Ebco Trends is a consumer and trend consulting company that helps clients discover new ideas and unexpectedly demanded products, technologies, and business models. Together, Ebco and Belkins set out to increase brand awareness, identify new customers, and book high-quality appointments.
- Hunger for top-quality leads. As it often goes with B2B products, Ebco’s sales cycle was a lengthy process. Moreover, creating case studies was a challenge as tangible results don’t appear for 3-5 years due to the fact that Ebco sells ideas that clients turn into products and services.
- Outbound marketing. Ebco Trends partners with large Fortune 1000 companies and does custom programs, but due to the nature of their service, much of what they do is confidential. Thus, marketing has been a huge obstacle for the company. How do you create a successful outbound campaign if there’s nothing tangible to show proof of? The inability to show what exactly you are selling was the key obstacle, stopping a flow of new leads from flooding into the pipeline.
- Non-tailored outbound marketing. All Ebco’s prior vendors would stick to their usual strategy, refusing to go off the beaten track and devise unique approaches. Ebco wanted to find a partner ready to go further than that and develop a tailored, exclusive lead generation solution.
What We Did
Ebco Trends reached out to Belkins in September 2021, requesting to set five appointments for the first month. Upon seeing Belkins’ quick wins, Ebco upgraded their contract to 10 monthly meetings and wanted the team to reach decision-makers from varying industries.
Here’s how Belkins approached the task:
First, Belkins wanted to ensure there was a large enough target audience. We reached out to not only U.S.-based brands from Fortune 1000 list but also companies with headquarters all over the world. That allowed us to expand the research. The Belkins team kicked things off by figuring out relevant titles for Ebco. We began with Marketing, Innovation, Insights, Brand Managers, and Foresight. After the research, we figured that the Innovation and Insights titles work best.
Doing tech prep
Belkins predicted from the bat that Ebco’s bounce rate would be high. The team was ready to face that challenge. The Belkins deliverability team ensured we had a strong domain reputation, sender score, and inbox health on the tech end. On the marketing end, Belkins would play with the content and reach out to titles with different seniority levels. As expected, it was easier to deliver emails to a Fortune 1000 sales manager than to a vice president. And due to extensive experience and important knowledge, Belkins maintained a top email deliverability rate throughout the year.
After Belkins figured out the desirable recipients of cold emails and ways to bypass spam filters, we started our usual contest called “Find the Right Approach for Each Email Sequence.” We would keep developing different approaches and re-engaging the leads with more valuable content based on their feedback. Here is what we resorted to and implemented when working with Ebco:
- Experiment with long and short reads;
- Develop a storytelling arch for each sequence;
- Alternate different email sections such as case studies, unique fractal map sessions, multimedia, and client testimonials;
- Arrange conference campaigns.
Main Challenges We Faced
Initially, our project went smoothly, but we encountered several problems down the road. Through various tweaks, we were able to beat them and eventually created a successful and predictable model. Here’s what Belkins’s challenges were and how we tackle them on this project:
- Seasonality. Having started in September, Belkins had two full months of unhampered performance. The December-January stretch brought a predictable slowdown, worsened by the high bounce rates we received when we started targeting Fortune 1000 companies. Belkins expanded an ideal customer profile and total addressable market and kept experimenting with cold email outreach approaches to communicate Ebco’s value to prospects.
- Bounce rate. We had pretty high bounce rates because we were reaching out to enterprises that usually use sophisticated spam protection. Our solution? Work closely with the research and deliverability team to find several email addresses of the same people, validate the emails several times, and try to reach lower seniority managers of the ICP leads.
- Working approaches. Belkins took on a pretty challenging project. If other companies found it hard to deliver great results, it gave us an opportunity to experiment and solve the riddle. Finding the right approaches and testing the best ways to communicate the value is Belkins’s go-to lead generation strategy. Thanks to endless testing and experimenting, we re-engaged an old prospect who had been in the pipeline for two years! Ebco ended up closing that big deal!
- Stories about the intangible. The biggest hurdle was that Ebco’s work process and clients were under NDAs. It was impossible to share the trend research details with prospects and promise them immediate results. However, Belkins found a way to craft engaging messages that still gave solid social proof. For this, we examined the client’s blogs and newsletters and worked closely together, brainstorming and communicating.
The client was delighted with Belkins’s performance. Tony Rozanski, Head of Finance and Operations at Ebco, says:
It’s been a great relationship; we’ve worked with quite a few vendors, but what Belkins’s team picked up really is how we do things at Ebco and how they proposed new ideas for us was pretty refreshing.
Belkins’s smart brand awareness strategy is truly what’s responsible for the killer results. We found the right target audience and consistently brought in new appointments. Even during a winter lull period, we did our best to get back to a steady pace. The client succeeded in closing deals from these appointments.
- June was the most successful month when the Belkins team almost doubled the committed number of appointments and booked twenty calls instead of the 10 planned.
- Belkins also managed to arrange meetings with prospects who have already been re-engaged 2-3 times or more.
- Every 5th call results in a proposal. This results from a fantastic synergy between the Ebco and Belkins teams. We bring them leads, and they professionally move them through the pipeline.
- In total, Belkins set 77 appointments and saw 2 deals closed. By the way, the client has been chasing one of the prospects for several years. Belkins’s email outreach resulted in their long-awaited union.
- A/B/C/D testing for every line in an email. The more you test, the better your results will be. We know that sounds like common sense, but we also understand that there’s a lot of data to be collected, which can be confusing or misleading. However, Belkins is known for its extensive testing of every bit of an email campaign. We test messaging, industries, titles, and geographies. The results are telling!
- Every case requires a delicate and unique mix of approaches. Sometimes it takes longer to find the right words and tactics to make the prospect understand the value from the get-go. So while you may have a great product or service, it’s still important to have a well-thought-out sales process. There is no one-size-fits-all solution; this is proof that you must combine email best practices and have a deep knowledge of your client’s value proposition.
- Never get tired of following up. The Ebco case study shows that a little nurturing and follow-ups can pay off significantly over time. For instance, we sent the same message five times but with a different concept, copy, or offer. As a result, the campaign obtained fantastic results and over performance in month 9.
- The importance of teamwork. The success of a campaign comes down to collaboration from both sides. It is crucial that the client’s team is equally invested because it’s impossible to succeed if only one party is Belkins involved. Ebco consistently demonstrated its interest in our techniques which brought all the success. Without their enthusiasm and proactive approach, we never would have reached this level of success!