Outbound B2B lead generation for Bosnian tech recruitment company
Grow:Up is a tech recruitment company based in Bosnia-Herzegovina and worked with FFA on a B2B outbound lead generation process. Grow:Up helps companies add experienced software developers to their in-house team through recruiting, remote collaboration, relocation and outsourcing. In other words, Grow:Up can either recruit remote developers or assemble a team working remotely to extend a client’s existing team.
Bosnia-Herzegovina is appealing for recruiting developers as well as setting up an office for three reasons: abundance of highly skilled IT professionals, overall lower wage than Europe’s averages, and low corporate taxes.
After successfully recruiting Bosnian developers for clients opening up offices in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Grow:Up wanted to expand its service offerings to other European markets.
In early 2018 Fast Forward Advisors started working with Grow:Up in order to analyze, plan, test and execute an outbound B2B email marketing and LinkedIn campaign into 5 European markets: Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, and Finland. FFA tested various outreach tactics, customer segments and channels
"Fast Forward Advisors helped us outreach over 2000 potential leads in less than 4 months, bringing in various opportunities. This helped us understand how our value proposition was perceived by different market participants, particularly other startups/scaleups and those in the automotive industry"Sergio Ermacora | Co-Founder & CEO | Grow:Up "FFA tested our value proposition with over 2000 leads"
PROBLEMS & CHALLENGES
There were two main problems that prevented Grow:Up from executing an outbound lead generation strategy by itself:
1. Limited resources for international growth:
At the time of first engagement with FFA, Grow:Up had been operational for approximately half a year. Grow:Up was already successful in recruiting software developers for several clients opening offices in Bosnia-Herzegovina and showed some potential for international growth. However, the two founders at Grow:Up realized that they had two resource constraints limiting their growth: time and personnel.
Time was arguably the most significant obstacle for Grow:Up founders. At the time of engagement with FFA, the founders had to juggle their time between Grow:Up and another startup they had already been working on: Koola. To facilitate international growth by themselves, the founders had to dedicate all of their time to Grow:Up.
The second problem was limited personnel. Grow:Up then did not have a team dedicated to growth. There was only 1 employee responsible for attracting incoming clients. Hiring additional staff would be too cost prohibitive for such a young company.
2. Uncertainty about proper channels to be used for international growth and perception:
In addition to limited resources, Grow:Up was unsure which channels to engage in to attract new clients. Although they were already successful in recruiting developers for several clients, Grow:Up had no clear growth process or approach that was repeatable and sustainable. Clients in different markets and of different types (startup vs corporation) might require different channels; it was also unclear how different markets would react to Grow:Up’s value proposition, particularly on remote collaboration.
ACTIONS & SOLUTIONS
1. Market research:
We started working with Grow:Up on identifying which geographical markets to focus on. As Bosnia-Herzegovina is an European country, it can benefit from being in the same or close time zone with other European countries. Time zone difference is one of the key elements to consider when companies want to hire remote developers. We proposed to Grow:Up that it is best to focus on these 5 European countries: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, and Finland due to a combination of high developer need, geographic proximity and familiarity with remote developers.
In addition to determining geographic markets to focus on, we worked with Grow:Up to identify customer segments to target. The natural customer segment for Grow:Up to target was startups/scaleups since their often limited budgets would prompt them to look for remote developers.
However, we also noticed that Grow:Up founders had extensive experience with software developers in the automotive industry, as their other startup – Koola – operates in the automotive industry. We developed a new customer segment for Grow:Up to target: automotive companies, from startups/scaleups (yes, there are automotive startups), automotive service/product providers to automotive manufacturers.
2. Acting as Customer Success Manager:
We figured that to best manage potential leads, there must be a customer manager position – the manager would handle all communications across different channels, particularly email and LinkedIn.
As a result, Fast Forward Advisors consultants were trained and acted as Customer Success Managers for Grow:Up, being directly responsible for sending outreach messages and acting as first points of contact for interested leads.
3. Sending outbound messages and manage incoming interest:
We set up a contact database to store information on all potential leads for Grow:Up. We screened job boards for software developers in the 5 countries identified with emphasis on those that specifically seek remote developers and ran the companies from those boards through our internal tools to find the most appropriate contacts. A contact in our database includes a company email and a LinkedIn profile link.
We set up message templates in email and LinkedIn message forms separately for different scenarios: first introduction, first follow-up, second follow-up, and wrap-up. To make the most out of the defined channels, we identified different tests to experiment with these message templates:
- Adding article link for extra customization
- Changing message length
- Targeting several contacts for each company (instead of just an HR manager, we outreached to Director of Engineering/IT, Partners, etc.)
We also set up an internal tool to maximize automation of email sequences to follow-up with potential contacts and ease the management of large volume of contacts (200/week on average).
We then sent email and Linked messages to contacts. Whenever there was new interest, we would pass these opportunities to Grow:Up so they could help solve clients’ recruiting needs as soon as possible.
IMPACT & OUTCOME
Full B2B outbound lead generation strategy execution support: We supported Grow:Up in executing an international growth process and tested Grow:Up’s value proposition in these new markets. By using internal frameworks, integrating tools from the market and providing our experience in the process, we were able to provide the full process at a fraction of the cost that it would have incurred for Grow:Up team.
In total, we outreached approximately 2500 leads and attracted 35 business opportunities across 5 geographical markets (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark and Finland) at a considerably (4 times) lower Lead Development and overall lower Customer Acquisition Cost.