The 6 Types Of Reply Emails & How To Leverage Them
October 10, 2016 7:41:42 AM | By Matt Benati
Email marketing is a highly effective strategy, but anyone who monitors the return inbox can relate to the sense of dread you feel when all of those reply emails start piling up. For enterprises with large databases and multiple campaigns every month, the replies could number in the hundreds or even thousands, quickly overwhelming anyone trying to analyze each one.
Which replies are actually important to read? How do you know which ones to pass along to marketing or the sales development representative (SDR)? Which replies can you quickly delete? (Hint: the answer is NONE!)
Here are the 6 types of reply emails you can expect to get back from your marketing campaigns, and how to leverage them for sales opportunities and revenue growth:
#1 – Left The Company
Many companies set up auto-responders when an employee leaves the company, alerting people outside of the company of the change and sharing who to contact going forward.
Leverage it: Finding out that a lead has left the company before you receive a hard bounce gives you a significant timing advantage over your competitors. “First in wins the sale 74% of the time,” says Craig Elias, CEO, SHiFT Selling.
Reach out to your new contact right away, follow your old lead and watch the movement of anyone else affected. This is one of the most advantageous trigger events, and Craig teaches us how to uncover FOUR new sales opportunities:
- Find out who replaced your original contact (we’ll call her Jane) at your target account. This should be a main priority. We’ll call her replacement Bette. Welcome Bette to the company.
- Follow Jane to her new position. Remember, if she had buying power at her previous company (your target account), she likely has the same or more influence with her new position. Congratulate Jane on her move.
- Research who had the position before Jane took her new job. Did they move vertically within the organization or leave entirely? If they had buying influence before, they likely still have it in their new role.
- Finally, do some digging and find out where Bette came from. Did she make buying decisions in her previous role? If so, find out who took her position when she left.
#2 – Out Of Office
When a person is on vacation, at a conference, or otherwise away from the office, it’s common practice to set an Out Of Office auto-responder to let people know.
Leverage it: Schedule a personalized follow-up message for when your contact will be back in the office. Get extra points for mentioning their conference or vacation. If the OOO email mentioned a person to contact in your lead’s absence, add that new contact to your database, expanding your reach within one of your targeted accounts.
#3 – Change Of Name/Email
An auto-responder that notifies you of a change in name or email usually signifies a major life event for your contact, a merger or acquisition of the organization, or a re-branding of the company. In each case, you now have a great opportunity to reach out to your lead. M&A activity can be particularly disruptive, often causing significant organizational changes, staff reductions, and movement of employees to new roles.
Leverage it: First, you should update your database so that you’re sending to the right name/email going forward. Next, check in with existing contacts to see if there is a new employee in that role. Finally, closely monitor your replies following your next few email campaigns to identify new contacts and sales opportunities.
#4 – Change Of Position
A change in position has the potential to be another significant trigger event. Did your contact get a promotion, or did they just move laterally? What does it mean, if anything, about the messaging they receive?
Leverage it: If the change in position resulted in your user becoming your buyer, this is an excellent opportunity for your SDR to reach out and shift the conversation. Also be sure to update your database and email lists so that the contact begins receiving communication relevant to their new persona. This account based intelligence provides significant value for both pre-sales and post-sales engagement – make sure your sales team and your renewal team know about this change.
#5 – Unsubscribe Requests
Some people find it easier and quicker to unsubscribe by manually replying to an email, instead of hunting for the unsubscribe link. These reply emails deserve our attention for many reasons, including adherence to regulations like CAN-SPAM.
Leverage it: Prospect satisfaction and brand protection are key concerns, so any unsubscribe requests should be taken seriously and acted upon swiftly, before your next campaign goes out. You will avoid a potentially irritated person that no longer wants to hear from you, and they will (hopefully) appreciate your prompt attention to their request.
#6 – Personalized Responses
If a contact didn’t click on your call to action (e.g., download an eBook or register for a webinar), they may just hit reply and write a personalized message instead.
Leverage it: Whether they’re looking for information about your company or product, or as noted above asking to be unsubscribed, these personalized responses should always be analyzed and appropriately routed to the right person for follow-up.
How To Get The Most Out Of Every Reply
Every type of reply email mentioned above contains valuable nuggets of Account Based Intelligence (ABI). By mining that intelligence, you can gain net new contacts, identify sales trigger events, and append and cleanse your database. In addition to taking the steps to leverage each type of reply, you should also be looking for ABI like:
- Information for your contact you didn’t previously have (phone, address, title, etc.)
- Updated information for your contact (new phone, address, email, etc.)
- The company’s formal email addresses
- Dates in and out of the office
- Contact information of peers or supervisors (name, title, email, phone)
Automate Mining Reply Emails For Maximum ROI
The one problem with mining reply emails? It’s time consuming. Manually analyzing each relevant reply, extracting the ABI, updating your Marketing Automation program and CRM to reflect the new information, and scheduling follow-up tasks for the SDR can take a person 10 minutes or more per reply. And if you’re doing that task all day, every day, the chance for error is high.
“LeadGnome solves a huge problem. How do you mine info from campaign reply emails generated by your marketing automation system? Right now you are sitting on a gold mine of contact and trigger event info that is being totally wasted,” said Steve Richard, CRO, ExecVision.
LeadGnome automatically mines reply emails for valuable account based intelligence, updating your CRM and even integrating with your marketing automation system that automate scheduling and follow-up tasks. A web-based solution, LeadGnome takes just two minutes to set up using a simple email forwarding rule. There are no changes to your existing email campaigns or marketing automation platform — LeadGnome runs seamlessly in the background, mining thousands of reply emails in a matter of minutes.
By mining the reply emails from just two email campaigns per month, you can increase your database by as much as 36% and identify valuable trigger events that represent golden sales opportunities you wouldn’t have otherwise had.
Want to learn more about LeadGnome and the ROI it can provide? Check out this post, then head over and sign up for a free trial – no credit card required – and see what LeadGnome can do for you!