DeepDyve, founded in 2005 and based in Redwood City, California, is an online search engine and a subscription platform for peer-reviewed journals. The privately held company is backed by high-profile angel investors. DeepDyve wanted a new steady source of qualified leads, so they turned to Belkins to improve their sales development process.
Having launched an online search engine to simplify the research process, DeepDyve was looking for someone to simplify the lead generation process for them. Here’s what Belkins had to address throughout an 8-month project.
- Product awareness – As Belkins dug into the issue, it became clear that the problem wasn't a lack of interest; rather, people just didn't know about the product. Being founded in 2005 and having fewer leads over time, DeepDyve exhausted the word-of-mouth tactics and needed a good ol’ marketing strategy to enter new markets in Europe, in addition to the US and Canada. It was obvious that researchers and academics would find DeepDyve an incredibly useful online rental service for scientific papers, but they just needed to get the word out more intensively.
- Prospecting – DeepDyve didn't have a good source of qualified leads that they could work with. Their current strategy was to have their own salespeople do it.
- Email templates – whatever DeepDyve had before had to be changed and improved based on lead personalization research carried out by Belkins. With email outreach being the backbone of Belkins’s lead generation services, email templates are being changed all the time to solve many issues: prospect engagement, CTAs, email deliverability, and spam filters.
What we did
We've all faced all these problems before, so let's take a quick look back at how the Belkins team came up with the right solutions for building a sales pipeline for DeepDyve.
The Belkins team didn’t start prospecting from scratch. DeepDyve had loyal customers and a database. So we made sure we had their Ideal Customer Profile right. We took stock of DeepDyve’s prospective buyers and identified their target market. The idea was not to be limited by the US and Canada. We included Europe as a target market as well.
The rest was pure mechanics: creating a lead list of targets based on the client’s ICP, finding the names of the contacts within target companies, enriching the contacts with additional information, and researching the contacts for personalized outreach.
The Belkins team carried out the painstaking process of building a targeted lead list. This way, the Belkins team built a sales pipeline and filled it with piping new hot leads. To ensure an endless stream of leads, Belkins were running marketing campaigns to spread information about DeepDyve not only in the US and Canada but in Europe as well.
DeepDyve has a great practice of pre-qualification calls. Initially, the Belkins team didn’t include it into their lead generation strategy. We would determine the lead temperature based on their online actions and buying signals. Upon seeing a lot of interaction between the lead and the SDR, we would treat it as a warm lead that requires nurturing.
However, after some time, we noticed that the conversion rate from the new leads we had generated started to drop. It was lower in comparison to the leads from the client’s outreach. We were pretty sure that the main reason was their pre-qualification calls.
It took us 6 months to realize that pre-qualification makes a lot of sense. We started sending decks with all the details to all the prospects before the call. It helped us to qualify them in the shortest terms and boost the conversion rate.
Cold Email Templates
Keeping the target audiences in mind, the Belkins team created two different templates for STM and Social Sciences. Then we personalized each template further to create a set of templates for different social groups (senior researchers, professors). Our aim was to avoid sounding pitchy or sales-y. We opted for a friendly and sincere tone with the prospects, involving them in dialogue and sharing as much information as possible. As a result, those leads who weren’t interested right away kept us in mind and came back after a couple of months as the need arose.
Email deliverability is one of the aspects that we also take into consideration when creating cold email templates. It’s essential not only to show from the get-go your empathy and research skills in personalization but also to avoid spam filters and get your message right into the prospect’s inbox. So, we have changed our cold email templates a few times only to avoid any deliverability issues.
According to the contract, Belkins had to deliver 40 appointments. The client was pleasantly surprised and thrilled to see the results the Belkins team delivered:
- 89 qualified appointments
- At least 5 deals won within the first 6 months
- Personalized email templates that not only improved the pre-sales process but also helped the client widen their professional network as well
- Uncountable sales opportunities.
- Work ethics. Belkins impressed DeepDyve with its personalized approach and a well-thought strategy. Each expert of the team really knew what they were doing, and their communication style was also at a high level. They did excellent work in spite of any obstacles and came up with perfect solutions that have been driving incredible results for DeepDyve. Everything was done on time.
- To be flexible and attentive to the details. If you have lots of appointments/good open and reply rates, don’t rest on laurels thinking that the project is going exceptionally well. Great metrics don’t necessarily mean all is good for the client. Ask about their deals, progress on the calls, etc. When we become a part of the client's team, their success means our success.
- Communication is everything. That was exactly how we found out that pre-qualification calls were needed. On the other hand, being able to quickly adapt and change helped us address this situation quickly. Our flexibility enabled us to react to all the issues that we faced at work. But it was our ability to communicate that revealed there was a problem.