The work from home revolution means that sales and support teams are using email as their primary form of communication.
But in trying to claw back post-COVID sales and accelerate recovery, businesses and team leaders will need to focus on more than open and click-through rates Instead, they’ll need to track the overlooked email analytics that directly impact the bottom line.
If you’re trying to implement an effective post-COVID sales strategy in your company and want to harness the power of email, this article has all the info you need to execute with success.
In the past, teams may have relied on in-person meetings, luxurious lunches and calls to connect with new prospects. However, according to a Gartner survey conducted in June 2020, 82% of organizations have encouraged or required their employees to work from home. As employers move toward a hybrid workforce that seems set to stay, email has risen in popularity and is increasingly the primary form of lead and customer communication. In fact, 78% of companies surveyed this year have seen an increase in email engagement over the last 12 months.
Even without COVID, email stats are staggering.
If you can identify someone as a qualified prospect for your product/service, you’ll probably be able to easily find their email and send a message directly to them. No gatekeepers, and no delay in sending.
Emails is a Great Lead Generation Channel
It’s direct, personal, and easy to scale. You can connect with people you’ve never even spoken to and create effective nurturing sequences to help close more deals.
In fact, according to HubSpot, eight out of ten prospects prefer to talk to sales over email instead of over the phone or in-person. However, email campaigns are just one side of the coin in your broader email marketing strategy.
Standard Email Analytics Don’t Help You Close
Marketing teams are familiar with tracking the regular email analytics like open rates, click-through rates, and potential sales conversions. Indeed, according to the Content Marketing Institute, 90% of companies say that engagement is their top measure of success.
However, these analytics fail to measure account management, client relations, and sales-related emails and ignore crucial metrics like responsiveness and contact success.
If companies want to be well-positioned to capture a limited pool of leads, they will need to focus on a new set of email analytics that measures speed above all else.
The element of speed is crucial because this current challenge is likely to have a profound impact on who is left standing when the crisis finally abates. In the battle for new and existing customers, companies that focus on responsiveness will reap significant rewards.
Email Reply Times Disappoint
A report published by the Harvard Business Review revealed some shocking facts about the impact of responsiveness on sales.
Organizations that respond within one hour to a lead query are seven times more likely to qualify the lead than those who responded in just two hours, and 60 times more successful than those who responded within 24 hours. In fact, 78% of sales go to the first company to respond to a lead.
And yet, despite the hard facts, the average response time to a sales lead is 42 hours.
Responsiveness is equally as important for support and success teams, as prospects will go elsewhere if not responded to.
- 80% of Americans say speed, convenience, knowledgeable help, and friendly service are essential elements to a positive experience.
- 80% of customers will also continue using a business and spend 67% more – when expectations are met.
- But, 60% will walk after a few bad experiences.
That’s a massive problem, and there is a clear disconnect between perception and reality.
For while 80% of businesses believe they deliver superior service, 62% of companies do not respond to customer service emails at all. Furthermore, 90% of companies do not acknowledge or inform the customer that an email has been received, and only 20% of companies answer questions in the first reply. Clearly, many businesses are not tracking their teams’ email responsiveness, and have been ignoring this critical performance metric.
How To Track Your Team’s Email Reply Times
Email analytics is a specialized category of software that tracks email responsiveness or the ‘time to reply’ ratio. The benefits of using email analytics software are multiple. It is SaaS-based and so can be remotely rolled out, without disturbing workflows or having to train teams to use a new tool. It is non-intrusive, meaning it does not access email body content or attachments (incredibly important when considering employee privacy and information security, especially when compared to more invasive employee monitoring software).
The actionable insights are also essential in helping to correct slow response times, reveal time-sucking email behavior (like email ping pong) and coach where necessary, and finally, help to forecast growth scenarios and opportunities.
You can set target reply times, and then see detailed analytics and reports. Use this data in conjunction with email sending volume to see if your team is optimizing their time and getting the highest ROI out of email that they can.
Your sales team can use email to great effect, particularly if your ideal customers aren’t in the office with access to their usual direct dial.
To drive rapid sales recovery, companies will need to rethink the email analytics they report on. Sales, account management, support, and customer success teams will require a new standard of tools and metrics that track responsiveness and speed, alongside traditional email marketing metrics.
If your team can be the first to respond to interested leads and always help prospective customers with their questions, you’ll be able to close more business and make email work as a lever for growth.