B2B Saas VP Takes Company From Zero Brand Awareness to 190 Leads With First-Ever Direct-Mail Effort
Updated: Nov 27, 2019
As digital content explodes, adding direct mail to your B2B lead generation strategy makes more sense than ever.
Truition, Inc. (since purchased by CDC Software) is a provider of hosted, on-demand e-commerce solutions. Its technologies power online stores for retailers and brand manufacturers such as Sirius Satellite Radio, Philips, Major League Baseball, Dell Financial Services, and ShopNBC.
Despite having some well-known clients, Truition was not well known as a major e-commerce player. The challenge for Mike Hennessy, Truition's VP of Marketing, was to find a way to get Truition onto prospects' radar screens, quickly establish trust, and generate quality leads for the sales force in a fiercely competitive industry.
Using a classic direct-mail package and a brilliantly simple strategy for getting through the mailroom and onto their prospects' desks, Truition earned a quick campaign return on investment (ROI) of 200% and flooded its small sales force with leads. All of it was achieved with its first-ever direct-mail initiative.
With Q4 on the horizon, looking at his company's revenue targets for the year ahead, Hennessy faced the perennial dilemma common to many B2B marketers: how to fill the sales funnel with quality leads now to get an early jump on sales-cycle activity in January.
The challenge was to execute a compelling campaign that put his small e-commerce company on the map but also established the company as a knowledgeable, expert e-commerce partner.
"We needed a compelling way to get our name in front of busy marketing executives at brand manufacturing companies which, for the most part, had never heard of us," says Hennessy. "This audience is marketed to constantly, which makes breaking through the clutter difficult at the best of times."
That problem was exacerbated by the fact that Hennessy needed the campaign to launch in late October, when executives in Truition's target market are distracted by frantic pre-Christmas sales activity.
Knowing that most of the marketing noise directed at his target audience took the form of email and online campaigns, Hennessy made a lead-generation play that many technology companies dismiss as passé: direct mail.
"Despite all the regular predictions we see about direct mail's certain demise, I kept seeing examples of effective B2B direct-mail campaigns, so I had confidence that the medium still worked very well," Hennessy says.
Not losing sight of the fact that an unknown company needs to first earn the trust of its target prospects, Truition's direct-mail campaign made no direct sales pitch but instead offered prospects the opportunity to download a report, The eCommerce Guide for Brand Manufacturers.
The 30-page guide was created specially for the direct-mail campaign. Filled with e-commerce best-practices for the year ahead and authored by an industry expert, the report was highly relevant to the target audience.
The outer envelope featured no logos, branding, or color. It had just a simple headline that read "Inside: Your 2008 eCommerce Guide for Brand Manufacturers," along with the instructions "DO NOT BEND" in bold block letters. 9 outer envelope, a two-page sales letter, and a small booklet insert.
The outer envelope featured no logos, branding, or color. It had just a simple headline that read "Inside: Your 2008 eCommerce Guide for Brand Manufacturers," along with the instructions "DO NOT BEND" in bold block letters.
The minimalist design and language was intentionally chosen to give mail handlers and gatekeepers the perception that the recipient actually ordered the material inside.
The booklet insert made the package heavier, adding to the perception that the envelope contained something of value and should be delivered to the addressee. The booklet inside was an eight-page booklet version of the 30-page Guide.
The sales letter acknowledged the reader's business needs but was written in an engaging human tone. It highlighted the pressures the prospect faced by being at the helm of a company's e-commerce presence and the need for expert information to guide critical e-commerce decisions. Within the sales-letter copy, the eCommerce Guide for Brand Manufacturers was presented as the source for such expert guidance.
The letter described the content of the guide in specific detail and drove readers to a landing page where they could download the complete guide instantly, for free, in exchange for contact information.
The mailing was sent to 10,000 names using primarily rented lists and a small number of names from Truition's house list. Since this was Truition's first major direct-mail effort, the rented lists were 100% unproven.
In B2B direct mail, a response rate of 1% is typically viewed as a success. The Truition mailing achieved virtually double that rate —1.98%—pulling in 190 new leads for Truition's small sales team. "We did not expect 190 leads from our first direct mail effort, especially with so many factors stacked against us," says Hennessy. "We were thrilled with the results." For a B2B company to achieve nearly 2% response with its first-ever direct-mail effort— using an unproven list — is extraordinary.
Shortly after the mailing, Truition secured new business for an almost immediate ROI of more than 200%. Moreover, ROI stood to grow exponentially as Truition's small sales force began nurturing the leads that flooded in from the campaign.
"Considering it takes multiple touches to win over a new customer, variety in your marketing is important as a way to keep showing up," Hennessy says. For Truition, the proven tactic of a classic direct-mail package filled its sales pipeline in ways that digital marketing couldn’t.
Add Analog Campaigns to Your Digital Marketing
As a B2B agency, Mowry & Savage delivers content for lead generation and nurturing to help CMOs drive growth. But we do it using an approach that’s grounded in systems thinking, and leverages digital and analog campaigns to drive results.
If you’re interested in learning more, book a 30-minute call with Pete Savage, Client Services Director at Mowry & Savage. On this no-obligation call, we’ll talk about your biggest obstacles to growth as you see them, and we’ll introduce you to our content system for bankable growth.