Email is a top channel for B2B lead nurturing and cross-selling. But users are hampered by the challenges facing B2B marketers in general, judging from a study by the agency BOP Design.
Of those surveyed, 48% lack time and are spread too thin to effectively pursue leads. In addition, 33% suffer from a poor or undefined sales process. And another 33% cite a lack of quality leads, and 23% insufficient budget. But 10% say they have no challenges.
Personalized email campaigns and calls are the top lead nurturing channels, used by 80%. General email campaigns are second (64%). Third is content marketing offers (49%).
The numbers fall for cross-selling, with 55% utilizing personalized email and calls and 41% general email. But personalization, while it remains at the top, is mostly done in a rudimentary way.
"Email is the least you can do from a lead nurturing process--from initial selling to upsetting to cross-selling," says Jeremy Durant, business principal and co-founder of Bop Design.
He adds that his agency sends out a monthly email newsletter and "we get a new project every single time. As a B2B marketer, you need to remain top-of-mind so when the timing is right, your customer thinks of you, and not the competition."
Durant comments that the results are interesting, "especially as the marketing community, by and large, professes that everyone is working to automate lead generation. While marketing automation for personalization seems to work well for B2C marketing strategies, it's not as effective for B2B marketing."
Email is even seen as a source of leads, although it is far from the top one. For over 80%, the primary generator of leads is word of mouth/referral, followed by websites (70%) and trade shows (45%). Outbound email is fourth, with just over 40%.
When it comes to clients as opposed to leads, word of mouth is again No. 1, with half of all customers coming from partners or existing buyers. Next is outbound marketing (presumably including email). A small percentage comes from inbound marketing.
How do they know? Hard to say. Lead attribution ranks low, with only 44% performing it regularly and 28% doing it at times. The remainder don’t do it at all.
Agency co-founder and creative director Kara Jensen observes that "smart B2B marketers have a major focus on lead-generation tactics and activities, and for good reason, since it can either positively or negatively impact an organization's revenue."