July 12, 2019

Why Direct Mail Needs to be Part of Your Sales Strategy

Lars Nilsson
Lars Nilsson

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This direct mail strategy piece is brought to you by our friends at SalesSource, a strategic sales and sales operations advisory firm for enterprise B2B technology companies.

We’re all trying to find the magic formula. Over the years I’ve seen an overwhelming increase in emails, phone calls, and LinkedIn requests, and most of them get ignored or tossed in the trash. So what can you do to stand out?

Reminds me of a story. I’d been targeted by a company as a hot prospect, and this SDR (Sales Development Rep) was using all the tools she had been given.  A thoughtful series of emails, each followed-up by a voicemail, and finally a request to connect on LinkedIn. Truth be told: I did open one email and listened to the first five seconds of one of the voicemails, but the rest went to the digital recycling bin.

It wasn’t until she pulled the rabbit out of the hat and caught me by surprise.   A package delivered directly to my office. What’s inside you say? A full-sized Louisville Slugger baseball bat with a handwritten note that let me who the bat was from, why she sent it, and why I was the perfect person for their pitch. The note said, “Lars, I enjoyed learning about your daughter’s baseball team in the True Ventures video attached to your profile. I hope you can use this to practice with her next season!”

This SDR spent the time to go through articles, posts, and webinars that I have attached to my LinkedIn profile and found a video of a speech I gave where I mentioned I was the coach for my daughter’s little league team.    Yeah, she got my attention.

In a follow-up email, she asked me if I had received the package and if I would be open to a discovery call. I replied with an acceptance and a time that I could learn more about the solution. The power of direct mail is that unlike email, LinkedIn, and cold calling. I can’t just easily delete or ignore the personalized gift someone sends me. Direct mail has a 100% “open rate.”

Let me be clear⁠—direct mail is not about gimmicky attention-grabbers; it’s about embracing a channel that increases the odds that your value gets communicated to the buyer. We all know the work and energy that it takes to truly personalize an email or phone script for a specific prospect. We also know how deflating it is when those efforts never see the light of day.

Is Direct Mail Effective in Sales Outreach?

As B2B sellers, we are all living the reality that it now takes an average of 18 calls to connect with a potential customer and 4 emails to just get a message opened. Sales engagement platforms have responded to the volume problem, and hopefully your revenue teams are constructing thoughtful, buyer-centric messaging to tackle the quality problem.

But what other levers can you pull?

It turns out that direct mail, gifting, and physical notes have new life as key channels for sales teams looking to engage their best fit accounts. In our consulting work atSalesSource, we are seeing impressive results from direct mail strategies implemented by the best sales teams in Silicon Valley. It seems that going old school with direct mail has a place within the new school of sales, particularly for those teams embracing the highly targeted approach of account-based sales development (ABSD).

A few years back, my team and I developed ABSD as a tech-enabled method of solving for the inefficiencies in outbound prospecting. Since then, the ABSD movement has steadily grown in popularity is now the definitive approach for fast scaling teams. One of the key ingredients to the successful implementation of ABSD is a multi-channel prospecting approach, and that’s exactly where direct mail becomes relevant.

What are the Advantages of a Direct Mail Sending Platform?

In 2015, TOPO introduced the “Triple-Touch” method where phone, email, and LinkedIn are primary outbound channels. I strongly believe direct mail has cemented itself as the fourth pillar to increase engagement.

It’s proven, direct mail gets higher response rates than email, but many companies have been slow to adopt this channel. One of the most likely reasons for this is that good technology for direct mail has only emerged in the last few years.  I personally have had success with Sendoso, and know why they are leading the market.

Previously, sales teams didn’t have an efficient way to integrate direct mail with CRM, sales engagement, and account-based marketing technologies.   Sendoso makes it seamless to scale, personalize, and measure direct mail efforts as part of integrated outbound campaigns. Not only have I instrumented this to success at multiple companies, but I’ve also experienced the impact of direct mail as a prospect.

Examples of Direct Mail Beyond Prospecting

As we’ve worked with other companies to integrate direct mail into their outbound strategy, it’s become clear that there are many more use cases for technology like Sendoso than just booking appointments with potential customers.

Here are a few examples of how you can use direct mail throughout the customer lifecycle:

  • – Early stage pipeline acceleration: Every revenue leader has felt the pain of prospects “going dark” after the all-important initial sales meeting. Keep momentum in the sales cycle by immediately following up with a personalized note reinforcing the next steps you agreed to in the call.
  • – New customer onboarding: Once a deal is closed with a new customer, their excitement for your product or service is at an all-time high. Amplify that feeling by sending a branded “starter kit” of swag to your customer stakeholders!
  • – Existing customer retention and expansion: In SaaS businesses, your ability to retain and expand your existing subscription base is often more important than your ability to acquire new logos. Engage customers around key product announcements or customer trainings by sending them a gift card to cater their lunch-and-learn.

How to Get Started With Direct Mail

It’s important to build the right foundation before adopting a direct mail strategy and a sending platform like Sendoso.

Here are some basic steps to get started:

  1. Build your sales playbook, identify your target market and buyer personas.
  2. Implement an orchestration technology like Outreach or SalesLoft to lay the foundation for when and how your sales reps (and marketing teams) will integrate direct mail in the touch pattern.
  3. Think through the various direct mail use cases and swag that you can deploy. Get creative and think about personalization!
  4. Define success criteria such as “X% increase in meetings booked this quarter vs. last quarter.”

It’s that simple, just start and you will wonder why it took you so long to try it.

Want to learn how to drive sales engagement and become a direct mail expert? Check out our eBook to help you master the art of direct mail and gifting!

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