One of the sales and marketing hurdles faced by industrial product and service suppliers, is keeping prospects engaged throughout a long sales cycle. With sales cycles often lasting for 12-18 months, it's not uncommon for prospects to become disengaged, at which point it's doubtful they'll convert into paying customers. While there are many tactics available to keep prospects engaged in a long sales cycle, email marketing is arguably one of the most efficient strategies.
Why Should I Use Email Marketing?
According to a study conducted by IEEE GlobalSpec, email marketing is the single most effective marketing channel used by engineers and industrial companies, with 60% of respondents using it. In fact, the study reveals that email marketing trumps tradeshows, social media, websites, search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, direct mail and more.
Email marketing is particularly effective for long sales cycles because it allows suppliers to deliver their best content to their highest quality leads over the duration of the expected project lifecycle. Unlike direct mail, email is delivered almost instantly and is almost perfeclty scalable; meaning the cost to send 1 email can be marginally less than sending 1000 emails.
There are dozens of marketing automation and sales enablement tools avaialble that can make your lead nurturing processs more consistent and less time-consuming for your business development team. Once the workflows are built, click the “send” button, your messages can be delivered over and over again.
Some sales people assume that no one reads emails, but this couldn't be further from the truth. A separate survey conducted by Engineering.com revealed that 97% of professional engineers will consider an email in their inbox. Whether it's scanning the subject line or opening and reading the entire message, engineers will read your messages. However, there are a few things you should know about using email marketing in long sales cycles.
Beware of Spam Filters
The same survey cited above found that 83% of professional engineers use a spam filter. Therefore, you'll need to structure your emails appropriately to avoid them being inadvertently flagged for spam. For starters, be sure to include an unsubscribe link in your emails. You can also reduce your risk of getting flagged for spam by avoiding the use of “trigger” words, such as those described here.
Email Optimization Tips
Here are some other optimization tips to follow when creating your marketing emails: