Target marketing and sales managers; random sends rarely work.
Once you’ve completed the early steps of your invention— the idea, the research, the prototype, filing a patent—you have to decide how you want to sell it. You can try to sell it yourself; you can sell the rights to a person or company to make and sell your invention; or you can license a person to make or sell your invention.
The key to licensing is approaching a key contact at a target company. That person is often the marketing or sales manager.
Marketing and sales managers are always interested in new exciting products, and they will push your idea if they like it. Research and development directors and engineering managers are typically not the best starting point; they have their own ideas they want to introduce and don’t generally like to license products.
Just sending a licensing package to a company without a
contact will rarely get you anywhere. So how do you get those
key target contacts and their email addresses? Follow this plan.
You won’t find every possible licensing candidate or necessarily
the best one, but this process has always produced a number of
licensing contacts for me.
1. Decide which types of companies might want your product.
Don’t limit yourself to companies with competitive products to yours; simply look for companies with products that serve the same target customers. Try to find companies that don’t have the top market share, as well as companies with products that could be combined with your product to give the company a more complete package.
2. Locate target companies by looking at trade shows, trade magazines and trade directories to find companies that are in your target market.
Trade show exhibitor lists are typically the best way to find target companies. If the key industry trade shows are near you, make sure you go. It’s the best way to find licensing contacts. If you can’t find trade magazines or trade shows on the internet, go to the library and use Gale’s Source of Publication and Broadcast Media to locate the trade magazines for your industry. If you have trouble locating the right trade shows, visit the site of Trade Show News, tssn.com, to find shows for your target licensing contacts.
3. Start looking for a marketing director
See whether the exhibitor lists from the trade show includes one, or a sales director. That is the easiest way to get names of contacts. Or, try finding the marketing director via searches on LinkedIn or Google.
4. If you can’t get a contact name, call the company.
Some companies will give out this information; others won’t. You will not be able to get the name of every company you’d like to target but should get enough names to give you a chance at licensing your idea.
5. The trick to generating interest is finding the email addresses of your marketing director contacts.
Often you need to simply go through a variety of email choices to see which ones go through to the right contact. The email type addresses I use are first name@, first initial last name@, first
and last name@ and first name.last name@. I send the email with the subject as licensing: “My email says I have a product that I believe your company might be interested in. Are you the right person to contact?” You will get a lot of bouncebacks doing this, but more than half the time you will eventually find the email format the person uses.
Once you have the name, you are in a position to send out a licensing package.