LeadSeek Blog

Businesses Are Getting Serious About Email Marketing

Email marketing has always been a great tool for business growth and acceleration, but the pandemic and other recent sources of uncertainty have forced many organizations to take another look at its value.

In times of uncertainty, experimenting with high-risk and difficult to measure sales and marketing strategies is even less appealing. Email marketing has always had low costs and therefore the highest ROI of any marketing strategy available.

This is good news for email marketers and good news for businesses across the board. When your business focuses marketing on email and direct outreach, it frees up time and resources for your sales team to focus on bringing in more business.

Drop us a line to learn more about how LeadSeek can help take the tedium of cold outreach off your plate.

 

 

 


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Stop Wasting Leads!

How to make the most of your inbound pipeline.

So you’ve done your research, chosen the best strategy for your business, got your lead generation system in place. Great! Now what?

If your strategy stops there, you’re missing some important steps. You’ll have lots of leads, but probably not a big increase in sales. So what do you need to do once the leads come in? This is where lots of companies make some common mistakes. These are definitely worth discussing if you want to make the most of your lead generation strategy.

Have a specific process in place

This may seem like a no-brainer, but a surprising amount of companies don’t have a specific process in place for exactly what to do when an inbound lead comes in. Who is delegated to deal with the inbound leads? If it’s multiple people, what criteria are used to determine which person each lead goes to? Is that person able to follow up in a timely manner on all leads? What process do you have in place to qualify inbound leads?

Answering these questions will help make sure you’re not missing opportunities.

Take time to research and qualify

Before you can reach out to an inbound lead, hop online to get as much information about the person and the company as possible. Hopefully, your lead generation system will provide you with information such as industry, company size, location, etc., so take just a second to make sure that those criteria meet your definition of a good prospect. Every lead that comes in will not be an ideal fit, so just taking a quick second to check that will save you a lot of time by eliminating time spent following up with dead ends.

It’s also worth taking a few minutes to check the contact’s social media and to check out the company website to get more specific information. Just because a company is listed as being in the manufacturing industry doesn’t mean that the specific type of manufacturing they’re involved in will be a perfect fit.

Once you’ve determined this lead is legit, take a look at what communication they responded to in order to gauge what caught their eye and why they may be interested in your business. Even though inbound leads have “raised their hand” and initiated the contact with your organization, you still have a very narrow window to cement that bit of interest into a real conversation. One of the quickest ways to lose a prospect is to start talking their ear off about things they’re not at all interested in. Even if you do end up going over what piqued their interest in the first place, if you bury it in other irrelevant information, there’s a good chance the prospect will leave the conversation either confused or irritated.

Follow up right away with a personalized message

If someone initiates contact with your business, they expect timely, personalized contact. Some sales people will not prioritize inbound leads and follow up with a delayed, impersonal email. Most of the time when prospects take the time to reach out, they are probably also reaching out to your competitors as well, and they’re evaluating your business alongside your competitors. If you send a generic, impersonal message, your prospect will not feel like a priority and immediately be more inclined to work with your competitor (who will be personalizing!).

Don’t give up too soon

If you don’t reach an inbound lead on the first attempt, stay persistent. With an inbound lead you have even more reason to not give up. This is not a cold lead that may or may not hang up on you once you do get through. This person reached out to your business. If you give up after one or two calls, that shows the prospect that you’re not making them a priority.

It takes an average of six attempts to secure a sales appointment (check out our blog article on this topic here), including with inbound leads. You’ve taken the time to reach out to this person with lead generation, they responded, and you took the time to do the research to determine they could be a fit. Don’t give up on something this good after a couple of calls.

Having a solid lead generation strategy in place is a boon for any business, and is becoming increasingly necessary to keep up with the competition in the changing sales landscape. In order to fully realize the benefits though, it is also necessary to think through how to handle those leads once they come in to make sure you’re not missing opportunities. It’s definitely worth it to make sure you, your sales team, and your lead generation partner are on the same page and to outline a specific process for moving these valuable leads along in the sales cycle.

Drop us a line and let’s talk about this and other strategies for making the most of your sales pipeline.

Dispatches from a Modern Day Sales Rep

How Email Marketing Changed My Work Life for the Better

Just ten years ago I was your typical run of the mill sales rep, toiling away in the daily obscurity of cold calling and constant rejection. I was a hard worker, but you can only do so much when giving a list of companies and told to “call them and see if they are interested”. I found that every day I was spinning my wheels, finding that not only were most of these companies uninterested, but that I was spending the majority of my day just trying to find the correct contact to tell me that they were not interested in our solution. Even when I would have a good conversation, it would normally turn out that our solution was not the best fit for the company on my list.

I was at my wits end, and the frustration was endless. Pleas for improved leads would go unheard, and no one seemed to have any idea on how to increase sales opportunities. The fact that my company had just spent a lot of money, however misguidedly, on immense call lists amped up the everyday pressure to find interested prospects, and everyone in the office seemed on edge, concerned about their jobs, and the future of the company.

Enter email lead generation. Suddenly instead of fruitless cold calling, every day I started receiving replies from my target contacts at companies that already were interested in us. The partner we chose got to know our business, what we do, how we do it, and most importantly, who our product benefits the most. Through their lead generation database, they were able to compile tens of thousands of new companies, in our target market, that were not included in our current lead database.

Not only did they completely revamp our leads, but they then put together great emails, marketing our service and what we do best, and began sending them off to the thousands of companies that were now in our database. Once that occurred, everything changed. All of a sudden I would get in to work in the morning and have several emails sitting in my inbox from companies who responded to email campaigns expressing interest in our product. Every day I would have the opportunity to actually reach out to interested companies and have highly productive conversations about our offerings. Suddenly opportunities were everywhere, sales skyrocketed, and morale was at an all-time high.

Putting a lead generation process in place not only allowed us to reach out and contact thousands of companies at once, the partner we chose also continuously manages that database, reaching out to these potential customers on a regular basis.  This allowed us to maintain consistent contact with our base, so that when they’re ready to sign on, we’re top of mind and easy to reach. We went from struggling to just have a good conversation or two every day to struggling to handle the amount of leads coming in.

We chose LeadSeek as our lead generation partner and once they entered the picture our sales took off and we never looked back! Life is good!

Don’t Give Up!

Securing Appointments Takes More Tries Than You Think

As a sales person the line between professional persistence and harassing peskiness is always on your mind, and it should be! The minute you become irritating in the eyes of your prospect you can kiss your chances of a sale goodbye. But that line is harder to cross than most sales people think.

In a recent study by the Harvard Business Review, the data showed that 90% of all sales appointments are set after six attempts with the same prospect, and only 4% of sales people make that many attempts.

Why? Time. As a sales person, you have a long list of other things to do rather than sit at your desk and make call after call to try to secure a commitment from prospects. But if you think about it, it makes perfect sense that so many approaches are necessary. Think about your own day. You don’t even have time to make the ideal number of approaches to each prospect, let alone take calls from outside vendors. That’s the case with most of your prospects’ daily schedules as well.

With that in mind, repeated contact attempts are not the complete solution. If you simply call six times and then give up, you’re still not using the ideal strategy to get your foot in that door. What you need is a non-invasive, professional, straight-forward approach that compels your prospects to request a contact if they’re ready to talk now, or to request a follow-up at a time when they will be.

That’s where having a great lead generation partner comes in. A great lead generation partner will take care of the first few steps in the sales process, and by the time the prospects reach you, the first few contacts have already been taken care of. You’ll spend more time talking to people who have raised their hand and requested to speak with you and less time on dead end phone calls trying to sift through all the cold prospects that have no interest in speaking with you, or following up with prospects you’ve already spoken to who are still just not ready to buy.

We want to become your trusted prospecting partner. Let’s talk about how we can take the first, tedious steps of the sales process off your plate.

Warm Calling

How Lead Generation Enables Sales People to Make the Most of their Time

The traditional prospecting method has changed.

The obvious first step is to work any inbound leads. Any prospects who have reached out to you expressing interest are obviously your first priority. But when those are exhausted, what do you do then?

A good lead generation program will bring you both inbound hot leads ready to talk now, and warm leads – those that are a good fit for your business but may not be ready to buy right this minute, helping you close leads now as well as build your pipeline for the future. In the up and down world of sales, this is key.

Identifying Good Prospects

The benefit of having a lead generation partner begins with sifting through the mountains of data available in prospecting databases to identify those companies and contacts that are the best fit for your company. This is no longer the responsibility of the sales person. Having a partner to take care of this step for you allows sales people to spend their time doing what they do best – closing deals.

To identify which prospects are best to pursue, just take a look at your customer base. Who are your best customers (those that make up the bulk of your customer base… not necessarily the largest)? What do your best customers have in common? Those are the traits that you want to identify in your prospect base.

Qualify the leads

Taking the time to find the important details about each company, those details that tell you at a high level whether this company really is an ideal prospect, is also no longer the job of a sales person. An efficient sales department needs a partner to take the time to find this information and allow the sales person to make an immediate decision on whether this prospect is even worth pursuing.

In today’s sales world, you don’t have to pursue every lead that comes your way. Choosiness is now a luxury everyone can afford.

Opening doors

Making initial contact with a prospect is an extremely delicate business. On any introductory call you have about 15 seconds to make a good impression and pique the prospect’s interest enough to make them want to take valuable time out of their day to speak to you. Easier said than done.

When you approach a warm lead, however, and the introduction has already been made and interest has already been expressed, much of that pressure is taken away. A good lead generation partner does the leg work and holds those doors open for you, allowing you to concentrate on the essential step of moving this prospect along through the sales cycle, rather than focusing on keeping their attention.

Today’s modern marketing methods are shrinking the sales world and making it more and more competitive every day. Having a solid lead generation strategy is absolutely essential to any sales team. We want to be the foundation of that strategy. Drop us a line and let’s talk about how.

How to Close Inbound Leads

The way your buyers learn and make decisions is changing. With the wealth of information available at the click of a mouse, people are more informed and further along in the buying process by the time they reach your sales team.  The old idea that all you need to be successful in sales is to be deceptively forceful and refuse to take no for an answer no longer applies. The entire profession of sales is moving toward inbound sales, and if you have the right infrastructure in place to provide those inbound leads, your sales team can pursue less leads, waste less time, and focus on meeting the needs of those people that are already informed and interested in you, rather than trying to convince every prospect that you are right for them.  But how do you work those inbound leads once you get them?  There are some key differences from the traditional outbound model.

Understand the buyer

When a prospect “activates” or expresses interest in engaging with your company, they may be in any one of several stages in the buying process.  It is crucial that the sales person understands which stage, whether they are informed and have a specific list of needs, or they’re simply looking for some general information and are looking to learn more about what solutions are out there.  Those two scenarios are approached in completely different ways, and a lack of understanding of that fact will alienate your prospects fast.

With every one of your competitors at the fingertips of your prospects, they have the advantage of being able to choose whichever company they trust the most, and that listens the most to their specific needs.  Your sales process should be based on letting the buyer drive the conversation and letting them discover at their own pace that you are the best solution for them.

Be an educator

The popular viewpoint in sales used to be that the closing call or meeting was the most important part of the process – not anymore.  Now that your prospects have the ability to easily educate themselves before they even think about speaking with you, the most important conversation you will have is the discovery call.  If you handle the discovery call correctly, you will learn everything you need to know about your prospect’s needs and wants, and they will learn all about how you can help them.  You will build trust by conveying that you care about their needs.  By the time you reach the closing call, your job will be done.

Get emotional

During this discovery process, it is crucial that you really dig into understanding your prospect.  Two people with the same pain points may feel completely differently about which is more important.  If you don’t understand that subtlety, you may end up focusing on how your company can meet a need that is low on the priority list for the prospect, while your competitors may be focusing on those that are higher.  That small difference may drive your prospect to the competition.  Make sure you’re really taking the time to get to know the people that you’re speaking with and to genuinely understand what they do, where their strengths and weaknesses are, and how they feel about where they’re going and the problems they want to solve.

Questions first, answers later

The traditional approach of going into a meeting with a canned presentation and the goal of convincing each prospect that your company is great, regardless of what they’re looking for, simply doesn’t work anymore.  Again, due to the fact that your prospects have so many options available to them so easily, it is key that the sales person understands the prospect’s pain points and tailors the information presented to those specifics.  You need to learn about your prospect in order to know what it is that they need to know about you.

Let them go at their own pace

This goes back to our first point about understanding the buyer.  They may be in one of several stages of the buying process when they engage with you, and it may take them widely varying amounts of time to move to the next stage.  It can be frustrating, but it is crucial that you allow the prospect to move at their own pace through the sales process.  Attempting to force them through faster than they want is one of the fastest ways to lose a sale.  Also back to the point about being an educator, the modern inbound sales person must learn to nurture prospects, maybe even keep in touch for months or years, waiting patiently until that person is ready to go.  Just remember, if the process is a long one, you have a great opportunity to become a trusted thought leader by the time they’re ready to move on to buying.

 

Inbound sales is about working smarter, not harder.  With the right strategy in place to deliver inbound leads, your sales team can focus on prospects that are happier to speak with them, get results faster and easier, and still exceed quotas.  Ultimately, you will waste less time and make more money.

Part of that key strategy is having the right lead generation partner to take care of finding those inbound leads.  That’s where we come in.

Let’s talk about how we can help your business get started on the right path to the future of sales.

Writing Outstanding Sales Emails

The concept of effective communication and its effect on sales success is nothing new to any sales department.  The foundation of any successful sales person’s strategy must be to communicate value, gain trust, explain complex situations and products, and differentiate your company from competitors.  Nowhere is this more important than in a sales email.  There is a very small window of time in which to gain the reader’s attention and motivate them to take further action to engage with you and your company.  Here are a few strategies that we use to make our emails more effective.

Knowing your audience

This is the first step in thinking about how to write your email.  The factors that will catch the eye of an accountant, for example, are not necessarily the same as those that will motivate a CFO to learn more about you.  Begin by thinking about your current customers.  When those customers were still prospects, what were the factors that motivated them to engage with your company?  What makes your company attractive to C-Level employees vs. mid-level managers?

If you’re not sure, ask them!  A quick customer survey is a great way to learn what sets your company apart from your competitors, as well as the different factors that make you appealing in different levels and departments of your customers’ companies.

Let them hear it straight from the horse’s mouth

You know that your business offers a valuable product/service, but your prospects are hearing the exact same thing from each of your competitors.  How do you set yourself apart in the eyes of your target base?  An extremely effective way is to leverage the testimony of your existing happy customers.  Hearing from your customers what problems your company was able to solve and the reasons they originally chose you over your competitors allows your prospects to see the value you provide in a unique way.

It is a common business practice to keep track of what others in the same industry are doing to make them successful.  If you have a large, high-profile customer you can reach a large number of prospects that will be interested in what strategies that company is implementing.  Even if your business focuses on smaller or local businesses, you can leverage that customer’s testimony to gain more customers in the same area, revenue group, and industry.  Your prospects will find it extremely valuable to see what other businesses just like theirs are doing and why.  Even simply stating the size of your large customer base tells your prospects that you provide something that is useful to a large number of people and you’re worth learning more about.

Small steps

Once you’ve caught the attention of the reader, it’s tempting to jump straight to the end of the process and try to get them to buy right away.  It’s best to avoid that temptation and ask for a small step from the prospect.  The reader is much more likely to, say, reply to an email to learn more than they are to immediately commit to a purchase.

Keeping your “ask” small and easy will ensure that more people will take the next step to engage with you.  Ask a question that defines the value you add and that the prospect is likely to say yes to, but try to make it as specific as possible.  For example, if you provide commercial fleet tracking, ask the prospect if they would be interested in saving on fuel costs.  Most companies with a fleet will be enthusiastic enough about that prospect to reply and begin conversations with you.

Introduce yourself

It can be easy to forget that there’s a person on the other end of an email.  Make sure to include an introductory line at the beginning of your emails explaining who you are and why you are reaching out to the reader.  Not only does that straight-forward approach inspire trust, it also shows your prospect that you are professional, honest, and value their time.  You will immediately be personally engaged with your prospect.

Pain points

Most businesses subscribe to the philosophy of if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.  Even if your prospects are aware that they have a problem, they may not know how to solve it.  Using emotional terms to relate to the prospect, telling them you understand their problem, and offering a solution to make their lives easier (or make them look good to their boss) is a powerful thing.  Often people are afraid of change or of making the wrong decision, which allows these problems to perpetuate.

That’s where you come in to point out the cost of leaving the problem unsolved, motivate them to overcome this fear of change, and wait for them to choose the company that understands their challenges and offers an easy solution (that’s you!).

Include a specific reason

The “call to action” at the end of the email is one of the most important aspects of your message.  You can provide an interesting and engaging email, but if you don’t inspire the reader to take further action, all is for naught.  Luckily, this can be simple.

Provide the prospect with a specific reason why they should take the next step.  If your goal is to set up a conversation, rather than simply asking for a discussion, include a simple explanation as to what benefits this discussion will provide to the prospect.  For example, rather than “I’d like to set up a call to discuss your fleet management”, try “I’d like to set up a call to discuss how we have helped other companies like yours reduce their fuel costs by 40%.”

Leave it up to the reader

Make sure to include language that reminds the reader that the decision to engage further rests with them.  People don’t like to feel that they’re being coerced or forced into engaging.  Simply including a sentence like “if you think it would make sense to set up a call” or “let me know if you think your business could benefit from this service” ensures the prospect that you know that they know what’s best for their own business.

What do you do to make your sales emails more persuasive?
Drop us a line and let us know your ideas or get more ideas from us!

Making the Most of Your Data

Increase Engagement and Email Performance

One size does not fit all in the email marketing world. Tailoring your message to the specific needs or wants of a certain group of people in your database increases the relevance of your messaging and boosts your response rates. The key is finding the pieces of data that tie groups of people together and place them into a common bucket. It could be the size of their business, their department, title or persona, industry, etc.

Used the correct way, email is the best channel there is for tailoring your messaging to a specific segment. It’s the most customizable channel, and still the most preferred channel for B2B buyers and decision-makers. Start thinking about why your customers tend to choose your company in the first place. How does that differ depending on who you begin conversations with within a company?

For example, if you sell transportation software, does a Fleet Manager begin engaging with your company for different reasons than, say, a CFO? Probably. So what are those factors? Make a list for each group and begin building your messaging around that list. We can then segment the database to make sure that the correct people are receiving the most relevant and enticing messaging tailored specifically to them.

Strategically segmenting your database also comes into play when considering where to concentrate your efforts. Who are your most loyal customers? What do they have in common? Let’s use that data to go out and find more people who share those characteristics and use our list of commonalities that we just discussed to reach out to those people. Start with what works and expand on those principles.

Want to learn more about how to craft your messaging to begin conversations with your future customers? Drop us a line and let’s talk.

Step by Step: How to Create Strategy-Based Email Campaigns

It is universally agreed among the B2B world that email remains the most effective and preferred method of communicating with current and potential vendors.  Many people receive hundreds of emails every day and only a few of them actually stand out enough to be opened and read.  But not to worry!  Follow these steps to create effective and memorable emails.

 

Step 1:  Define the end goal

Email can be used to accomplish several of your business and marketing goals.  It could be simply an introduction, a request for a meeting, or to share an article, case study, or other piece of marketing material.  Before you begin writing your email, decide what you’re looking to get out of this specific effort.  Do you have a current special promotion or discount to promote?  Maybe a new feature or additional offering?  The main goal of your campaign will be the foundation that you build the messaging around.

Step 2:  Write the Content

Once you’ve defined your goal(s), you can begin writing your message.  The end goal will define the attention-getting aspect of the message, such as your current promotion.  Now that you have their attention, what normally makes your company stand out from the competition – the reason that companies ultimately choose your product or services?  Think about pain points that you address with your client base.  What problem is your target base looking to solve?  How do you address that problem?  The content of the message will be what inspires that person to take further action to engage with you.

Step 3:  Personalize and Segment 

This is the step where you decide who that well-crafted email should be delivered to.  Different types of messages and offers appeal to different types of people within an organization based on their job duties, communication preferences, and schedules.  Maintenance Managers may be more likely to open one type of email at a certain time of day, while Finance Managers may be entirely different.  Use the best practices that your sales team already lives by.  Time of day when the people in your target segment are normally less busy, pain points that are specific to their department or level, even factors like level of familiarity/casualness can be important factors in making sure your message gets across as intended.

 

These simple rules are a high-level look at how to get started on the path toward creating custom messaging that conveys your company’s purpose and personality.  To learn more about how LeadSeek utilizes these principles to create effective messaging and campaigns for our clients, click here to drop us a line!

How to Write an Effective Subject Line

Differentiating your email from the hundreds of other emails in your target contact’s inbox is an evolving science that sometimes seems to grow more difficult every day as your prospects not only receive more emails but also become more selective as far as which emails they open and which will grab their attention or pique their interest.  Not to worry.  Use these simple steps to make your emails stand out from the crowd.

The subject line of an email is the primary reason that a prospect will open your communication.  Email remains the main channel for business to business communication, and the subject line is the key to making sure that your business is using that channel effectively.

The fact that your subject line needs to be unique is nothing new, but how to come up with those unique subject lines?

 

Popular References

Since one of the goals of any email marketing campaign is to gain the attention of the largest amount of people possible, why not piggy back on something that has already gained wide popularity in pop culture?  Not only will that attract the eye of your prospect, it’s also friendly, often funny, and will appeal to your prospect’s better side by suggesting a shared interest right off the bat.

In today’s digital world, pop culture has never been more popular so to speak.  We live in a world of widespread common entertainment interests to a degree like never before.  Do your favorite movies, TV shows, or songs contain any quotes, titles, or lyrics that might apply to the goal of your communication or just your business in general?  You may even get great ideas to craft a message around from brainstorming those references.

 

What’s trending?

Social media is a great way to attract attention to your brand.  It’s also a great way to gauge popularity of keywords that you can then use in your subject line.  Connect that subject line with your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn posts for an integrated approach to a campaign to increase visibility and engagement with your prospect base.

 

What’s in it for me?

At the end of the day, your business is all about your customers.  When your customers sign on with you, what are the first benefits they receive?  What types of returns initially draw customers to your brand?  What types of problems do you solve for your customers?

Answering these questions with a brief subject line will entice your prospects to open your email and engage further with you to get to the bottom of what you can provide and why they should choose your company over your competitors to provide it.  You’ll also create an initial impression of trust with your prospect base, and show that you value their time, by letting them know right away your purpose in contacting them.

 

Humor Me

Similar to references to pop culture, a little light humor is an effective way to gain attention and to break the ice with your prospect base.  Humor is a wonderful tool for making friendly first impressions and connecting with people on a personal level.  It will ease the tension of initial contact and lay a foundation of friendly interactions going forward.   People love to laugh, and if your subject line is funny, they’ll open your email to see what else you have to say.

 

What’s the Point?

If all else fails, the most important thing to remember is to be descriptive in your subject line.  You want to be sure that the prospects that are in the market for your services or are most interested in the information you have to share can quickly and easily tell that your email contains an offer for those services or that exact information they need.

To learn more about how LeadSeek can help your business’s message reach and be read by the right people in your target market, visit our contact us page and shoot us an email or give us a call at (800) 497-5312.