At this point you probably know that we expect you to always personalize your cold emails and cold calls when you are selling to a prospect. We usually tell you to focus on the prospect over the company. Here is literally a video of me talking about this below:

But what happens if you can't find anything about your prospect online outside of their name, company, and title?


Look at job postings for that person's team.

One of my favorite prospecting hacks is to look at a company's open positions. Open positions can give you so much information about the organization, and you can also get a general idea about what problems they may be facing. In my general opinion, job postings are usually like reading a fantasy novel. 

Most of the time, the HR rep or recruiter that wrote the post is putting ridiculous qualifications in for a job knowing they'll end up hiring someone that meets 40% of it. 

The HR rep is likely getting those qualifications from the same people you are prospecting, and can't find any information on. 

In my experience, if you cold call a prospect and lead with something about the job post, the prospect is less likely to tell you to go pound sand. Just make sure they don't think you are a recruiter, and you lead with helping them first. 

Here's an example. Let's pretend that I'm prospecting a VP of Sales named Joan Smith at the NYC Data Science Academy, and I can't find any information on Joan except her email and profile on LinkedIn. She's not very active though. 

Since I want to still lead with helping Joan over the company, but have no info on her, I'll go over to  Indeed or LinkedIn Jobs, and read the job descriptions of the jobs they have open related to Joan's space. I'll usually eyeball their technology on there, what problems they are trying to solve, and what qualifications they are looking for.

Check out the NYC Data Science Academy's post below. I decided to search for their open sales jobs. I jump right to the duties and responsibilities. 

Indeed postInstantly, I can see that they are looking for someone to setup integrations with SalesLoft, Salesforce,and Hubspot, three platforms LeadIQ integrates with. I also can see they are trying to keep their CRM clean. If you are going after growing companies, I almost guarantee they will always have openings with this information in it. It's like having a cheat sheet when you are taking an exam. 

Now when I can call Joan Smith, who I have no personalized triggers I could find, I can open up with this:

Rep: Hey Joan... I saw you guys were hiring for a Salesforce Admin on Indeed, and you're trying to get someone that knows Salesforce. I'm not a Salesforce admin, but I may be able to help. You up for talking for a sec? 

Joan is going to usually say some version of "yes." That's because as much fun as hiring is, it's actually a huge pain in the ass for hiring managers. I know this because I've had to sneak interviews into my day while making content for you find sales folks.

Now the cool part of the call is since the subject of the cold call is about hiring, you have one thing Joan doesn't have that can help her: a huge network of people Joan could potentially hire

Rep: I've been trying to find someone to work with for awhile now at NYC Data Academy, and I can see why it's been tough. We're the missing piece of your sales stack... the magic wand that will connect up your Sales Navigator with Salesforce, Hubspot, and SalesLoft (this is the value prop being put into the pitch). Is that something this position will be doing, or will you be involved in this project too?

Joan is likely realizing this is a cold call. So it's time to give some value to her before she gets you off the call. After she answers the question, and likely gives you an objection, now is your chance to help Joan. She's expecting you to sell to her. You don't need to yet.  

Rep: Joan, we have thousands of people using us that could be good fits for the position. I'm obviously not a recruiter, but I could likely get more people to see the post. I'm going to post the job out to my network, and ask our marketing to reshare it too to help you. Should I send them to that Indeed post or right to you?

The cool part is if you end up helping Joan, you just did her a huge favor, and likely got someone who is already a customer a new job. You are in like flint! If Joan isn't the hiring manager, Joan's company likely has a referral program for employees that pays them out for referring new hires. 

If nothing happens with sharing the post, it's not your fault. You still helped Joan out, and she won't forget it. Now that you've got the connect, it's up to you to turn it into a meeting after. 

If the position is already being filled, you can ask Joan what the new hire is like. What's their background, what are their interests? 

Always remember to give more than take.

When you are first getting to know your prospect, it's going to take awhile for them to get to know you. This becomes especially hard if you have no way to get to know them. Using the co-recruiting technique is a good way to get to know them. When you are on the phone, ask them what kind of people they like working with. This will help you know what tone and language to use with your buyer. 

This stuff can also work over cold email. Just make sure you leave a voicemail before you send a cold email. 

What do you do if the company doesn't have any job postings?

Teddy photo

This is also going to happen sometimes. In the event that you only have their company, name, and title, I usually suggest trying to be a little bit more creative the execution of your outreach. This usually involves less personalization, which makes me sad, but you have to work with what you got. 

Make them a video, play them a song, draw something, write a haiku, or just write really clever copy in your cold email and cold call. Worst case scenario you're going to do a pattern disrupt and make them realize you are a cool interesting person worth talking to. 

I've done many an email about someone riding around in a corporate chopper and doing over the top business deals. Obviously I still make my value prop about the company's goals or mention a current event about that company, but I try and tie in something about the prospect being cool.

I've also written some fun copy about the person doing an unbelievable achievements since I couldn't find anything about them online. Here's another example.

I remember this one time (note this was risky), we were prospecting into some people and I couldn't find any thing about them. I think this idea came from our support leads, Jim Morris. If we couldn't find anything about the person, for that day, and for absolutely no reason, we decided to send an email to the person saying we couldn't believe they dueled Teddy Roosevelt and won. 

This was the email I sent:

Email using the Teddy photoIn the event you can't read the's the text:

Hey *****,
I heard you're kind of a legend when it comes to breaking into ******* for (Company Name). I've also heard some rumors that you beat Teddy Roosevelt in a duel once...and this was the headline the next day:
Image not available
Seriously though...I'm a big fan of your team. I worked with you guys when you used to be {Old Company Name). I was curious if you'd be up for talking man? We have a really cool prospecting tool that a ton of reps love using because it does all the annoying parts of prospecting for you. Like finding emails, getting them into tools like Salesforce, SalesLoft, etc. 
Prospects want better creative, and prospectors have it in them. They just need to get rid of the bottlenecks. That's what we're trying to do. Any chance you'd be up for talking? What are your thoughts? 
P.s. Note: I do not want to duel you. You're street cred it too amazing. Teddy was a really bad ass president if you've read up on him. 

You can see that this didn't have too much personalization except a few things about the company changing its name. I know it kind of bums me out, but I couldn't find anything about this guy online. 

Now here's the cool part. In this particular example, the prospect didn't respond to the email. Some others did (we changed up the historic figured and just messed around with the copy for each prospect to relate to their companies). I did see they opened it the email. So when this prospect opened the email I called them. 

Me: Hey *****, I'm the guy that sent you that email about beating Teddy Roosevelt in a dual. He's easily one of the most interesting guys in history. Did you read it?

Prospect laughs for about 20 seconds then responds.

Prospects: How the hell did you come up with that?

The call instantly had no cold call tension, and turned into a great call that booked. 

So big takeaways:

1. Use job posts when you have no info about your prospect, and help them by sharing their job posts. 

2. In a last ditch effort, you can't find anything about the prospect, do something creative that shows you are interesting.

3. Always give more than take!

4. Teddy Roosevelt was the man. 

Posted by Ryan O'Hara
Ryan O'Hara
Ryan O'Hara has been an early employee at several startups helping them with marketing and prospecting tactics, including Dyn who was acquired by Oracle for $600+ million in 2016. He's had prospecting campaigns featured in Fortune, Mashable, and TheNextWeb. Ryan specializes in branding, business development, prospecting, and coaching people on how to make good digital first impressions. He also mentors two accelerators, The Iron Yard and The Alpha Loft, and hosts The Prospecting

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