This week, Woodpecker got featured by Siftery, the platform for sharing work tool stacks and recommending software. The guys at Siftery have been creating a series of interviews with product creators and company founders, and the interview with Matt has been published in their Stories section at the beginning of this week. We’re sharing the interview with you here as well. Keep reading to find out more about Woodpecker customers, our greatest challenges, and the “why” behind Woodpecker.
Hi Matt, can you tell us about Woodpecker?
Woodpecker is an online tool for sending personalized email outreach campaigns. By automating the sending process of opening emails and follow-ups, it facilitates the work of business development reps, sales reps, or any other people at a company responsible for outbound lead generation, and saves them even a few hours every day. It fits the outbound outreach process described in Aaron Ross’s book, “Predictable Revenue”.
Because Woodpecker detects replies to your emails, it’s able to automatically stop the follow-up sequence once someone replies to you. It also detects automatic replies, replies to forwards, and responses from a different email address.
The most important part, however, is that you actually connect your mailbox with Woodpecker and your messages are sent from there one by one — so it’s really almost exactly like you were actually sending them on your own. And that’s how you keep your deliverability rate on a very high level.
Sending from my mailbox would be pretty helpful!
Tell me more about why you are building this?
We’re building Woodpecker to help B2B companies save the time that is usually spent on some daunting and repetitive sales tasks. We help automate the tasks that can be automated, and that’s how our users gain some extra time to build the really crucial human-to-human relations with their prospects and business partners. By helping the companies get new customers, we help them grow independently.
The inspiration for Woodpecker was really a problem we were facing ourselves. Everything started from the realization that we were spending even a few hours a day just for sending emails to get in touch with our prospects. We needed a solution that would allow us to save some of the time, but at the same time we wanted to keep the high personalization level and a similar sending frequency that we were able to achieve sending the emails manually. That’s how Woodpecker was born in 2015.
Here’s a blog post on the whole story, if you’re interested in more details.
Interesting, How is Woodpecker different from what already exists in the market?
First of all, Woodpecker is not another MailChimp. We actually use MailChimp for sending our newsletters. Marketing email automation and sales automation are two different things, with different goals and assumptions, and that’s why they require different sets of tools.
The aim of a cold email campaign sent from Woodpecker is to get replies from ideal prospects and spark up conversations with them. That’s why we prioritize the human touch in email automation, as well as the automation of follow-up messages.
That is how adding a follow-up in Woodpecker looked like back in 2017.
It’s necessary for the cold email recipients to feel that a real human reaches out to them, and that they didn’t receive another generic message sent to dozens of random addresses. Woodpecker sends emails directly from the user’s personal mailbox. We make sure the emails are sent individually, not in bulk, to guarantee the human-like sending process and increase deliverability. What’s more, the follow-ups may be sent in the same thread as the first email — to provide the prospect with a full context of the message.
And thanks to the reply detection, you can be sure none of your prospects will get a message they weren’t supposed to get. All that to make the automated sending process as time-efficient as possible, and feel safe at the same time.
Some people say outbound doesn’t work anymore, but if you put quality before quantity, you’ll see satisfying results. After all, it’s not about how many messages you sent, but who you send them to and how you do it.
That’s so true!
Who uses Woodpecker? What types of roles do your customers have at their companies?
Woodpecker’s customer base consists mainly of SaaS companies, software-houses, companies offering business consulting, and lead generation agencies. We have a special panel for the agencies, because they have a specific set of needs to cater for. Our app is used by sales reps, business development reps, and marketing people at the companies where there’s no separate team for outbound.
How are your customers using Woodpecker? Could you share a few different use cases?
Generally speaking, Woodpecker is used for sales outreach. Businesses compile a list of ideal potential customers and reach out to those customers via email. There are also others who use Woodpecker for nurturing leads they got through webinars, ebooks, newsletters, etc. They contact some of those people to start conversations, and not to send promotional material. We have a couple of customer success stories published on our blog.
For example, Lead Pal, a lead generation agency uses Woodpecker to run outbound campaigns for themselves and theirclients. Edrone.me, on the other hand, a CRM for ecommerce, runs cold email campaigns in Woodpecker to find new customers for their SaaS business.
Have there been unique use cases for Woodpecker that you hadn’t thought of or expected?
Definitely the lead nurturing scenario. We weren’t planning any specific features for that flow. Some of our customers wanted an access to our API, because they wanted to use Woodpecker for nurturing leads they got from inbound marketing, so apparently the app can be used for contacting warm leads as well as cold ones.
Were there any early ‘growth hacks’ or tactics that have contributed to your current success?
I would say that investing our time in regular content marketing activities helps us a lot. Our blog and newsletter help us provide a steady source of new customers, but they’re also run in such a way to answer the most bugging questions our present customers have about cold emailing. I think the key is a narrow range of topics and regularity. We publish one new post a week focused on practical aspects of cold email outreach. It’s been working great so far.
What were some of the biggest challenges while building the product early on and how did you solve them?
The biggest challenge was to decide what to say no to. Early on, you need to avoid the temptation to create a product that does it all. We decided to focus on the well-thought out email sending automation and we stick to it. We’ve had a few feature requests that we declined because we had decided to keep our focus on automating one particular stage of the sales process.
That’s why lately we’ve been putting a lot of energy into providing the highest possible deliverability and safety of sending instead of developing new features designed for other possible use cases. We’re aware of some different views on product development, but the narrow focus and openness for integrations is really something that’ worked great for us so far.
What have been some of the most interesting integrations you’ve added? Are there any that have been particularly impactful for you?
It’s important to develop a product that generates value for the customers and it’s much easier to provide that initial value when they can easily fit the new tool into their current workflow. Thanks to Zapier and PieSync, the range of integration possibilities is very wide. But we plan some greater native integrations as well.
Finally, What are the top products that you depend on to run the company & how do you use them?
Pipedrive, for sure, since it connects all the departments: marketing, sales, customer success. Google Analytics is another useful tool. We use it to verify where our trial users come from. Basecamp and Trello are great solutions for keeping track of the projects.
Another solution we are going to implement this year is called ChurnZero, which we’ll use to aggregate data from all our systems to measure our user’s health score and provide better customer care.
Hope you enjoyed the interview and that you could learn something more about us. If you have any questions, please write them in the comments below, or email us.
One more thing for Woodpecker users: if you enjoy using Woodpecker and feel that our app brings you value, please find 4 minutes to recommend us on Siftery – that will help us a lot. Thanks!