Sending emails to engage and nurture target accounts throughout the buying journey is a crucial element in an Account Based Strategy (ABM). Because the B2B buyer’s journey is almost 90% research, email is an essential channel of communication. It acts as a relationship-building tool for key stakeholders in your target accounts and helps move prospects through the buying journey.
The Modern B2B Buying Journey
The way buyers interact with suppliers is changing fast. In the past, B2B sales relied solely on interactions with sales reps. The sales rep was the end-all be-all of the B2B sales process. They were the people with all the product knowledge, and buyers had confidence that sales reps would guide them through the buying process, working with them to find the best product solution to fix their unique pain point.
This isn’t the case anymore. Modern B2B buyers place less value on sales reps. Instead, they place more value on their own research and rely on a digital buying experience. In fact, surveys have shown that buyers currently spend equal amounts of time on supplier’s websites as they do with sales reps. And this trend won’t reverse as Gen Z and Millennials are particularly skeptical of sales reps.
Between generational shifts in buying preferences and the average number of suppliers competing per deal, sales reps only have about 5% of a buyer’s time. These trends show no signs of slowing. B2B suppliers need to be smarter and more efficient with their digital marketing efforts, exploiting all the available channels and utilizing more targeted marketing approaches like ABM. Leveraging channels like email enables companies to increase customer touchpoints and create a comprehensive marketing experience across multiple channels.
The Benefit of Adding Email Marketing to Your ABM Strategy
Traditional ABM is a way for enterprise B2B sellers to better align sales and marketing toward best-fitting accounts. Together, sales and marketing develop ideal customer profiles (ICPs) in order to target prospects and generate leads that are more relevant and have a higher probability of becoming closed-won.
As the modern buying process becomes more digitized, B2B organizations must prioritize a digital-first go-to-market approach. What this ultimately means is the future of effective B2B selling lies in creating a tailored, customer-centric account-based strategy, also known as account-based experience (ABX).
ABX focuses on creating rich digital experiences that reflect the buyer journey from problem identification to purchase decision. This approach unifies the efforts of all business units to create one cohesive, educational journey. In order to create a cohesive buying experience, B2B sellers need to take advantage of every channel available. And as channels go, email is still one of the most important.
How To Use Email In a Cohesive ABM/ABX Strategy
The Power of Email
Email is a versatile marketing channel. It has the best ROI of any other marketing channel, returning $38 for every $1 spent. Beyond that, email is inexpensive, easy to implement, and allows for high degrees of automation. There simply is no substitute for email when it comes to engaging your customers, compelling them to take action, or improving your brand awareness. In an ABM marketing program, there are a few main ways to implement emails.
The Different Uses of The Email Channel
There are three main types of emails in an ABM strategy. The house email, the nurture email, and the gray email.
In a house email, individuals have opted into your email communications through paid ads, newsletter sign up, or in-person information sharing (trade shows). Typically a house email is sent from the company’s domain. These emails are personalized and relevant, containing content to keep prospects informed with thought leadership. The house email strengthens the relationship with prospects and helps influence key decision makers.
Nurture emails are sent to individuals that have opted into your email communications strictly from inbound paid channels. They are meant to engage and educate buyers over an extended period of time. Nurture emails are personalized based on specific account segments or for individual stakeholders.
Because the recipient has opted in from an inbound paid channel, the email’s content can be more targeted, addressing specific pain points, providing pointed insights, offering relevant success stories, or sharing useful industry news. Overall, the nurture email is designed to keep accounts engaged with your company’s insights until they are ready to make a buying decision.
A gray email is usually sent to a purchased list of names based on industry, persona, and company size. These emails are meant to trigger target accounts that fit your ICP. Gray emails are typically less personalized than house emails or nurture emails. You also need to be careful with graymail. If you’re sending emails to unengaged accounts or the contacts don’t quite fit your ICP, future emails to that contact might find their way into the junk folder.
ABM Email Best Practices
Whether it’s a house email, a nurture email, or a gray email, there are a couple of universal best practices for B2B emails.
Write great subject lines
The subject line is the first thing that someone sees. So it better be good. The average professional receives approximately 120 emails per day. They also spend 28% of their time reading and answering emails. If the subject line doesn’t stand out, then the email will just get lost in the shuffle.
A good subject line is impactful and catchy. It draws the reader in and makes them want to know more. Here are a few tips for writing good subject lines.
- Keep it to 60 characters or less
- Use emojis sparingly
- Don’t use all caps
- Use data when it makes sense
- A/B test to find out what works best
Make it personal
Emails should be as personalized as possible. Things like using the recipient’s name can go a long way to making a connection. People need to feel like their unique issues and pain points are understood, and bland, generic emails simply won’t cut it.
Give them a reason to contact you.
Your call to action (CTA) is key. With every email, it needs to be as clear as possible about what action the recipient should take. It also needs to be as easy as possible for them to take that action. Unclear CTAs and complex actions are the best way to get an email sent to the trash bin.
RenderTribe Account-Based Strategy
Email is a powerful marketing tool, and adding it to your ABM strategy is a cost-effective way to create a comprehensive ABX. At RenderTribe, we’ve supported B2B growth-stage companies in designing and implementing account-based strategies since 2012. Our approach is rooted in helping our B2B clients achieve sustainable growth by driving account engagement with a strategy built on market fit and relevant signal data.
Our team includes ABX and channel experts to help design a sales and marketing strategy aligned with your unique goals and needs. Ready to get started with ABM but need an experienced team to help you define your ICP and put your strategy in place? Let’s talk!