One problem that plagues B-to-B sales and marketing is coming up with relevant, timely messages for nurturing customer relationships. A territory-based sales rep may be trying to keep in touch with hundreds of contacts at a time, but struggles to find a steady supply of good-quality reasons to reach out, without being a pest. I recently ran across a particularly compelling solution to this problem: Personalized email that links to entertaining, but useful, videos.
Here’s where I ran across this: Glenn Diehl, owner of the New York distributor of Skyline Exhibits, has a team of eight sales people selling custom trade show exhibits and portable displays to marketers and trade show managers in New York City and several northern counties. Glenn came up with a program whereby his reps can send to their contact lists emails embedded with a link to an informative video, created by Mike Mraz, a trade show marketing expert with a creative knack for video production.
Mike was already producing his Today’s Trade Show Minute videos every three weeks, as a way to promote his own consulting and training services. His arrangement with Glenn includes access to fresh “Minute” videos twice a month, plus a custom landing page with a personal introduction from each rep.
Here’s a sample email from Skyline rep Al Mercuro, who was the first at SkylineNY to adopt the program and make it part of his regular customer outreach. The cover note is in plain text, inviting customers to have a look at the latest “Minute” video.
Customers who click through find themselves at Al’s dedicated landing page, which includes his friendly face, a short message, the Today’s Trade Show Minute video, and a call to action.
There are three reasons why I like this program:
- The content is fresh, lively and relevant to both the recipient and the sales objective of the vendor. The videos deliver a useful trade show success tip in only 60 seconds.
- Outsourcing the video content to a third party like Mike Mraz ensures an ongoing supply of new material for Skyline’s customer communications. The relentless challenge of creating new content is one of the most common impediments to long-term communications success for B-to-B marketers.
- The program is managed by marketing, but goes out over the name of the sales rep, providing tangible help in relationship building with the rep’s key contacts.
I learned from Skyline’s sales and marketing team leader, Frank Cavaluzzi, that the program is scheduled for some fine tuning this year. Currently, it’s up to the sales reps to take the initiative to send out the email. Frank is planning to streamline the process, make it more automated, so it’s a bit easier for both sales and marketing to execute.
How about you? Are you seeing productive new ways to keep in touch with customers and prospects?
About Ruth Stevens
Ruth P. Stevens consults on customer acquisition and retention, and teaches marketing at companies and business schools in the U.S. and abroad. Crain’s BtoB magazine named Ruth one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Marketing. She is the author of Maximizing Lead Generation: The Complete Guide for B2B Marketers, and Trade Show and Event Marketing. Ruth serves as a director of Edmund Optics, Inc., the HIMMS Media Group, and the Business Information Industry Association. Learn more at www.ruthstevens.com.