We only have a few more years before email changes for good. As we start to see advanced email filter/inbox management tools for prioritizing emails, overly personalized messages will soon become overused. Beyond that, you can expect the totally unregulated email environment in the US to change over time. As a result, how we use email in B2B sales today will become less effective, or even obsolete.
Yes, B2B Emails Will Eventually Stop Working
Sit on those thoughts for a second. Sooner or later, email, like all channels before it, will lose its effectiveness. Of course email will still be used, but it will never be as valuable as it was in the good old days….until it makes a comeback in the future.
Right now, email is a fantastic tool. But email is already and will continue to lose effectiveness in direct conversions. Why? Because better filters help us prioritize our inbox and sift through the noise – which we all want, whether or not we admit it. Pretty soon, everyone will be doing personalization at scale – it’s clear this will happen. But make no mistake about it – we still have a few years before we get there. This means that personalization will CRUSH over the next year, so go big on it.
What else is likely to happen in the next few years? The US passing a law that will stop some of the things we can do today. Not as far as GDPR or CASL but still something. Most companies are over indexing on non-permission based marketing right now and eventually it will cause some type of backlash. Until then, cookies, tracking and email remain incredibly useful tools.
Whether or not you agree – you have to admit that it’s important to ask “what’s next and how can I get ahead?” Because there is always a next and someone will always be ahead.
How Can You Prepare?
With this in mind, here is the future we are trying to prepare you for:
- Most companies don’t get LinkedIn right now and will need to get better to compete. Many businesses treat employees like an advertisement for their product. This is a mistake. Your employees’ profiles should show them as individuals and mini-industry experts within the industry you serve. Your company page should show your product/company as an expert, focusing on your content and interactions being real – not simply sharing your white papers or re-shares of your company news. Nobody cares about your company – they care about the salespeople they interact with. People want to do business with someone who is authentic, excels at what they do and understands their needs. This is where social selling comes in – and it’s all about the value you give. Social value giving is a better way to think about it. And so far, companies are focusing on the wrong things on LinkedIn.
2. Pick up the phone, it’s so open right now. Skaled CEO Jake Dunlap asks every CEO and leader he meets this one question: how many emails do you get a day from sales people and how many cold calls? Their answer? Between 15-25 sales email a day and only 1-2 calls. This is why we’re so confident about where email is going. Look at the ratio of noise: where is there a gap and where are people getting pummeled? Yes, people are getting pummeled on email – by all of us. Right now, the phone is too good of a resource. With tools like DiscoverOrg where you can get straight to people, you should be phone heavy right now.
3. Influencers – both online and offline – will become a key way to take meetings. At Skaled, we are running B2B influencer tests over the next 2-3 months because it’s becoming clear that this is an emerging opportunity. Getting industry leaders to advocate for you across channels is too easy not to take advantage of. Then, activating communities offline at scale. So many people are building events around communities and you can activate those communities.
4. Your B2B marketing team will have to get up to speed on Facebook targeting. We all tune out banner ads, so buying generic ads is simply not as good as targeting a person 1-1. You can buy targeted ads for specific pages directly on Facebook and split test with dark posts. This is a no brainer.
5. G2Crowd – It’s real and it’s not going anywhere. If your prospecting team or sellers don’t use G2Crowd to compare features, research the competition or assess your strengths and weaknesses, buyers won’t tolerate it. You will have to be an expert in your domain and not just your product.
This new world sounds really complex – and right now it is. Now, our sales and marketing orgs do brand activities and direct call-to-action inbound/outbound. We have to start to build sales and marketing teams for this new world. This means getting out of your comfort zones and creating cross functional teams. It won’t be enough to rely on the ever breaking predictable revenue funnel of leads -> interest -> meetings set -> meetings ran -> opportunities -> proposals -> deal, based on CTAs across all of your touch points.
B2B email will stop performing at the levels we see today as we continue to saturate the channel – it’s not an if, it’s a when.
Comment, share, and start to prepare.
Follow Skaled on LinkedIn for daily updates and content.