February 11th, 2015 | by

“When you absolutely have to reach someone very important, how do you do it?”

That was the question I asked many of the world’s top sales thought leaders over the past year, as I researched for my new book, How To Get A Meeting with Anyone: The Untapped Power of Contact Marketing (BenBella Books, 2-2016).

“Contact Marketing” is a new marketing term that is used to describe marketing techniques designed to get the attention of even impossible-to-reach executives.  Of course, all marketing campaigns seek to gain the attention of the audience, but the difference with contact marketing is that it is designed to expect very high response rates. This expectation is a unique occurrence in the business world, where campaigns that get even 5-10 percent response are considered a success.  When firing on all cylinders, the results can be astounding.  It’s not unusual to see response rates as high as 100% and ROI in the tens, even hundreds of thousands of percent to these campaigns.

The techniques range from simple tactics using the phone, e-mail or social media, to over-the-top methods that cost as much as $10,000 per contact.  I use cartoons to break through, which has been wildly successful over the years, creating contact with Presidents, Prime Ministers, and celebrities and countless CEOs C-level executives and top decision makers.

The test we did for Sandler Training is a great example:  five Fortune 1,000 CEOs were targeted, all five responded and two bought starter programs on the spot, worth about $50K each.  That’s a 100% response rate and an 8,000% ROI, all of which is supposed to be impossible.  Sales trainer Paul McCord used a mailed Contact Campaign to recruit local builders as referral sources for his mortgage business and generated a 60% response and an ROI topping 600,000%.  Some Contact Campaign methods cost nothing, but still generate interest from top-level prospects, leaving us with an interesting quandary:  how do you compute ROI when dividing by zero cost?

Still, I have seen how challenging it can be to reach a CIO or CISO. They’re all the more difficult to connect with now, because they’re all fighting a deluge of hack attacks and data breaches.  With an average tenure of just 18 months, it’s easy to see why they don’t have time for most sales calls.  But there are powerful strategic steps you can take to make sure you break through.

Since the spirit of Contact Marketing is to target the handful prospects that can make the biggest difference in the scale of your enterprise, choosing who gets onto your Top 100 list should be done carefully.  Large budgets are always attractive, but there are other markers you should be watching.  Trigger events, such as new hires or other changing circumstances can often be a key determinant of when new services are considered and contracts awarded.  It is critical not always to look for the title – the CXO is not always the right contact for your solution. The person you want to reach out to is the CEO of the problem. This is where reliable sales intelligence is critical. Being able to look through an organization’s org chart to understand who is responsible for specific technologies and initiatives gives you the foot in the door with the right contact.

Using contact marketing, you can graduate your sales efforts to the next level – learn key strategies for getting a meeting with anyone. I look forward to discussing all of this, including some pretty unusual and entertaining Contact Campaign methods at DiscoverOrg’s webinar How to Get a Meeting with Anyone on February 19th, at 10 a.m. PST/1 p.m. EST.

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Stu HeineckeStu Heinecke, a Wall Street Journal cartoonist, Hall of Fame-nominated marketer and author discovered the magic of “Contact Marketing” early in his career, when he launched a Contact Campaign to just two dozen Vice Presidents and Directors of Circulation at the big Manhattan-based magazine publishers.  That tiny $100 investment resulted in a 100% response rate, launched his enterprise and brought in millions of dollars’ worth of business.

In his forthcoming book, How to Get a Meeting with Anyone, he not only gives Contact Marketing its name, but provides us with a definitive guide to what it is and how it works. Heinecke is the host and author of the How to Get a Meeting with Anyone podcast and blog, and Founder and President of “Contact,” a Contact Marketing agency, and co-Founder of Cartoonists.org, a coalition of famed cartoonists dedicated to raising funds for charity, while raising the profile of the cartooning art form.  He lives on an island in the pristine Pacific Northwest with his wife, Charlotte, and their dog, Bo.


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Stu Heinecke
About the author

Stu Heinecke

Stu Heinecke is the author of "How to Get a Meeting with Anyone: The Untapped Selling Power of Contact Marketing."