4 Strategies for Agency Growth That Brought in $4 million in a Year (Presented by Alex Berman)

4 Strategies for Agency Growth That Brought in $4 million in a Year (Presented by Alex Berman)

– Ready to learn about four
strategies for agency growth? – [Audience Members] Yeah. – Cool, yeah, thanks for coming out. Pretty good turnout. Let’s do this. I’m Alex Berman, I run this
company called Experiment27, and what we do is marketing
for digital agencies, so we only worked specifically
with digital agencies so far. In the last couple of
years, I’ve sold 6.5 million in B2B sales, and our company’s
generated over 35 million in leads, mostly from the
Fortune 500, for agency clients. So here today we’re gonna talk
about four proven strategies for generating leads as a digital agency. And I ordered them,
there’s four strategies and I ordered them in terms of how quickly they turn around leads for
us and for our clients. The first one that we do
is enterprise outreach. So first I’m gonna talk
about what we learned about B2B sales after sending
a million cold emails. The first one is subject lines matter. So I’m gonna show a bunch of subject lines that you guys could use here. There’s four strategies that I like to use when I think about a
cold email subject line. By the way, the slides are
gonna be available after, so you don’t have to worry about taking too many notes or anything. So there’s the referral or fake referral. And I organized these four subject lines in terms of how difficult
they are to do at scale. So this is hey, found you through. It takes the most effort,
but the way you do this, if you don’t know somebody at the company, you can also say hey,
found you through. Google around for an interview
that somebody on the team has done and reference
that podcast interview. You can say congrats on the news item. It’s the second one, so hey,
congrats on the new hire or congrats on the funding round. And we’re gonna start with subject lines, and I’m gonna go through
all the copy and everything so it’s all in here. The other one is generic, but customized. So hey, you know, about our
company and your company. Here’s what not to do as well. If you are starting to
send cold emails in bulk, if you don’t clean your data, you end up with something like this, so you know, Max is all capitalized, there’s
an extra space over here by the LLC, it’s a mess. And then the final one and
the one that I like the best is fully generic, which allows you to send the same sort of subject line to a bunch of people without
having to change it too much. Hi from Alex is the one
that actually got me my first job in New York
like three years ago. So that’s a good one, and
then subject line (no subject) is actually pretty good
for getting open rate. The thing to know about
cold emails besides the subject line thing is that
you don’t wanna be a robot when you’re sending cold emails. Meaning customization’s best, talking like you know them is best, and in order to do that, you research into each prospect. And the more targeted and
personal your engagement, the more successful it’ll be. We’re starting general and
then we’ll get specific. Cold emailing at its core
is about sending a message that people are gonna connect with and wanna book a call from. And in order to do that,
this is the framework that I found that works best. So starting with a customized first line, then moving into what
you do, work you’ve done in their industry, results you’ve got. Come up with a relevant idea
they might benefit from, and then saying that you’d
love to explain further. Asking if they’ll send
over a couple of times to hop on a quick call. The purpose of a cold email
isn’t to actually get a sale, especially with a Fortune 500 company, it’s to get a meeting on the calendar, usually with the right person. So these are actual cold
emails that have worked with our clients, two
agencies in New York City. Actually, this one is an
agency in LA, over 50 people, and the other one’s an
agency in New York City with 100 or so employees, both
targeting the Fortune 500. And these are emails that worked for them. So came across your name while looking for contacts at. Definitely a fan of what you do! I’m with this agency – a Los Angeles based full service agency. We’re worked with
company, this is a company in the industry that we’re targeting, so for this one, we’re targeting hotels. So let’s say it was like Holiday Inn that we reference there. Yeah, cool. Custom e-commerce. Reaching out because we’ve
helped several great companies similar to. So when you’re cold emailing
enterprise companies, what I found works best,
what most agencies don’t do, is calling out a specific case study for their exact industry. What a lot of people try
to do, and if you’ve seen any spam emails from other
companies emailing you, it’s a lot of bullet points, so basically I’m from this agency,
I do UX/UI development, Node.js, web development,
HTML, iOS development, it’s just like a big
list of bullet points. And that doesn’t work as
well as something like this, that almost always ends
up in the spam box. Here’s another email
following that framework, this is from the New York agency. This one has generated them meetings. Their niche was restaurants. And not regular restaurants,
but like big restaurants like Chipotle or Qdoba. Things like that, this got
them I think nine meetings in the first week, something
like that, which is crazy. So director of business
development of this company, an established mobile
agency where we’ve worked within their niche. Let’s say, for instance,
they built a Starbucks app, they built something around there, I can’t say the exact
app ’cause of an NDA. But we’ve worked on mobile
projects with many companies similar to this company. Basically, an email like
this is what gets you in the door with these
larger enterprise companies, what they want to see
is the customization, they wanna see that you’ve
done work in their industry. And what that does is
it takes the risk away from working with your company. One of the big things that
these enterprise companies don’t want, especially because they’re not small business owners, right,
so they own the budget, but they don’t really
take the money out of their own pockets, so their
jobs are more on the line. So if you can take that risk away and show them that you’ve
done work very similar to the work they’ve done
in the past, it helps. So how much time should
you spend on each email? Normally, I will spend about
two minutes on research. We’ve outsourced a lot of it to Upwork. So basically, if you saw that past email, there was a lot of things
that could be swapped out. Part of creating a scalable
cold email strategy is finding what you can
scale and what you can’t, so for us at Experiment27,
when we’re reaching out to agencies for sales, one of the things that we like to comment
on for customization is a project they’ve done in the past. So for Upwork, we’ll go
through the agency website, we’ll find a project they
did in the past and say hey, I really like the work you did
on let’s say Power Rangers, and put that in the email. So you can do something
similar for your emails. So we spend two minutes on the email, and how many emails to send? I’ll get into that and how
you should do the math on that in a bit, good rule of
thumb is start small. So when I first started doing cold emails, I was sending about 40 a week. And then ramped up to 200 a week. And now our team sends
about 10,000 a week. So is buying B2B data or leads worth it? If you’re trying to find email addresses for your cold emails, there’s
three services I like. Email Hunter is basically free, I think they’re super
cheap or free right now. That’s hunter.io, I believe. I’ll send a link if you guys
email me or you want it. But what that does is you
plug a domain into that, and it’ll give you the email address for anybody at that company. So it’s super useful. LinkedIn Sales Navigator is
what we use to find leads a lot of the time, so you can just type in a company name or a role,
and it’ll just list out all the people at that company. There’s no limits like regular LinkedIn. And then ZoomInfo is actually
my favorite lead gen tool. It’s a pretty expensive,
relatively expensive tool, it’s like 400 bucks a month,
but it’s like the combo of both of those on steroids where you plug in any company, any criteria, and it’ll give you emails, phone numbers, the name of the people
at the company, news, everything you want from ZoomInfo, so I really like that one. And the way you think about,
so here’s how we think about how many cold emails to
send and how many closes we should get, and it’s all
about lead versus lag measures, there’s this book I really like called Four Disciplines of Execution. And what that books talks about is there’s two different types
of goals that you could set. A lag measure is a goal that you don’t really have power over,
but it’s like a final goal. So for instance, a lag
measure is like sales. Because for sales, you get them, they eventually do happen,
but you can’t control when they’re gonna happen,
and there’s a lag in time between the action and the goal itself. Lead measures are measures
where there’s no lag between the action and the
goal itself, so for instance, the lead measure here
would be cold emails, and the lag would be sales. So our goal, and we’re
coming up with this for our own company, X27, our
goal was five closes a week. So lead versus lag measure,
you can’t really do that. So I went a step back, right, what’s the lag measure on sales? Is it the number of calls
that I’m on with a customer? So I worked back, I’m like
one quarter of our calls turn into sales, so 25% of
our calls turn into sales, for 20 calls, we’ll get five sales. But you can’t really control the amount of discovery calls that you’re on, that’s also a lag measure. So you take a step back, and we found out that if 10% of our cold email
turn into discovery calls, then that’s 200 cold emails
we have to send every week, and that’s how I came up
with that number before. So it’s all about finding
out what works for you, focusing on the lead
measure, and then eventually, you’ll achieve your goal
of booking some meetings. So it’s not about that
initial though all the time. There’s also a follow up strategy. So I’ll show you some real
emails and then the actual follow up strategy we use
to get clients right now. So there’s a few different
types of follow ups you can use, follow up is actually the key to getting a lot of these meeting, especially with enterprise companies. They’re not gonna respond
to that first email, but if you call and you email
and you call and you email, eventually they will meet with you. We’ve had a few companies,
a med tech company just booked a meeting with
one of our clients last week. And the reason they booked the meeting was just ’cause we kept emailing them, they talked about on the
call, but that did end up going to proposal, so it’s worth it. So hey, here’s the personal
connection follow up, he said he was in LA,
and basically I’m saying check out the haunted
house at Universal Studios. Some very customized thing. Also, check out the haunted house at Universal Studios, it’s pretty cool. So here’s some more versions of this. I was emailing this guy and I asked him if he still rooted for the Cowboys ’cause somewhere on his LinkedIn page he said he liked the Cowboys. And he got back ’cause I
guess he moved to New York or something, he said he
loved the Jets instead. But this did get him to respond, and it did get him to send
his target criteria. Here’s another one, hey, how’s Miami, hope you’re doing awesome. And this is actually a cold
email that’s fully customized. If you guys wanted to
use something similar, asking how Miami is,
reading into the background, and talking just fully
customized, first couple of lines. And I’m talking about here
something that I’m gonna mention in a second, which is
saying you’re super excited, which is another strategy I’m
gonna talk about in a bit. And then another one, which is right now. So the excitement follow
up is another one. And I really like this
one, because if a client goes cold on you, and you wanna
just kind of like push them to buy or to get to the next steps, one of the easiest ways to do that is to kinda play nice here, so hey, I’ve got your word that we’re starting this week, right, smiley face. Looking to get things
started so we can get your company name out there. And this guy had been cold for
maybe two weeks, three weeks. And as soon as he saw this,
he got back one minute later, literally one minute later, and he closed by 8:36 a.m. right there. The way we do closes at
X27 and the way I recommend to agencies, we always
do it over credit card. We use chargebee, which is
a billing processing thing, and we’re selling six figure deals, so it works even with six figure deals. I like it because there’s no billing, there’s no collections, we got, we have two clients right now in ACH and the rest are on credit card. And it’s just always a huge hassle for our account managers
having to track down those ones that are not paying. So here’s another one,
so hey, just got back from speaking with the team
about this and I’m confident that we can find as many
qualified leads as you need. Would love to catch up
and review next steps. Otherwise, please let me know what works. And then I followed up here. Would love an update,
when’s the presentation with the department heads? The team’s excited to get his going. Please let me know if you
have any more information. So takeaway from this
one, say you’re exited and people will be
excited as well, I guess. So here’s, the next one
is a news item follow up, which is similar to the
news item subject line, but with this follow up, any
news item to reach out to is worth reaching out to about. So for this one, it’s
their one year anniversary. So I wrote this normal email here, and I linked them to the package that they could buy right away, then congrats on the one year anniversary, let’s make year two even
better at the bottom. Here’s another couple. So hey, I read the blog
post on how the Superbowl impacted on-demand services. Interesting to see how
much alcohol was sold, so this was, they wrote a blog post, I commented on the blog post. Bottom one, hey, just
got the numbers back from one of their competitors. So this clients we talked about,
it was a live chat plugin, and we were working with
another huge large chat plugin. So I mentioned hey, just
got the numbers back from that plugin. We’ve been working with the
team over the last two months to drive free trial sign-ups. And I was getting them really excited ’cause I was talking about a company that’s almost exactly the
same as their company. That’s the follow up sequence. Sometimes though when
you’re sending cold emails, people just won’t respond at all. That last follow up sequence
is usually when people are going a little cold on you
after you’ve talked to them. This is the actual cold
email sequence that we use to get clients at Experiment27. So talking about mobile
app, oh, so actually, this teaches a bigger point here. So I run Experiment27,
marketing agency focused on mobile app and web development firms. But then this next part,
there’s a ton we can do to get Mad Mocha more leads
– two ideas off the bat are reaching out for
strategic partnerships or optimizing your profile on Clutch. How would you feel about
discussing further? So you read this email and
it seems like something that I wrote just to this guy. But these two ideas are the same ideas I’m sending to every agency
that’s listed on Clutch. Because I know they’re interested
in optimizing on Clutch, and I’ll talk about lead
buckets and all that stuff in a while, but I know
they’re gonna be interested in this sort of thing because
they’re on a site like Clutch where they’re trying to market themselves. So for your cold emails,
when you’re trying to come up with ideas for clients. If you think very industry-specific, let’s say you’re targeting just
soda companies or just CPG, you can come up with two or three ideas that match almost all
of those CPG companies and send them out, and you won’t
have to customize too much. So it’s better for sending at scale. So here’s another follow up I sent him, he didn’t respond to that one. So I said when would be a
good time for you to discuss, and I linked to Calendly,
which is my booking tool that I like to use. I’m a big fan of tools that get
rid of email back and forth. And then he didn’t respond to that, so I said at this point, I’m gonna assume improving your marketing
is not on your timeline. Please feel free to reach
out if you have any questions about generating more
leads for your agency. And he got back the same
day after not responding to four emails in a row. So hey, sorry for the
delay, it’s been busy, and then he had questions
about what we offered. So a lot of the times, when
people aren’t responding to your cold emails, it’s
because they’re busy, it’s not because they
don’t like what you offer. Or a lot of the times, it’s because they don’t understand what you do. Based on his question, I don’t
think he really understood what we offered, but he did get back. That’s cold email. The next thing I wanna talk
about is more on the sales side. So here’s the exact outreach system we use with our team members for
tracking their cold emailing work. It’s a custom Google doc
that we made, animated or color coded things based on
how much work they’re doing. I find this very helpful
for getting the sales team to actually work, ’cause
you can run through this every single day, it’s
basically the process every day, everything they’re supposed to be doing with a color coded
target based on each one. All lead measures, so you
know, sent the initial emails, sent the assignment over to the VA. On Tuesday, it’s
following up on the email, following up on the call,
checking in with the VAs. Very simple there. And if you email me after, I
can send you that doc as well. Here’s our initial targets
that we like to use per client. This is per client, our sales guys work on four clients each. So for your sales teams,
you’d probably wanna do four times this. So anywhere between 100
and 200+ emails a day. And we’ve got our notes right here. And then this is a breakdown,
a close review of what that Excel doc looks like for
each one of the four clients. This was taken on a Monday
or a Tuesday, I think. And this, for each one
of the four clients, they’ve got docs to fill out
so that they can stay on track. So how to automate cold email outreach? Right, we talked a lot
about how to customize it. How to automate it, it’s
basically a few steps. One, like we were mentioning before, is identify lead buckets. And what those are, they’re lists online or they’re places online where people that are interested in what
you would sell hang out. So it might be job boards
where people are posting about iOS development if you
wanted to sell to developers. It might be, actually, one
of the most ingenious was we were trying to sell to manufacturing. And we just listed out
the top, we found a list of like the top 500 manufacturing
companies in the world, and we basically opened up
the web sites of each one of the manufacturing companies. And we just used the list to find which ones had terrible websites to email. So that’s another
example of a lead bucket, think about where your customers would be if they’re interested
in your sort of service. The lead bucket I like
to use for Experiment27, and actually, the way some
of you came to this event is going where agencies like to market. So for instance, a lot
of agencies have to try to market themselves. They create a Behance
account, a Dribbble account, and almost always, if
they’re a little bigger, they create a clutch.co account. So by going where agencies are when they wanna market themselves, it allows us to sell more
effectively to agencies, you can use that same thought
process to find partners, and you can use that same thought process to find your clients. So identify lead buckets,
hire and train your team to build lead lists, I’ve got
a bunch of YouTube videos up that kind of go over this in more detail. But it’s training the team
to go through all the tools that we talked about a second ago. Write a custom email drip
based on what we talked about, and that’s it. So here’s another cold email example that we used to book with a non-profit, Global Footprint Network’s the top 20. One of the top 20 biggest non-profits. I said I’m very impressed with them, very impressed with Network’s mission of making more business use
of the ecological footprint. Especially the ecological
footprint calculator. My name’s Alex Berman, I
help non-profits, and I named Ashoka, which is another huge non-profit, and University of Oklahoma,
which isn’t a non-profit but it’s a school so it’s kinda close. Improve their digital strategies, I have a list of ideas you could use to streamline processes. Would you like me to send them over? And they said yes, and
I sent over the ideas. And I met with the director of
social, I think, over there. The other thing I wanna talk
about, so that’s cold emails. That’s cold emails. The other way that we book
meeting is cold calling. This is another New York agency, another pretty big one, actually,
they’re about 150 people. And we worked with their sales team and booked these six meetings in six days. We’d been booking even
more for them after that. The way we like to do it,
the first question to ask if you’re trying to go after
the enterprise, is to think, you know, is your company
actually ready for the enterprise? Usually what that means
is before you scale an enterprise strategy, you
wanna make sure you have, at minimum, a case study for an industry that has Fortune 500 companies
in it that you can scale. So something at scale. Let’s say you’re trying to go
after like beverage companies. You want to at least have some soda, maybe a small soda company
on your case studies that you can reference. Alternatively, you wanna have
another Fortune 500 company. That’s ideal, but that’s at minimum. So the way to find the Fortune 500 leads, or your lead gen strategy,
’cause I always recommend going after one industry to start, is to pick a Fortune 500
company based on a case study you wanna replicate, this
is School of Thought, they’re an agency that
we work with out in LA. They built the Red Bull app. So they built the Red
Bull app, and from that, we decided we should go
after another soda company, so we decided to go after
the biggest one, Coca Cola. Here’s Coca Cola’s goals for 17, 2017. So for researching the company,
I was like searching goals for whatever year, because
a lot of the times, they’ll come up with a
blog post like this where, this is the 2015 year
in review for Coca Cola where they literally listed out everything they were looking at, it was
like five strategic actions. One of them was like
apps for their employees, something like that. And then the final thing is to, oh, two more things, actually. One, find the marketing
director on LinkedIn. You can do that by just searching marketing director Coca Cola, very simple. And then cold calling
till you get through. Here’s a screenshot of the
video where I did this, I talked to the director of marketing at, I think it was Powerade inside Coca Cola, something like that. And the way I got to
him was, I couldn’t find a number online, so I called
the Coca Cola main number, got to the customer service,
they transferred me over to like the vendor number
where you call, I guess, if your soda machine is broken. And then I asked them
for this guy’s number and they just transferred
me right through. And he picked up on like the third ring. So that’s cold email, cold calling. Next one is agency partnerships. So for agency partnerships,
there is three types of strategic partners to look for. At a high level, agency
partnerships are basically going to people that have
the type of clients you want, reaching out to them, getting
them to pass clients to you so that you don’t have
to go find them yourself. So there’s three types
of clients to look for. One of them is people with
a high number of users, so I’ll have examples for
all these in a second. But people with a high number of users, a good example of that is SaaS
companies or coworking spaces where they have just a lot of people that might be interested. Number two is an agency
selling to the type of customer you sell to. A lot of the times this takes, this looks like maybe you’re
a hardcore dev company and you reach out to like a UX or a product development team,
so when that product team gets leads, they send
it over you to develop. It could also go the opposite way, you work with a development company. When they get somebody
who has heavy UX needs, they send to you as well. And then at the very top of the funnel, there’s innovation companies. A good example of one,
I think they’re based in New York, is called What If. And what they do is they just take ideas and turn them into products for companies, but they always need
agency partners to fulfill those ideas that they’re creating. And then the third one
is an agency selling the same service to a larger audience. This is going after like
the WPPs of the world. But you don’t have to go after a top five multi billion dollar agency. Usually what I like to target here is an agency that charges
about double what you charge. So let’s say you charge 150 an hour, this is an agency charging 300 an hour, a lot of the times, those
are more niche agencies. So like there’s a real estate agency that I know of here that
does like 330 an hour. But they only do drawings in
mobile apps for real estate. So if you’re more of a generic agency, let’s say you charge 150. You go after an agency like that, and I’ll talk about how
to find those in a second. So a couple of examples,
number one is coworking spaces. Coworking spaces like,
actually like WeWork. If you can plug in, you can
get a good partnership here. Or Galvanize or any of the
other WeWork competitors that I’m probably not allowed to mention. You can go and get a
partnership with them. SaaS selling to the same type of market you want to enter, so let’s
say you want to enter fintech. And you find a SaaS for fintech, they’re by definition gonna
have a lot of fintech clients, either to send you or to get in front of, especially if they do custom integrations and you’re a dev company. And then finally, large agencies, there’s a lot of niche specific agencies. So if you search, you know, like New York pharmaceutical agencies, there’s a lot that just focus on the
pharmaceutical industry or they just focus on fintech, like they’re super niched down. And if you can find those,
those make really good partners. So that’s how you find, it’s the criteria, how you go after the
partners for your strategy. There’s four steps to building
a lead list of companies for partnerships as well. So the first one is to define
a goal for the outreach. What do you actually want
from the partnership? So do you want a larger
agency to send you projects, do you wanna go co-pitching on projects? Whatever the goal is for the outreach. Define a client profile based
on what we just talked about. So what sort of clients
do you wanna go after, what sort of partner’s gonna be the best. And then finally, go to
LinkedIn and build a list of contacts, same exact way. Here’s the way we send partnership emails. Most of this strategy is
cold email, by the way. Three of the four are cold email. So framework for a partnership email. So I came across your site. It’s amazing attention to
detail, love the Nevardas case study in your company culture page. Looking through your clients list, I noticed many of them
could more effectively sell their products with explainer videos. So this is a cold email from
a video production company reaching out to, I think it
was user experience agencies to help them sell their explainer videos. You know, have you tried
upselling your videos to clients? We’ve done it for this client,
this client and this client, and have case studies
that show improved ROI from the content that
you could potentially use and while labeling our services. Does that sound interesting, let me know and I can send over a few times. Again, the goal here with these emails is kind of the same as the
goal with the last emails, which is to remove the risk. So if you have case
studies, and also remove the work for them. So if you have case studies
that show improved ROI, it’s basically a no brainer, right, especially if they’re a
user experience agency that maybe has thought about
selling video in the past, but has been burned or hasn’t
figured out how to sell it, so if you’re selling it
for them, it’s basically, it’s a no brainer for them. Here’s another one we
use, this one generated three clients for Sean who’s the guy who sent this email out. And this was on a send
of I think about 100 out in Singapore. So just came across Versdesign,
your ad caught my eye, love the targeted placement. Also impressed with the content
and copy in your portfolio. We handle copywriting. I’m working with several agencies to handle overflow work,
specifically these competitors. And the feedback’s been good, especially on the e-commerce clients. So he’s talking about specific clients, other agencies he worked with,
and a specialty that he has which is e-commerce. And now also the PS has a
customization down here. So when you booked your
partnership meetings, there’s a few things that
you want to have ready to go. The first is a four or
five sentence background on your company. I always like to start off the partnership meetings this way. It’s usually about a 30
second pitch, the one for Experiment27 is just like
our story compacted down. So I’ll basically say that
I used to work for an agency back in New York City, which is actually where we are right now. So I used to work for an
agency back in New York City, and we had a sales team of six people that were sharing 14 leads a month. I was a junior sales guy there. My goal for sales was
like 750,000 for the year, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to hit it with traditional means, just
taking these inbound leads. So I started researching marketing, trying to figure out what’s going on. And eventually I kinda cracked the code and we went from 14 leads
to 40 within 30 days of me trying this. So the founder gave me a contract
to start doing marketing. The contract wasn’t
enough to sustain myself without hiring other clients,
getting other clients. So I started getting other clients, we started building the company, and from there, we started X27,
which is a marketing company focused on only generating ROI and leads for digital agencies. So that’s like a 30 second pitch, that’s what I tell the clients. And you could use something similar, maybe talk about your
holistic development or why you started, why you
do the things you do, four to five sentences. The second thing is your
approach to what you do. How do you approach
projects, what is that, is is a four step process
that starts with discovery. Why do you do a discovery,
that sort of thing. And then the final thing is to have one solid case study,
again, to remove the risk. Know that most agencies that pitch either go in with way
too many case studies, or they go in with case studies
that just don’t look good. Having too many case
studies is also as bad as having no case studies. Because basically, if it’s an agency, and let’s say they only focus on fintech or they only focus on
pharma, and you show them case studies from the
startup that you did, that actually distracts them. Whereas if you only showed
them the pharma case studies or the fintech case studies you had, they’d be a lot more
interested in partnering. So that’s what to say during the meetings. The next thing I wanted to talk about was a quick side note, which is managing a high performance sales team. Base is a sponsor of this event, that’s why the tickets were free today. I actually use it inside
this company, X27. There’s three metrics you should
track with your sales team to make sure they hit the numbers, it’s back to those lead
measures and lag measures. One is every day I like to check on the number of emails sent. And then every week I like
to check on the number of meetings that they’re
booking on the calendar. Now, those are the two
metrics you don’t wanna lose track of, and then the third one is more of a lag measure, which
is number of deals closed, but that could take three
to six months, right, if they’re bad. For us, our sales cycle is about 30 days. So here’s actually how we use Base. Base is actually pretty good CRM. It’s got a feed of what all
the sales guys are doing inside of the app. It’s got our total pipeline here, and then forecasted is how
much we think is gonna close let’s say in the next like three months, I don’t actually know how it’s measured, and then it has an
organized sales pipeline so we can see what are the incoming deals, what deals are on hold,
what meeting do we have on the calendar, how many
of those are qualified, how many are contract sent and
then how many are closed out. This lets us visualize it a lot easier than an Excel spreadsheet. I’ve been using Base basically
since I started the company. Oh, and that’s getbase.com, I
feel like I have to say that. So how to run an effective sales meeting in under 20 minutes? This is the way I
structure the sales meeting with our internal sales team. And it’s two things that
I wanna look out for. So we have two meetings per week, one is on a Monday, the other
one used to be on a Friday, now it’s on a Thursday. ‘Cause there usually
wasn’t too many updates between Friday and Monday. Two minutes per week, it’s
usually about 20 minutes, and we run through each deal in Base, so we go through, I look through, the project’s about to
close and I just ask them for an update on each one. Normally they have a lot of notes there. And then the second thing I want to do is I ask for current status on outreach. So I wanna know how many
emails did you send this week and how many calls did you make. And then they just tell me. But the ideal thing is
to get a specific number, so if their goal is
200, a lot of the times they’ll just say I sent 200 emails. But if you dig down and you ask him how many did you really send,
and you look into their stats, sometimes it’ll be like two or three, or it’ll be like 198, so I’m always trying to get that exact number, so
that makes it harder to lie, and it’s the same thing for cold calls. So that’s agency partnerships,
it’s how to manage a team, those are the two most effective. Third most effective is
directories and sponsorships. The reason why directories are so powerful is if you search mobile
app development firms, like for instance, I searched
this, this was in Florida, by the way, this isn’t even New York, but you notice it’s almost
all New York agencies, a couple of our clients are on here. Clutch.co is the number one
search result on Google, and they’re also the
number one search result up here in this top
box that somebody knows the name of but I don’t. So how do you reach number
one on directories, right, ’cause directories are super important. Some of our clients, like
the one you saw up there in the number one spot, they were getting about 150 leads a month, big projects, McDonald’s came through there, Boston Consulting Group came from there. All from being number
one on this directory. So how to reach number one
on directories in general, ’cause it’s not just Clutch? Number one is sponsoring, so paying to be at the number one spot. The other one is getting
reviews, showing activity. One new review a month, most people will set up their profile in a directory and just won’t have any reviews. It’s actually similar
with Behance and Dribbble. Like, how many of you have had your clients comment on
your Dribbble profile? Nobody, all right, cool. Yeah, your clients exist,
you know, you can have them comment and leave
testimonials in your Dribbble. So what do the top
profiles have in common? This is also something to study. I have a YouTube video where I broke down the top profiles on Behance and Dribbble. Anyone can do that in like
20 minutes, just look at what do all the profiles that are
the top of this directory have in common, and how can you use this, maybe not copying them, but
seeing what they did right and then using it to
influence your profile. And the final thing is
relationships with account managers at the directories. A lot of the times, these account managers are just kinda sitting
around not really doing much ’cause it’s an SEO focused business. So they’ll answer calls,
they’ll answer emails, and you can just ask them questions. A lot of the times, and I’ll talk about how I got to number one
on Clutch in a few cities in a second, but it is
basically just calling and asking them stuff. And then the final thing,
or two more things, one is the average rating. So trying to keep your
rating above like a 4.7, right, ’cause a lot of
them are star ratings. And then a high amount of activity. So a high amount of profile changes. A lot of these directories rank not based on just clicks or not based
or anything scientific. A lot of them base their
ranking on how many times you log into the directory backend, or how many times you change
the wording on your page. So that’s general directories,
I have a section for Clutch specifically,
because Clutch right now is the most powerful directory. If you’re on top of New York Clutch, I mean, it was worth
millions for the client that I was working with. So one, get on clutch.co. Create an account there,
I think it’s free. Email your account manager immediately, send them another review. Have at least 10 reviews at the minimum. And have one focus over 50%, if you guys have Clutch profiles, what
a lot of people will do when they set them up is
they wanna kind of capture all the leads, so they say
like I do iOS development, web development, basically the same thing as those bullet points. But what Clutch actually
recommends and what works for us is having one focus over 50%. So let’s say you really want
iOS development projects, you say I do 52% iOS and then
the rest is like UX design. That helps way more than having
everything on your profile. And then the final
thing’s be above the fold with your description. Clutch has like a one or
two sentence description, and then everything else over there. Emailing your account manager. The way that I found this
out is I was just kinda sitting there in a meeting one time creating our Clutch
profile, and I was kinda mad that we weren’t number one, we were like number four or five, so I
just kinda got frustrated and called him, and they literally told me almost this, step by step,
like how do you actually get to number one on Clutch. And so we did it, and it worked. So that’s the bigger lesson. And then the final thing
is make one small change on your profile per week. What I like to do is just change like, if there’s a word and, I’ll
change it to an ampersand or I’ll just get rid of
like a space or something. And that’s usually
enough to keep us there. The final thing is sort of what
you’re attending right now, meetups and in-person events. I used to run a meetup in New York called Meetup for Brand and Marketing
Managers, had 2,500 members. We used to do these
drinks every single month that had like 110 people at each drink. I would just go around, meet everybody, pitch the app development
company I was at. And I would always leave
with about 50,000 to 60,000 in new leads just from doing that, and I’ll tell you how to do that. So here’s the screenshot
of the meetup that I ran. This is the actual copy here. Meetup’s still around, you know, a lot of people forget about meetup. Does still exist, events
are a very strong way to generate leads. How do you structure a meetup, I like to structure a meetup
just as a simple drinks. Normally I don’t do these talks, I just like to kinda go to bars and, the meetup that we did in New York was at the art bar downtown,
there was no RSVPs or anything. Everyone would just rush
in there on like a Tuesday and the bartenders, they actually
hated me for some reason. The bar was too small to accommodate. But no need to RSVP, no
need to do anything crazy. To do an event like this,
it’s a little tougher, but I’ve got a YouTube video
that breaks it all down that you can check out later. How do you promote a meetup? Basically, Google
events in. So brand marketing or brand
manager events in New York City. Whoever your target
is, and I’ll talk about how to identify the right
events to go to all this stuff in a couple slides, but
like brand manager events in New York. And you find a bunch of
these directory sites. And you post on them. So on all of these directory
sites, it usually says, “Don’t see your event? “List your even here.” And you just list it, the directory site for events that I like
the best is Gary’s Guide. Actually, he’s there to promote this event and paid for a sponsorship. Got on the first page of Gary’s Guide, like right up at the top in a banner, and it was like 150 bucks,
so pretty cheap for that. And also cold email, if
you guys were in touch with Rinaldo at all, this is the email that he was sending you guys. This one I think drove 60 or 70 RSVPs. – [Female Speaker] I got so played. – (laughs) It’s not played though,
you saw the customization, it spoke to you. So talking about the free event, talking about how you guys are gonna meet a bunch of agency owners,
it’s all in there. This email actually did extremely well, I think it was like a 10% response rate or something crazy high for
a scalable email like that. So how to get and ROI
from meetups an events? The biggest hack that I’ve
actually found for meetups and events is the next
day, emailing people a simple email like this
after you meet them. Almost nobody emails the
next day after events, it’s super weird, and if
you think about it yourself, if you go to a meetup,
you’re always collecting business cards, but how
often are you sitting down at your computer and
seeing the emails come in from everybody you met? It’s almost never. So I usually used to be the person that would have the stack of
business cards, put it down and just send a simple email, so like hey, great seeing you at the meetup. Let me know if you’re around
for a call or a coffee to keep talking about the app idea. And most of the leads come from this, ’cause you’re not gonna really, sometimes you can book
meetings at the event itself, but most of the time, you’re
gonna book on the next day. So how to find the right events to attend? The first think to think about is who is your target audience and are they gonna be at the actual event itself. So for you guys, if you’re at this event, you’re here to learn, which is cool, but if you’re here to sell,
maybe this is the right event for you, maybe it’s not. The thing that I like to
think about is who is, what events are my target
audience gonna be at, most of the time it’s
gonna be highly paid events ’cause I’m going after,
if I was going after enterprise companies, it
would be events that are paid or events that have some
kind of super specific niche, so like, maybe it’s like a Node.js meetup that costs like 50 bucks. ‘Cause only the company’s
gonna pay for that, so you get a lot of people that can afford that 50 dollar fee. So who’s your target audience, what event they’re gonna be at? Which job titles do you go after? Which will help you
pick the type of event. So if you’re going after brand managers, there’s a lot of brand manager meetups, if you’re going after product managers, a ton of product manager meetups. What job title would be
the best fit for you? And then young agency owners. What I found here, this
little growth hack, is to ignore other young
people at the meetup. So basically, what I found
is a lot of young people will come to the meetups
and they’ll just talk to other people their same age, when a lot of the times it’s
like the gray haired people, even like the weird dudes in the corner, that have a lot of the power,
the decision making power. Yeah. So how to find the right events to attend? In New York, it’s perfect
’cause you’ve got Gary’s Guide. And if you look at this event sheet, there’s a couple that are good here. And the way that I kinda look at it is this free event, From
Detection to Response, it seems extremely boring and it’s free, so no one in your target
market’s probably gonna be there. But Rise of Robots, that’s robotics, it’s a 35 dollar events,
so corporate companies that are thinking about building hardware are most likely gonna be
at an event like that. Product Analytics Summit, 150 bucks, nobody that’s not a decision maker. Or nobody that’s not at
least working in this sector is gonna be at that meetup,
so it’s a really good meetup or event for you to go to. Raising Seed Funding, 5 dollars, not a good meetup, bad meetup. So choose what’s right for your agency, wrapping down the presentation now. But basically, these are
the four that have worked consistently for us. But ideally, you wanna identify
the goals for your agency, then work backwards to
see what has to happen to reach these goals. Some target markets don’t
respond well to cold emails and you have to do events. Some target markets love cold emails. Other ones really like
PR and going on podcasts are the best way to reach them. So it’s all about testing,
all about studying, those are the four that we
found out, so that’ll help you hopefully start off
your marketing testing. If you want YouTube videos, free stuff, B2BsalesTraining.org. I’ll email this presentation to everybody that RSVPed on Eventbrite. And if you need to ask me a
question, [email protected] If you look behind you,
this guy Mike does our PPC. But he’s also gonna be booking meetings if you guys wanna talk
business after this. So thanks a lot. (applause) Cool. Q&A, any questions? Sure, so the question is,
what are the strategies for cold calling? The main strategy I like to use is pretending to be the
assistant of the person I’m calling for. So for instance, let’s say I’m working with a digital agency, and
the CEO’s name is Mark. I’ll call and I’ll say
I’m Mark’s assistant and we do mobile app development, I’ll talk mobile apps but
you can kinda use this for your own thing, and I’ll
say I do mobile app development and we have this case study here, and we’d love to talk about it further. And the reason why I frame
myself as the assistant is a lot of the times,
they’re either gonna ask you to email them, which means
they’re gonna read the email the second time, or they’re
just gonna book a meeting. And the assistant’s not meant to know a bunch of technical stuff about the app, so you can have your sales guys do it without worrying that they’re
gonna botch something. That’s my main cold calling strategy. I usually like to use a combo
of emails and cold calls, so I’ll send a super detailed email, then I’ll call them to ask
them if they got the email. Because almost always,
especially if you’re going for more expensive products like that, the decision maker is not gonna be the one answering the call or
really responding to email, a lot of time it’s the secretary. So if you call somebody and you ask them to look at the email,
almost always that email is gonna end up forwarded
to the right person, which is really what you want. So the question was,
yeah, so the question was, how do you decide what things do use, do you use smiley faces? (background noise) Well, no, no, my answer to
that is just keep testing. So for instance, a lot of the times, or for a long time, we used a cold email similar to the one that I showed you for booking our meetings,
and what I actually found, and I didn’t realize this till last week, and I’ll tell you how I
found this out is almost, is the email was appealing almost 100% to agency owners that were men. And the reason why I found this out is my new sales guy, Billy, wrote a new email with exclamation points,
like with smiley faces and all this stuff, and we booked meetings with almost exclusively
female digital agency owners. Whereas before, for
the last year and half, I hadn’t met a single
female agency owner like in the 30 or 40 meetings
I was taking every month. Which, it’s kinda odd, but
that’s the type of stuff that I guess people respond to. So for you, I’d say if you are afraid of losing your own voice,
you don’t have to change it. But some things do appeal
to different types of people of different backgrounds. Any other questions? Yeah. Sure, so what titles do we
contact was the question. It really depends on the size of company. So I found that if it’s
under like 150 employees, usually the CEO is the one
with decision making power, but you have to go through
someone underneath them. So it really depends on
what you’re selling, right. Director of biz dev is
usually the best for us ’cause we’re selling marketing. For selling tech, it’s usually the, it’s usually product owner. Like, that sort of stuff,
so whoever runs the team. Like, if you look at a
company like Coca Cola, there’s not just like
one guy that runs like all of Coca Cola. There’s a director of marketing for, let’s say vitamin water, and then he’s got like five people under
him, and all of them might have marketing
budgets, and then it’s like people under them with budgets. So there’s a lot of
people inside the tree. So I wouldn’t really worry
about just going after the CEO unless you were going
after a small company. If you’re going after
a super small company, you usually can just email the info at or the CEO directly and
get them to respond. – [Male Speaker] Would you blanket the whole team with emails? – No. What I normally like to do is I’ll target one person on the team. So let’s say I, first I’ll
make a list of five people, and I’ll order them in order
of who I wanna talk to first. I’ll email the top guy, we’ll
go through an email drip, usually I send about four to five emails that take about a month to go out. If nobody responds from the team, then I’ll send to the second guy. And we’ll basically drip out that way. If you are gonna send multiple emails to multiple people, some
companies really hate it, make sure you write
completely different scripts. Because they will just get passed around. – [Male Speaker] Yes. Thanks. – Yeah, no problem. Any other questions? Yeah. Sure, so typical agency closing times from initial contact to
close, it really depends on the deal size. But anywhere from a month to six months. Normally what I’ll do is
that initial presentation will have the deck, a lot of the time I don’t even use the deck. That initial call is just
asking them questions about what the project’s gonna be about, getting basically bullet points that I can put into a proposal. And then the next, the
takeaway from that call is to either book another
meeting to go over the proposal, or I’ll say hey, I’m gonna
email you to set up times to go over the proposal. I don’t send the proposal
until like an hour or so before that meeting. And the reason why I do
that is almost every time that I’ve sent somebody a
pricing sheet or something before we’ve talked pricing
out loud, they always go dark. So the easiest way to get
them to show up to a meeting is to do the proposal,
is to send the proposal right before the meeting. And then from there, you
go to contract negotiation, it really depends on how many
people are in the company, but the sales cycle I like
to do is initial contact, discovery call, like 20 minutes, then proposal, then if
they have more questions on the proposal, send the contract. I like to do my proposals
with signature boxes at the bottom, ’cause sometimes
they’ll just close right away. And then from there, there’s
just legal back and forth, negotiation, and then close. I always try to optimize
a cold email till it gets a 10% positive response rate. And usually, that means about
a 25% response rate in total. For our clients, it really depends because there’s a lot
of different factors. The biggest factor I found
is your website, actually. It’s not even the content of your email, it’s not your subject line or anything. It’s does your website
actually speak to the client? We’ve had some clients where
we sent the same niche, same type of email, but
a different website, and that tanked for one
of them and succeeded with the other one. And then the second one is
the content of the email, rewriting the subject
line so it gets opened. Basically working backwards
through the analytics, so nobody opened your email,
so rewrite the subject line. People open the email but
they’re not responding, so go line by line based on the criteria, the framework that I like to
use, and make sure, you know, is the first line turning them off, am I saying something super
weird that’s not relevant? Does the pitch actually
portray what I’m trying to say, you know, does it actually show what’s up, and does the email
actually have a next step at the bottom of it that
ends with a question mark? ‘Cause a lot of emails
don’t have a question mark. – [Male speaker] So of that 10%, how many deals get closed percentage wise? – Industry average close rate
is about 25% for an agency. It really depends on the
sales team and everything, but that’s the average, about 25%. Yeah. So I think I put it, there’s
a hole in my presentation, no, ’cause I actually use Yesware, and I didn’t even mention that. So Yesware is our cold email sending tool. And I think it’s like 15 bucks a month, and basically what that
does is it lets you write your email drip out. Where it’ll send the
first email, and then if they don’t open or they
don’t click on that email, then it’ll send another
email three days later, and then another email, then another email basically as it goes down. – Yeah, exactly. Yeah, it’s like automating it. I like to think of it, like I
used to play World of Warcraft in high school, and I like to think of it like botting in World of Warcraft. Like trying to get, like
the emails are sending regardless of what you’re doing. I don’t know if that resonated at all. Yeah. Sure, so there’s two main targets here. One is agency owners over two
million dollars in revenue, that’s our core client for Experiment27. And then the other target
market that’s here, agency owners and freelancers under two million dollars in revenue, and the reason why they’re here is that’s the target market
for the YouTube channel, trying to build up more
YouTube subscribers, and then we also do private coaching that’s a lot cheaper than what
we charge for Experiment27. So how do you know if you should give up on a deal if they’re asking
for a lot of information? The easiest way to get
through that is to automate the follow ups, so use
something like Yesware. What I’ll do is, if somebody’s
like chasing me down. One, I mean, why would you
give up on the deal, right? Hire a sales guy if you
really hate it that much. Chase down every single deal. But if they do go dark, automating emails that go out every week, every
two weeks, until they respond. That’s one of the reasons
I have the YouTube channel, is to send random videos to
people that they find valuable. But you can also send blog
posts, you can send case studies, any of that stuff. Yeah. Yeah, no, there’s a ton of people that say they’re not
interested or unsubscribe. I just ignore them. Actually, when I ignore
them, it kinda hurts, I try to just pretend they never happened. And then the second thing
is, if they do have more than just like unsubscribe,
I’ll ask them for feedback. A lot of the times, I’ll cold call them, and I’ll say hey, what
was it about this email that you didn’t like, like
what actually turned you off? And we’ve tweaked a lot of our
stuff based on that feedback. Yeah. Oh, how do you avoid
getting marked as spam? Yeah, so the easiest way to
avoid getting marked as spam is to write an email, two things, one, write an email that looks customized and looks like it’s being sent by a human. Which is basically no HTML,
plain text, kind of like that. With very few bullet
points, like something you would actually sit down and write. Let’s say something that would take you like six or seven minutes to write is a good enough email to send,
and then the second this is use an email tool that sends through your Gmail mail servers. So for instance, one
time I lost the domain ’cause I had ToutApp. And ToutApp’s default sends
through ToutApp’s mail servers, which have been marked as spam. MailChimp or any of these
other ones that you’re using as well, if they’re not
signed onto your list, it won’t send through those servers or you can get marked as spam that way. So Yesware sends through the mail servers, I think close.io does as well. Like, there’s a few email
tools that send through Gmail. And if you do it that
way, there’s no way that, unless somebody marks you
spam, Google will figure out that you’re mass sending. Let’s do one more question. Anyone? All right, we’re done, thanks, guys. (applause) – [Female Speaker] Great presentation. – [Alex] Thanks.

About the author


  1. great video Alex, I find your Videos on cold email marketing very useful it has opened doors for my business in large Hotel Chains. Thanks Eric

  2. Yo Alex – Good stuff amazing content & Top quality video 🙂
    You said you "lost a domain name" because it got marked as spam… When you send out emails for your clients (or yourself) do you use a different domain name from the main one? This way if you ever have a spam report then you can drop that domain and move on to the next … I guess this could be a big issue if one of the ur clients get a spam complaint.

  3. Highly informative presentation Alex! Out of your experience can you tell how to contact small business for facebook management services

  4. Almost watched all your videos and learned a lot – you're a real master of email marketing…obviously a big fan. Lots of hugs!

  5. Just a note for Base if they're tracking traffic to the bit.ly link. It's case sensitive, had the issue where it sent me to an apartment site.

  6. At the end of the video, you said that you have a training program. Could you please give me a link? Thanks!

  7. None of them got that WoW reference at the end those NOOBS. That aside seriously the most epic video I have ever seen on youtube. Alex you and your team are Gladiators!

  8. Hi Alex, I have sent 15 direct emails to big companies more than 1,000 employees according to LinkedIn via Hubspot and saw that only 3 of them opened my email. Each email was customized as you recommended. Does big companies have blocking systems? How can I get around them? Thanks!

  9. Hey Alex, I tried accessing your presentation and I entered my name and email and clicked download – unfortunately nothing happens when i click download. It doesn't load or anything..

  10. Great presentation! You mentioned private coaching at around 46:38. Is it for agency owners? And where can I get more information about it?

  11. love this but GDPR don't think these methods can be applied in relation to cold emailing?

  12. Hey Alex, love your videos – watched nearly all of them. When you say 200 emails/day/week as a lead measure, does that include follow-ups, or is it solely initial emails?

  13. Thank you for the presentation. We are a creative digital agency looking to expand our lead generation opportunities by email and LinkedIn and the points you presented were really simple, yet highly effective.

  14. Hey, Alex great video! Excellent tactics you guys have in place. Whenever you're in Houston, I'd love to grab some coffee sometime. If it's at all possible, would you mind sharing with me those Google docs you and your team utilizes? If not, no worries at all.

  15. Man, you're all fired up in this video – for a second I thought that my video is playing at 1.50x … Amazing value man – I know everyone says this to you that you're producing amazing value but I really really mean it – I've tried them – made a lot of money with them and I'm extremely thankful for that to you.

  16. Just FYI – how many clients did you land or how much money did this bring for X27? I'm guessing the number is around the north of 6 figures.

  17. Alex, you're an uncut diamond, young as you are/look, I think you are more than halfway up the ladder of success, and you don't know it!

    Want to know why …

    (for your ears only)

  18. Really enjoyed listening to this in the background as I work to build out my own Salesforce consulting agency. You are a perfect example of someone who is really only limited by the efficiency of the best tools you can find. When I saw that you track rep activity in Google Sheets, I thought I'd make the following remark: Let me know if I can help get you into Salesforce – I can negotiate your license costs, protect you against increases, implement the platform to adopt/enhance your existing business processes, and help charter an even more explorable future for your business. I have worked with small businesses, nonprofits, and Fortune and Inc. clients and would love the opportunity to talk.

    The Lodestone Group

  19. If you want to grow your business and start working with clients that can afford you, check out our free presentation at Email10k.com

  20. Thanks a lot Alex. 2017 Content still delivering value in 2019. I was just wondering what you could be doing while i watch this insightful content. Thank you once again. Fan from Nigeria.

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