Prior to joining Belkins, Alla worked as a project manager at leading creative agencies and design studios. Her list of accomplishments includes launching multiple complex international projects in Advertising, Digital, and Social Media, as well as organizing international events and conferences.
Alla joined Belkins in 2019, and since 2021 has been heading Belkins SDR department. Thanks to her vast experience in the creative industry, Alla’s approach is based on a 360-degree perspective of an entire B2B-marketing strategy that goes far beyond email communication.
Every day at Belkins brings new opportunities and challenges. We’re lucky to work amongst some of the most creative and knowledgeable strategic thinkers in email marketing. Alla Ivanova, the head of SDR, decided to share her insights and give a behind-the-scenes look at a complicated fin-tech & crypto campaign. Read on to discover the secret to reaching out to $1billion+ revenue companies.
What was the project you were working on?
Citcon provides payment processing solutions that enable retail and e-commerce companies to accept 50+ popular payment methods along with popular cryptocurrencies.
In 2021, while working with Belkins, Citcon closed on a $30 million funding in a Series C round co-led by Norwest Venture Partners and Cota Capital.
The startup’s payment technology is integrated with POS and e-commerce systems such as Toshiba, Oracle, Cegid, Shopify, and SAP. It’s deployed at more than 30,000 merchants’ sites and locations, including L’Oréal, Tumi, Texas Instruments, Macy’s, and Panda Express.
What was the biggest challenge?
The Citcoin team pursued a big target – go after world-renowned retailers (Gap, being a major example). Finding the decision-makers within huge organizations is always a major obstacle to overcome; especially when offices for various departments and locations are spread across the globe.
In addition, a product like a payment gateway is so complex that it’s impossible to cover all its features over email. A persuasive email should be brief because time is limited, and rare is the person who has time to read a literature-sized email, especially a cold one. In cases of technically complex products, it's never an easy feat to create a comprehensive value proposition with very few words.
What solutions helped you overcome this challenge?
First, we tested different subject lines for each group of businesses. We received instant responses and were able to start conversations with the CEOs or founders of smaller companies. Targeting leaders in larger organizations is a different story. Instead, you can begin a conversation with the assistant-level employee and reach the decision-maker down the road.
As for the second challenge, we ran multiple A/B tests and analyzed the questions we received about the product to answer them in our messages. We uncovered the correct wording, which almost completely eliminated misunderstandings about product value, and immediately increased the conversion rates from the replies we received.
Another needle-mover to earn the attention of $1+ billion revenue companies was to conduct deeper research into Citcon's existing clients and their best cases. Social proof tactics like mentioning industry leaders in similar industries boost prospects’ interest and will help you set a business call.
Explain the technical aspects in detail: how to resolve this kind of problem?
Use software for outreach that allows you to see detailed statistics of your campaign. We always look at overall open and reply rates and analyze which industries and titles tend to reply the most. We carefully monitor the people we address and what their roles are within the organizations. Having all cards in our hands, we adjust our lead research or email marketing campaign based on our discoveries.
What knowledge helped you in resolving the issue?
At Belkins, we use Google Data Studio for data visualization and reporting. It really helps to analyze specific data trends not available in your outreach software. For example, I love making parallels in industry, title, and geo-trends and advising with educated suggestions based on data instead of just guessing.
Are there any variations or exceptions to the knowledge you’ve mentioned?
Yes, definitely! You can not predict or plan everything. Sometimes a strategy that used to work perfectly wears out. You need to track tendencies and see such changes firsthand. As an SDR, you are in the avant-garde of the lead generation process, so you’ll notice even slight trends and adjust your campaign accordingly.
What would you recommend to users facing similar issues?
If you see a decline in the results, don’t be afraid to step back and change what you’re doing. Test brand new messaging or revisit old campaigns – dare to freshen things up! Think of what’s different at the moment – Covid? Global events? Cultural events? Holiday season? The reporting period is coming? – Use it!
Is there anything we didn’t ask that you think should be included?
When you receive a cold email, you assume it was sent to you by a bot or spammer, but a real person, probably an SDR, stands behind it. So, if you are SDR or BDR, don’t be afraid to demonstrate that you are indeed a human communicating with another human. Break the ice by being personal and humane, adjusting your tone of voice, and daring to joke in response to a joke! Treat prospects as your colleagues or partners. It can help to find the right words!
What did your typical day working on this project look like?
I love working with the Citcon team because we have very transparent communication with their employees. It feels like we are a part of their team. It helps us become real advocates for their product and transmit their passion for the product and mission as an organization to potential customers.
Choose a metaphor to describe the project in one sentence.
No man is an island. Teamwork is King.