By Dennis Ford, Founder & CEO, LSN
As the creator of the RESI conference series I am constantly getting and gathering both solicited and unsolicited feedback on how well the RESI Partnering apparatus is working. At RESI Boston we had 1400 meetings between investors and fundraising executives in one day. Make no mistake about it, people get funded through using RESI as a vehicle to get in front of the right investors that are a fit for their development stage and product or service offering.
I hear people tell me how great RESI is and how they met a bevy of investors and wound up getting funded. I also hear from some frustrated scientist entrepreneurs who catch up with me and complain they can’t get enough meetings or they wanted more. I usually reply “Send me a copy of the email you sent out – and tell me how many times you tried to connect with the investors you wanted to meet with.” When you have entered the fundraising arena you have officially entered the sales and marketing world. That means your personal view of what works can collide and not cross over into your new reality of sales and marketing.
Partnering is the backbone of RESI and of many other investment conferences. That means that in order to get the most out of attending these events, you need to figure out how best to get meetings with the investors who are a fit for your business. Here is the first fact of the sales and marketing universe: Fundraising is a numbers game. To prove this, we took a look at all our RESI Partnering data to find out how many requests it takes to get a meeting.
Here’s what we found: If your meeting requests are in the single-digits, odds are you will only get in front of one or two investors, if any. On the other end of the spectrum, companies who were able to connect with investors can have up to 16 meetings or more in a single day. What’s the trick to getting a lot of meetings? Companies that got 14, 15 or 16 meetings at RESI all sent out 40-60 invites. It’s a numbers game. Just take a look at the chart below.
Many individuals fell in the middle, somewhere in the teens. There were indeed some premier companies who got a high hit rate with only a few requests, and of course a few less fortunate companies that did the work without seeing their desired yield. The positive relationship between request numbers and meetings, however, is clear. Just in case you were wondering, the median number of requests sent by fundraising entrepreneurs was 15, a number that might typically yield 3-6 meetings. There was one outlying individual who sent out a whopping 114 requests as well, and wasn’t counted in the final numbers. If that individual is reading this – kudos, I think you may have set a new RESI record…you get it!
Now, this is not to say sheer numbers are the end-all-be-all. The importance of branding, messaging, and especially your intro email/ partnering message cannot be understated. In my book the Life Science Executives Fundraising Manifesto click here for a free PDF ebook Fundraising Manifesto we have this table that we compiled from our sales and research departments totaling around 15 professionals who make 20-40 calls a day attempting to reach out to our target clients and investors. Here are the facts of how many phone attempts it takes to get hold of someone. Many other studies have found similar results. This is the harsh reality of the sales and marketing world.
Getting investor meetings is hard, tedious work and a lot of the work can be for naught. The rules of sales and marketing dictate higher yields of meetings when you go after investors who are a good fit for your company, and if you exercise persistence until you get a yes or a no.