B2B marketers often experience challenges when trying to connect with prospects, and that’s all the more reason to reach out to with actionable emails, optimized to drive B2B sales and connect with prospective buyers. Like any consumer, B2B buyers are interested in personalized content, especially if it includes solutions to help them achieve their business goals.
After surveying 488 B2B buyers and 489 sellers, the RAIN Group Center for Sales Research revealed some interesting findings:
- 82% of buyers accept meetings with sellers who reach out to them
- 71% of buyers want to hear from sellers when they’re looking for new ideas to drive stronger business results
- 62% of buyers want to hear from sellers when they’re looking for a solution to solve a problem
Even more revealing, B2B buyers overwhelmingly prefer email as a means of communicating. Of those surveyed, 80% said they preferred to be contacted by sellers through email. And only 5% indicated that bulk emails were effective.
The RAIN Group study also revealed the importance of being strategic and patient. On average, it takes about 5–8 touches—any combination of emails, phone calls, or texts—for the seller to get a conversion, such as a scheduled meeting.
Every touch point counts. That’s why you need to develop emails that get noticed. Here are examples of 7 compelling emails to drive B2B sales.
1. The moment you say, “Hello! Welcome!”
Showing some personality is critical to the success of your engagement with a potential customer. More than likely, there are plenty of competitors who can offer some variation of your product or service, so give your brand a personalized touch.
The way your brand comes across to prospects is a key differentiator you can leverage in the first Welcome email. It should give your new subscriber an idea of what it will be like to partner with you. Make it count but keep it simple. B2B prospects are busy people. They don’t need a long-winded letter from you as a way of saying hello.
In this example, Smartsheet shows that it understands its audience. It quickly lays out its value proposition: “the best way to plan, track, automate, and report on work.”
It also summarizes three ways the new subscriber can become more familiar with their product—a clearly defined set of “next steps.”
And, lastly, it tells the subscriber to expect to receive “relevant emails” during the 30-day trial period. No surprises.
The design of the email makes it easy to skim and the proposed action items provide an incentive for the new subscriber to further engage. Smartsheet also offers two ways to reach the support team if they have any questions.
All of that information is neatly packed into a Welcome email that only takes a couple minutes to read.
Another noteworthy consideration: If at all possible, provide your subscribers with a demo of your product or solution. This way, subscribers can test your solution without committing. This may not always be a viable option, depending upon the complexity of your solution or service.
At any rate, some type of no-obligation approach to your brand can be the key to convincing prospective customers to take the next step in their engagement with you.
2. Make an offer.
Maybe you’re in the second phase of your customer acquisition lifecycle. At this point, your prospect has already gained some insights on how you can help them reach their business goals or overcome any challenges in their work process.
It could be time to send a discount offer as an incentive.
Through the dynamic list segmentation and personalization features on your email marketing automation platform, you can identify those subscribers who may be poised to take the next step by purchasing your product or service.
An incentive could be the push they need to take that final step.
Also, consider using this type of email with current customers to encourage them to add another feature to their current solution or purchase a new product, as shown in this email example from Adobe.
Adobe quickly spells out the offer and its expiration date, which creates a sense of urgency about following through on the discount.
The email then highlights the benefits of Adobe Acrobat Pro DC in easy-to-read bullet form. The value proposition is tied to pain points that may be experienced by the customers.
3. Helpful, insightful content.
As part of your email marketing campaign, send industry-related news that will be relevant to your subscribers. This is the type of content they want to read, according to the Rain Group survey. Here’s the breakdown of topics respondents found most relevant:
- 69% – primary research data relevant to our business
- 66% – insight on the use of products or services to solve business problems
- 67% – descriptions of the provider’s capabilities
- 67% – content 100% customized to our specific situation
- 65% – best practice methodology based on the provider’s area of expertise
Not all your content needs to be directly tied to your product or solution. Using your email segmentation, identify industry-related topics that would be of interest to each group. Then, build out messaging around them.
For instance, if you have a solution that serves industries in retail, financial, and health, the email campaigns should look vastly different from each other. Include the latest news, trends and overall strategies that can help them improve the way they reach their goals.
A newsletter is an ideal way to communicate this type of news. Email newsletters can be used to highlight a product update, and certain sections can offer general but helpful tips. You can see this demonstrated in the email newsletter below from Mavenlink, a project management software provider.
As part of your email marketing campaign, you will be making the “ask”—a meeting, a telephone conversation, or a text—in an effort to lead your engagement to a sale.
Timing is critical. If you reach out too soon—before they’re ready to consider a purchase, you could prompt them to tune you out and start ignoring any subsequent emails.
And if you don’t follow up at the right time, you could lose the opportunity to a competitor. Use email automation as a tool that can help you determine when a prospect is ready.
Perhaps your automation has sent a series of emails as part of a triggered campaign and based on the behavior of the subscriber (opens, clicks, ebook downloads), it seems a prospect is ready to hear from you.
If the prospect doesn’t respond as anticipated, be prepared to send another response simply asking if it’s the right time.
Be human and transparent in your communications. You can even add a light touch as SharpSpring did in this follow-up email with the subject line: “Should I stay or should I d’oh now?” using a Simpson meme.
5. Product-specific news.
Even after you’ve made a sale, you want your customers to turn into long-term, loyal customers. As studies have repeatedly revealed, customer retention should be prioritized over winning new customers.
According to research conducted by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company, increasing customer retention rates by just 5% could lead to your company to increase its profits by 25% to 95%.
And pursuing new customers could be 5 to 25 times more expensive than retaining the ones you already have, the Harvard Business Review noted in an article.
Keep your customers happy by making sure they’re getting the full value of your product/services, especially if it’s already included in their package. It’s not enough to simply make the sale and then move to the next prospect.
Monday, which offers team management software, delivers emails to subscribers, informing them of new opportunities. These opportunities allow subscribers to gain more mastery with tools already available to them.
This email offers a reminder about a series of webinars, which are designed to help customers become more familiar with the software’s advanced features. It’s also designed to give them an opportunity to ask questions as part of an open discussion.
Again, the focus is on providing your audience with some type of value to help them reach their business goals.
6. Relevant case studies.
Your prospects will want evidence that their companies can benefit from your solution. Personalization is key to helping you make a connection that encourages them to discover more.
Slack, which bills itself as a collaboration hub, serves teams in numerous industries, including health, nonprofit, technology, retail, and construction. It also targets various teams within those industries, including HR, customer service, and sales.
It has built up its capability to personalize emails by using case studies that are highly relevant to different industries and teams.
Consider ways you can personalize emails to your subscribers by showing how your product or service has produced results for similar companies.
7. Make it personal.
It’s the norm to have a name attached to email correspondence at the bottom of the marketing funnel when a salesperson has started to engage after a lead acquisition campaign.
However, a name at the beginning of the engagement—during the Awareness phase—also can deliver a more personalized experience for the subscriber. Many B2B marketers have started to adopt this approach.
The experience with your company can come across as less sterile when people are receiving an email from Susan at Brand X instead of just Brand X.
Whether you’re sending an invitation to a webinar or an update about software, use a team member’s name in the From line, like this email from Quip (another collaborative software provider).
With email marketing still maintaining its status as one of the most effective tools for B2B campaigns, it’s time to use marketing automation to make better connections with your prospects—in less time and with more results.
Ready to learn about developing more compelling emails that drive B2B sales? Talk to our team at Delivra. We’ll show you how marketing automation can work for you.