Email Marketing for Sales Teams – Buyer Beware!

Businesses that have a human to human sales interaction with other business customers can be somewhat traditional in their marketing approaches.  Many B2B sales teams live and die by old school sales strategies – cold calling, networking and relationship building.

Those sales teams that choose to dive into the world of technology to improve their results usually start with a contact management system or Sales CRM, dabble with LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. and perhaps even try some modest email marketing.

The email marketing tends to be limited to something like a quarterly newsletter.  The e-newsletter is a sort of toe in the water.  It can be quite valuable for nurturing customers and prospects in industries where the universe of potential customers is limited and businesses rely on repeat business from the same customers over the years.  However, a newsletter is not likely to generate tangible opportunity for sales people very often.

We just released an ebook called “Grow Sales with Emails, 7 Ways Sales Teams Win with Email Marketing” that provides some simple examples of how to start leveraging email marketing to grow sales, simply and affordably.

What’s worse, those bold enough to jump into the email marketing pool quickly learn that the $20/month email marketing service they signed up for gets very expensive when they start to send a lot of emails.

In the age of freemium, unlimited Internet access and cloud computing, it’s amazing to discover that almost all email marketing systems available today come with limitations that come as a surprise to the buyer and a serious hindrance to use in the real world.

How Many Emails Can You Send?

If a business has 1,000 customers they may want to send an email to them once a month.  Plus, they typically have 250 prospects in their sales pipeline at any given time.  After a few months, they may have built up a list of potential customers that’s easily 1,000 or more contacts and prospects typically get emailed more frequently so, within 3 months the overall email volume desired could be 3,000 to more than 10,000 emails.

And surprise!  This type of volume puts your squarely into the premium category of most email marketing providers’ pricing structures.   A business that starts off with the entry level package from Constant Contact, Swift Page, iContact, or Vertical Response will be face with upgrading to much more expensive packages.

Who Is In Charge of Email Marketing?

Plus, most of these systems are limited to one user.  That means only one person on the staff can take advantage of the service.  Adding access for another user can sometimes double the cost.

So, all of a sudden, if you’re going to make it work, there’s someone on the staff spending hours per week moving in information from the sales team, creating campaigns and managing them.  For a sales driven business, there is still a great challenge in simply keeping the email marketing system lists up to date based on changes in client and prospect status and new leads as the come in.

The cost of the time invested is of course far greater than the email marketing system subscription.

Online Lead Generation Takes It to a New Level

For the growing number of businesses spending money to increase the visibility of their website online and in search engines and capture leads from the website, the challenges and limitations mushroom.

Constant Contact, Swift Page, Vertical Response, iContact and virtually all email marketing providers can capture leads from your website but, additional charges apply.  In addition, most businesses investing in online lead generation quickly learn the value of on-going lead nurturing campaigns.  Some of the vendors mentioned above have “auto-responder” capabilities but, there are additional charges and limitations apply.

Even far more expensive services such as Infusionsoft and Hubspot limit the number of emails in total that can be sent and the number of emails in an auto-responder sequence.

The message here is buyer beware.  Know what your requirements will be 6 months or 2 years down the road and find a system that will meet those needs.

Opting Out of Your Email Marketing Service is NOT Easy

Selecting an email marketing provider is a long term commitment, even though most newbies don’t realize it. The reason is that it takes time to build up the Opt-In list (Recipients that have given the business permission to send them emails). Of course, this is extremely important to the business and to the email marketing service.

A business cannot simply discontinue service with one email marketing service, export their contact list, then import it into a new service and hit go. In most cases, the new email marketing provider will require the entire list to “Opt-In” again. This is a significant risk in many ways. It will be an annoyance at best to the recipient. It may result in a diminished opt-in list and it’s a big, time consuming hassle.

Taken together, the hidden risks in choosing an email marketing solution warrant careful research. For sales teams, you want tools the sales team can use, not software that requires time and skills you don’t have.

SalesNexus offers unlimited email marketing for a flat monthly fee combined with all the tools sales people need to manage leads, opportunities and customers. Click here to see it in action.