fit Clients, which has application far beyond the process of prospecting itself.

Back to the program.

I already shared with you who I wanted to target for my podcast monetization campaign. Here’s a quick refresher:

Companies with 50-500 people who are selling software for salespeople, and have a strong online marketing presence.

How to find them?

NOTE: The strategy of the campaign came from me, and the execution of the research and database building was done by my assistant. If you can divide the labor in this way, you’ll save yourself a ton of time and money and actually get the work done, without losing the core learnings that come from it. Now back to the program…

To begin the campaign, I started with the hypothesis that companies already spending money on brand awareness marketing would be most likely to sponsor the podcast. This idea came from a friend – thanks Mike! – and is quite easy to execute. Remember the bit about selling food to hungry people? Same idea here. I guessed I’d need about 200 sponsorship prospects to begin meet the goal of monetizing the podcast in Q1.

We looked for sales conferences and their sponsors. After looking at about 30 different conferences, we began to see the same companies come up again and again. Company names and the conferences they sponsored were captured and saved on a spreadsheet.

This yielded a list of about 150 companies. With this list of 150, my assistant went out and found a C- or VP-level marketing person on LinkedIn Sales Navigator, and saved their contact information to a spreadsheet using Lead IQ. More on the particulars of contacting prospects later.

My initial guess was that I needed to contact 200 accounts to get 4 sponsors secured in Q1, so we needed to add more prospects. Where would they come from?

The next pool of prospects came from G2, a software review site. The site has categories of software, and one of them is “sales.” Under sales is another list of sales-specific software categories, like CRM, sales enablement, sales engagement, and more. One thing to know about G2 is that their business model is lead generation: listed companies pay G2 for leads that originate from their site.

Again, sell food to hungry people.

Companies that are invested in their G2 presence are almost certainly paying G2 to generate leads. G2 is provides direct response marketing rather than brand awareness marketing, but it shows that a company is willing to try a variety of marketing channels. Good enough.

Using the lists on G2, another 200 or so leads were generated and added to the spreadsheet. Company names were then enriched with a key point of contact.

It’s worth noting here that your prospecting net should err on the side of being small assuming you’re (at least somewhat) specialized and not a commodity.

The original, unedited lists that came back from my assistant had well over 350 prospect companies. Each time the list came back, I reviewed each new prospect by visiting their website or LinkedIn page to make a determination about fit. Nearly half of the companies didn’t make the cut, and I was able to establish richer guidelines for ideal prospects.

And just like that, we had a list of 200 prospects in the campaign.