I “grew up” as a product marketer in the earlier part of my career, across a wide range of industries – security, email, infrastructure, open source, security again and collaboration – supporting every type of sales team – inside, outside, field sales, channel sales, telesales, etc – and the common thread across all of those jobs was that those teams all needed effective sales tools to help them sell smarter, faster, better.
Sales tools vary by industry and sales speciality, but one sales tool that every rep should have at their disposal is also one of the easiest to provide – the email signature. Sounds simple, right? But really, the email signature? Sure, here are some ways that it’s a great sales tool:
Properly formatted, your company email signature will contain all of your relevant contact information, as well as that of your company, especially your content and social networks. Prospects today do not want to be sold, they want help making a buying decision. They want to see the types of information you provide via your social outlets, the types of documentation in your knowledge base, even the content on your blog. They’re making a decision to enter into a relationship with you and your company, so make it easier for them to find the information that demonstrates your ability to support them.
Consistency is a key component to building relationships with your clients. The inconsistencies with de-centralized email signatures – old, missing or improperly formatted logos, tag-lines and contact information – can quickly dilute much of the trust you’ve built with your prospect. If your company appears to be unable to manage a simple email signature, how can it develop a complex product or innovative service? I hate to say people judge a book by it’s cover, but they certainly will notice a jacked up email signature. Another important benefit is the brand impression itself. Consider how many emails you send a day, now multiply that by the number of employees in your company. It’s a big number, right? Never pass up the chance to make a positive brand impression.
One thing that all marketers are faced with today (me included) is that the open rates for mass-email communications aren’t what they used to be. Our customers and prospects are being bombarded with daily newsletters, promotions, invitations and updates. Peer-to-Peer email (a term Firas coined at our first management team meeting) – the email we send on an individual basis every day, all day – has far greater open and click thru rates than mass marketing mail does. It’s similar to a hand addressed envelope having a far greater chance of being opened that one that says “To Current Resident”. Recipients are far more likely to take action on those emails, which really begs the question – what action are you asking them to take in your email signature?
This takes us to the really innovative capability within Xink, and candidly, the reason I joined the company. Email signatures and the brand standards they enforce are table stakes. There’s literally a hundred tools and scripts your IT department could use to tackle this challenge. We feel we do that very well, in a more manageable way than cobbled together scripts and apps installed on an Exchange server. What sets Xink apart is our ability to create campaigns that run alongside (or more accurately, beneath) your email signature. These campaigns can be easily added to promote new products, events you’ll be exhibiting at, awards your company or product has won…the possibilities are really only limited by what you have to talk about.
You’ve now given your prospects and customers another avenue to learn about you and more importantly, signal that they’re ready to take the next step with you. Qualified traffic and conversions, or as sales people know them – Leads. If there is one thing sales reps want more than sales tools, it’s leads. Leads, leads, leads.
It’s the sales team’s job to work deals, not to create new sales tools. By centralizing the creation, sharing and management of email signatures, the marketing team can not only enforce company and brand standards, they can easily switch out new campaigns, without asking employees to stop what they’re doing, copy and paste an email signature into Outlook, hoping the 9 step process will yield a positive result (true story, at my last company, a $100M, 200 person company – I was the guy who sent out that email – I was lucky to get 40% adoption). Let sales get back to helping their customers buy.
Datasheets, whitepapers, webinars,customer case studies – all are valuable tools that a sales team can use to help their efforts. The email signature should be part of the healthy sales tool diet as well – it might be the easiest way to engage with your customers and prospects.