Boost eMail Marketing Success with Free Trials

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If you’re a marketer looking to jumpstart your demand generation program, consider this time-honored tactic:  try giving your product away.

For a short time, that is.

Image Credit internetmarketingservices14, FlickrWith online services and hosted applications assuming greater prominence in the market, “try and buy” offers are not only a smart marketing tactic – they’re an essential step in the sale process.

“You can’t sell online services today without letting people try it first,” says Seth Godin, author of Meatball Sundae: Is Your Marketing Out of Synch? Because customers are both value and risk sensitive, “if you can answer the risk question and you can answer the value question, then you are going to get the sale. One of the best ways to do both of those things is to put in front of people and get them to try it.”

As important as these offers are, it’s equally important to target them appropriately to ensure adoption. David Lewis, president and founder of DemandGen, a marketing automation consultancy headquartered in Danville, CA, advises marketers to pre-qualify trial users, as well as to create a sense of urgency so that the trial customer will be driven to test the product in a real world environment. Lewis also advises companies to implement an effective “nurturing” program to complement the trials, keeping in contact with trial users and being available to answer questions or provide assistance.

With an effective nurturing campaign in place to support free trials, Lewis estimates that companies can expect 70% to 80% of people who sign up for a free trial to actually use the application, and from there conversion rates to actual customers can reach between 20-30%.

The success of companies like bear this out – in fact, Salesforce promotes its trial-to-conversion ratio as a selling point.

“When you are evaluating the digital body language of a prospect,” Lewis concludes,  “signing up for a free trial is one of the strongest indicators of real interest.”

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Expand Your Sphere of Influence to Capture More Customers

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“Stop obsessing over the decision maker.”

So says  Aaron Ross of Sales  According to Ross, the decision making process is now more important than the decision maker.  While collaborative decision making involving different people and teams approving a purchase has always been an important element of B2B sales, it is now the rule at most organizations.

Image Credit  TimMunsey, FlickrIan Campbell, CEO of Nucleus Research, takes this concept a step further, and advises technology sellers to re-think their prospecting targets.  “Technology decisions, including purchasing decisions, are being taken out of the hands of CIOs and handled instead by line-of-business managers,” he tells Information Week.  This means that successful prospecting includes identifying all potential members in the network of decision makers and creating a variety of offers to appeal to the various players.

A recent study released by the Direct Marketing Association, The B-To-B Sphere of Influence: Best Practices in Reaching the Right Person, confirms this approach.  The study shows that 60% of marketers rely on prospect titles or reports from the sales force to tailor their messaging and value propositions to each recipient.

Of course, all of this doesn’t mean prospectors should ignore the “decision maker” entirely, cautions Ross.  “You do want to build a relationship with the decision makers early, but don’t ‘sell’ them until you’ve begun winning over the influencers.”

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Think Beyond the Numbers Game: The Real Key to Sales Success

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For years, sales gurus have told us that successful prospecting is a numbers game:  X cold calls = Y leads = Z sales.  Methodologies, books, and entire companies have been built around this formula.

But experienced marketers know there’s more to it.  While it’s nice to believe the conventional wisdom that “everyone is a prospect,” in reality there are far fewer companies ready, able, and willing to buy from you.

Image Credit dongraffautomotive, FlickrAccording to Nigel Edelshain of Sales 2.0, a New Jersey-based sales improvement consultancy, getting the right target list is the #1 determiner of sales success.  “If you call the wrong people, you won’t sell anything.  A name here or there does not seem like a biggie, right?  But this all adds up.”

NetProspex customer Dan Zasloff of Varolii Corporation agrees.  As Senior Manager of Marketing Programs, he’s not merely interested in the numbers – he’s interested in getting the right numbers.

To Dan, a clean database means more and better opportunities to reach deeper into target organizations and tailor his offers to meet the needs of the business owners who are the most likely matches for Varolii’s solutions.  Data quality – the freshness of his contact list, the detail provided about a contact’s title and responsibilities, and the ability to “get ahead” of turnover at a prospect organization – is essential not only to efficiency, but to effectiveness as well.  The less time he spends on list management and cleanup, the more time he can spend developing appealing offers.

“A ton of companies are out there trying to get share of mind,” he explains.  “Reaching the right person with the right offer is what’s key.”

Or, as Edelshain puts it, “The details count a lot.”

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How Dr.Who and NetProspex both benefit from cyberspace!

Dr.Who NetProspex

I noticed something interesting with my kids this weekend as we talked about TV programs like Dr Who (timelord) and TopGear (car consumer report revamped) on BBC America. Beyond scheduled shows, they also watch old episodes on YouTube with neighborhood friends who are fast becoming fans. They are asking me to sign up to domestic BBC on cable, so they can see the first runs of these shows.  I haven’t given in yet, but I am intrigued by what’s going on.  It’s a great example of how more open markets drive content demand across old boundaries.  This glimpse into real world dynamics in the media resonates for me in terms of what NetProspex is all about.  Content creation and distribution has become much more dynamic even in business publishing. NetProspex has added over 240,000 contacts in the past few months. We are busily validating those contacts before we put them up onto the system…that’s where we add value.  I’m not sure my kids will be looking for NetProspex on YouTube, but the possibilities are equally exciting for the new generation of business publishers who are embracing these changes.

NetProspex Releases Quarterly Update

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NetProspex has completed its quarterly update process, adding new contacts and companies that are available to you right now for your Image Credit SurvivalWoman, Flickrsales and marketing campaigns. As always, we’ve purged old records to ensure that your prospect list is accurate and up to date. We have added and updated over 1 million contacts in this update, so you should find plenty of new opportunities in the database. If you have a active account…click here to get straight to the new data – it’s top notch!

Also, we have added several new features, including one which allows NetProspex users to contribute contacts directly to the database, and already many new records have been contributed. Our new trading feature promises to boost our totals with some unique and often hard-to-find contacts.

Rest assured we will put contributed records, and any records, through our rigorous quality checks. Like you, we know that effective sales requires accurate contacts – and that’s what NetProspex delivers

Skype Toolbar on NetProspex – Now We’re Talking


Just downloaded the new Skype Toolbar which turns every phone number on my Internet Explorer screen to a clickable dial-up.  When we run NetProspex that means all 2.5 million phone numbers are now clickable.  What a great time-saver for sales with both email and phone now clickable directly from the NetProspex results screen.

Sales managers take note of the efficiency gains here.  Sales people don’t have to wait to be fed by marketing and in fact they can take control in unearthing mid-management decision makers in seconds and even see a partial map of the company they are targeting to find alternate ways in.  Think how much time that saves…then they can quickly dial from their desktop.

Take a look