Turning a regular visit into a lead generation machine

This post was written before I build Exceptionly for revolutionizing the software talent industry through objective hands-on testing.

I’ve visited Tel Aviv, Israel on June 17–18 to meet with some important business contacts. It was a typical business trip, but we were able to use the occasion to generate value beyond just the in-person meetings.

In this post, I will explain how we turned Andy’s visit into a lead generation machine. Here are the aspects we’ll cover in this post:

Photo by Chester Alvarez on Unsplash
  1. Planning

1- Planning

We started planning Andy’s schedule in Israel after locking dates with different parties. This planning included establishing our goal (to attract Israeli senior executives to meet with Andy), identifying acceptable venues, and discussing internally with our internal teams who would be contributing to the event planning.

2- Target Audience, Data work

We had three cohorts to work with:

Cohort 1 — The talent we’ve identified in Israel (3000 people)

Prospects in our High Touch Recruiting backlog i.e. leads who have not yet applied to Crossover jobs yet, but we know are good fits for senior management roles based on the available information on their LinkedIn profiles.

Cohort 2 — Talent who already applied to Crossover (50 people)

Candidates with great scores in our pipelines, i.e. candidates who have applied and passed our basic fit criteria and are still in the application process. There’s nothing more motivating to complete a job application than an in-person meeting with the CEO.

Cohort 3 — People actively working with us full-time (20 people)

Our active partners in Israel. Based on previous experience with planning in-person events, we knew that their presence would make potential candidates more comfortable because they can speak in the local language, provide insider (i.e. experiential) information, etc.

3- Organizing Meetup

We decided to schedule the meetup for June 17th, evening time. Crossover’s brand code dictates working with one of the high-end places (hotels, event spaces, restaurants, etc.) in town. In Tel Aviv, our top choice was Dinings Restaurant — The Norman Hotel.

Our cost incurred to Crossover was around $200/person in Dinings Restaurant (we absorbed all of the costs, as it was free to all attendees). After contracting the venue, we quickly drafted invitations and promotional messages, reminders, visuals, etc. Here was our invitation page on Eventbrite.

I learned (unfortunately too late!) from some of our attendees that our venue is not Kosher, so they were unable to enjoy the food we provided. Going forward, I would recommend that all event organizers consider the possible dietary constraints of their attendees. Next time, we’ll be more careful!

4- Promotion

Our event in TLV was exclusive to Israeli senior managers and was invitation-only (due to Andy’s limited availability and the senior requirements of our available roles, we needed to constrain the attendee list). We had 2 main promotion activities:

Drip Campaign using Outreach

We built drip campaigns for each of the three cohorts outlined above, inviting leads to our events with a personalized message and sending reminders every 2 days in the case of no response.

Facebook and Instagram Ads

We chose to show our ads to a very limited number of people, and we optimized our campaign for impressions instead of clicks. We tried to be visible to our target audience multiple times on Facebook and Instagram.

We became visible to our limited cohort for about 52 times per person.

Facebook & Instagram ads optimized for impressions

5- PR

My strategy is to always work with a local PR professional instead of with global networks. I’ve seen a huge performance difference between the two models. This is primarily because you end up being a small account in a very big company if you work with one of the global PR networks, and your brand and messages oftentimes do not get enough attention. Furthermore, local professionals typically offer cost advantages.

Before you go to any local market for PR operations, you should invest most of your time into educating your potential PR partners. To that end, we built a PR partner onboarding document that we require PR partners to read before we sign the contract.

Then, we worked with the PR firm to build specific campaigns on specific channels that were effective at reaching our particular target audience (Israeli senior managers).

Our only target was getting coverage from TheMarker which is one of the most respected business publications of Israel. We did it! This piece was very important for gaining awareness in the country. We started getting 10x more visitors through both Organic Search and Referral channels.

Unique users for Crossover.com from Israel

6- Content Production

Since we’re already paying for all the travel, venue, marketing tools, etc., why not invest in high-quality content production? We mastered high-quality video testimonial content production earlier this year -and shared all the details — so we know exactly why testimonials effectively convince potential leads to convert into prospects. We decided to use this trip as another opportunity to produce similar video content, tailored specifically to the Israeli market.

We had a lot of fun filming in Tel Aviv, a little teaser featuring some of our senior executives

Just like the PR operations, whenever you need to work with a local provider, you should invest a serious amount of time into establishing the service quality you’re expecting. Since flying your favorite filming crew around the world is super expensive, you should work with local providers. To ensure that local film crews are aligned to our overall brand requirements, we provide a precise document outlining our specs.

7- Results

We are very close to hiring our first SVP of Sales from this trip ($400K/year) and we are experiencing an all-time high for daily job applications from Israel.

Data is limited due to recent migration to Salesforce. The all-time high statement is still valid after checking historic figures.

About the writer: Founder of Exceptionly, revolutionizing the software talent industry by leveraging his unique big dataset of over 2M hands-on tested software engineers around the world.

Founder at Exceptionly. Software talent problem solver https://exceptionly.com

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