Every few weeks I get an unsolicited inbound inquiry from a sales rep at a mobile ad network asking if GroupMe would be interested in working with them.
But none of GroupMe’s clients serve ads. Never have.
It would take a few minutes of work for the sales rep to know that. But the standard compensation structure for a sales guy doesn’t incent finesse. It’s a numbers game, so a few minutes spent tailoring a cold email is a few minutes lost.
Business development is different. Cultivating a partnership - a unique mutually beneficial relationship - requires an intimate understanding of the other party. Steve & I spend countless doing our research before making any contact with a prospective partner, regardless of it they’re a big company like MTV or a scrappy startup. A lot of our effort is guided by the principles I wrote about in my last post. We live and breathe their product so that it’s as familiar to us as GroupMe is. We read everything and anything we can to understand the company’s mission, culture, history, goals, and strategy. We talk to everyone we can.
Doing that gives us the best chance of pitching the right partnership from the start, and if that’s off the mark, of adapting on the fly.
You can never have enough information.