How Belkins Helped Phenome Networks Adjust their Strategy
Phenome provides computer software for seed producing companies as well as research institutes, government organizations, and universities that are involved in plant breeding and plant varieties.
The client was motivated to reach out to us due to the following issues:
- Overextended contact data research. Even though Phenome operated in quite a narrow niche, keeping a sales pipeline fueled with new contact data turned into a complicated, long-term process.
- Complicated email outreach. The issues associated with gathering contact data often transition into problems with the overall email strategy - a solid source of new B2B relationships and connections.
- Lack of consistency. With contact data research and email outreach out of balance, the client had difficulties with securing consistent software demos for potential buyers. It affected the ability of Phenome to keep conversions high and growing.
What we did
1) Data scraping
Our first step was to dig through the client’s own contact database and sift out the best potential candidates. This process is the main part of the account-based marketing strategy, necessary for building an organized sales process.
Why is it important?
Breaking down your client database and organizing it into segments allows you to understand your priorities. For example, you can create A-tier prospects (ones that are the perfect fit for your sales team and are ready for a conversation), B-tier prospects (the ones that need some more nurturing before you can get started with sales), etc. This structure lets your sales rep navigate through their tasks and plan ahead freely, accelerating your workflow and securing more closed deals at the end of the month.
In addition to using available leads, we also started targeting new companies that could be interested in the client’s services. Our attention was focused on geographies with powerful research facilities, e.g. the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Israel, the USA, and Switzerland. Out of those facilities, we targeted academic organizations that were pursuing innovative and reliable means of variety testing.
2) Securing a steady flow of emails
With potential prospects in our sights, we then made sure that Phenome was sending a steady volume of emails to verified addresses.
Why is it important?
Email spam filters pay attention to the sender’s domain performance and the way emails are sent. In order to keep your Sender Score above 0, you shouldn’t go beyond the acceptable limit of messages you can send per day. At the same time, you must keep gradually increasing the number of emails to build up the capacity of your inbox and support your domain’s health. This is what is called inbox warm-up, and it should be in your to-do list once you create a new business inbox.
We used Folderly to monitor inbox performance and remove any possible issues with deliverability or Open Rate before they could affect the campaign.
3) Template crafting
Once our targeting goals were clear, we proceeded with developing an appropriate email outreach strategy. Creating email templates for academic organizations was different from the process of developing templates for seed companies. Firstly, we made a separate set of templates for EU academic societies.
Why is it important?
When it comes to splitting your target audience, you can’t do it without considering specific factors (both internal and external) which may impact the workflow of the organizations you’re targeting.
When it comes to plant variety, every region has particular conditions and goals, so you have to make sure your templates mirror those goals and show that your product meets the requirements. Since academic organizations had to work with large volumes of scientific data, we made sure to accentuate how little time it takes to integrate and use the client’s software.
We went for a rather direct approach, introducing the client’s offer swiftly but at the same time acknowledging the prospects’ contribution to the scientific database and expressing our wish to accelerate their achievements in the future.
Academic organizations and research facilities want as few interruptions as possible. That means that the promise of a cleaner and less time-consuming data processing would interest them more than increasing profits or competitiveness. They also need to see that the vendor is well-educated about their research directions and offers a solution that fits.
In 8 months of our cooperation, we managed to achieve the following results for Phenome Networks:
- Weekly demos. Not a single week went without scheduling a demo with a prospect. It was an incredibly satisfying result that signified that the creative direction for academic societies paid off and was productive enough to build a stable demo calendar. We secured 114 demonstrations for the client in total.
- Response rate increase. After launching an email outreach campaign, we saw a response rate increase of over 20%. Given that 20% is an average performance for business inboxes, going beyond this indicator means a positive dynamic that only needs monitoring and momentum to keep growing.
Refresh your database. If you come across new challenges, it makes sense to scrape your customer database and separate apples from oranges. Some leads would be more viable for you than others. So, before you start changing or adapting your strategy, take some time to review your leads and pick out the ones that align with your new needs and goals.
Build a constant workflow. Consistency is the key to a successful email outreach campaign. Keep those messages flying to your recipients’ inboxes and you’ll have your share of incoming messages to work with. Naturally, it means that you should monitor your inboxes and secure perfect domain health to keep your Open Rate high, so you need a competent mailbox engineer to work on your deliverability.
Be creative. Each segment of your target audience has specific preferences. If you keep that in mind, you’re guaranteed to win your prospects over. In case your prospects contribute to the knowledge database via cases or articles, make sure to acknowledge that contribution and highlight how your product can assist your prospects in their work.
Process each response. All responses matter. Don’t lump all negative emails into one folder. Some of them may be a definite “NO” but some of them may mean “Maybe later” — and there is a difference. Build a structure of folders and labels to make the most out of each interaction with your target audience.