Increasing sales is the single most important thing you can do for the success and longevity of your business. But it’s not just about raking in cash: more sales means more revenue, and more revenue means you can invest in making your business the best in its class.
You can chase B2B sales via various channels with your sales team, but your marketing team should be leveraging all available techniques and strategies as well. If you haven’t yet implemented email marketing for your company—or if you're just looking to up your game—the tips below can help.
Email marketing isn’t easy, but once you establish (or fine-tune) your approach, it’s a low-touch sales generator that works steadily in the background while your team turns their attention to more hands-on marketing techniques. Here’s how to use email marketing to increase B2B sales in your business.
Consumers are persuaded by personalization in emails. The key to email marketing is getting the balance between personalization and automation right. Automation with no personalization equals bad results, and personalization with no automation is too labor-intensive. You want your efforts to yield the highest return for the least amount of work.
You can get automation right with good list hygiene, segmentation, email triggers, and analytics. Once you have those down, gradually test personalization techniques. Ultimately, you’re aiming for an average of 2-3 personalizations per email.
You’ll get much better results from your email marketing if you leverage the knowledge and experience of your sales department. All too often, the marketing team brings leads to the sales team and that’s where the relationship ends.
Instead, be proactive: invite the sales team to brainstorming sessions, meetings, and even social events. The end goal is to make them allies, not competitors. They’re 100 percent focused on the sales process and can help bring that drive to your marketing team.
According to an Experian study, transactional emails receive “8x more opens and clicks than any other type of email." Leveraging these emails—like after-purchase, cart abandonment, and welcome emails—will help sales. It's important not to overwhelm customers with hard sales pushes but instead to use carefully-applied optimization to drive people back to your website and boost sales.
These optimizations can vary from simply improving the user experience to actively applying discounts and offers. Although offers may seem like a foolproof way to get people back to your website, they do mean you’ll have to sacrifice some profit.
Don’t ignore the effectiveness of simple changes, like making your emails more attractive and easier to interact with, while better conveying urgency or scarcity. All of these approaches, done correctly, will encourage people to either return to the site (in the case of cart abandonment, for example) or visit it in the first place (as with welcome and check-in emails).
If your email marketing is still at the “newsletter” stage, there are vast improvements you need to make. Start with a sales copywriter, who is trained to ensure your copy encourages sales by leveraging people's natural instincts. If an experienced sales copywriter is out of budget, make sure the most verbally-gifted of your marketing team buffs up on the latest techniques and resources.
Email subject lines are a great place to start. They’re specific and clearly-defined, yet research shows that by improving seemingly-tiny details, you can increase open rates by huge percentages.
To see which changes improve results the most for your company, try A/B testing. To get started, ask a question in your subject line and note carefully whether or not it appeals to recipients.
If you implement these email marketing tips and see an increase in sales, don’t rest on your laurels. The initial sale just opens the door, and now you need to resell and upsell. Exactly how this plays out depends a lot on your product, but even SaaS companies can offer discounts on premium tiers of service, add extra users, beef up customer service, and more.
There’s no single way to increase B2B sales with email marketing, but you can—and should—make as many small changes as possible to promote increased sales. Together, these small changes could add up to a significant improvement.
One of the biggest challenges with using email for B2B sales is understanding the vast landscape of email marketing software available. Making sure the messaging and timing is aligned between sales and marketing is key for properly nurturing your prospects and making sure that no one is being spammed.
The changes mentioned above include both long-term and short-term strategies. It will take focus on your part to ensure that both are achieved.
Building your relationship with sales and putting more emphasis on copy are two changes that will take time to implement. You may need buy-in from other departments, especially if your company is large, and both will require a strong leader to see changes through.
Perfecting the balance between personalization and automation, leveraging transactional emails, and increasing order value are all more accessible actions that anyone (or everyone) on your team can work on. These changes will all benefit from task-based management, so schedule some brainstorming sessions, nominate one person to turn ideas into tasks, and check in after a reasonable period to see what progress has been made.
Increasing B2B sales via email marketing isn’t a quick or easy job. But if you can maintain focus and motivation over a steady period of time, hopefully you’ll end up with both the system and the culture that you need to have an email marketing framework capable of producing sales results, all on its own.
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Sujan Patel is the co-founder of Right Inbox, an email productivity tool used by over 250,000 professionals. He has over 14 years of marketing experience and has led the digital marketing strategy for companies like Salesforce, Mint, and other Fortune 500 caliber companies.