Making the most of direct mail in the B2B sales cycle

While business-to-consumer (B2C) direct mail is often expected to generate immediate sales, business-to-business (B2B) direct mail is typically part of a longer and more complex sales cycle. In addition to generating new leads and repeat business, B2B direct mail can be used to support multiple stages of the sales process.

While B2C mail talks directly to potential buyers, B2B mail has to take into account a wide range of readers. This includes people who use a product or service, people who recommend the purchase, and people who make the actual purchasing decision.

It’s tempting to simply target B2B mailings to the end-user of a product or service, but this strategy runs the risk of yielding good response rates but mediocre sales. That’s because the opt-ins, sign-ups, and requests for demos come from people who may be able to influence purchasing decisions but lack decision-making authority.

In creating a list for your B2B campaign, aim to include recipients at the decision-making level. Initial response rates from this segment of a list may be lower, but direct mail experts note that highly qualified leads often yield a higher rate of sales.

Because of the diverse audience for B2B direct mail, you may want to segment your list and craft a targeted message for each segment. Users and “influencers” may need to hear all about product features and pricing but, when making the pitch to the decision makers, consider using a shorter message. It should focus on what’s likely to matter higher up in the organization—the big-picture benefits of your product or service. Arousing decision makers’ interest, rather than trying to answer all of their questions, is more likely to lead to sign-ups or calls for more information that can eventually lead to sales.

Marigold’s direct marketing consultants can help you choose, test, and refine business mailing lists that will put your offer in front of the decision makers in any niche market. We can even help you develop custom mailing lists to meet your specific campaign requirements.

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