It’s first thing in the morning and your inbox is filled with emails selling products and services. You take a swig of coffee and drop the hammer on the delete key to empty your inbox before really reading the offers.
Unfortunately, this is a common morning for many of us. However, despite this, there are many successful industrial businesses which swear by email as an effective sales tool. They make a strong argument; almost everyone has a professional email address which is monitored consistently. The potential is too great to ignore.
If done properly, the possible reach of email is impressive. However, it is only an effective industrial sales tool if messages are actually being opened and read. So how are the best industrial businesses doing it?
The biggest mistake most people make when sending industrial sales emails is that messages sound as if they have been copied and pasted a thousand times. Unfortunately, in many cases, that’s because they have. Sending identical messages to different prospects is ineffective.
Instead, the most successful businesses make email a personal experience. This goes beyond simply using a prospects’ first name in the introduction. It is about understanding a business, the challenges it faces, and specific goals it likely has.
For clues, read the company website to get information about a business, paying special attention to the news, blog, or press release section for updates. Industry journals can provide helpful information about larger trends and forces a business is likely to respond to. tweet
Using current and relevant information is the best way to grab a prospect’s attention.
For example, a flare stack reseller might mention recent changes to emissions regulations as an opportunity to discuss how they have helped businesses develop emissions plans at facilities across North America. By mentioning the new regulations and highlighting the emissions challenges the company is facing, the email immediately becomes relevant. Engineers and operations staff are likely to give the email more attention than one which generally discusses flare stacks without any context.
Another technique for industrial sales emails is to tap into the specific goals of different job descriptions within an organization. Understanding the type of customer that typically buys a product, and what they do within a company is important to drafting attention catching emails.
Take an industrial automation company for example. It knows that their typical buyer is a plant manager. Most plant managers are concerned with improving productivity and efficiency, by producing more things in less time. A sales email should discuss productivity and highlight specific metrics surrounding efficiency that a plant manager is likely to respond to.
The content of your emails doesn’t matter if they aren’t being opened. An engaging subject line will pique the curiosity of readers and spark a desire for more information. The best subject lines relate directly to the content in the email. Subject lines which tease readers with unrelated content are a recipe for getting deleted or blocked. Subject lines should address direct issues the company or an individual is facing.
Our flare stacker reseller might use the subject “Possible solution for new emissions regulations.” The more specific the better, so if the new emissions regulations have an official name, use it. A subject of “Flare stack clearance” won’t get as much attention. Similarly, the industrial automation provider could use the subject “Improve turnaround time by 12%, rather than “Increase your operational efficiency.”
Instead, they discuss larger challenges or goals that a company or individual has. The Internet has changed the way industrial buyers shop. Once they decide that they need a product, it is easy to look for it. Emails which discuss products directly will be deleted since buyers haven’t decided they need that product yet. However, they are aware of the goals they have for their position or the challenges the company needs to address going forward. Speaking to these points engages readers since they are already thinking about changes that need to be made. The specific products or services which address these issues can be discussed later.
The potential for email in industrial sales is huge. By putting in the effort to understand a business, and buyers, sales teams can draft emails that speak to the specific needs they have. If done correctly, your morning tomorrow could be spent reading email responses, rather than deleting sales promos.
About Martha Boulianne
Martha is the resident marketing lead at ActiveConversion. You'll find her behind much of the content, design, and social media efforts that help continue to grow our online presence. She has spent her professional life developing mad skills in web design and conversion optimization, and spends her time not at work charging around after her family and making things.