A guest blog by Anna Crowe (Content Strategist of Leadfeeder)
The search for alignment between B2B sales and marketing teams is nothing new.
Ask sales why they keep missing quotas and the finger points to the lack of volume and quality leads produced by marketing.
Throw that same question to marketing and they’re likely to paint a different picture: one that involves a lack of follow-up and finesses from those in sales to close the deal.
This isn’t to say that both groups aren’t willing to look inward and own up to their mistakes.
But there’s no denying the tension that exists between these teams puts members at odds with each other as they work toward similar goals.
With the average B2B sales cycle ranging from four to seven months to close, nurturing customer relationships while staying top-of-mind is crucial. And also, not impossible.
In fact, you probably already have the ingredients for successful customer acquisition on hand with your developed content and email marketing strategies.
Now, you need to automate tactics and work together as one team.
Let’s dig into how to align your B2B email automation to sales and marketing.
What is B2B email marketing?
B2B email marketing is fairly straightforward in concept. Think of it as a conversational exchange between at least two companies over email.
The keyword here is conversational.
For a channel that 59% of B2B marketers argue is their most effective for revenue generation, it’s important to approach messaging strategically.
This is true for everything from the first welcome email to a nurturing email full of curated content.
In the face of competitive marketplaces and high expectations around personalization, it’s even more important for sales and marketing teams to align their efforts with email automation.
Automation makes it possible for teams to identify high-quality leads and quickly move them through the funnel.
It centralizes messaging around preset customer journey triggers and makes it possible for teams to maintain fast response times.
7 B2B Automated Emails And How to Align Them to Both Sales & Marketing
At this point, you probably don’t need any more convincing as to why sales and marketing teams need to align themselves with email automation. You want to understand how.
Cue these seven B2B automated email use cases.
#1: Improve cold email outreach
There’s a reason why cold email outreach is often ineffective in B2B sales: it’s because you’re essentially talking to a stranger. And a very busy stranger at that.
People don’t have time for small talk in a sales email. They want to see that you’ve done your research around who they are and what they want.
If you are starting from scratch with a cold email, there are some golden rules you can follow in warming them up a bit. Among them, find some commonality.
Alternatively, consider investing in a tool that’ll help you on the research front by providing context around who your website visitors are.
Like I did below.
To make this your own, replace each bold section with details related to what you’re selling.
Create one email template per target customer type, then merge tags can take care of the rest of the details (just don’t forget to customize date and time information as necessary).
Here’s an example:
You recently visited Salesflare.com and downloaded our whitepaper, ‘The augmented sales team.’
If you’re interested in learning more about running a top sales organization then I can recommend the following additional resources:
- Remote Sales: How to Sell Successfully From Wherever You Are
- Why You Want an Easy to Use CRM for Your Small Business
Our company also offers a CRM that sales reps love to use which could help you to make more sales by not letting any follow ups slip through the cracks.
Are you free for a call on Tuesday at 12pm MST to talk about this?”
The more information you can gather around who your customers are, the more effective cold email templates you can create for automating and replicating across common scenarios.
#2: Increase conversions from trial to sign up
The average number of legitimate business emails received every day has remained static since 2015.
This is good in the sense that you can easily help your brand stand out with highly relevant, targeted email automation.
It’s not so great if you’re simply adding to the clutter.
When someone signs up for a trial of your product, it’s a no-brainer to automate the sending of helpful emails throughout the course of their trial. Use that window of time as an opportunity.
Send an email at the beginning of the trial that shows appreciation and sets up the next steps.
Link out to valuable resources that will guide them towards getting the most out of the product in the shortest amount of time.
#3: Drive higher engagements with onboarding emails
There’s a difference between signing up for a service and actually using it.
If it takes too much time to figure out how to just get started, you’re not helping the cause from a customer retention standpoint.
Keep in mind that acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing one.
Have your sales and marketing teams work together to determine some of the most frequent new customer pain points with the product. There are plenty of sales tools available to help uncover and take action on customer insights.
This information can be used to create a flow of automated onboarding emails that provide a clear path for getting started.
Above all else, you want customers to know they’re more than just a dollar sign: they’re welcome users backed by relevant resources and support.
#4: Increase conversions with behavioral-triggered campaigns
Studies have shown that follow-up emails typically get a better response rate from customers than the first email.
So why are they so often neglected?
The short answer is time and human error.
When sales teams are manually trying to keep up with messages coming in, going out, and everything in between, stuff is bound to fall between the cracks.
This is why automating sales follow-ups is so important.
Behavioral-triggered campaigns make it easy to generate follow-up emails based on everything from an open to a link click. You can tailor templates accordingly with hyper-relevant information.
#5: Engage new users after a webinar
73% of B2B marketers and sales leaders say webinars are the best way to generate high-quality leads.
These are people that have not only taken the time to fill out a form. They’ve shown up day-of to spend 30-minutes to an hour of their time watching your content.
As you begin to plan out the webinar itself, create follow-up assets in advance. Create a flow within your CRM targeting a list of webinar attendees with relevant content based on what was covered.
This is also a great time to tout potential trial offerings and engagement with your sales team.
When you monitor and track customer engagement with a product or service, something magical happens.
You make room for opportunity.
And by that, we mean you’re more readily able to identify the potential for up-sells.
For example, someone who’s been a customer for a while and uses your platform regularly has an established level of loyalty. They find value in your product.
Set up triggers to identify your most loyal customers and target them accordingly with special offers and opportunities to upgrade.
#7: Customer retention
We’ve already discussed the difference in cost between acquisition and retention. Current customers have gone through the rigmarole.
They’ve been convinced to the point of opening their wallet and investing in what it is you have to sell. This just doesn’t happen with many of the prospects that come through the metaphorical door.
The last thing you want to do as a sales and marketing team is to take these people for granted. Your job isn’t done just because they’ve signed the dotted line.
In fact, it’s just beginning. It’s when you have to convince them that their actions were worth taking. And that there’s continued benefit to be found in your service month after month.
For content-driven marketing teams, you have the materials at your fingertips to continuously engage current customers.
Curate a weekly or bi-weekly newsletter. Make them aware of new product launches (offering exclusive access to new features when relevant before they hit the masses).
You can also utilize your customer base as a source of feedback. Automate regular survey sends to your core user segments, using the information to improve current offerings.
Final Thoughts: Sales & Marketing Maximize Email ROI When Aligned
It goes without saying that when teams work together, positive things happen. Nowhere is this truer than for sales and marketing.
After all, both operate with the same goal in mind: to bring on and keep customers.
Neither of those outcomes can occur in a way that’s effective and sustainable when both groups are working in silos. Especially when they each possess valuable insights vital for driving each other’s efforts forward.
Marketers have the back-end. They can look at website visitors, leads generated through forms, advertising engagement rates, etc. and figure out what triggers action.
And then, they can replicate what works across a variety of channels.
Salespeople have the front-end. Through regular conversation and relationship-building expertise, they know what works in moving a deal forward.
And they know every product pain point and excuse in the book for stopping a contract in its tracks.
Opening the lines of communication between both sides is the first step.
With a shared understanding of customer interests and triggers established, email automation serves as the final link.
It creates a bridge between company and customer — making it possible to not only exchange a series of triggered messages but to establish a real connection driven by a genuine interest in providing solutions.
A little about Anna:
Anna is the Content Strategist at Leadfeeder and the Assistant Editor for Search Engine Journal. She enjoys burritos 🌯 and puppies 🐶 (in that order).