By Virginia Sanders
At PFL, we’ve witnessed time and again that top marketing teams use direct mail to accelerate through the mid-funnel stages, maximizing their wins. So, we’re continuing our “What to Send When?” series and diving deep into the strategies behind mid-funnel tactile marketing.
If you missed our top of funnel strategies, you can find them here!
Throughout the middle of the funnel, your focus will be on deepening your relationships and digging into the specifics of the problems that your prospects are facing. Every detail you learn about their challenges will put you in an even stronger position to offer value. And every detail you capture in your CRM is another asset for making your tactile marketing pieces personalized, which the PFL solution accomplishes with ease thanks to our native integrations.
As always, these strategies are descriptive, not prescriptive. At PFL, we empower marketing teams to flex their creative muscles and apply ideas in new and memorable ways.
Expanding Your Org Coverage
Having one responsive contact within an organization is good. Having multiple engaged and aware contacts is great and even necessary. Research shows that an average of 6.8 people at an organization are involved in the decision-making process for B2B purchases. If you haven’t identified who those stakeholders are and started building relationships, it’s time to expand your reach.
Your current contact may be able to help by providing names and introductions. After that, though, it’s up to you to introduce your brand in an unforgettable way, and direct mail can help you make a splash.
What to send: For this play, it’s all about generating interactions and starting conversations.
- Make meetings happen by giving two contacts different items that belong together. TimeTrade, a SaaS provider for smart scheduling, sent one contact a set of golf balls and gave an executive a golf mat. Both individuals received the same call to action: take a joint meeting with a TimeTrade rep to receive the putter. Their strong message, “Selling is a Team Sport,” tied into the sports theme. The campaign was a run-away hit with a 25% conversion rate — you can read the full case study here.
- Deliver a swag bomb full of shareable contents. Remember: the items you include do not have to be expensive. Your package should include collateral about your offering, but also consider sending useful items such as branded pens, notepads, or drink wear. You can show your conscientious side by sending sustainable items, such as reusable or recyclable goods — which, by the way, can also be branded by PFL. Your swag bomb kit can be doubly effective if you know your contact has a group meeting coming up, especially if that meeting is relevant to your product or service.
- Start a buzz! PathFactory, which uses AI and data to inform content and speed up customer journeys, sent their prospects a poster with two roads on it, along with an inductive toy car. The “traditional content journey” road was full of potholes and dead ends. The second road was level and connected, representing how PathFactory helps create a smoother customer journey. As soon as the recipient starts to play with the car, it quickly draws attention from others and launches organic conversations.
The strategy behind the play: The strategy here is to get people talking to each other about your brand and value while simultaneously encouraging them to talk to your business development rep (BDR). You need a community of support because no single contact will make the buying decision alone.
If you haven’t already identified a champion, pay close attention to the people who start to chime in after your direct mail. If an influential individual is more vocal, responsive, and enthusiastic than all the others, congratulations! You’ve gained a champion.
Introducing the Sales Rep
At some point in the mid-funnel, the time will come when the opportunity becomes a sales-qualified lead, and your account executive (AE) will enter the scene. And no matter what your AE might say about needing a flashy introduction, just tell them what we always tell you:
Hold that thought.
What to send: Keep it simple! Send a personalized notecard from the AE to the essential contacts on the account. In the card, the AE can speak to how your solution will address the account’s or (even better) the individual’s pain points. Be sure to invite the contact(s) to meet the AE and learn about the sales process they’re about to begin. The PFL tactile marketing solution makes it simple to automate this process, or your AE can take a more hands-on approach and modify the notecards before they ship.
The strategy behind the introduction: On the surface, this play might seem to be simple courtesy, but it goes much deeper than that. You’re giving your prospect a warm, personal introduction and demonstrating the level of thoughtfulness you put into your relationships. By letting the AE lean into the data collected by your BDR and past conversations, you establish trust and a consistent, smooth journey. You get another added value out of sending something physical: the physical notecard is harder to ignore. An email is easy to close or miss entirely, but a notecard can act as a visible, tangible reminder to take that meeting and get the sales process rolling.
Proving Your Concept and Value
In sales and marketing, a big portion of your effort at the mid-funnel stage is educating prospects. You must explain what you offer, describe how it works, and quantify how well it works.
Step 1 is getting someone’s attention long enough to state your case. Step 2 is ongoing education, sharing details in different ways and across mediums to make your message stick.
Taking a multichannel approach is important for every direct mail campaign, and especially for education. Our recent research report with Demand Metric revealed that marketing teams using 4 to 6 channels in their mix experienced the greatest response rates. Overall direct mail also increases response rates to other channels.
In short, direct mail is a great way to deliver educational materials and drive prospects to other channels to consume even more educational materials.
What to send: We designed the Breakthrough Literature Box with this play in mind, but the PFL Creative Collection offers many great ways to lead your prospect into that deeper dive. What you send is going to be highly dependent on your product or service and what you want to accomplish with your campaign, but here are a few examples and tips for getting the most from your direct mail:
- Product guidebooks: Using variable fields and data from your CRM, you can personalize your messaging. For instance, you can point out a section that’s relevant to the prospect based on various factors, such as their role or industry or even a topic they’ve shown interest in.
- Case studies: Again, use your CRM data and PFL’s integrated solution to share the most relevant case study to capture your prospect’s interest.
- Product catalog or magazine: If you have a wide variety of offerings or provide ongoing communications, consider sending a catalog or news periodical. And hey, you might not even need a box. At PFL, we can print your catalog; ship it in an enticing, clear, compostable wrapper; and still include a notecard for that personal touch.
- Video mailer: Lights, camera, action! With our video mailers, you can send highly personalized videos. If you have a collection of educational videos, encourage your prospect to explore the collection online.
The strategy behind the play: Reinforce your prospect’s learning by using direct mail and other channels to deliver the same educational message in multiple ways. People have different learning styles, so using diverse mediums also increases the likelihood of engagement and comprehension. And, as mentioned previously, make sure you’re using what you know about your prospects to make the materials more meaningful! Using your data and PFL’s integrations, you can send the info that really hits home with each individual.
Review your educational materials to make sure they’re easy to understand. When designing a kit, run it by someone who isn’t familiar with your solution to find out their reactions. Then make adjustments accordingly. You can also try limited test runs targeted at small customer groups or conduct A/B testing.
Re-Engaging Your Contact
Re-engagement is, unfortunately, a re-occurring need in the business world. It can happen at various stages in your relationship with a prospect or even a customer. Each stage has its differences, and the messaging in your outreach should reflect where the customer is in their journey. For instance, your call to action to re-engage a mid-funnel prospect should be different from the call to action you give a prospect who went dark late in the funnel, just before signing a contract.
In the case of your mid-funnel prospect, perhaps they took a first call and haven’t made another peep since. The business development rep or salesperson needs a way to regain their attention.
Sending a fancy electronic device or another expensive toy is the best way to get attention, isn’t it?
Hold that thought right there! Your contact may have been pulled away for personal reasons, might be overworked, or could have run into budget issues — a pricy item might be overkill.
What to send: Rather than creating an expensive kit with high expectations attached to a hard sell, focus on what your prospect needs right now: friendly encouragement. If you get “Out of Office” email replies or simply don’t get any replies at all, try sending your contact a package that encourages them to take a breather. Frame it as being your special treat for working so hard.
Here at PFL, we use a special mana-tea kit with a manatee-shaped tea infuser plus tea packets. The personalized messaging is around taking time to relax, with an invitation to get in touch when the contact is back in a good spot. By making considerate connections, this kit achieved a 4x closed won ROI.
The strategy behind the play: Approach re-engagement with empathy (never with accusation). Show that you care and show how you can help. By doing that, you’ll bounce back to the top of your contact’s priority list and move on to the next step. Even if you get a reply but discover that now is a bad time, you’ve still won the chance to ask for a better time to try again. Getting a new timeline allows you to plan accordingly and saves you time and resources.
When designing a kit, plan ways to repurpose it! A little forethought can pay big dividends. Your re-engagement kit for mid-funnel could also work for late funnel — the language on the box describing your value would stay the same, while your print-on-demand notecard would cover specifics and include personalization. The notecard should have a CTA that’s appropriate for the stage of the opportunity. By repurposing, you reduce effort, save money, and continue strengthening your relationships.
What are you waiting for? It’s time to kick those mid-funnel blues and accelerate your sales cycle!
Next up in the “What to Send When” series, we’ll explore strategies for late in the funnel to help you close those deals.