Ask Dale is a platform I use to give back and help others. This is a series to create valuable tips for YOU based on YOUR NEEDS, not mine. Feel free to Ask Dale anything related to business and I will answer you personally or get an expert in that area to provide an answer for your question.
My question would be, "Do outbound email lead generation systems work for small B2B business sales that are based on services? How do you know?"
Clarification: Email systems that send outbound scheduled emails on a regular methodology, to elicit click throughs to engage customers.
Sunny, so just to clarify for my readers... In my world all email is considered "outbound".
I gotta be honest email can be a powerful tool when used correctly, but it can also be useless when used incorrectly.
How do I know this stuff works? Well most email "systems" record opens, click throughs, and the like. So the analytics of your email system should prove that the emails work to some degree.
Now time for the bad news... Very few people do emails right. Email analytics alone rarely show to important details for a B2B business sales service, lead generation effort. Well, unless your email tool is connected to your CRM which allows you to track sales calls/meetings scheduled through these marketing efforts.
In my opinion, if your email isn't making the phone ring or helping to set up sales conversations then it is ineffective. Worse if it isn't making the cash register ring it is useless, right? To me prospecting and lead generation are huge and often done poorly. This is typically because most companies are "SALES" challenged and struggle to write effective emails that have a sales goal in mind, have a clearly defined buyer persona (target market), truly understand how they solve the buyers problems, have a qualified list with only these buyers in it, and make an offer relevant to these buyers. Because most people miss many of these items/steps, their emails are often unsuccessful from a sales perspective. Now let me share some thoughts and tips to help in your email B2B lead generation efforts.
If you want true results… invite salespeople into the marketing planning of your email, lead generation, planning. They understand what they need to say to speak to your buyer. They also need buy in to work the leads your email will generate.
When I work with my clients one of the first things we do is create a document that outlines who we are trying to reach. This buyer persona often times is very detailed and paints a nice picture of "who" we are going after and "what their problems are". It is important for everyone to be on the same page, speaking the same language, and staying focused. This can often be a three page psychological profile that truly clarifies the "who". It should be used by all marketers, sales people, and everyone in the company. Keep in mind this is also a living document that changes and improves with them like a fine wine. It should be within arms reach at all times and read and reread often. Every marketing item should be reviewed against this to make sure you are speaking to the right audience, addressing their problems in the way they want to be addressed, how they want to be addressed, and where they want to be addressed.
Without knowing what happens after a lead is generated all efforts are for nothing. So whatever email platform you use make sure it connects with your CRM. This is what they call "closed loop marketing". What this means is you follow and measure every stage of the process- from suspect, to prospect, to qualified, to closeable, to client, to evangelist. If you can't measure things from start to finish, then your campaigns will not be very effective for sales.
Without an offer for your prospect to take action on, your email is just a newsletter. Good for activity and brand awareness, but not for lead generation, measurability, and sales.
A good salesperson should be able to connect as a friend and not as a "cheesy-salesperson" or a "pushy-salesperson". A sales call/meeting should feel like coffee with a friend. Your email needs to be the same. People can smell a rat and self-motivated offers, catering to self-interest. Don't be that guy/girl. Creating an offer that is in the buyer's best interest is hard, but very important. If you are not helpful solving their problems, then your emails will not be successful either.
Effective email lead generation, that turn into "qualified sales meetings" are probably rare. I get spammed everyday by people doing it wrong. Heck, I've made my own mistakes over the years. Personally I believe the best emails are single, personalized and not done through an "email marketing tool" like Constant Contact or MailChimp. These tools are great for newsletters and drip marketing, but kind of suck for real sales engagement. This takes a more subtle, personalized approach to, stir up real sales meetings, in my experience. It is slower doing it this way, but much more focused and highly targeted instead of just taking the shotgun approach and blast a million emails out to see if any stick.
I hope these tips helped and that you are able to start applying these concepts today. I would love to here your thoughts and how you have applied these tips. Keep us posted and share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Do you have a question you haven't been able to get an answer to? Would you like professional advice, but scared to ask because you do not want to fight off a sales person? Well then try to ASK DALE, I'll do my best to get you a professional answer by myself or one of my connections that is an expert in that area of business that your question is discussing.
Sunny Lowe is CEO of Blue Jean Networks and just an all around great guy! He's helped open my eyes to some important business books that are changing my life. He is supper helpful, friendly, and really smart about business.
Here is a quick overview pulled from his linkedin account:
Sunny Lowe's will report that his life purpose is growing men. As the leader of BJN, he lives that purpose out in men's and women's lives as they grow BJN as a team, to support small and medium businesses in Fort Worth, with Managed Services.
As a leader of Blue Jean Networks, he is privileged to lead a great team of engineers and business professionals who manage and maintain computer networks for companies who are based in North Texas and who have subsidiaries all around the U.S.
"We have a real superpower that other IT firms just don't have.", he says. "Because of that, our client's get different results than they did before they came to us."
What to learn more about improving Lead Generation efforts? Try reading this eBook!