There are those on sales and marketing teams who look at email prospecting for what it is: a slow, nurturing process in addition to their normal sales cycles. Others make the mistake of viewing it as a shortcut. Here’s why email prospecting should not be confused with an order-taking service, and why thinking otherwise is a B2B lead generation myth.
Prospects Don’t Know Anything About You — Yet
B2C purchase decisions may happen on a whim, but B2B is a whole different story. Depending on your industry and the price tag associated with your product and/or service, your potential customers will need time to evaluate your company, learn to trust you as a market resource, and verify that they have a need for what you offer.
They’ll also have plenty of competitor emails to sift through asking for the same business, which means you need to make sure that you’re not getting lost in all of that digital noise by looking like a canned sales message.
Plus, the sad reality is that cyber crime through email is still a very real threat, and plenty of spam messages are still sent out every day. This makes it harder for marketing emails to filter through to some inboxes, and makes recipients more cautious before considering new business.
Why Some Think Email Is an Order-Taking Service
B2B marketers would be ecstatic if all it took to get people to buy was sending a single email. We’ve seen companies that thought adding an email prospecting service would give them an influx of closed deals within the first couple of months. That’s an unrealistic expectation, regardless of how many emails are sent to generate quality leads.
The misconception about email being an order-taking service likely stems from the following assumption: if you’re contacting thousands of people, surely someone wants what you offer right now.
We’re not saying that they don’t — but we are saying it’s unlikely that they’ll be willing to buy from you immediately when they don’t know who you are. While the need may indeed be there, email can’t replace the work that needs to be done to build trust with decision-makers, get them to engage with your services, and qualify them further. Doing so often requires multiple lead generation campaigns. These can certainly be automated to make them easier to send to a large contact database, but leads will still need time to warm up to the idea of having conversations with you.
How Long Does Email Prospecting Really Take?
Add six months (minimum) to your normal sales cycle if you want a better estimate for how long it takes a cold lead to become a closed deal. Again, this depends on a few factors — your industry, your products and services, your competition, and individual leads themselves — and it may turn out that you close some deals sooner or later than that estimate. But, generally speaking, you shouldn’t expect to see immediate deals. What you should see is a growing database of verified, engaged leads who will continuously feed into your normal sales funnel and give your SDRs plenty of contacts to follow up with.
Not a B2B Lead Generation Myth: Email Prospecting Still Works
We don’t want you to feel discouraged about email. It’s still demonstrated consistently how it’s the best solution for B2B marketers to get in touch with the companies they want for new business. We’re simply asking you not to expect a sales unicorn that will replace the groundwork that still needs to happen.
What we can do is walk you through how prospecting was performed for the clients we’ve helped, and the factors that were involved in their success: from the sources and types of data used to qualify leads, to the content that provided lead nurturing, to the website recommendations that drove traffic to lead magnets and forms for further engagement.
When you’re ready to talk more about your email prospecting and lead generation process, click the link below to schedule a free consultation.