Andersen is a software development company that provides custom software development services and outsources its skilled developer teams to European businesses on the Information Technology market. The company connects with CEOs, CTOs and the Heads of Information Technology Departments through face-to-face meetings at the prospect’s location.
We needed to compensate for a lack of leads. Each sale added to the total growth of the company. Attracting new resources was a must.
The client invested in hiring, training, and organizing their B2B sales leads teams and task systems. All sales managers manage every stage of sales communication, from taking a call to leading customers through their buyer’s calls.
The client’s sales department works in synergy with the marketing department. Within that, the marketing department is responsible for exploring possible lead generation directions and strategies. The sales teams covered the execution of lead generation tasks related to B2B communication.
The efficiency of this model, however, met the following setbacks:
1) Need for new leads
The client used three main lead generation channels:
- SEO. The client created landing pages with highly optimized content to increase their rank in Google SERP and to gain more online visibility;
- PPC. The client engaged in ad placement on Facebook, Google, and other online platforms, aimed at increasing and maintaining the online presence of their brand;
- Cold emails. The client developed cold outreach emails to explore possibilities for cooperation with a wide range of potential customers.
All business to business lead generation channels showed approximately identical results.
Lead Generation Channels
These results were not enough to meet the high KPIs necessary for advancing up the growth map, long-term.
This situation is not uncommon for B2B sales leads generation. After sending emails to 100 prospects, only one or two prospects will be nurtured into making an appointment and closing a deal. To increase the close rate, it was essential to fuel the sales pipeline with more high-quality leads.
2) Need for email outreach management
B2B email marketing was an important part of the company’s lead generation activities, but it lacked dedicated experts.
Why is it important? In order to deliver satisfying B2B appointment-setting rates, email outreach should cover all of the following processes:
Each of these tasks requires time, research, and human resources. Assigning them to teams from other departments can negatively impact team performance and put extra pressure on your employees. Hiring and training professional teams for working with B2B marketing consumes even more time and money.
Therefore, the client went for the least complicated and the safest option: to hire a team of trained experts from a third-party company specialized in B2B sales and communication.
What we did
Our and Belkins' work models are almost identical.
Since Belkins’ work processes were almost identical to the workflow at Andersen’s in terms of research and approach to sales, we were provided with a detailed Ideal Customer Profile and customer data. This data forms the bedrock for sales and email campaigns. The more detailed the ICP is, the more data our Lead Research teams could deliver to our Support teams and copywriters. We always invite clients to outline every part of their perfect customer in their ICP. The default criteria are the following:
- Company size;
- Customer base;
- Current goals;
- Tech stack.
After discussing goals and targets with the client teams, we performed an in-depth analysis of the client’s market:
- We researched the client’s industry, its pain points, and the most common customer behaviors across a wide range of locations;
- We analyzed the client’s customer base, email domains used for outreach and targeting objectives;
- We evaluated the efficiency of the current email sales templates and each lead generation channel. After that, we made a list of recommendations for the client’s direct email campaigns.
2) Email outreach
After analyzing the client’s mailbox management system, we created Gmail inboxes on the client’s business domain and optimized them for outreach. It’s an important step that should precede all outreach efforts. The quality of future email campaigns is defined by:
In B2B communication, sending emails from public domains harms the credibility of the sender. Using custom email domains for business increases trust and prevents your emails from being labeled as spam;
Every inbox has a sending limit that can be increased by performing activities that boost your Sender Score — not sending too many emails at once, not exceeding the existing sending limit, opening incoming messages and marking them as Important, etc;
3) Sender’s info.
Every sender’s profile must include their real name, their ID photo, and their business data and every email must feature a business signature containing the information about the company. Accounts with a fake name, fake contact data, and location data get redirected to a spam folder or penalized by the CAN-SPAM act.
The client specialized in email campaigns targeted towards scheduling F2F meetings at the prospective buyer’s offices. The main goals of F2F email campaigns were the following:
- To ask prospects about their availability for a meeting;
- To motivate prospects to share their concept of the software development team they want to work with;
- To outline the key benefits of the client’s company in a way that would appeal to each prospect individually.
The tricky part about F2F email campaigns is this type of email requires an awareness of the prospect’s status and an opportunity for meeting sales executives, as well as the use of Calendly and similar tools. The order and date of meetings should be arranged in a way that would allow one sales executive to cover multiple appointments in one trip.
Outreach and monitoring
We started the first month with testing. After writing separate sets of customized English and German templates, we launched A/B testing email campaigns for the prospects located in Germany and Austria.
Why is A/B testing important? It injects a much-needed clarity into a B2B strategy and allows you to implement valuable modifications at the earliest stage of the sales campaign. In the case of campaigns for Andersen, it was important for us to know what language is better received.
In total, we sent over 1,000 personalized emails for each campaign. We monitored our progress closely, keeping the client updated with weekly reports that contained metrics about recent and overall campaign performance.
Every sales team and marketing team follows their individual KPIs. That rule applies to Belkins as well. Their teams delivered everything they were supposed to deliver.
Emails in the German language showed a higher open and reply rate, while the reply rate and the open rate for the English campaign were much lower.
Recent Responses Breakdown
- In total, around 20 meetings were booked. Another 10 potential prospects were engaged in talks with Andersen’s sales executive.
Was that a good result? It was the expected result for the test month. At this stage, we usually map the terrain of work and determine the best type of content and templates. We also implemented our outreach and template customization strategy.
- As a result of template customization and inbox optimization, the next month saw an increase in productivity. Our outreach campaigns for Germany and Austria were delivering from 5 to 10 appointments every 4 days.
Overall Responses Breakdown
- Following the progress with German and Austrian campaigns, nine more teams were assigned to handle outreach for Finland, Norway, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Poland, Switzerland, Denmark, and Hungary.
- We reached a wide range of industries — from FinTech, Insurance, and Banking to such complex industries as Machinery, Oil & Energy. We were interested in any niche that could benefit from custom software development.
Why is it important? Exploring possible synergies across industries allows you to see the potential for growth. It is a viable opportunity to gain a productive source of leads and potential clients from a non-competitive market.
Six months after starting our work with the client, we sent around 30,000 emails, engaged over 2,000 B2B email conversations, and delivered over 200 new appointments.
In total, 10 Belkins’ teams were covering 10 outreach directions. Each region showed a different response rate.
- Campaigns for the Czech Republic, Poland, and Finland demonstrated above 60% Open Rate and over 25% Reply Rate;
- Norway-oriented campaigns brought the largest number of prospects from low-competition industries such as Oil and Energy;
- Campaigns for the UK and the United States proceeded at a much slower pace due to more intense competition in the software development industry in these regions.
- Our teams worked closely with the client’s sales executives. We built flexible F2F appointment schedules and appointment routes for each expert involved.
Why is it important? Our goal was to provide high-value appointments to ensure that there is a synergy between our high-quality prospect data and our client’s sales executives’ skills. Each appointment was assigned to a specific sales manager with the expertise necessary for handling the industry-specific pain points of the prospect.
Currently, our work with the client and our teams have handed more than 200 B2B appointments with high-value prospects over to the client’s sales executives. We review our KPIs and client’s business goals each period to adjust our strategy for the new challenges and business needs. Our assistance has allowed the client’s sales teams to implement new workflow modifications while the marketing department was able to explore new lead generation channels without investing extra budget.
- Email outreach optimization requires a certain amount of time, a well-calculated strategy, and a team of experts for email management and inbox monitoring.
- You shouldn’t expect the team members that cover other important tasks in your company to cover outreach duties as well. It will only result in a loss of productivity.
- Prospects willing to be followed up with later are as important for your business growth as your warm, pre-qualified prospects. You are recommended to create a separate database of “follow up later” titles and develop an individual strategy of nurturing them into customers.
- When looking for an outsourced team, look for a company with a business model similar to yours. It will let you skip the adjustment period and build a steady, transparent communication.