How AeroLeads Got IBM as a Paying Customer

Landing a Fortune 500 company as the client through the inbound method is a huge move, and we at AeroLead proved it is possible.

Last week, we got IBM as a paying customer for AeroLeads. We had signups from a few Fortune 500 companies, but this was our first paid Fortune 500 client. As a bootstrapped startup with zero marketing budget, it does help a lot to have such clients as they validate the product, and you can always leverage such clients.IBM AeroLeads

How did AeroLeads get a Fortune 500 Client?

It was an inbound inquiry. Though we do email marketing for AeroLeads, we avoid sending emails to bigger companies because of their complex hierarchy, it is difficult to reach the right person not to mention, that they already have a set of tools and processes in use. Setting a call, scheduling a demo, and following up again next quarter are some things that often go on for a long time. In contrast, smaller businesses often make decisions fast as the person who uses the software is often the founder or manages sales.

As we rank for such keywords, IBM’s salespeople found us through Google while searching for prospecting and lead generation software. It took about 20 emails and many weeks to get the cost and work approved, but this is expected in email marketing.

How you can also get Fortune 500 Customers

Honestly, no clear-cut method exists for selling your SaaS solutions to big companies. The best way is for them to find you because of their needs and because you have good enough software to fulfill their requirements.

We have tried mailing them in the past with limited success, but we won’t recommend it unless you have enough resources, especially salespeople.

We use AeroLeads to build our mailing list of salespeople and target the following Designations.

  • Director of Sales
  • VP of Sales
  • Chief Sales Executive
  • Sales Director
  • Sales Vice President

You can build a similar email list with Aeroleads of decision-makers based on your requirements.

What to expect from Fortune 500 Customers

1. Things will move slowly with multiple emails and phone calls.
2. Few weeks to get the funds approved and cleared.
3. The deal may not be closed even if it looks like you are almost there. This has happened with us many times so don’t get too excited till you get the money in your bank account.

We feel that it doesn’t make much difference for a SaaS startup if the paying customer is a one-man freelancer or a Fortune 500 company as long as they are paying the same amount. You probably want to deal more with smaller businesses in the short run as they make decisions fast, though bigger companies often prefer yearly big contracts, which should help you in the long run.

Do you want to generate leads at a low cost? Download our AeroLeads Email Verifier and LinkedIn Chrome extensions and explore it for free.

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6 Thoughts on “How AeroLeads Got IBM as a Paying Customer

  1. Indu Khemchandani on April 25, 2016 at 7:02 pm said:

    Nice post.. I was wondering if you could help building up the email list of people with title “leadership and development”. It’s hard to bring up contact with these titles as my business is purely focused on providing a peer-to-peer learning platform for organizations where employees will be able to learn from and train each other within an organization. I have browsed through the titles you have recommended in this post by providing a link but didn’t get much luck.

    • @indukhemchandani:disqus Hi Indu, you can use AeroLeads to build such list. Do you have the companies name with you which you want to target or just the “titles” ? you can look at linkedin groups to find relevant prospects.

  2. Indu Khemchandani on April 25, 2016 at 9:31 pm said:

    @pushkargaikwad:disqus Thanks for your reply, I am targeting companies but its difficult to get through the right decision maker..

  3. Hearty congratulations, @@pushkargaikwad:disqus — sooner or later, good products will find their way out. You are right about how slow it can be with B2B (especially large accounts). Since the waiting period for sales oriented companies can be well worth the effort, I usually recommend managing a separate pipeline for these “big, but slow” accounts that usually call for multiple decision makers.

    Since startups can’t really wait and the hustle has to happen, the bulk of the sales and marketing effort could very be focused on small and medium accounts, just as you do currently.

    Oh boy, we have a long way to go, don’t we? 🙂


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