That first toehold in the market can be the toughest to get. Especially when you’re working two sides of the street.
Validating your idea is essential, but that means you’re in a listening phase more than a selling phase. Don’t simply write a blind email or two and wait for a response. You are the key to winning business in the early stages—your idea, your passion about the idea and your drive behind starting the business.
So on the university side, zero in on a handful of schools—ideally nearby—and get face-to-face meetings with relevant people. Go in ready to hear what their pains are—based on your question perhaps around connecting with corporations? Work some queries around the space you’re addressing within your conversation but do not pitch your solution.
Similarly on the corporate side, connect with relevant individuals—is it those in charge of training? You’re right, they’re busy, so a face-to-face might not work, but cold calls certainly can. Develop a concise script that focuses on listening (broad, open-ended questions) and start dialing. It is a numbers game, but you can help yourself by approaching mid-sized and smaller companies as well.
If you wish to discuss, send me a PM through Clarity for 15 free minutes.
I presume you have an ed-tech offering for your target customer (Univ. and Companies) . Their customers are students and employee, so tell them how your offering create value for their end customer and thus benefit them. I have mentored 6 successful ed-tech enterprises. Feel free to setup a call to replicate success in your venture.
You need to first build relationships into this space so you can reach people. Can you get references to people at the unix and companies from your current network? You may have to partner with someone who has the connections.
This is a tough one, and the truth is you're going to deal with a lot of rejections with any idea. Even with our newest product, which is generating 5-figures in MRR, we only heard responses from ~20% of people we outreached.
Here are a few tips to make it easier, that we've done ourselves:
1) Who are you talking to at the companies and unis? If you're cold outreaching to just random or general info@ or help@ email addresses, you'll likely to be ignored. Think about how many emails a company gets a day. How can you be different?
2) I'll typically use LinkedIn, or look at their website, and then use a tool like hunter.io to find the email address of the #2 or #3 in charge. I usually avoid the #1 because I assume everyone emails him, and the #2 and #3 are slightly more accessible.
3) When I do an outreach attempt, I try to make it slightly funny and different so it stands out. I also keep the sentences very short, and I don't use big words. This makes it MUCH easier for people to read if they're busy. If I don't hear back, I follow up two days later — and usually try with a simple video hello using the tool useloom.com.
No affiliation to any of the tools mentioned above, I just like them.
If you have any follow-up questions, feel free to reach out for a call. I've done a lot of outreach and sales to grow our products, and I've learned from some of the best sales people in the SaaS industry. Hope this helps!