I'm currently trying to reach out to potential customers and experts for a B2B idea (direction POS Marketing). Besides getting in touch with my network I also connect with people on Linkedin and reach out to them to get some initial answers and hopefully even more. The process takes time and is tedious. Furthermore, the success rate to get feedback is rather low (less than 5%). I thought about including some reward (e.g. vouchers etc.), which worked quite well with my last B2C idea via FB. When contacting business people/experts this feels a bit strange for me though. Thus, I'm asking you guys if you have alternative strategies to talk to potential customers in such early phase or generally some good tips and tricks on this topic (maybe Reddit, Quora etc.?)
I've realized that B2B is a unique challenge myself, especially when you need to do cold outreach. Personally, I find that my response rate is much higher when I provide a simple, clear request towards the beginning of an email. In a market validation context, I like to ask for "advice" - most people love providing advice. And, at the end of the day, the advice that your potential users provide will help you refine your product and value proposition.
I wouldn't provide vouchers.
There are several alternatives, but an easy and cost effective, if you have a budget, is to conduct an online survey through a B2B online panel. There are many companies who have an online data base of profiled professionals by title, industry etc, purchase decision making etc. who are willing to participate in Market Research studies. Again, if you have a budget some of this companies will even program and host your questionnaire if needed, but you can always use free survey software tools if its not a complex questionnaire. Depending on your target audience and how long the survey will be, they will charge you on a cost per completed survey basis. Some of this companies as InnovateMR, ProdegeMR, ResearchNow, Op4g etc. Google online survey panels B2B.
Best of luck
Absolutely right - don't use vouchers in B2B (or B2C IMO).
If I were you, I would try and figure out the commonalities of the people who are willing to engage with you. Then narrow your search to find more people like that. Try and make your value proposition targeted at this group. This is also a good way to get to an MVP.
Also, have a standard way to approach people so you can tweak it over time (but definitely don't be a robot).
Talk to their better nature ("You want to help people like them, but you need feedback to get there.")
I do a lot of cold outreach - and craft each one with a personalized pitch.
It takes time but I often get 60%+ response.
Adding to what Bill Lennan said... in cold outreach the 1st sentence or two needs to generate enough interest to read the rest of the message and respond. How? Describe "their" problem (not your solution) and express your desire to talk about their problem. If the response rate is low this might say that there is little economic benefit in solving that particular problem.