By Virginia Sanders
We’ve previously covered top of funnel and mid-funnel strategies for automated direct mail. Now we’re rounding out the set with a deep dive into strategic direct mail late in the funnel! At this late funnel stage, your goal is to steadily increase buy-in at the account so you can convert prospects to customers and win that revenue.
Orchestrated, personalized direct mail can help ramp up your account-based marketing for late funnel success. This stage of the funnel involves a lot of strategy, so let’s skip the long prologue and dive in.
First, though, a reminder: these suggestions are descriptive rather than prescriptive. For instance, education plays like those we suggested for mid-funnel might be a good option here. You can use the ideas presented in this series as a launch pad for an automated direct mail campaign that’s tailored to your business use case.
Re-Engagement Revisited for Late Funnel
We already covered strategies for re-engagement at the mid-funnel stage, but as all salespeople know, keeping a prospect’s attention is an ongoing effort.
It’s late in the funnel, so sending a pricey item probably seems especially tempting. Is now finally the time at long last?
Nah, hold that thought a bit longer.
For re-engagement purposes, think about your message and data. Ideally, your CRM should indicate where in the deal stage the discussion last left off, and your direct mail can pick up the thread of conversation from there. Your data should also inform what you send.
What to send: Send the right sort of direct mail based on the reason for the deal going quiet. Some of the most common reasons include lack of budget, timing, lack of resources, lost to competitor, and unknown.
- When the silence is due to timing, loss to a competitor, or unknown: Your goal is to do a pulse check. You want to see whether there are signs of life, and if so, whether there’s any change in status. Brochures, personal notecards, and interactive mailers are great when paired with a clear call to action. At PFL, we’re in the midst of launching a new campaign using our new Slide-and-Reveal interactive mailer. The call to action will be personalized based on the account status.
- When the silence is due to lack of budget or resources: You’re still doing a pulse check, but use your messaging to double-down on the value you’re offering. Reinforce how you plan to help grow revenue and/or reduce the workload of the company’s strained resources. You know what the prospect’s concerns are, so address them head-on. That’s what PFL did with our Plant a Seed kit. The kit includes a small pot, soil, and seeds, with messaging about how we will help the prospect grow.
The strategy behind the play: This play is all about a strong, relevant, and timely message. That’s why data is key here. In addition to courting new prospects, you may also be reaching out to viable contacts from lost deals. The more data you have in your CRM about why the opportunity has gone silent or was lost, the more personalized you can make your direct mail. Your data can also inform your timing.
Here’s one example of how the PFL solution can incorporate timing into an orchestrated multichannel campaign:
- Sales rep identifies an unknown reason that an account is unresponsive within the CRM.
- Delay for two (2) weeks.
- PFL software automatically triggers an interactive, personalized mailer to go to the contact.
- PFL notifies and assigns a task for a sales rep to make contact via phone or email after the mailer arrives.
- The contact is automatically added to a nurture stream for emails and retargeted ads.
In short, take advantage of PFL’s native integrations with your CRM and marketing automation platform. Use your data to determine who qualifies for the program as well as what the message is.
Go All Out with a Meeting Maker
You reach the point when the deal is red hot. You know the potential value of the deal. What you really need now is a meeting with the right person.
If you’ve read the previous blog posts (for top of funnel and mid-funnel) or even the previous section, you’ve seen the recommendation to “hold that thought” whenever the possibility of sending costly items came up.
Now’s the time to stop holding that thought!
Our customers have seen amazing returns from well-timed, high-value meeting makers.
What to send: ScaleArc and Exabeam know how to go all out when it comes to meeting makers kits. Their do-this-get-this kits are well branded; use strong, personalized messages; and artfully showcase what the recipient stands to gain. ScaleArc sent a die-cut printout of an Apple iPad mini, and Exabeam sent a high-quality paper replica of an Apple Watch. Both companies took very targeted approaches to selecting the right individuals for the opportunity, and both blew away their conversion goals. (ScaleArc achieved 180% of goal for new opportunities, and Exabeam more than doubled their conversion goal.)
Other high-end items customers have used include gift cards, headphones, speakers, coolers, and high-tech notepads, to name a few.
The strategy behind the play: A superbly branded package is your way of signaling to the prospect that you’re all in. The high-value product that follows after the meeting is yet another signal that you’re treating this individual as highly valuable to you. (Signaling is a big deal in marketing. Learn more about the science behind signaling.) With this play, you’re showing that you have the clout and the resources to make the relationship wildly successful, and you’re not shy or hesitant about the value you offer. This two-part kit demonstrates your investment in taking this relationship all the way.
Teaser for the Closing Celebration
You could wait to send a congratulatory package when the ink hits the contract…but why wait?
It’s natural to think about celebrating something after a big success, but sending direct mail after the win doesn’t boost your sales cycle. If the goal of your campaign is to accelerate your funnel (the objective of this whole series), a post-win celebration comes a hair too late.
A pre-emptive celebration kit, on the other hand, can be just the thing to get you out of a rut. Say you’ve had a contract circling with never-ending revisions or, more frustrating still, the contract is done and just needs a signature. In that case, this play is probably just the thing you need.
What to send: Push the deal over the finish line with an energizing kit that prepares your prospects for the celebration after the closed deal. The messaging with it will center around your excitement to begin the new partnership, while also subtly pointing out that the faster the deal closes, the more value the prospect will start seeing.
One popular celebration kit here at PFL is our donkey piñata. There’s nothing quite like a large, rainbow-colored donkey standing on someone’s desk to generate buzz and enthusiasm…not to mention the miniature baseball bat that comes with it. Quite frankly, people love being given permission and even encouraged to break something.
Alternatively, rather than sending a single large kit, your play might be sending several smaller kits to each stakeholder involved. Consider sending small packages of treats, such as champagne-flavored gummies, along with a personal note. Thank each stakeholder for their support and raise a glass (or a gummy) in cheers for the bright future ahead.
The strategy behind the play: When it comes to funnel acceleration, this teaser strategy uses the anticipation of a celebration to build group excitement for finalizing the deal. With group support on your side and that undercurrent of peer expectation, you increase your advantage and generate organic, internal conversations. Your messaging will also reinforce the positives that you’re going to deliver after the close.
Seller’s Choice: Flexible Sending Options
At this late funnel stage, our customers find it especially helpful to ensure their PFL solution is set up for individual sending. Sales representatives can select and ship collateral, items, and even complete kits at will. (If reading that gave you sudden budget anxiety, don’t worry — PFL gives you complete control over restricting budgets for groups and individuals.)
You can achieve this one-off sending directly in your CRM thanks to PFL’s native integrations.
If you’re tempted to stock up on high-value items so salespeople can rush prospects through your funnel, hold that thought! Try to hit a variety of budget points, including low-cost options and printed collateral pieces.
What to have in stock for sending: Spend a little time brainstorming what items will represent your brand and how your sales reps will use them. The options are virtually unlimited, but always consider how each item and printed piece will represent your company and value.
We can’t possibly cover all the options, but here are a few tried-and-true items that our customers include in their PFL storefronts.
- Collections of use cases
- White papers
- Research reports
- Idea books
- Interactive mailers
- Print-on-demand notecards
- Product samples
- Greeting cards
- A gift for a new baby
- Coffee or tea
- A bottle of wine
- A book
- Simple branded swag (stickers, magnets, pens, bottles, etc.)
- High-end branded swag (apparel, bags, etc.)
Any kit covered in the “What to Send When?” series has strong potential for going into your storefront. Make sure to verify that the messaging and mailing options fit your storefront needs.
The strategy behind the store: Presumably, you’ve hired each of your salespeople for their business acumen. The reps on your team should have a good sense of how to better deepen a relationship in ways that will push a deal forward. By giving your salespeople the ability to use direct mail at their discretion (and within a solution-restricted budget), you empower them to make the right call with the right timing.
SwagIQ also makes it easy to keep your messaging on-target. You can add marketing-approved templates to your store, making it easy for sales reps to fill out personal notecards that accompany packages and mailers. You can even set up drop-down lists for picking, say, the stage of a deal, which then populates the targeted message. This is how you take relevance to a whole new level!
Before sales reps send direct mail, they should check to see whether the prospect already received that item. This history is recorded and visible in your CRM so reps can avoid sending duplicate (and wasteful) packages.
With PFL, you can orchestrate each of these remarkable brand experiences. Let us make your brand’s value unforgettable.
This post completes the trilogy of sales funnel acceleration, but the “What to Send When?” series isn’t over yet! Keep an eye out for our upcoming post-sale strategy guides.