How often do people respond to cold emails? What are the chances someone will open an email from someone they don’t know?
According to this 2019 study, there’s only an 8.5% chance someone will. Since then, the flood of email pitches have surged thanks to AI-assisted tools that can generate seemingly personalized emails at scale, which likely makes people even more reluctant to open or engage with messages from people or companies they don’t know.
That’s bad news for companies trying to drum up new business. This Apex-based startup might have the solution.
Vector is a B2B “pipe-gen” software platform that will help B2B sellers find warm introductions through their network to target prospective accounts at scale. In other words, it will help generate quality leads to help fill that all-important sales pipeline.
Earlier this year, the startup was chosen to be a part of the prestigious Y Combinator accelerator program. Vector’s software uses conversational analytics to find mutual connections between the seller and someone associated with their target account and help to create a more meaningful interaction, rather than a “cold “one.
Vector’s software can also aid traditional CRMs (customer relationship management platforms) in helping new sales representatives get up to speed with existing accounts. The process of repeating answers to the same questions asked in the past can be a waste of time and an annoyance to the client. Vector makes sense of your unstructured conversational data so that pre- to post-sales transfers are executed as if the same person is working the account.
Vector’s mission to create warm intros not only enhances meaningful relationships between sellers and buyers, but also uplifts the credibility and respect of sellers and their companies.
Before co-founding Vector, CEO Joshua Perk and COO Nick Masters worked as sales engineers together for Boston-based marketing tech startup Drift, where they recognized a pattern of data that showed that many companies are less able to find new deals or generate sales “pipeline.” What they found was that in 2018, if sales representatives sent 50 cold emails or calls, they would get one meeting out of it. In 2023, sales representatives would have to send 500 cold email or calls just to get one meeting.
“Our generation is changing as buyers,” Perk said. “We won’t resonate with random people reaching out to us…Relationships are the key to selling things.”
The need for warm intros
Perk reflects on three main reasons why he and Masters wanted to create Vector now.
First, the world didn’t used to need warm intros as much. Previous methods of selling to chief revenue officers and similar VP-level buyers directly from a top-down model worked well. Sales reps were happy with their 2% email conversion rates, where if they needed to sell to 100 companies, they “only” needed to send 5,000 emails.
The effectiveness of these tactics now, however, have waned because people are less willing to open emails from unknown senders.
Second, AI-generated content programs like ChatGPT can create seemingly personalized messages and emails and have the capacity to send out 30,000 emails in less than five minutes. But, according to Perk, this method just gives buyers another reason to not take emails seriously because they may not actually be personal—unlike an introduction that comes directly from a person they actually know.
Finally, measuring the authenticity between relationships can be hard. It’s easy to go on LinkedIn and see that someone is connected to someone else, but how often and well do people who are connected really know each other?
Vector aims to provide that answer. Its software can process trillions of rows of contact data and shared experiences in order to understand how people are truly connected.
The startup’s shared experience graph takes data from mutual connections and networks and create a list of shared experiences and similar backgrounds. The user can type in the name of the person they want to target and the platform will show different people who work with or for that person and are connected to the user.
It will then categorize them by score percentages of how well the user knows them. For example, a user could have a 30% connection with someone they went to college with and a 75% connection with someone they went to college with AND worked with at the same company.
“Having more (shared) interests are important,” Masters said. “Think about it in your own personal life, how word of mouth marketing is effective… When you have a trusted resource saying ‘you should go take a call from that sales rep because I know your business, I know who you are and I know it will be worth your time,’ it expedites the sales cycle so much faster and it’s much more powerful than trying to navigate through so many other solutions.”