If you have an ancillary cannabis business selling products or services to Canadian cannabis Licensed Producers, you’ve probably already recognized that the most difficult part of closing a sale is simply getting in contact with the decision makers. Cannabis cultivators in Canada (LPs) range in size, but many of them are large organizations, and growing constantly through mergers and acquisitions, (Aurora Cannabis, Canopy Growth, Aphria, and Tilray, for example). You might need to fight through an army of gate-keepers before you even get a chance to communicate with the person that needs to hear your message. Thankfully, I’ve figured out a trick that works to get your email in the inbox of the exact person you need to talk to. I used this technique as a starting touch-point that generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales over a 1-year period.
Identify the decision maker + decision influencers.
For this step, LinkedIn will be your best friend. You’ll dig in to your target company and search out the head of whatever department is relevant. For example, if it’s operations, you’re looking for the Chief Operations Officer, for compliance you’ll search out the Chief Compliance Officer. Then you’ll go down the chain, identifying everyone in his/her retinue. Stopping at the Manager level is usually good enough. You can go further down but will likely face diminishing success the further away from the top you go.
Find the press releases + determine email format.
Regardless of their whether their motivations are to boost share prices, encourage investment, or make themselves feel more important, just about all Canadian LPs are issuing press releases on a regular basis. The larger LPs publish releases on Cision, in addition to their own website. Track down your target’s most recent press release. What you’re looking for is a contact email at the actual LP (not a PR company). Most businesses use a company-wide format for their email addresses, (although there are exceptions, which we’ll address further along). That’s the golden nugget here: you want their email format. Here’s a few common ones, with my own name as an example.
j.mcfarlane@canadianLP.com – First initial . Last name
jmcfarlane@canadianLP.com – First initial + Last name
johnathan@canadianLP.com – First name only
mcfarlane.j@canadianLP.com – Last name . First initial
Johnathan.mcfarlane@canadianLP.com – First name . Last name
Johnathan.m@CanadianLP.com – First name . Last initial
Once you have the format, you can determine the likely email for each of your targets, from the top to the bottom. (You might be wondering why not just use a tool like Hunter.io. I tried that, and unfortunately it didn’t work for a single one of my target LPs, hence this strategy.)
Craft the perfect email.
Forget sending a marketing or sales-y email. What you need to do here is be noticed, so it needs to be a genuine, personal email that addresses specifics about your target’s company. Mentioning recent company news is always a good idea. Writing the perfect cold email is worthy of a blog post on its own, so I’ll leave that for another day. Regardless, you need to write a killer subject line, as this whole tactic only works if they open the email! Keep in mind you’ll need to craft different emails based on the target’s persona. You aren’t going to speak to a 50-year old CEO the same way you’ll speak to a 25-year old mid-level manager.
Send tracked emails to determine viability of email addresses.
Using your preferred email client, send your emails with Hubspot email tracking turned on (at this point DO NOT log the email into the CRM, as that would automatically create the contact in Hubspot). There are other stand-alone email tracking tools, but we’re a Hubspot Gold partner and always recommend Hubspot to our clients. The best-case scenario here is that your target(s) actually replies to your email. A close second-best is that they simply open the email. That’s a valuable action too, as it tells you that you have a valid email address. If a few days go by without a reply or open, occasionally I’ll take a shot-in-the-dark with another email format. Sometimes upper-level executives will use the first-name only format, while lower-level employees use the standard company format, so that’s a good second attempt.
Move lead to Hubspot, initiate sales or marketing process.
Whether it’s with an email reply or only an open, once I’ve confirmed a valid email address, I then create that contact in Hubspot. If I received a reply to the email, then I’ll continue to engage with them 1-1 to move them through my typical sales process. If I get a simple open without a reply, I would then continue to market to them as I would to anyone with their persona.
If your company sells products, equipment, or services to Canadian licensed cannabis producers, then you only have 130 potential customers at the time of this writing. Don’t let yourself be blocked by gatekeepers or administrators. I used this technique to initiate relationships with many executives, directors, and managers. It worked extremely well and was a big part of my successful sales and marketing strategy in the Canadian cannabis industry. Not once did anyone ever ask how I got their email address!
If you decide to try this yourself, we’d love to hear how it works. And, if you need help crafting your own sales and marketing strategy, we’re here to help. A great place to start is our Complete Guide to Cannabis Marketing.