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Enabling your Sales team for Bigger, Faster Wins with Salesforce Engage, Part I

The B2B sales cycle has changed and sales teams are continuously pushed to evolve in order to keep up. To help enable their reps to sell more and sell faster, B2B marketers have to wear many hats when it comes to adopting new tools and technologies that can expand the abilities of both sales and marketing. Tools like Salesforce Engage are built into the Salesforce CRM and put sales reps in the driver’s seat allowing them to determine what prospects they email, when they email them and how frequently. At Valpak, Salesforce Engage helps bridge the information gap between the sales and marketing departments, and enables our marketing team to continuously and seamlessly implement ongoing marketing automation campaigns.

Having run an extensive pilot program that has now flourished to over 150 field sales reps using Salesforce Engage, here are a few implementation tips to help you ensure successful adoption, and don’t miss my next post on how to teach your sales teams to leverage the email nurturing features.

Step 1: Put on your CRM Admin Hat

Make it easy for your sales team to be as productive as possible. Most (new) sales reps using Salesforce.com are not responsible for managing their “List Views” on their Leads and Contacts objects. Your Goal: make using Salesforce and Salesforce Engage easy. Have custom list views on the leads and contacts tab that align with sales objectives pre-built for your organization. More importantly, make it easy for your reps to identify which records are accessible, and to select their prospect list (leads/contacts) that have deliverable email addresses.

Hat Tricks:

  • Make sure the list views are set up to kick out leads/contacts that have opted out, or hard bounced. This will ensure better deliverability and improve overall results.
  • If one of your organizational goals is client reactivation, develop contact list views that shows when a contact/Account last purchased from your company.
  • If you don’t need to capture an email address before converting a lead to a contact, create a list view that shows all leads/contacts that do not have email addresses.
  • Make it easy for reps to update the “leads/contacts without email” lists by adding inline editing to the list.
  • Set “Last Email Date” for every list view created for “Engage” use. This will help your sales reps be more aware of when they last contacted the rep via email. Optional: add a field for last contacted/updated based on your sales processes.

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Step 2: Put on your B2B Marketing Hat

Salesforce Engage makes it easy for marketers to ensure that their sales reps are able to send relevant and timely content to clients and prospects. Creating templates is the number one weapon in a marketer’s arsenal when it comes to outfitting sales to build better customer relationships. Templates give sales access to marketing content, and even pre-created emails that make it faster and easier to follow up on leads with on-brand assets.

Hat Tricks:

  • If there’s an email or message sales sends often, create a template out of it to make it easier to keep messaging consistent.
  • Create another template that has links to your company’s media kit, product information, or video testimonials. These are the pieces of content that get cold leads to talk to you, and warm leads to buy from you.
  • Make sure your sales team knows where to find approved marketing assets. Upload these into one central location and create templates that sales reps can use to send out new pieces of content to their clients and prospects.

Step 3: Put on your Sales Enablement Hat

B2B Email marketing done right can give you the ability in an organization get results quickly. Teaching your sales reps to value reviewing the reports on Engage email blasts and pay attention to Engage email alerts will be a critical component of successful adoption. You have to help your reps create new habits, just like when they learned and adopted Salesforce.

Hat Tricks:

  • Conduct a live demonstration using one of your reps. Use their Salesforce account to select a list of leads or contacts to email in a Salesforce Engage email blast. Help them ‘prime the engine’ by demonstrating important features populated with their own data. This will incentivize your reps to go back to check on the results and understand how quickly they can get response.
  • Do a “Round Robin” experience during a sales meeting: Send an email blast using the contact information of one of your reps. Then, once you send the first email blast, go to the next rep to send another. Once you’ve sent the second rep’s email out, you can go and check the results of the first. Highlighting this kind of visibility will get your sales team excited.
  • Don’t forget to go through the Pardot Prospect Activities section with your sales reps. Emphasize to them that they need to check these before calling in case someone has clicked unsubscribe. You can set up email alerts on the email templates to send a Salesforce task email to your sales team if your prospect takes an action that qualifies them such as clicking on a call to action link.
  • Review reports of prospects interactions with your emails. These can become the ‘call back lists’ for your sales team. Opens can be soft indicators of interest so can clicks. This can significantly help with cold call reluctance and make your sales reps feel like they are calling with a purpose. “Just checking to see if you successfully received my email?” or, “Just calling to see if you had any questions about the case study/pricing etc. that I sent over.”
    Set goals together based on the fiscal quarter. Are they focused on reactivation, renewals or new business? Help them identify the records they should be focusing on and how frequently.

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Your sales reps will need encouragement when it comes to developing new habits around Salesforce Engage, but by highlighting its features with their own data and prospects, you’ll show them exactly how it can fit into their sales strategies and help them build better, stronger relationships with their clients and prospects. In my next post, I’ll explore how to teach your sales reps to tackle the lead nurturing features of Salesforce Engage.

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Email Marketing – Pardot

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You Had Me at the Subject Line: Best Practices for Email Outreach

For B2B marketers, email outreach forms the basis of effective communication and marketing. With the rate at which technology continues to advance, and it’s no surprise 73% of marketers recognize the importance of email marketing and that number continues to grow each year. Email is also the tool of choice within an organization, from day-to-day communications with team members to approving projects. As great as email is, there are some pitfalls of email communication that marketers should be wary of. Whether it’s getting recipients to open your email or avoiding the spam folder, these are the best practices for creating emails that will help you grow your list and build your customer relationships.

Establishing Your Audience

When it comes to email correspondence, the first step is establishing your audience. This may seem like a “duh” moment, but deciding who your target recipient is, is crucial to effective email outreach. After that, it becomes much easier to personalize and customize, which are two of the most important factors in an effective email marketing campaign or interaction. When deciding on your target audience, consider the basic, macro level questions such as “which department is this relevant to?” and “who is the decision-maker that I need to reach?” Once you know that, think about the more detailed questions. For example, if a sales rep is initiating contact with the advertising department of an entertainment agency, they need to ask questions like “what kinds of advertising does this agency already do?” and “what is the problem or inefficiency within this specific company that my product can help with?”

Creating the Perfect Email

The next step is crafting the email itself. The sender name and – in particular, the subject line – are the two most important elements when determining whether your recipient opens the email or not: 33% of people open emails based on the subject line alone. The most persuasive subject lines are basic and blunt, and direct people to click through and continue to read the email, which should continue with the same brevity. Personalization and customization become key in the body of the email, and that’s where you can use your audience research to include personal elements such as the person’s name, their company or website, and an article or product of theirs that you admire. You don’t have to personalize the entire email, providing a sentence or two of customized content is enough to make it resonate with your recipients. The rest can encourage them to follow through on your call to action.

Emails are still a core part of B2B marketing, and remain one of the strongest ways to build relationships with clients and prospects. But that doesn’t mean it has to be complicated. Once you address these three main concerns: “Who are you?” “Why are you sending me an email?” “What do you want me to do?” You’ll see your engagement levels start to increase.

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Email Marketing – Pardot

Grab Their Attention: 5 Content Tips for Creating Engaging Emails

Email is a fact of life. Not getting any feels like someone’s turned the volume down on your personal universe – we’re so used to seeing that little number that screams

Hey! Hey, you! 181 things need your attention!

 

No one knows this better than marketers. We send emails, and we get emails. It’s like the tide: it goes in, it goes out, and it’s easy to get stuck in a rut.

The average person receives 121 emails per day (The Radicati Group) – but how many of our carefully crafted messages they actually open and engage with is the important part. Spam filters are locked and loaded. A cool hundred other people are waving ‘30% off!’ and ‘Check out Our eNewsletter’ flags, and your email is all set with… another offer. If your emails are getting lost in the shuffle, use these tips to make your emails stand out from the crowd and build an engaged subscriber list.

Tip #1: Lead with the subject line

One thing that gets my attention right away is humor. If you know your audience well, humor is a great way to show off your company’s personality. Go for smart puns, timely asides, and little nods to industry standards, or inside jokes that will make your subscribers feel like they’re part of the in-the-know circle.

If you’re not feeling especially ‘punny’ (see what I did there?) you can use questions – whether they’re amusing or serious – to generate that ‘tell me more’ feeling. Simple ones like “How do you feel about this new technology?” or “Where do you want to be in your business?” just beg to be answered. Why? Because the focus shifts back to the recipient, especially when you’re asking (and subsequently answering) a relevant, timely question that they really might have.

But wait, you say. My content is focused on data, how can I make puns and questions out of numbers? Well, you can, but there is an easier way. Starting your subject line with big numbers – 1,000, 300, 25,000 – or percentages slows the eye down and tug at the mind making you want to know more: 80% of what? To avoid looking spam-y: “93% of people open this email” for example, use your best, most relevant statistics up front, and then elaborate on it in the body copy.

Tip #2: Value > Everything Else

In my own inbox, companies who specifically send me things I can use immediately like e-books, discounts, or eNewsletters get priority. I read and even bookmark those emails to revisit later. I might even save or forward them. Making your content identifiable as useful starts with finding out what your recipients consider useful.

You want the content you send to add real value. Whether it’s mind-blowing statistics about your industry, or a series of funny videos starring your company’s mascot llama, show your subscribers that you’re genuinely trying to provide them with content that they’ll find useful or entertaining as opposed to random sales pitches.

I once received an email asking me if I’d like to receive a curated newsletter of each month’s new demos and how-to videos. I had been subscribed to the email list for a few weeks, and had been primarily watching the demos and how-to videos that were sent out. I signed up. Tracking what types of content your recipients engage with is the first step to sending them content that will resonate – and that brings me to the next tip.

Tip #3: Make it Personal

Personalization positions your customers firmly at the center of the conversation, which is where they should be. Allowing subscribers to set the frequency of emails, or including the recipient’s name, are good methods of personalization (and pretty standard), so to really offer a personalized experience, think about enabling your subscribers to choose the types of content they want to receive.

Are they more into webinars? Big fans of blog posts? Or do they just want to know about new products? The choices they make can also give you some additional insight into what interests them about your brand as a whole, and what made them subscribe to receive your emails in the first place. From there you can send subscribers the content that will always be most relevant to them.

Offering a ‘pick your own content’ option can also help with defining buyer personas and choosing who to assign to lead nurturing campaigns without coming across as too intrusive. For example, you might add a form field that asks what kind of content a prospect is interested in receiving emails about. You can then include a link to edit or update these preferences in your emails, so that instead of unsubscribing recipients can choose to consume a different type of content.

Tip #4: Don’t be afraid of older content

I’m probably not the only one who loses emails. They get buried under the flood of new stuff that appears in my inbox every hour or so. Even when I flag things, sometimes I have a hard time scrolling through the 300 or so other messages to find the one I wanted to revisit. Particularly if you’re sending out a regular email with the week’s blog post, or new video, adding older content can provide more context and help with educating prospects about your offering.

You don’t have to make older content front and center, but adding a recap or archive section is a great way to revive older pieces and dust them off for a new set of eyes as your list continues to grow.

Tip #5: Be Honest

Honesty is valuable. Use it to tell your story, and to demonstrate your core values to your recipients. By being straightforward with what you have to offer and what you want from them in return, you’re positioning your brand as trustworthy, and building a positive association around who you are and what you do.

In your emails, explain to recipients why you want to be in touch with them – maybe you want to provide them with valuable content, or you’d like to share some things you think they’d be interested in based on previous interactions. Whatever it is, make sure you give your word and stick to it.

If you promise to only email them once per week, only email them once per week. If you say you’ll only send information about specific topics, then only send information that pertains to those topics. Doing so will help you build trust with your recipients, which will make them more likely to prioritize emails from you, and attach greater significance to the content.

Building a relationship with your subscribers takes time, but the rewards are well worth the investment. With people (and inboxes) busier than ever, turning your emails into conversation can help you turn the tide and increase email engagement.

Email Marketing – Pardot

Let’s Talk About Pardot And Data.com

Since we’re both a part of the Salesforce family, we get a lot of questions about using Pardot with Data.com. Strategically combining these two tools can help you get a more complete view of your prospects and better understand their needs. You can use this “bonus data” to refine your segmentation and offer a better customer experience through personalized campaigns and a warm sales approach.

Pardot’s Permission-Based Marketing Policy states that we require permission based marketing, meaning you can only send email to those that have opted in to receiving email. Data.com is what’s known as an opt-out database, meaning information is obtained by Data.com, but the option is given for people to remove themselves from that database. There are many articles explaining why it’s a bad idea to purchase email lists and immediately send email to those purchased prospects, and no reputable email service provider will allow you to immediately send email to a purchased list. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from this treasure trove of information, as long as permission is explicitly obtained first.

So, how can your sales and marketing teams take advantage of the myriad capabilities of Data.com, while staying in compliance with the requirements of the email industry? Today, we’ll outline correct and incorrect usage of Data.com with Pardot, so you can start using Data.com to enrich your overall marketing.

Using Data.com Clean

The best way to use Data.com with Pardot is to fill in the gaps in information for any prospects that you’ve already obtained through something like a form or a tradeshow. Say you have basic contact information, like their first and last name, their email address, and their company, but you’d really like to know their company address or their phone number. There are two ways to do this with Data.com:

  • Within Pardot, you can use the Data.com icon next to the prospect’s name. If you click on the icon, the prospect’s information will be compared to information from Data.com Connect — the free contact data service — and any additional or different information will be made available in Pardot. This does not require a Data.com subscription, but do keep in mind that that this is only contact-specific data, so it will not include the company-specific information that is available through the Data.com Clean subscription service.
  • If the prospect is syncing with Saleforce, you can use Data.com within Sales Cloud to automatically match and enrich the prospect record with the rich set of details available from Data.com (i.e. industry specification, company profile information, corporate parent linkage, etc.). By doing this, you will have a more complete profile for the prospect and that information will flow into Pardot on the next sync cycle. You can then use this additional information to route the prospect into precisely targeted marketing campaigns, as well as to determine if the prospect should be fast-track routed to a specific sales rep or team.

These methods are updating already existing information from prospects that have explicitly opted in, so you can be in compliance with the policy and still use your Data.com subscription.

Using Data.com Prospector

Data.com can be used to generate new leads that your organization can contact. Let’s review the correct way to include Pardot and Data.com Prospector in your lead generation plan.

  • The correct way is to put these leads in the hands of Business Development Reps or cold-callers who can first make contact with the prospect, and then if they are interested and agree to opt in to receiving email, add them to Pardot lists for emails and/or nurturing. Because you have had previous contact with these prospect, you are allowed to send them messages to help move them through the sales funnel.
  • The incorrect way would be to use Data.com as a cold lead generator for email purposes. Given the terms stated in the Permission-Based Marketing Policy, customers can not pull in prospects through Data.com and immediately add them to Pardot lists for emails and/or nurturing without first obtaining their permission. By not following best practices, you’re also running a significant risk for getting your IP address blacklisted, which can lead to significant email reputation damage. Instead, you should follow the best practices outlined above, to first obtain permission prior to sending email. By obtaining explicit permission prior to sending email, you can reap the benefits of the Data.com database while staying in compliance with Pardot’s Permission-Based Marketing Policy and keeping your email reputation high.

Overall, Data.com and Pardot are a fantastic combination, especially if you’re using Data.com to better understand your prospects, and Pardot to convert them to customers.

Want to learn more about how Data.com and Pardot can be used to personalize your marketing communications and sales pitches? We’ve got a tremendous e-learning module below!

Email Marketing – Pardot

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3 Email Subject Line Ideas to Delight Your Database

Over 205 billion emails are sent every single day. No, that’s not a typo — two hundred five billion. With that staggering number in mind, how can B2B marketers make sure our emails cut through the clutter?

Here’s the thing: 33% of people open emails based on subject line alone. The subject line is our email’s first impression on every busy business prospect, so we’ve got to make it count. That’s why the words you choose can make or break your email marketing. Let’s take a look at three categories of emails subject lines and how great marketers make them stand out.

1. The Personalized Promo

Have you tried personalizing your email subject lines using marketing automation? You can include the recipient’s name, company name, job title, location, or virtually any other data you have about them simply by using variable tags in the subject line.

But that’s not the only way to personalize your email subject lines. If your database is segmented by the products contacts have shown interest in, you can send personalized promo emails based on that information. For example, one list can receive a subject line that says “Looking for a deal on Widgets? You’ll want to open this!” while another gets a similar email promoting a deal on Whoozits. Just make sure to use the Recency and Frequency rule type in Pardot to ensure that contacts who are on multiple lists don’t receive a flood of emails.

Tip: Avoid spammy words in your promotional subject lines! Words and phrases like bargain, profits, and CLICK HERE! are likely to trigger the spam filter. Learn more in our Spam Words Reference list.

 

2. The Autoresponder

I’ve found that most autoresponder emails I receive when I download a piece of gated content stick to a standard “Thanks for Downloading ____” format. There’s nothing wrong with that — it does get the point across, after all — but I’m always pleasantly surprised by subject lines that mix it up a little bit.

For example, I recently downloaded some content from Simply Measured. The autoresponder’s subject line said, “Your Simply Measured guide is ready!” This is a bit more exciting and personal, and it creates a sense of urgency; my guide is ready to read! And it worked; I clicked the email right away instead of letting it get lost in the depths of my inbox.

3. The Content Roundup

I always look forward to MarketingProfs’ daily content roundup emails, in part because I know exactly when I’m getting when I open them. The subject lines plainly and succinctly list several of the topic in the email, and there’s always something included that I’m interested in learning more about. Here’s one of their recent subject lines:

Online Reputation | Not Everything Has ROI | Email Competitiveness | In-Demand Freelance Skills

There you have it. In just eleven words, the team at MarketingProfs has effectively captured the attention of readers interested in four distinct topics.

Tip: Keep your subject lines short. Subject lines with 6-10 words tend to have the highest open rates. (Inc.com)

 

Conclusion

In a sea of unread emails, it takes some work to get noticed. Fortunately, with some smart copywriting and the right technology, you’ve got the tools you need to delight your database — and your CMO!

If you liked the examples of successful email subject lines in this post, grab our new e-book, 7 Inspiring B2B Marketing Campaigns. It’s full of examples of incredible marketing campaigns and tips for replicating their success with your own team!

Click here to download 7 Inspiring B2B Marketing Campaigns

 

 

Email Marketing – Pardot

How To Tell The Difference Between Marketing Automation and Email Marketing

If you’re confused about the difference between “email marketing” and “marketing automation”, you’re not alone. Even seasoned marketers may struggle to sift through the marketing speak to find the tool that provides real value. This jargon can make it seem like the lines between marketing automation and email marketing are blurred, when in reality, the distinction can be fairly simple.

Entire books have been written on the subject, so we’re going to stay high-level. Read on to learn three key lessons:

  • The simple way to tell the difference between marketing automation and email marketing
  • Why you might want to choose marketing automation instead of email marketing
  • Four ways you can better engage your audience with a marketing automation strategy

The Simple Way to Tell the Difference Between Marketing Automation and Email Marketing

Let’s start with the definitions:

  • Email marketing is a tool that helps send mass email, track replies and report on them.
  • Marketing automation is a solution that allows you to more effectively market on multiple channels online (such as email, social media, websites, etc.) and automate repetitive tasks.

So email marketing is a part of marketing automation. Email marketing is a tool, while marketing automation is a comprehensive strategy. With email marketing, you only control email sending. With marketing automation, you can automate the process of interacting with prospects and customers through all channels, including email.

Why Choose Marketing Automation Over Email Marketing?

So why is it better to use a comprehensive strategy like marketing automation instead of just straightforward email marketing? For many people, using only email marketing is like trying to complete a jigsaw puzzle with only a few of the pieces.

Do you:

  • Find your salespeople complaining about the quality of leads your marketing team is delivering?
  • Sell different products (or services) to different demographics?
  • Need an easier way to create and send targeted, multi-touch email campaigns?
  • Want to automate and customize communications based on customer behavior and titles?
  • Want to know which of your marketing campaigns are the most effective AND justify additional resources?

If you answered yes to any of those, email marketing alone won’t cut it for you. Let’s dive into a few key features that help justify marketing automation.

Four ways you can better engage your audience with a marketing automation strategy

Lead Segmentation
For businesses with multiple products or services, it’s a reasonable assumption that not all buyers need or want the same thing. A software provider for small businesses selling separate solutions for both accounting and human resources has different product lines to consider. Now, imagine that entire equation again with the understanding that multiple audiences might be interested in the this range of services.

These accounting or HR tools could be suitable for anything from law firms to restaurants, and while the functionality of the product might not change much, the messaging to each group would be quite distinct. With more products and more audiences in play, marketers need to differentiate these groups to determine first who they’re engaging with to help inform decisions around how to engage with them.

Personalization
With a better understanding of who prospects are and what matters to them, with the right automation tools, marketers can set up campaigns that recommend additional content they’re likely to care about to create a personalized experience for each client and prospect.

While email is one avenue through which this content could be delivered, one also has the option of better personalizing the on-page experience with visual or textual calls to action for each user. If a blog on a particular topic appeals to a reader, then perhaps they’d be interested in a downloadable e-book exploring
the topic in greater depth that would serve as a lead-capture device.

Customer Success:

In order to display content to where our prospects were in the buying cycle, we used Pardot’s dynamic content builder on the CollegePlus website. For example, the message and call to action in our bottom welcome bar changed based on what stage the prospect was in. It was easy to set up in Pardot and our marketing team saw an increase in conversion rates after implementation.
Allie Cappitelli | CollegePlus

List Creation & Workflow Management
As you gather more data on your prospects, you’ll likely use the information captured to create lists around these personas and better market to them individually.

These lists can be used for all sorts of highly targeted activity, ranging from identifying which customers have engaged in a past campaign on a particular topic, to targeting users by geographic area for local events. Once in a list, Pardot will allow you to create workflows, sequences, and drips to hyper-specific sections of your audience, ensuring they won’t be drowned in information and can focus on what’s most relevant to them.

Lead Scoring
With countless users engaging with the site in myriad ways, the potential for automation isn’t limited to creating unique promotions and laser-focused messaging, but helps bridge the gap between marketing and sales by helping folks tell you when they’re ready to buy.

In the hands of a savvy sales team, imagine the power of knowing the second a user who has been an avid reader of your blog and whitepapers decides to review the pricing page. Lead scoring systems assign points to a contact based on how they’ve engaged with you. As they continue to open emails, and visit pages of varying depth you can monitor their decision-making process and know it’s time to strike when they reach a particular threshold, rather than bombard them too soon or miss them too late.

This approach helped Pardot customer, Mediacurrent, increase their qualified leads by 129% YOY.

While marketing automation has a lot more value, it may seem daunting. The good news is that, at Pardot, our Customer Success Group is there for you at every corner. Even if you fully implement only one of the additional features that marketing automation offers, you’ll see a return on both time saved and new, high-quality leads. And isn’t that what every marketer wants?

Email Marketing – Pardot