There’s a very simple tactic in B2B digital marketing that’s quite easy to implement, even more so if you have any sort of marketing automation in place.
Of course, I’ve already given it away in the headline, but here it is, from a different angle. You’re probably familiar with some or all of the following consumer sales techniques:
- You’re at the supermarket, the cashier is almost done scanning your goods, and he says ‘are you interested in our daily specials?’
- You’re about to wrap up a call with your bank representative, a pleasant one for a change, when she innocently adds, ‘oh by the way we have great loan rates with very fast approval cycles, would you be interested?’
- A field technician is visiting your residence, and while fixing whatever it is you requested service for, he offers some other product, sometimes only partially related to the broken object.
Of course you’re familiar with these techniques, because they’re being applied “against” you on a daily basis. These are classic cross-sell and up-sell tactics, but there’s a very good reason they’re employed so regularly: it works! The interesting question is, why? My answer would go like this:
Attention (or attentiveness) means less friction in the person’s shift into ‘buyer mode’
You are more likely to buy an item from the cashier’s display of daily specials because he asked it of you while your attention was on him anyway in anticipation of your total purchase sum, which means the attention shift into buyer mode had the least friction.
You are more likely to accept the field technician or banker’s offer, because your attention is on them anyway. Both of them are taking advantage of the fact you’re presently with them, in person or over the phone, in order to make a suggestion. The temporal proximity serves to reduce the friction required to shift into buyer mode.
Of course, it’s not the only mechanism in play here. The field technician knows which appliances you own and can make the right offer, and the banker is fully aware of your bank account standings so she knows you’re probably thinking of financing options. But the same offers would meet more resistance from you without the benefit of your attention.
Digital marketers take advantage of reduced friction opportunities like these all the time. Website overlay popups, triggered emails, shopping cart abandonment campaigns – all of these tactics leverage reduced attention friction to get more from the site visitor or app user.
If you’re a B2B marketer, the combination ‘triggered emails’ should have jumped out of the text. And that’s my biggest giveaway so far about the answer to the question that is the subject of this post.
Automated followup emails are a treasure vault of lead re-engagement
We’ve recently implemented automated followup emails, which are a form of triggered emails, for one of our clients, a multi-national B2B. It was a simple email, no HTML, three lines only, offering more professional contents for download and the location where these can be found on the company’s website. The email went out once per week to every person who downloaded some piece of content during the previous week. The results? 1 of 2 recipients opened the email , and about 40% clicked through to get more content. Which means almost 1 in 4 recipients have re-engaged with the company’s website on the week following an initial content download. These are staggering stats for email marketing, and while it’s a known phenomenon that triggered emails have higher response rates, the sheer size of the lead re-engagement opportunity is incredible.
Furthermore, while researching for this post, I went back and looked at the stats of a large digital program we ran for another global B2B. The results were even more impressive! one of the auto responders, which in this case represented automated followups with people who have filled a whitepaper download form, saw a 57.6% open rate and a 43% clickthrough rate. Analyzing the time to open patterns, I noticed that while most opens occurred in the first 24 hours, there was a very nice long tail of opens that contributed significantly to the total sum, over time. My conclusion was that the automated email served as a handy record on file to get back to at a later time for the recipient.
Automation reduces friction creep
One common problem in many B2B organizations is that it’s the sales team, or inside sales team’s responsibility to follow up with new leads. When that’s not automated, there’s bound to be a delay, sometimes hours and days, before the sales person actually writes the lead back. During this time, friction has built up again and the opportunity is lost.
Automation addresses that. And as the examples above show, it doesn’t need to be any more complex than sending a polite thank you note and an invitation to read more about the original topic of interest.