Best practices for finding customers via email


We want to create a start-up, it offers computational services to biotechs for drug discovery. We want to find customers out of our country. Besides options such as traveling, or attending forums, etc, we are starting to select not randomly firms via internet, then creating an email template, where we change some words related with the company and then sending emails. As of now, from 100 emails we got only 2 replies.

Up to now we do not know whether this is a good strategy or if we should strength up our efforts and try 100x more clients. In such case, could you recommend better strategies via email to follow?

PS: Information about the product; market size of several billions, price of services depends on project, from 10K$ to 100K$ in our case (we can not afford bigger projects).

Customers Email Contact

asked Dec 18 '12 at 17:40
114 points
  • Could you give us some precisions about your product (estimation of the market size, high or low price of the product), this infos would help to define the best strategy. – Ulflander 9 years ago
  • Ok, I have updated my post – Flow 9 years ago

1 Answer


Answering the strategy question:

What value are you providing to the email recipient? Receiving a "we do x, call us!" email is no better than all the "outsource your IT" emails many of us receive daily. Yeah, you run a business, we get that - but you have no developed relationship / accumulated trust to work from.

And changing a word or two isn't much of a personalization strategy.

Do some customer development research, create a thoughtful report (a series would be better) and then use that report as the foundation to build reputation / trust. Find appropriate contacts at the companies - offer them the report for free, and then ask for their opinions.

Create a topical site that addresses issues related to your target market and work hard to make it a two way conversation (provide free advice, actively search out feedback, etc.)

Do some google research on customer development - perhaps that will help you frame your efforts.

As for how to "find" such contacts - sounds like a mechanical turk type of effort - find the companies, then find the contact.

Good luck!

answered Dec 19 '12 at 04:25
Jim Galley
9,952 points
  • Many thanks! Your answer is very enlightening to me! I am happy to know that we do not have any idea yet about the real market world out of our academic "safe" world. I will study all your advice in detail. And more important, practice it. No, I will practice it directly! I will start to focus in two clients and study them in detail and then approach them cautelously and knowing exactly who they are and what they need. – Flow 9 years ago
  • about "customer development", would you recommend any book? – Flow 9 years ago
  • Here is [good list of books]( to consider. [Startup owners manual]( is a recent entry. [Running Lean]( provides specific steps. Both are good customer development guides depending on your reading style. – Jim Galley 9 years ago

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