If you’re a B2B business, the process of marketing, while highly lucrative, can also be fraught with complexities. For one, you have to identify your audience very precisely. Also, this target market may often be a narrow slice compared to the potential audience of a B2C firm. A further challenge is that business readers are often juggling too many things; the result: B2B emails have traditionally suffered from a lower open rate.
Among the many distribution channels you can use profitably for your B2B marketing, email still holds good as a lead generation tool. According to the 11th Annual Content Marketing Survey, 87% of B2B marketers prefer email for organic content marketing, only behind social media platforms.
And why not? Your emails, as a B2B business, are a crucial element and the easiest way to reach your target audience.
But with the plethora of emails that an average office worker sees in a day, your emails have to do more than just mark your existence. They actually need to start and build a conversation with your leads and convert them. So, what can you do to make sure your B2B emails deliver bang for the buck and amp up your ROI?
4 Ways You Can Leverage Your CRM For Your B2B Emails
There are certain elements that make B2B email marketing distinctly different from the B2C strategy. And there are a few commonalities, too. Regardless, you will stand in good stead only with a clear delineation of your B2B marketing strategy. Considering it a unique game, we list below certain key features you have to keep an eye out for to ensure you aren’t shooting in the dark. We are also providing you with a few tips alongside on how you can bank on your CRM to ensure these B2B email marketing goals are met.
#1. Identifying Stage In Sales Funnel
Consider the typical audience you’d be marketing to as a B2B business. The average subscriber or lead in a business context will need a lot of convincing to buy into your brand and stick with it long term. Therefore, the persuasion tactics you need to integrate with your email marketing will be markedly different from anything you can use for B2C or other scenarios.
Essentially, your brand pitch and other content distribution would have to be spread over an extended duration with a longer series of emails to accommodate these long buying cycles. Among other things, you’d need precise event triggers identified and geared towards successful lead nurturing. At every step, your email marketing campaign would have to tap into your CRM and sync up with the sales stage your subscriber is at.
Your CRM platform can help you precisely track the record of their engagement with your firm and the triggers that will apply to each contact based on their unique needs, purchasing history, etc. So, ensure you’re keeping a data (demographic and activity) model for every customer and tracking their buyer journey.
#2. Mapping Buyer Personas
A buyer persona, as you’d know, is a representation of a potential buyer or a segment of your target market, comprising a summary of their unique characteristics, criteria, and felt concerns and needs that will effectively direct them towards your business or brand. Now, more than ever, in a crowded market of suppliers, B2B buyer personas are an integral part of the marketer’s toolkit. Apart from the usual data points such as age, needs, and goals, a B2B email marketer also needs to track leads’ existing, preferred suppliers and any pain points that would initiate a switch to your brand.
Most importantly, as a B2B marketer, you have to assess your subscriber’s decision-making capacity. These insights are critical to prevent you from wasting resources trying to advertise and sell to the wrong persons. The buyer personas are best compiled when built up based on customer data recorded in real-time. As underlined in the previous point, your CRM is an invaluable bank of these data points and should help you effortlessly sculpt buyer personas.
Apart from tracking behavioral trends in your CRM, you need to consistently update your web sign-up forms and exit surveys to record customer data accurately. These data sets can then guide your email marketing campaigns, including onboarding and overall automation efforts to make sure you’re targeting your highest-quality leads. Make sure your CRM has neatly segmented subscriber lists, based on buyer personas, with appropriate tags. One other thing to keep an eye out for: ‘negative personas’, to ensure those leads with too little potential are kept out of further processing in the funnel.
#3. Deciding The Kind Of Content And Personalizing Emails
To begin with, your B2B email marketing needs to resonate with an appropriate tone of being a solution-provider. Your first and every email has to make the right impression and deliver on expectations to foster lasting relationships. You can set precisely defined B2B email marketing benchmarks to guide you in this process. Some of these benchmarks, such as conversion rates, can be drawn from your CRM based on an individual customer or segment’s behavioral patterns, i.e., the buyer persona.
This leads us to the actual content of an email. Your content, more specifically in B2B marketing, needs to be entirely targeted. Each email’s content needs to be drawn up in relation to the buyer personas you have created beforehand. The content also needs to be differentiated based on your leads’ interest levels. By personalizing the timing and other communication preferences, you stand a greater chance of your business reader actually taking an interest in what your brand has to say and taking the desired action. You can record these opt-ins through your CRM with a streamlined and short sign-up form.
These sign-up forms will also help you target your content towards different persons/levels of the Decision Making Unit (DMU), which forms a part of every B2B target audience. Based on their unique position in the DMU, each reader will take a unique perspective to your content. Therefore, one of the easiest ways to convert your subscribers and boost your email ROI is to ensure your best email messages speak to each reader and address unique pain points. For this, you have to track your lead’s job title through your CRM platform and then group similar titles in a custom field to target your email campaigns.
You also have to note that research shows B2B subscribers have a greater interest in receiving content-centric emails with relevant and engaging information than those that are simply promotional. You should also consider the different kinds of content your email readers would be interested in based on their buying cycle. To name a few through the different stages, you need to integrate the following content through CRM automation:
a. Trends and 101-guides
b. Solutions coverage and comparisons supplemented with suitable assessments
c. How-to-buy guides and benchmark demonstrations with case studies
#4. Activate Timely But Limited Follow-Ups
Tracking the buying cycle and the stage of buyer journey through your CRM offers an additional advantage: follow-up. Based on their CTR and the actions they have taken thus far, your B2B lead can be targeted with additional follow-up emails. For example, if they have subscribed to a video channel or downloaded an industry whitepaper or ebook, they are clearly evincing interest in a particular topic. You can then follow up and persuade them to convert on a higher-value transaction up the funnel.
These follow-ups can also be actualized through other mediums. According to Jill LeMaire Redo, VP of Digital Strategy and Insights at Epsilon: “It is the coordination and integration of all marketing communication tools, avenues, and functions into a seamless program that maximizes the impact on consumers while minimizing costs.” In other words, you have to implement marketing automation through multiple channels on your CRM or omnichannel marketing. You can better target your customers through the possible varied mediums by recording their preferences on your CRM.
Lastly, there are two important things to do while implementing follow-ups for your B2B email marketing.
- Firstly, validate your emails. According to an Email Tool Tester’s study, 16% of all B2B emails never land up in the recipient’s inbox, one of the reasons being bounced emails. An effective way to tackle this is to integrate a good email cleaning tool with your CRM-email marketing software. This will help enhance your campaigns’ effectiveness and boost your sender reputation.
- Second, limit your email campaign drip to only what’s necessary to avoid ‘inbox fatigue’. Keep your messaging to point, and know when to pivot on your strategy.
So, there you have it: four solid tips to smartly amplify your CRM integration and automation for your B2B email marketing strategy. The results will not only make a case for continued resource investment but, more importantly, boost the ROI at the end of the day. By implementing these action points consistently across your campaigns, you should see an uptick in every one of your relevant metrics. What’s more, you can effectively actualize your end goal: connecting with your target business audience and converting them for lasting relationships and larger returns.
Want additional help to leverage CRM and optimize your B2B email marketing? Reach out to us.