Entries Tagged as 'Direct mail marketing'
Step 6: Determine how many new inquiries or responses are needed to generate enough qualified sales leads to meet your goals.
Research conducted on B2B sales lead conversion across industries shows that, of those who buy:
- One in four buys within six months.
- Another one in four buys within the next six months.
- Another one in four buys within the third six months.
- The final one in four buys after eighteen months.
Simply said, three out of four sales opportunities are from the longer-term leads. So even though it may be tempting to create an occasional, dramatic marketing program that drums up a large number of new leads—so you can skim the ones that are ready to buy now—you are actually better off investing in an ongoing series of marketing-for-leads programs.
|To download the complete guide as a PDF, visit B2B Marketing-for-Leads Guide.|
To get those additional three out of four sales opportunities, use direct marketing to nurture your longer-term sales opportunities until they are sales-ready. Consider creating a series of marketing messages that rotate through, say, the three biggest benefits of your products or services and related offers or calls-to-action. Send them to prospects monthly—one, two, three, repeat—effectively staying in-sight and top-of-mind as prospects move from awareness to inquiry, then from inquiry to consideration and purchase.
A big part of a business-to-business sales lead generation success is having a database or list of the right companies, and the right contacts at those companies, to target with your direct marketing.
Your in-house database of customers, sales rep additions and past inquiries is often your best source of new business sales leads.
However, business-to-business marketers often need additional companies and contacts to market to in order to get enough qualified leads into the sales pipeline.
The good news is that there are lots of business-to-business lists or databases available.
Some are categorized as “rental lists” which are generally “rented” for limited, usually one-time, use.
Rental lists are often appropriate for single touch direct marketing campaigns. Or for testing response from new markets, industries or niches.
A good place to start looking for these rental lists is NextMark, which lets you search more than 60,000 mailing lists, email lists, and telephone lists from hundreds of vendors.
However, for best results, I usually recommend that B2B marketers use ongoing, multi-touch campaigns aimed at well-targeted groups of prospective companies and contacts.
Fortunately there are a number of B2B database companies that allow you to buy a license for ongoing use of the company and contact information you select from their databases. This ongoing use is typically limited by the license to a single year. Some of these companies also provide access to their entire database for ongoing use, on an annual or monthly subscription basis.
Here’s a sampling of companies that offer licenses to their B2B databases for ongoing use:
- Experian’s database includes 16 million U.S.A. businesses.
- FirmaGraphix’s database includes approximately19 million U.S.A. business records and 26 million contact names.
- GuideStar’s database of non-profits gives you access to 3.3 million contacts at more than 5,000 organizations.
- Harris InfoSource’s Selectory Database includes 15 million businesses in the U.S.A. and Canada.
- Harte Hanks CI database profiles up to 10 different technology areas at more than 650,000 North American locations, and includes more than 1.5 million technology decision makers and influencers at over 600,000 small to medium businesses and large enterprises throughout North America, Latin America, and Europe.
- InfoUSA database includes more than14 million US businesses.
- Jigsaw is an online directory of more than 7 million business contacts.
- MeritDirect’s B2bBase includes over 60 million names compiled from more than 500 B2B and hi-tech lists.
- Netprospex is a relatively new source of contacts (over 2,400,000 accurate business contacts across 350,000 companies) including difficult-to-find mid-management decision makers across North American businesses.
- Scott’s Directories Canadian corporate database includes 162,000 companies as well as medical, government and association databases.
- Zapdata gives you access to D&B’s business information on 14 million US companies.
- ZoomInfo allows you to access profiles and contact information for more than 37 million people and 3.5 million companies.
As you can see, some of these databases cover virtually every business. Others focus on specific industries or niches.
Which of these or other B2B lists or databases have you used for lead generation?
Please share your comments about these or other marketing databases or lists you have used for B2B lead generation:
- Which have you had the most success with, and why?
- Which are best for reaching specific industries or job functions?
- Which do you recommend against, and why?
While catching up on my business reading, I noticed an article by Carol Krol, senior reporter in the May 7, 2007 issue of BtoB magazine summarizing a recent research report entitled B-to-B Direct Marketing Benchmarks: From Lead Generation to Customer Retention, 2007 Edition by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA).
According to the research, 42.9% of business-to-business marketers’ budgets was allocated to direct response communications. Meanwhile 16.1% was spent on brand advertising and 13.7% was spent on trade shows.
What are my thoughts about these numbers? I believe B2B marketers should focus the largest portion of their budget on generating responses, leads and sales, and let brand and awareness come along for the ride.
However, if I’m correct in my belief that the folks being surveyed for this research were largely members of the DMA, and as such they have a bias towards direct response, I wonder if the percentage being earmarked for direct response isn’t actually lower across B2B marketing in general.
Carol went on to report that within the direct response category, direct mail gets the biggest share at 27.5%.
This also got my attention. Why? Because, in seems to me that a large number of business marketers are blindly in love with e-mail–even though less and less of it is getting through email filters and is actually being delivered to prospective customers–and have reduced or abandoned their use of printed direct mail.
Yet, the business marketers surveyed by the DMA, are still investing the largest share of their direct response marketing in direct mail.
Here’s what I think the reason is: Most direct marketing professionals track and measure their marketing, including counting the responses, qualified leads and sales that result. So maybe they know something that the rest of the business marketing community doesn’t: direct mail works.
1. Cover Letter: Include a cover letter whenever you are sending printed materials. Acknowledge the request, give a few bullets of feature/benefit copy and direct the reader to the next action.
2. “Where to Buy”: if you sell through field sales people, independent representatives, resellers or distributors, be sure to include “where to buy” information in your packages. Some options are a list, maps, and mail-merging the appropriate info directly into the cover letter. Include the sales contact’s name, title, company, address, phone, fax, and email and Web site addresses.
3. Pre-Mark the Hot Zones: If you are mailing multi-product brochures or catalogs to inquirers who asked about a specific product, mention the appropriate page numbers in the cover letter, or use a Post-It(R) Note or paper clip to mark the pages.
4. Find the Influencers: If your company’s products involve a complex sale, influenced by non-decision-makers, include a question on all reply forms asking for the names of others at their company who would like to receive information on your products or services. Add these people to your mailing list or database. Approaching the decision-maker from multiple points can be very effective.
5. Pass It Along: If you mail a free newsletter or catalog to prospects or customers, include a built-in reply card or coupon that can be used by pass-along readers to request their own subscription.
6. Keep Your Data Fresh: Periodically include a reply card or form requesting readers to confirm their interest in continuing to receive the newsletter. Ask readers to update their contact information. Also include a few qualifying questions about their product interest, application, buying role, time frame, etc.
7. Check the Rates: Postal rates change more often than they have in the past. According to the Direct Marketing Association, postage is typically 40% of the cost of sending out catalogs. A 10-page catalog may cost the same in postage as a 35-page catalog. Don’t miss the chance to showcase more of your product line.
With my clients, I’ve found that these tips increase direct mail sales leads, response–and results. Do you have a tip to share? Let our readers know in a comment.
First, determine who your best customers are, then target direct marketing efforts at companies who are similar.
Rank current customers by three criteria:
* How much revenue they represent
* How profitable each customer is
* How well their needs “fit” what you have to offer
Then look for similarities among the unique attributes of these top customers.
* What industries are they in?
* What is similar about how they use your products?
* Are they large, medium or small?
* Where are they located?
* Who are the key decision-makers and what are their titles?
You can also purchase some outside lists of companies and contacts that match and add them to your direct mail campaign.
Focus your marketing with these direct marketing strategies and you’ll improve the overall quality of your campaigns.
Direct mail marketing is an important method with which to communicate with potential leads. Direct mail marketing can provide awareness of your product or service, and direct mail marketing also keeps your product in the prospect’s mind. Even if they don’t buy now, this is a way to keep in touch until they do.