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Build trusting relationships with b-to-b customers for better email results

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Trust has a lot to do with whether someone opens your email. For many b-to-b customers, that trust is built up directly with the salesperson, someone they have talked to or perhaps met; so that, when they receive a generic marketing email message, it gets dumped right into the trash. For many b-to-b customers, that trust is built up directly with the salesperson, someone they have talked to or perhaps met; so that, when they receive a generic marketing email message, it gets dumped right into the trash. There are strategies you can use, however, to help increase the likelihood your messages get opened and help foster a deeper relationship between a salesperson and their customer, said Bill McCloskey, the founder of Only Influencers, a private network for digital influencers. One of the most important is getting your salespeople involved with your marketing efforts. “The salespeople should be the face of your company as far as your clients are concerned since they are the ones who are selling,” McCloskey said. Even something as simple as changing the “from” field to reflect your salesperson's email address and name can benefit your email campaigns, he said. Here are four more tips to help you make the most of the client/salesperson relationship and potentially boost your email open rate:
  1. Include your salesperson's name and photo in your emails. When an email comes from the salesperson, it helps people make a deeper connection with a company, McCloskey said. Although many people have images turned off as the default, there are still some who allow images within messages. In that case, having a photo of your salesperson can help solidify that link. Konica Minolta Canada lets its salespeople use its marketing automation system to send out personalized messaging and, during a recent campaign, found that those customers touched by both marketing and sales had a three times greater likelihood of heeding its call to action.
  2. Set up emails so replies go both to sales and marketing. If someone decides they are going to respond to an email message, you don't want to waste time having the message go to marketing just to be forwarded to the salesperson. Ask your email service provider or internal email administrator to help you set up a system so both marketing and sales are copied on any replies. This keeps both departments in the loop so customers and prospects aren't left waiting for a reply.
  3. Ask your sales team to help prioritize your email list so the best customers get the most personalized attention and offers. While marketing will be the department that segments your list—dividing it by interest, geography or customer status—salespeople already have a prioritized list of their own customers, McCloskey said. The marketing team can use that to further segment lists so the best customers get the best offers.
  4. Integrate email with your CRM system. Integrated systems will allow both sales and marketing to know exactly what the other is doing. Last year, KM Canada, with help from its marketing provider L2 Inc., set up a new marketing automation system that integrated its email marketing and CRM systems. The result, said Channel Marketing Manager Kelli McCarthy, was that sales and marketing were able to communicate better, and customers got better messaging. “It let our salespeople actively participate in campaigns and provided a way to measure and track which sales reps were actively using our marketing tools.”
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