Entrepreneur Tips and Discussions

How to cold email B2B leads to setup user interviews? Not looking to sell, just looking to learn about their problems.

Hi all!

My startup helps Twitch streamers build their audience and maximize their earnings. We’re looking to add a new product that will help streamers connect with sponsors/brands and make more money through influencer marketing campaigns.

To learn more about these brands and their needs, I’d like to set up some user interviews with Partnership managers at companies that already run such campaigns in the esports space. What I’m having trouble with is figuring out the right approach in terms of cold emailing these people:

1. Typically when we do b2c research we just email and offer a small incentive for an hour’s worth of time ($25-$50) but for b2b leads this doesn’t seem to make sense given the cost incentive.
2. Another approach I can think of is going with a more sales like approach and getting them excited about being one of our first customers. Something to the effect of:

>Hi <name>,
>I saw your company on [x streamer’s stream], and I wanted to learn more about how you manage esports influencer campaigns.
>For context, I’m the CEO of [my website], a SAAS platform used by esports influencers to engage their fans. We launched in January 2020 and already have a reach of 200K users across Twitch, Twitter and discord. From our launch, we’ve learned first hand that influencer campaigns in the esports space can be very challenging to nail down. At the same time, we’ve found that the right data and tracking tools can be a total game-changer for these campaigns!
>We’re now making an all-in-one tool for brands like [YourCompany] to find the best teams and streamers to partner with, track your campaigns, and grow your brand. We’re looking for our first partners to work with so we can create the perfect product to help you maximize your growth. If you’re interested in helping us build out this vision, I’d love to hop on a quick 15 minute call to learn about your needs.

With (2) **I’m worried about biasing the candidate towards thinking this is a sales call and not a research interview.**

Q: What approach makes sense to you? How would you phrase this in order to achieve the main goal of the research: **problem finding** ?

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10 replies on “How to cold email B2B leads to setup user interviews? Not looking to sell, just looking to learn about their problems.”

15 years B2B selling experience.

Sounds like a pretty targeted list. I would keep the email short. Throw together an excel sheet with [FName],[email],[date],[time]. Make sure each date and time is unique so you don’t double book, I suggest spreading out at 15 minute intervals. It’s important to make the response as easy as possible. “Sure, you can call 867-5309. Talk then”. Send out a mail merge that looks something like:

Hey Sean [name], I’m building an analytics and tracking tools platform to help esports influencers make the most of their campaigns. Given your status in the community, I’d really like to bounce a few ideas off of you. Would you have 15 minutes on 03/30[date], at 10:00AM[time] for a quick call?

What’s the best number to reach you at?



Awesome possum.

A warm intro from someone you both know is better than a cold email.

If has to be a cold approach, remember that people are getting bombarded with cold emails from SDRs. You should expect a low response rate. The key is being simple, and personal. I think high volume impersonal approaches are tough in a space like yours where there aren’t thousands of potential buyers yet.

“Hey [FIRST NAME] – I’m the founder of X. This is not a sales email. I’m genuinely impressed by your marketing execution on Twitch. I was watching Y stream and really loved Z. I’m trying to get some feedback on something I’m working for streamers, and was hoping to buy you coffee or chat for a few minutes. I know you’re busy. When might work?”

There is a darker art here as well if you want to take it, I call it a sales switch. People are much more likely to respond or chat with you if they think you are trying to buy something from them. Your email can be focused on buying their product/partnering with them instead, and you can pivot that call to learn what you need.

Most importantly, follow-up. It may take 3-5 pings to get even a let down.

My girlfriend is a Director of Influencer Operations at a company in the eSports/Twitch world. I’d be happy to put you in touch with her if you’d like.

Way too long. Don’t think paragraphs, think bullet points.
1st sentence should be why they benefit or should want to help. How do you solve a problem they have.

I agree with some of the others here. In my experience with B2B email outreach, the shorter and more concise, the better the response you will receive. This is doubly true with C-level execs.

I always research and have targeted list when I do sales. My experience has always been that cold mailing response rate is always low single digit. This is for sales mind you.

But cold calling on the phone for me is around 10%. 10% worth following up. 90% might just reject you. This is for sales mind you.

I could get through at least 20 at most 100 companies per day. So every leads-generating day, I can generate about a handful of potential leads to follow up.


How long is your list? If just several hundreds, send out the mails and call them all. It seems to be your company’s lifeblood.

Maybe send them a survey instead? The email is too long IMO. Two or 3 sentences max has been most effective for my b2b cold emails. Treat it more like a text and get to the point. I would just send your first paragraph and link to the survey and out a link to a calendly when they submit a survey to schedule a call. Put a link in your signature with all the info in paragraphs one and two.

This is the HARDEST PART.

Everyone will tell you to solve a problem nobody will tell you how to talk to actual business people because about their problems… it’s nearly impossible.

If you’re offering money to them, why not sub/donate to have the message sent to them and read out loud on their stream. It’s sure to get their attention and be memorable for the follow up email.

Since they’re streaming live and you’re focusing on lesser known streamers, you have an opportunity to immediately connect and talk to them live (they’re on camera with a mic, right now!)

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