Pulling the “Trigger” on B2B Lead Generation

Email marketing has come a long way since it began receiving the attention of b2b marketers in and around the year 2000.  Savvy marketers realized the power and convenience, not to mention the low cost, that email marketing afforded.  Eleven years removed, we have seen email marketing's use in b2b literally explode.  Today, you are not in business if you are not communicating digitally with your clients and prospects.  With all of the hype that newer channels such as social media receive, email may seem a bit antiquated as a useful  marketing tool.  Quite the contrary!  Different uses of email marketing have gained traction within the last several years and loosely fall into the category called "Nurture Marketing". 

The term "Nurture Marketing" is a bit broad and mis-used in some cases, leading to confusion and reticence in those who may otherwise benefit from the techniques employed by nurture marketing.   This blog post is meant to introduce you to the concept of  trigger-based email marketing as it relates to B2B lead gen and Marketing to Sales integration in CRM.

Trigger-based emails get their name from the fact that and email is "triggered" by some activity.  Trigger emails began as auto-responders in eCommerce.  They were used to send validation of account creation and confirmation of purchase details.  These auto-responders were an effective way of securing a login to a web/commerce application.  Today, trigger-based emails are used as a core component of nurture marketing campaigns in b2b.  There are a myriad of ways to use trigger based emails and this post will explore some of the more common and easy to implement campaigns driven by trigger based emails.

Defining a trigger-based email:  A trigger-based email is a personalized and automated email communicaton sent to an individual when an action occurs.  Actions can be defined as form submissions, field value changes in CRM, accessing materials via the web...and many more.  The trigger email is pre-built with content that is relevant to the action (trigger).  The email is then activated so when the criteria, a simple form of workflow, is met, the email is physically executed.  Triggers are typically tied to a particular marketing asset (white paper) and  include a moderate to extensive amount of personalization within the subject line/body of the email.  Personalization involves the insertion of merge fields for values such as name, company, sales person-signature.

Again, triggers have their origins in eCommerce with Auto-responders.  Marketers began using the auto-responders for collateral fulfillment.  Today's savvy b2b marketers have taken triggers to the next level with multi-step and multi-variate trigger emails.  The simplest way to define these trigger campaigns is to think of a string of trigger emails that start with "first action" and continue with timed emails that contain content relevant to the first email.  Each subsequent email tends to be slightly more detailed than the last and the "call to actions" contained within the emails become more direct and sales oriented.

The value of trigger-based email campaigns to b2b lead generation cannot be understated.  Think of your website as a lead generation entity in and of itself.  As leads interact with your website, trigger-based email campaigns execute when high-value actions occur.  Imagine you have a white paper posted on your site and the white paper is specific to a vertical market your company sells into.  A well built, and suprisngly easy campaign may look something like this.

  1. A prospect downloads a white paper on your website
  2. A trigger email sends a link to download the white paper to the prospect
  3. Three trigger-days later, a complimentary marketing asset is offered via trigger email
  4. Five trigger days later, the prospect receives a personal email from a sales person offering a product brochure
  5. Seven trigger days later, the prospect receives another email  that invites them to participate in a discovery call

This simple yet effective string of communications is pre-built and 100% automated.  It ensures that each incoming web lead receives a high-level of touches in a short period of time.  No leads fall through the cracks!  As the prospect interacts with the email campaign by opening, clicking...etc, the interactions are logged to the lead record in Dynamics and the sales person receives email alerts if and when the prospect comes back to the website....triggering a phone call.

You can take this a step further and apply workflow that creates sales tasks such as follow up calls, assigned to a rep in CRM if and when the prospect continues to interact with you via the trigger campaign. 

Put simply, this is a b2b marketer's dream!  The workflow is easy to set up and very logical.  Marketing can be sure that proper follow up is occuring for all leads and lead leakage is virtually eliminated from the equation.  Sales is happy because they are communicating with prospects without lifting a finger...freeing them up to work on deal closure. 

SalesFUSION works with many companies in this fashion.  The results from trigger based emails are telling.  Statistically speaking, an email blast or bulk email campaign will typically produce open rates (percent of people who receive the email and physically open it) of 4% to 8%.  Those are good averages.  Trigger based campaigns, on the other hand, enjoy open rates of 35%, 50% and 65% on average.  While you may not be sending thousands of emails at one time, the nurturing effect of trigger based emails means more meaningful touches with valuable prospects.

About SalesFUSION:  SalesFUSION provides an enterprise-class b2b marketing solution that is directly integrated into Dynamics CRM.  A Five-Star rated app on PinPoint, SalesFUSION delivers all of the key functionality b2b marketers need in today's fast-paced web 2.0 world, at a price that companies of all sizes can afford.  Learn about our marketing to Dynamics CRM work in our online resource center.

3 thoughts on “Pulling the “Trigger” on B2B Lead Generation”

  1. The primary marketing departments is to combine the different methods of lead generation to ensure that there is a continuous highly qualified leads that can be converted into sales.

  2. Maegan
    Couldn’t agree more. Many of our clients use a combination of trigger-based emails to nurture prospects and then also leverage the powerful workflow in SalesFUSION to assign tasks to telesales in Dynamics for good ole’ fashioned phone follow. One complements, not replaces, the other.
    Kevin Miller
    EVP Marketing
    SalesFUSION

  3. Email marketing is one way to directly get your services and products across. Although it may be effective, there are some emails that go to Spam. It is still best to have telemarketers follow-up after sending out the e-mails.

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