Customer Success, Lead Generation, Prospecting 4 Comments

Introducing the Co-Outreach Sales Hack

Lincoln Murphy

February 3rd, 2015

The Co-Outreach Sales Hack

Editors Note: Guest Post by Lincoln Murphy, Customer Success Evangelist at the leading Customer Success SaaS company, Gainsight.

Normally when I contribute to Sales Hacker I talk about leveraging Customer Success to drive your sales ops. And while you can (and should) use your customer success data to help you identify the Ideal Customers you’ll target with this tactic, what I’m going to share is a simple lead gen hack that I’ve been using with amazing results.

I call this tactic co-outreach and it’s a combination of the now-common cold outreach emails we all know and love and co-marketing (but with much less overhead, setup, coordination, etc.).

Oh, and it’s super-simple and disgustingly effective. Your mileage may vary, but it’s probably worth the trip.

Okay, so here is the co-outreach tactic in 5 simple steps:

  1. Find a company you don’t compete with and whose customers (at least some of them) fit your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and your customers fit their ICP, and – ideally – who sold to the same department/person that would also bring you in. This last point isn’t critical, but it really helps move things along. Also… this doesn’t have to be another technology company; use your imagination.

If it is another technology company, however, it can help if price point, sales process, product complexity, etc. are similar between your two companies, though that’s not required. This is more of a relationship play… trust is the main thing here.

Oh, and integration with the other company isn’t required… but what a great way to leverage the hard work you put into integrating with that other vendor’s product, right?

  1. Do what it takes to become friendly with people at that other vendor; get them to know, like, and trust you so they’ll want to introduce you to their customers. Even if you can introduce them to new customers and new revenue… that may not be enough; the best companies are very protective of their customers, so you need to make them understand and trust that bringing you into their world is a net positive.

And that goes both ways… don’t just do this with anyone; be protective of your customers, too!

  1. After you become friends and trust each other, you both identify some customers – maybe 10 or so – that would be perfect for the other company. This isn’t a quantity play; it’s all about quality. That said, this WILL scale nicely, but the more specific you can be with each intro email the better. DO. NOT. BLAST. (Never blast. In fact, remove that word from your vocabulary in the context of email at least.)
  1. Someone from each company will send an email to their customers (use something like Yesware to track all of this) to introduce the other company in a way that’s all about how that other company could help the customer (focus on their Desired Outcome). CC the other company rep on the email so you can say “you should meet Joe from XYZ Company (CC’d here)” and then Joe can just take it from there.
  1. Profit. 🙂

I know you probably wanted more about what your email should say – the subject, the pre-header, the first sentence, the entire body, the tone, the Call to Action (CTA), the offer itself, the salutation, the PS – and what the follow-up should look like, but that will be 100% unique to your situation. All initial emails should still pass all 7 Sanity Checks for Cold Email, though.

Best of luck… now go crush your sales goals.

About the author

Lincoln Murphy

Lincoln Murphy is founder of Sixteen Ventures, a consultancy helping companies accelerate growth through Customer Success. He's a prolific writer and international speaker on Growth and Customer Success.

  • timframed

    Great post Lincoln. It’s easy to overlook one of the most basic, but powerful components of sales: validation and trust through real, human relationships.

    At our startup, we’ve spent a lot of time making strategies on how to increase our numbers games with automation tools, etc. – but clearly, our most supportive backers and customers have been through warm introductions.

    • +1 Lincoln on the great post.

      Tim, funny meeting you here! Thanks for the intro you made last week – we’re likely going to become a customer of theirs, and as we work with businesses up here in Seattle I’m always looking for opportunities to introduce Framed :).

  • Babar Batla

    Love the post Lincoln. Partnering for success is an area I spent the last 2 years on. I have seen how big mature orgs and small companies struggle to find the right partners. Check out SalesIntel where reps can find the right complementary partner for each of their pursuits. With that tool, you don’t have to work with just one partner during outreach. You can find the right partner for each of your targets.

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