When business-to-business (B2B) sales come to mind, you probably envision exhaustive cold calling or in-person visits. But thankfully, the old ways aren’t the only way. Now, you have more modern options such as email marketing at your disposal.
The beauty of email marketing is how scalable, predictable, and cost-effective it can be. Cold calling is much more time-consuming. Sending lots of emails is easier than making lots of calls (or in-person visits to decision makers).
Email marketing allows you to send consistent messages in bulk and analyze helpful statistics like email opens, link opens, and conversion rate. And email marketing has been found to yield an average ROI of 4,400%. If it’s true that it’s 6-7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one, then it’s paramount that you find cost-effective solutions to boost sales.
Here’s how to increase B2B sales with email marketing.
Even the greatest emails are worthless unless you send them to the right people. From the beginning, your prospecting has to be on-point. A good way to start is by making sure you're using the right tools. DiscoverOrg and LinkedIn Sales Navigator have become standard tools for sales teams in all industries, and can quickly give you insights into which companies you should be talking to, and who at that company you should be talking to.
Once you’ve got a decent list of people to reach out to, then you'll want to level up that list by gathering the best possible contact information for them. Try using a tool like VoilaNorbert to gather the correct email addresses. Norbert's data enrichment tool also comes in handy for finding other social media profiles so you can take a more omni-channel approach to your outreach. Keep in mind that you’ll have better luck if you spread your campaign out amongst several people at the company as opposed to just emailing one prospect there.
It’s no secret that people tend to judge a book by its cover. The same is also true for b2b companies email – in fact, 47% of emails are opened or discarded based solely on their subject line. Naturally, this is an area where you’ll want to spend extra time to make sure your subject line is compelling enough to warrant opening. Once again, the best email in the world is useless unless it is opened.
Are you sensing a pattern here?
Email subject line best practices aren’t hard to follow, but they're also not one-size-fits-all. The situation, industry, funnel position, and more will dictate.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Make things personal. Personalizing subject lines can increase open rates by 50%. It can be as simple as using the recipient's name or the company name.
Get down to business. Nobody likes a lengthy subject line – plus, they tend to run off the screen when read on mobile. Keep your subject lines to 3-4 words if you can, and they’ll stand out amongst all the 10-15 word subject lines in your recipient's inbox.
Take a casual approach. Standing out is the name of the game, and if your email subject line looks highly-polished, then it'll come off like spam. Instead, write as if you're reaching out to an old friend, i.e. “Quick question” or “Our next steps."
Don’t be afraid to experiment with your subject lines. Send dozens or hundreds of emails with one subject line, then try sending the next batch with a different one to see which gets better results.
You’ve got the right person, the perfect subject line, and your prospect's attention. Now, you’ve got to seize the opportunity. Your opening line can make or break your email, so when working on the body make sure you focus heavily on the first line. Craft a compelling hook that’s so irresistible for the b2b buyer, they want to keep reading.
Early in your campaign, it’s best to keep the conversation light and casual. Avoid overselling or talking about yourself too much. Instead, focus on creating a relationship through highlighting a mutual connection, praising a recent accomplishment of theirs, or sharing a common hobby or interest.
Another effective approach is to provide them with value of some kind. Value can mean anything from relevant articles for their industry, case studies, or white papers, to inside knowledge and high-quality stats about their competitors.
Finally, it’s critical to end on some sort of call-to-action. The whole point is to pique their interest enough to keep them wanting to talk to you – or at the very least, not mark you as spam and allow your emails to keep coming through.
Some simple examples of calls-to-action specifically for B2B sales are:
Requesting a specific date and time for a call. Make them check their calendar instead of thinking about where they can fit you in.
Asking if you can follow up with a detailed proposal next week. Sometimes it’s just that simple. Ask if they're interested enough to receive another, more personal and specific email.
Confirming if they're the right person to talk to about a specific topic. If you’re striking out, try getting some direction.
Asking a thought-provoking question. Ask about something you likely know the answer to that will open up a dialogue about how you could have possible solutions to their pain points, problems or goals.
Prioritizing the follow-up is the secret to more sales. Research shows that anywhere from 35% to 50% of sales go to whichever vendor responds first, and you’ve still got a 21% chance of getting a reply to your second email if the first goes unanswered.
To help you manage that process, deploy the right tools or software for automating your email campaign follow-ups. Email automation can generate up to 320% more revenue.
Increasing B2B sales is a numbers game, and email marketing is the best possible way to reach lots of people quickly and inexpensively. It all starts with building the right prospect list. From there, pay special attention to your email subject lines, focus on delivering a high-value message, and lastly, don’t give up after sending your first email. Prioritize the follow-up and automate as much of the process as possible.
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