You Are Missing The #1 Lead Source

February 6, 2018 10:33:31 PM | By Matt Benati

You Are Missing The Number One Lead Source

Every time you send a marketing email campaign or reach out to a handful of customers, automated email replies inevitably start flowing into your inbox. You might scan through for human replies — actual responses from your customers or leads that need your attention and store the rest of the replies in a dead-end folder.

You’re busy and those auto-replies are just noise, right? Wrong.

If you’re deleting email auto-responses like Left-The-Company (LTC), you’re missing a significant amount of sales intelligence coming straight from the organizations you’re already working with and targeting!

We all know that selling to people who have bought from us in the past is the best way to win a new deal. Instead of the end of the road, these email replies are windows of opportunity that solidify relationships, uncover new opportunities, and ultimately drive more revenue.

Today I’ll take a closer look at LTC replies from a sales perspective and show how you can identify four potential sales opportunities from a singly LTC reply. I’ll also explore how email mining supports everyday sales challenges, like relationship-building, message personalization, your ability to reach leads and increase connect rates, secure renewals, and provide the best customer experience possible.

YES. Mining reply emails, particularly those LTC replies, elevates your sales game to a whole new level.

Here’s a typical LTC reply that we can use an example:

Left The Company Sample Email

Track LTC Movement To Close More Deals

Let’s get right down to the good stuff first. We’ve discussed sales trigger events extensively in the past, and a Left-The-Company email provides one of the most powerful trigger events. While this may seem counterintuitive at first – a lead leaving the company sounds like a negative, not an opportunity – Chief Catalyst of SHiFT Selling, Craig Elias, first introduced us to his marketing hack that turns what salespeople normally consider a loss, into four potential sales opportunities.

Having perfected the art and science behind trigger selling, Craig’s research emphasizes the importance of timing. Following a trigger event – like a lead leaving the company – the first person in front of their Old Client at their New Company (OCNC) will win the deal 74% of the time. This is where mining reply emails for LTCs really impacts trigger selling, because it gives salespeople a timing advantage of as much as 6-12 months over competitors who don’t learn about the change until they receive a hard bounce (i.e., when the email address is actually discontinued).

Follow Your Old Contact To Their New Company

Steve Richard, CEO and Founder of Execvision says that OCNC leads historically convert to closed deals at 35-45%, which is higher than any other lead source. Knowing this, it only makes sense that following a LTC reply, the first person you’ll want to get in front of is your old lead — especially if you had a good relationship.

People buy from those they know and trust, so maintaining relationships across companies makes it more likely that you’ll do business again in the future. As President and Chief Strategist of The Bridge Group, Trish Bertuzzi says, “Buyers won’t engage with sales reps who pitch products, but they will give access to trusted advisors.”

Buyers won't engage with sales reps who pitch products, but they will give access to trusted advisors. - Trish Bertuzzi (@bridgegroupinc) #sales #customerservice Click To Tweet

Pamela’s LTC reply above didn’t share where she went, but you still have a few options for tracking her down. You can check on LinkedIn, search for her name online, or use any non-company contact information you have for her (like a gmail or cell phone) to reach out personally.

Engage Your New Contact At The Old Company

It’s also a good idea to introduce yourself to your new contact (Jenni) as soon as possible. She’s getting settled into her new role, so reach out with support, background information, or ideas she can use to her advantage. This is especially true if Jenni is in charge of renewals. Your goal is to make sure she’s happy, securing the renewal before she even considers exploring other options.

Now, if Jenni is replacing Pamela within a targeted account, there may be another important reason to get in front of her quickly: if Pamela was preventing you from closing the deal. According to Dianna Geairn, The Irreverent Sales Girl, if your previous contact wasn’t receptive to your communications — or worse even tried to block you from reaching decision makers — a fresh perspective with the new contact could help turn the tides in your favor.

While you’re busy connecting with Pamela and Jenni, enlist marketing to help track the movement of the other people involved in the trigger event:

Find Out Who Held The Position Before Your Old Lead Took Their New Job

This can be a little trickier to discover, but the payoff could be huge. Does Pamela’s new organization fit your ICP, and does she have influence? If so, than the person she replaced was most likely a good fit as well. Use LinkedIn, press release announcements, etc. to determine who this person is and where they are now.

Just like your old contact, Pamela, they are also in a new role and eager to make an impression. Track them down, introduce yourself, and frame your solution to meet their needs. When you’re truly interested in a person’s needs, you become more relevant and they’re more likely to trust you. Remember, it’s all about the buyer, not you.

When you’re truly interested in a person’s needs, you become more relevant and they’re more likely to trust you. Remember, it’s all about the buyer, not you. #sales #salestip Click To Tweet

Find Out Where Your New Contact Came From, And Who Replaced Them

If your new contact, Jenni, has buying power in their new role (your current account), they most likely had influence at their old company too. Find out where Jenni came from, whether the organization fits your ICP, and who replaced them. Then, same drill. Do your homework, establish your product or service as a solution that will truly meet the organization’s needs, and be the first in with the new contact to win the deal.

Mining Reply Emails: Going Beyond The LTC Reply

When it comes to relationship-building, a Left-The-Company email gives you the ability to start the nurturing process with new prospects, while solidifying your existing relationship with old contacts. But there are other replies that come in daily and mining these reply emails creates revenue-generating insights for your organization — even if those replies aren’t directly connected to an opportunity.

  • Keep Your Database Up-To-Date – Every reply email that’s mined, whether it’s a Left-The-Company, Out-Of-Office, or Unsubscribe, contains valuable Account Based Intelligence (ABI). The email address, phone numbers, and titles of any contacts listed can be cross referenced against your CRM. And when changes are found, your CRM should be updated, ensuring you have the most current contact information for leads.
  • Identify Merger & Acquisition Activity Early – If email mining flags a reply because your contact’s email address changed, this warrants attention. If it’s a name change, it’s likely a life event. However, if the domain has changed (i.e., the part of the email address on the right side of the “@” symbol), this could signal merger and acquisition activity or rebranding. This is another opportune trigger event where timing is key; be the first in with your solution while the dust is settling around an M&A event, and you’re more likely to win the deal.
  • Learn More About Your Accounts – An Out-Of-Office auto reply is an excellent source of referral contacts – people within the organization that your contact is giving you implied consent to contact in their absence. Introduce yourself, get them to opt in, and map the new leads to your account to expand your reach and increase sales velocity. Making those contacts can get you one step closer to reaching the average of 7 people required within an organization to make a buying decision (according to the Gartner Group).
  • Personalize Messaging – If you only have a name and email as a result of an inbound marketing campaign, it can be challenging to figure out the right messaging to send to new prospects. But if you are mining reply emails, your new prospect’s upcoming vacation and OOO reply could give you her title and additional contact information too. This allows you to personalize your content to match their persona within the organization.
  • Increase Connect Rates – Also from OOO messages, you learn when your contacts are scheduled to be in and out of the office. Scheduling messages to be delivered when your contact is back in the office will help increase your connect rates. Especially if you send a personalized message following-up on their vacation – versus just resending your marketing campaign – you are more likely to grab the contact’s attention and subsequently increase connect rates.

Let LeadGnome Do The Heavy Lifting

As a salesperson, there’s never been a better opportunity to get ahead of the pack than with reply email mining. The beauty is that the sales intelligence is already right there sitting in your inbox and comes directly from people you’re already engaging with. This previously untapped data source provides a wealth of information that allows you to elevate your sales game in a whole new way.

But if you’ve ever attempted to manually analyze the hundreds (or thousands) of replies from email campaigns, you know it’s a tedious, error-prone process that takes time away from what you should be doing… Selling!

That’s where LeadGnome comes in.

LeadGnome is a reply email mining service that takes just two minutes to set up, running seamlessly behind the scenes of whichever email program, Marketing Automation Platform (MAP) or CRM you’re using. It automatically mines every reply that comes back, identifying relevant ABI, categorizing the reply, and automatically sending each to its designated folder in order to keep your inbox tidy. When integrated with your CRM or MAP, LeadGnome’s data can even be used to automatically update records and trigger workflows to send follow-up material and schedule tasks to the appropriate person.

You get all the benefits of mining replies with zero IT involvement, zero campaign changes, and zero data entry.

Take a look at the most popular reply emails and the types of quality sales intelligence they contain by downloading our free eBook, Transformative B2B Demand Generation. We highlight the exact information each reply contains and show how to leverage that intel to build relationships and drive revenue.

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