My name is Iron Brands and I was born in The Netherlands, in the city of Maastricht. I graduated from the University of Maastricht in 2019 and immediately started our company, Fiks (previously Internative), after my studies. It was actually born during my last year in university.
I was looking for an internship, but the university only provides students a handful of companies to choose from. Most of the time those were big corporate companies, while I was really interested in startups.
Eventually, I found a startup in Utrecht to do an internship and after 5 months, the company asked me if I wanted to try and find new interns for them because this proved to be rather difficult for them as they had no time and budget to collaborate with universities.
This is when Fiks was born. We reach out to students and collaborate with universities and expose students to startups and SMBs for internship opportunities.
When we started, we were with three co-founders in total. One was responsible for reaching out to students, the other was building our platform/website and I was responsible for reaching out to companies.
We were still at university back then, so I literally knew nothing about doing sales. At university, they don’t teach you anything about sales so I read/listened to every ebook, blog, or podcast out there. There is much more to it, but basically, all books and blogs were pointing to two things:
- Be relevant
- Be different
So, we started researching how we could stand out…and do something the other 99% were not doing.
We wanted to send videos to our leads/prospects because we knew no one else was doing this. Although this is not a very scalable approach, it worked really well.
However, the big breakthrough came when we found it was actually scalable through Lemlist. Now we could send 400 videos per week, which resulted in (on average) 20 sales meetings per week of which 50% would convert to a customer. The workflow looks like this:
- Sales Navigator (find prospects)
- SalesQL (retrieve data)
- Google Sheets (clean data)
- Lemlist (send videos)
- Expandi (follow up on LinkedIn)
One year in, we have automated our sales process and we are sending 1000 emails per week with a personalized video.
The image above shows the first out of two emails we send to our prospects. The company’s logo in the upper left corner and the prospect’s name on the whiteboard are generated automatically.
What has helped us really well is to get the basics right. You need to find a homogenous group of people/companies who benefit from your product the most. I wrote a blog post about this. Once you have this right, make sure you nail the following two metrics: be relevant and be different. How do you know when you nailed them? You know when you get traction.
Here are some optimization tips that worked for us. Instead of building an email sequence of 3 to 5 emails, build an email sequence of 2 emails + a LinkedIn message. Some people just don’t respond to emails but will do on LinkedIn. We call this an omnichannel approach.
Send 2 emails and after one week, export the list of people who haven’t responded to your email and put them in a LinkedIn sequence. You will get more out of this approach than just keep on sending more emails.