B2B sales cycles are getting longer, as companies develop increasingly complex decision-making systems in response to heightened risk, budget worries, and other concerns that can create issues for businesses of any size. In addition to practical concerns, the decision-makers in many businesses simply have so many options for any given choice that evaluating the right course of action can be overwhelming! All of these things, put together, are creating an environment where sales cycles are long and getting longer.
To combat the challenges and burnout of long sales cycles, marketers need to rethink communication plans for extended time periods. Emails, the staple of modern-day marketing, are easy to ignore, especially if potential buyers feel they are not being told anything new or different. At the same time, repetition is critical when it comes to learning information. Just as repetition can help students learn and remember anything from history facts to new languages or chemical formulas, repetition can help potential customers remember information about how your business can help theirs.
So, how do you win in long sales cycles? Direct mail to the rescue! B2B mail offers some perfect opportunities to make a real impact. You can use direct mail and expect a decent outcome when:
A lead crosses an engagement threshold
Try using engagement as the metric for whether or not (and when) to engage a direct mail strategy. Perhaps it’s something simple, like when they’ve opened three of your emails, or perhaps it’s a multi-pronged benchmark, like opening three emails and staying subscribed for a full 90 days.
The idea is that this benchmark, whatever it is, should indicate a significant signal of buyer interest. Direct mail at this point can help turn a lead into a sale, since they’re already demonstrating that they are interested enough to engage with your brand.
A lead needs a nudge
Similar to the above instance, these are the moments where you can tell that there’s interest, but the potential customer hasn’t yet taken that plunge to become an actual customer. Your job is to figure out what’s stopping them and solve that problem.
For instance, maybe this lead keeps looking at emails, but never downloads a white paper or takes advantage of a free demo. What can you do to turn that interest into action?
You can stand apart from the competition
Direct mail can help your brand stand out from the competition. After all, in today’s digital age, everyone sends emails (and a lot of them!). In all likelihood, comparatively few of your competitors will be sending physical direct mail. You can stand out and stand apart by sending a physical mailer instead – you’ll definitely make an impression!
You can show appreciation
Cultivating a customer base isn’t just about attracting people to your brand. It’s also about giving them reasons to stick around. Remind your customers how much you appreciate them, even if it’s just small interactions, and create an ongoing, positive impression of your brand.
Perhaps your lead did something significant, like participating in a webinar. You can use direct mail to show appreciation and lay out the path to the ultimate benefits the lead gets if they purchase your product. After all, who doesn’t like being appreciated?
You can create connection
It’s the goal of any marketing strategy: create a connection with customers so that they not only purchase your product or service but keep coming back loyally and telling others to do the same. By using direct mail, you can create a more personal touch, showing the effort you’re putting into building a relationship with each potential customer.
Using direct mail is a way of really investing in leads, especially those that fit your ideal customer profile. It’s a different experience than an email. You can use it to tell a longer story in an interesting, creative way. You can still tie in a digital promotion by giving those recipients access to special online content or a unique event.
Direct mail is the key to making a splash in an increasingly complicated market. The right message at the right time with a printed mail piece helps you stand apart from competitors. You can measure ROI by factoring the effect of mail into your marketing attribution model. Direct mail showcases your expertise, reminds potential customers of your value, and engages more senses. All of these benefits help ensure that you land in your buyers consideration set when they are ready to buy.