Email Marketing for B2B: finding 60 people in the world who will pay €150,000
Olga Rybalchenko was speaking at the 2021 Email conference about the difference between B2B and B2C markets, and B2B marketing tools using the examples of cases.
Transcript of the speech
Hi there! My name is Olga Rybalchenko. I’m the COO at Roman.ua agency.
Today I’d like to talk about the B2B market — which is when we work with corporations rather than with certain people. Email marketing can work miracles, provided that you implement it correctly in the B2B funnel. Today I’m going to use a case to show you how to find 60 people in the world who will bring you € 150,000.
I have worked as a PPC expert as well as email marketer, a web analyst, a head of marketing department in a large online store, and now I’m working at Roman.ua agency, which is a boutique internet marketing agency.
We work mainly with niches such as B2B, SaaS and grocery companies. Our clients’ markets spread practically all over the world — in Europe, America, Asia. We specialize in areas which are traditional for internet marketing: PPC advertising, email marketing, web analytics, complex marketing. We’ve worked with many companies including iDeals, Fedoriv, LNZweb, AJAX, MacPaw, Smarty.Sale, Kingston and TripMyDream.
How B2B is different from B2C
Before discussing B2B email marketing, it’s important to distinguish B2B from B2C. Let’s focus on 3 key things.
When we talk about B2B, unlike B2C, B2B doesn’t have traffic — it has people. It’s not women aged 25+ who are clicking on your advertisement. It’s a very concrete marketing director from, say, the FMCG segment in Italy. In B2B, we work with people and specific user portraits.
In B2B marketing, it’s paramount to provide value
In B2B marketing, it’s paramount to provide value. We are not talking about some momentary offer, a discount or a sale. We are saying that a company in B2B marketing is chosen only if it will bring value, because the deals are very long, the sales process is very long. For example, if a company chooses a CRM integrator, a CRM project can take years, and you need to understand that you must constantly generate value.
Any kind of promo in B2B is not a short-term flight, mailing, and remarketing launched. This is a very long-term work, it is very expensive, because it involves acquisition managers, retention managers and sales processes. This means that in B2B you need a really good ‘factor of safety’ in terms of financial strength and patience because the results won’t be seen in the same quarter, month and, sometimes, even in the same year.
Traditionally, a funnel in B2B looks like this. And email marketing, in my opinion, is extremely important in the first 2 steps.
Email in the B2B funnel
People are leads, that is these are some cold emails that we received somewhere or these are just people who have subscribed to the newsletter. The whole email marketing then is focused on turning a MQL lead into a SQL one. What does this mean? A MQL lead is the one which has shown itself somehow — downloaded white paper, subscribed to the newsletter, is interested in some of your webinars. That is, the person has done something deliberately on your website and left their email. А SQL lead is the one that has been validated, warmed and we’ve put them on track for working with sales managers. And this is the only reason we need their email.
ABM or Personal Marketing?
Before starting email marketing for B2B, you need to decide, generally, whether you are going to work in an account-based or personal marketing field. What does it mean?
The first option means that companies choose companies, and it’s basically unimportant which company chooses you. The second option is personal marketing aimed at certain positions. This doesn’t change the marketing strategy entirely, but you will need different tools.
Target audience sear and collection
- Companies they work in
- Their positions and area of responsibility
- Which platforms and journals they read
- Company characteristics: number of people, last year growth, sphere, investments
When it comes to B2B marketing, we always have very few people who have subscribed to the newsletter themselves. They somehow got into our database, meaning that there was a good Double Opt-In. It’s important to understand that most people we are going to work with are cold bases, and we have to find them ourselves. Therefore, before starting to search for the cold mailing base for any outreach, you need to get a clear target audience portrait.
Target audience portrait
The target audience in the case of B2B is not women 25+ from Donetsk, it is specific people who work in certain positions in certain companies. And these companies also have characteristics — for example, the number of headquarters around the world, or, for example, over the last year, these companies have grown by such and such a number of employees, or this person has been working in such a position for at least this many years. That is, all these things need to be very clearly imagined, because communications in B2B marketing are expensive, you can’t just work with everyone on the market. These are approximate questions to ask yourself and your marketing department in order to build this audience portrait.
Tools for ABM
There are so many great solutions now to understand which companies you need to work with and interact with — LinkedIn Insights Tag, Albacross, Leadfeeder. Put all these codes on the website. If you have traffic, after some time you can see: people from what companies visited your website.
Why is this important? For example, you have a telecom company and people start visiting it, well, let’s fantasize, from Disney. So, someone in the Disney company had a need for a telecom. Your website is not for entertainment, so people are looking for something. This will make your sales manager better prepared, he or she can make a call themselves, he or she can start making inquiries.
You need to analyze your database, to conduct a competitive analysis.
Regular work and replenishment of leads
To work with emails in B2B, it’s necessary to replenish the email database on a regular basis, both cold and warm ones.
Now, what is necessary for the cold database replenishment?
There is a process called email scraping. And there is a paid-for tool — LinkedIn Sales Navigator, which is around €50 per month. Plus, you need profiles in LinkedIn, you need to set up replenishing this database.
You also need to collect subscribers to your newsletter. In order to collect subscribers, in order for them to subscribe themselves, there is this thing connected with content distribution. You need to generate useful content to become top-of-mind for your future customer. So, the moment this business thinks about email marketing, they immediately remember eSputnik, for instance. This conference is an example of such content marketing. That is, first, we do the conference, then they have our emails, then they will send us something, offer something, and, maybe, some of those who are present here will convert to eSputnik customers.
All of this really works. This is not SEO’s fantasies in order to sell content marketing. If it is valuable, truly important content, people will download it, subscribe and leave you their emails.
How to replenish the lead database?
How to replenish the cold lead database? The cold lead base in B2B is extremely important, and, most probably, even more important than the warm base because the latter will be very small. The cold base is tens of thousands of emails and contacts which you have to collect.
There is a way to collect the base manually. Say, you hire an intern, a student, who processes all the company’s listings which you are interested in. For instance, you are interested in wine companies from the USA. There are lots of listings, the person just scrolls them manually one by one and notes down the email addresses.
There are open databases. It’s possible to generate name+surname@domain. It’s possible to check whether this email exists in catalogs. In Ukraine, there are databases of Individual Entrepreneurs, which, as far as I know, can be parsed or bought. There will be emails and open data.
There is LinkedIn Prospector, which is a LinkedIn tool that allows you to download emails of specific LinkedIn profiles.
There are great paid-for services of email search, such as Snov.io, SignalHire.
All these things can be used to regularly replenish the cold lead database.
B2B email marketing exemplified by Clients’ cases
Ideals VDR: Whitepapers
- Founding year2015
- Turnover over the last 5 years$50,000,000
- Таргетингall over the world
Here is a case of one of our Clients. Ideals VDR is a Ukrainian company, but this is a huge enterprise which conducts transactions worth hundreds of millions of dollars. For instance, purchasing a bank in Brazil. In order for such transactions to be secured, the bank and the buyer register in this system, then a data room is organized there — so that it is possible to conduct this transaction very safely. For example, they make whitepapers, some traffic comes there, and then people who click on this whitepaper, they fall into our funnel. Further on, sales people can communicate with them, and after some time, even after a year or two, they, having warmed up this lead, can understand whether this service is interesting to this person at his job or not.
M&A Community: Ideals VDR project (webinars)
Let’s take a similar project — M&A Community from Ideals. It also makes a series of Mergers & Acquisitions webinars, this is when companies buy other companies or merge with them. They conduct webinars all over the world. They target them — for instance, a webinar on restaurant business in Portugal. Later on, people who signed up for this webinar get into a segment of those who, say, ‘make decisions in restaurant business’ and further on, sales managers work with them and grow these leads.
Energy Storage World Forum Case
- Conference organized since2009
I’ll say that again. The whole previous pool of work is aimed at the following: You have to create an unstoppable flow of cold leads, — that is, a database you are going to work with and an unstoppable flow of people who will sign up for you and opt in into your database. Now, using a case, I’m going to tell you how to mix all this up and eventually make it lead to sales.
B2B Marketing tools
So, Energy Storage World Forum is a conference on alternative energetics. Generally, not a single company taking part in it rings a bell for me or you. In our consumer segment, we know, for example, Tesla. But the conference I’m talking about is for big suppliers and transporters of alternative energy. For example, a large solar power center in Australia, which is practically impossible to get to. These people don’t search for ‘conference on alternative energy’ on Google. So, how do you get them to the conference with an entrance fee of €5,000-6,000?
First of all, we get a brief from the client: who we are interested in, people from what industries, what positions they occupy, where they work, in which companies and where geographically. This is just one of the segments.
Points of leads collection on the website
This is followed by activities on the website. This website doesn’t look expensive — it’s not some kind of a motion design or anything. This is a very simple website, but it’s got lots of contact points attached to it. This means that in order to get any useful information, you need to, say, download a programme, learn about some whitepapers — you need to leave your email. So, it doesn’t have to look beautiful, but any contact point should be worked through. This is Double opt-In.
We begin sending people chains of emails. That is, as soon as the person got interested in our conference, we snow them under with emails: ‘Why you should visit this’, ‘And here’s what this speaker going to tell you’, Take a look at our last year event’, ‘And here are exclusive slides from the past conferences’. So, we are warming up the person who has subscribed, we don’t let them forget about us. We mix this together with some persuasive blocks, for example, on professional topics, plus, the advantages of our conference, some rare promos.
By the way, this client hasn’t sold almost anything with promocodes. It was a kind of experiment to understand whether people need a promocode in the first place.
Simultaneously, we send a regular newsletter, sending emails to these people once a week, once every 10 days — with the latest news in the field of alternative energy. That is, they do not go to a bunch of websites, we make news, we rewrite them, we collect all the most relevant news, and in the mind of this person we build an image that to learn everything about alternative energy, they need to read our newsletter.
Personal invitations to the past years delegates
All of this goes together with pseudo-personal emails. Here there is no layout, such as ‘You were there last year, how about coming again this time’, or ‘We know that in your company you are interested in energy, here is a group ticket’. We mix such promo, elaborate newsletters with pseudo-personal communications.
By the way, in B2B it is not even necessary to send something from MailChimp, eSputnik or other services, you can simply send from your inbox. That is, there are still services for such mailings — cold emails — but your box also works, you just need not to be a mass sender there, and you can send 20 letters a day.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator: lead search
The task of all this email communication is to convert people who have voluntarily subscribed to you. But the main sales don’t come from them. The main sales are generated by those who we somehow found in LinkedIn, in open sources, and got their reply: will they buy our ticket or not..
How is this done? There is a LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Highly recommended. There is a free tariff — one month, and then, if you want to cancel, you’ll be given two more months as a present — so it’s a long process.
They have a really cool filter for people. You can find, for example, all people who have ever worked at eSputnik, for example, by any geo, any links that they clicked on LinkedIn. So, there are a huge number of cool filters, plus it is constantly learning and prompting you.
So, we chose the audience that I was just talking about. Let’s say, there was such a quick search as I did specifically for the conference. We found 630 people through these filters. There is a photo, a company name, how many years they have been in this position — everything that is there on LinkedIn. Then, we save these people in the list, in the service list on LinkedIn, and go to the TexAu service.
TEXAU: automation service
Also highly recommended. This service is similar to Zapier — these are automation services. They have written lots of APIs for services. Personally, having discovered TexAu for myself, I constantly catch myself thinking: “It’s such a cool service — what else can I do here?’. You can, for example, pull all subscribers from your page. A very good service.
Here is an example of automation that can be done here. This service can send a message to all your LinkedIn contacts substituting the names for each one. It saves a lot of time, really.
TexAu: LinkedIn profiles export
So, what can TexAu do? TexAu can process your search on LinkedIn and put all the 630 people you have found into Excel, and parse them all, showing the name, the surname, position, years, and the link to their LinkedIn profile.
What’s next? You can put these people into remarketing on LinkedIn, so specifically they will see you. You can find emails of all these people.
TexAu: sending connection request
After that, TexAu has got a great automation tool. You can download a list of people you have found and send them all a message inviting them to connect on LinkedIn. In this message, you may write ‘Hi, Dmitriy, I’ve found your profile. I’ve noticed you’re interested in energetics. Let’s connect on LinkedIn. By the way, I’m organizing a conference.’ You can offer commercial stuff there, such as ‘Download our White Paper’, and convert it further.
So, what’s the task? By touching so many people, you increase the number of OptIn users who deliberately subscribe to you. Be ready for the conversion of about 1% just for the opening in such a cold flow. Therefore, the databases should be replenished regularly. The larger your base of such contacts, the higher the chance of them opening your message and communicating with you further.
Here is a fact: one ticket sold to this conference amounted to roughly 5,000 cold contacts that we collected on LinkedIn and on all manual databases. That’s why, you should be working on it all the time, you should start a year before the conference. You shouldn’t suddenly remember that you don’t have enough people some three months before the conference.
LinkedIn INMAIL: 4 alternatives tested
LinkedIn has got such a cool feature as InMail. This is a tool similar to cold mailings. That is, you take the people you have found, launch advertising for them — to let them see our logo, not to contact them out of the blue — and then we can launch cold mailings. We can test different kinds of messages. It also works very well. In the West, nobody will be surprised at the price of $3-4 per click. The price in LinkedIn will be very comparable, but at the same time it is a much stronger touch than just PPC advertising.
After the promo — not less important
All in all, the whole complex of activities conducted for B2B sales is aimed at creating an interest in the audience that doesn’t know you yet. This is a lot of work, it’s systematic and long-term. And it’s very important not to stop it after the promo, because starting this whole B2B thing from anew is immensely hard.
After the event
Therefore, the moment a promo is over we start everything from the very beginning: send newsletters, how everything went, ‘recommend us’, ‘sign up for the next year’.
Thank you! I was trying to make it in 20 minutes. If you have any questions, please ask them.
Does your company need B2B marketing??
We know from experience how to attract target customers
What other B2B marketing tools are there?
OLGA RYBALCHENKO: Well, there are many. It’s LinkedIn Insights Tag, it’s Leadfeeder, Albacross. They are shown on one of the slides. To Google them, try ‘account-based marketing tags’. This technology is very popular, there’s a lot of it. Some of the tools are paid for, but Insights Tags is free. And, by the way, it’s interesting that in the West, for example, LinkedIn is truly popular. They really use it. You should place your content there, write there, and support this social network actively.
How do you not get into spam, while doing all this?
OLGA RYBALCHENKO: Yes, right. First of all, if we talk about LinkedIn, when we send them a request to connect, there is no such thing as ‘unsubscribe’ and ‘bounce’. We either get a reply or not. On top of that, LinkedIn has got limits, which nobody knows exactly, on how many requests you can send a day. Approximately, 50-60. So, LinkedIn will not allow you to spam. Therefore, you need several profiles which will generate this. This is what concerns LinkedIn.
If we talk about unscraped emails, there are special platforms — for instance, Reply.io. They will, first of all, allow you to send fewer than 100,000 emails a day. So, this will be some limited mailing. And yes, there will be lots of unsubscriptions — but this is what cold mailing is all about. They also have their own warmed IPs.
If we talk about B2B marketing, at the beginning, we create emails, warm IPs, that is, send white mailings from them. It takes very long for this particular email to become safe in Gmail, and then, step by step, we start sending cold mailings from it. Therefore, I say that this work is very long, you can’t just make 20,000 emails in a month and that’s it. It should be done bit by bit throughout the year.