In a digital world teeming with calls-to-action (aka CTAs), there is a tsunami of opportunities for prospects and customers to download, register, sign up, subscribe, get a demo, learn more, read, and see how.
All it takes is an email address to receive free eBooks, newsletters, updates, case studies, email courses, and videos.
It sounds too good to be true until the marketers and salespeople move in for the kill.
The hunt starts gently and slowly.
After coughing up your email, there’s usually an immediate “thank you” message. It’s an opportunity for a brand to connect and send a friendly reminder that it delivered something.
But then the new relationship gets complicated, particularly when it involves B2B technology companies.
The “thank you” email is quickly followed by the “Would you like a demo?” email.
Then, there’s the “Can we get on the call?” email.
Just when you think the email onslaught (drip marketing that becomes a deluge) is over, a week later, the offers start all over again.
A client told me that he received six or seven emails from a company’s salespeople. Even after he told a sales rep that he wasn’t ready to make a purchase, the emails kept coming.
This was a product that he was interested in potentially buying but he was still in consideration mode. In other words, he wanted more time to make a decision.
This is one of the biggest challenges facing B2B companies; it’s increasingly difficult to generate leads so they throw themselves over any leads.
Armed with marketing automation systems, every interaction is analyzed and scored. A prospect that appears even slightly interested is quickly pushed down the funnel. At that point, the sales machine is fired up to seize the opportunity.
It’s like going on a first date. Things are going well, the conversation is flowing, and suddenly the other party wants to head off to Las Vegas to close the deal.
Yes, we live in a world of instant gratification but B2B sales take time to consummate. There are plenty of options so it’s difficult for customers to decide.
The decision is even more challenging because most products look similar: features, benefits, prices, customer service, etc.
People need time before they make a decision. They need to think, consider their options, and account for budgets, urgency, and timing.
Rather than push hard to turn leads into sales, B2B companies need to cool their jets.
It’s not about forcing prospects into a demo or a phone call. Instead, you should deliver value-added and relevant content to educate and engage prospects.
Show prospects you understand their needs, problems, challenges, and motivations. Give them time to learn, ask questions, try, and consider their options.
At the same time, you can position your company and brand in unique ways. Let prospects know what it’s like to be a customer and how your product is helping other companies be successful.
Please your prospects rather than pressuring them.
Give prospects enough time to review their options while, at the same time, letting them know why you’re the obvious choice.
Here’s an email workflow that’s not as aggressive:
1. After a prospect asks for something (e.g. eBook, newsletter, case study), send them a “thank you” email. Not only thank them but provide guidance on the next steps to see how your product delivers value. It’s all about easy and early wins.
2. A couple days later, send some information about your product. How is it different or unique? How are different customers using it successfully? And provide an FAQ to address any questions.
3. A week later, send the prospect some value-added content. Maybe it’s an eBook about how to improve a marketing or sales process; something relevant to your product but not completely self-serving.
4. Then, ask if they have questions or want a demo but only do so after you have built a relationship and shown you’re happy to educate prospects.
By all means, insert a CTA (e.g. ask for a demo, take a free trial) within every email but it’s not the star of the show. The CTA provides prospects with a reminder that if they’re ready for the next step, you’re ready to answer questions, do a demo, etc.
Here’s the thing: most B2B prospects take their time before making a decision. They’re not in a rush and they’re in control so don’t be anxious or impatient to close a sale.
Unfortunately, most B2B companies can’t help themselves. They believe there’s too much competition to allow prospects to take their sweet time.
But maybe a different and more relaxed approach is needed. Customers have the power and access to information. The best thing to do is position your brand and product as something that will drive a customer’s success.
Need better or different marketing? I offer a CMO-for-Hire service for fast-growing companies looking to accelerate their growth and scale. I provide strategic and tactical guidance to create marketing that makes an impact. Book a free 30-minute call to learn more about how we can work together.