Email: Everybody's doing it. And they're doing it a lot. A study by McKinsey Global Institute and International Data Corp. found that the average worker spends 28 percent of his or her workweek reading and answering emails. That makes email seem like an obvious choice for sales—if it's everyone's preferred method of communication, it should be your top way of reaching prospects, right?
Maybe so, but only if you do it right. We asked Tom Sather, senior director of research for New York-based Return Path, an email marketing and intelligence firm, for advice on using email as a sales tool. Here's what he had to say.
Print+Promo (P+P): What are some ways salespeople can use email to either boost or gain sales?
Tom Sather (TS): Building and maintaining extended email campaigns to nurture prospects by regularly providing valuable information about their marketplace, their challenges and the trends that affect their performance is probably the most effective way for salespeople to boost their productivity. It demonstrates expertise and reminds your contacts that you have a solution to important problems, ensuring that when they're ready to act, they know to reach out to you. It can also shorten sales cycles, especially by giving your prospects an easy way to pass your information to their colleagues as they build an internal case to move forward with your proposal.
P+P: How does using email for sales compare to using it
TS: They're extremely similar, with one key exception: personalization. Email for sales can and should be increasingly customized for individual prospects as you learn more about what they need, how they approach their challenges and where they are in the sales cycle. Email marketing is an extraordinarily powerful tool to connect with large audiences and deliver information to bring them into your sales pipeline. When suspects become prospects, your messages should be different-no longer about the value you offer the marketplace, but about the value you can offer them.