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I’ve been talking a lot about direct mailers. We recently did a study on the topic for B2B companies and it answered a lot of my questions. The good news is, it’s proven that direct mail is a very effective sales tactic. Around 65 percent of leaders say they are likely to respond to direct mail…and yet only 38 percent of companies are using direct mail.

When it comes to direct mailers, you’re going to hear a lot of people ‘talking’ but not a lot of people ‘testing’. Here at InsideSales Labs we’ve now run hundreds of mailer tests and some of those have worked really well, while others have done really bad.  A few months ago we wanted to test different types of mailers so we ran a little experiment and the bottom line was it FAILED.

One of my partners in crime is Joey Wood. He’s an enterprise sales director here at InsideSales.com. Joey and I discuss a lot about which plays we should run to build pipeline. A play is a strategic prospecting initiative that is more than a cadence or sequence. Let’s take a look.

The Magic Eight Ball Play

PLAYS

P – Purpose

The purpose of the play was to add pipeline for Joey

L – List

The list of people we went after was our target account list and contacts that were executive level

A – Assets

We have to give value before we ask for value. The assets we had were Magic Eight Balls custom made to say messages about how people’s pipeline and forecasting is broken. In addition, we had hand-written notes.

Y – Yield

You have to measure your performance so in this case we were looking at appointments, pipeline, and closed revenue.

S – Sequence

The sequence is the number of activities and what type of activity you use. The sequence is important but you can see that a play is more than a sequence. Here is our sequence:

4calls, 2 voicemails, 2 text messages, 3 emails, 1 social touch, 1 direct mailer

 

It seems like it should have worked just fine right? We have all the elements and the creativity of the Magic Eight Ball was super funny right?

WRONG, after 60 days here were the results . . .

42 contacts had been enrolled into this play. We had a total of 6 meetings, 37K in pipeline, and ZERO closed revenue. Okay so that may not sound that bad to you and truthfully our sales cycle is pretty long so there is a chance a few things will still fall but if you compare that to our Starbucks Coffee Play, those results are terrible. Just in case you forgot about our EXTREMELY popular Coffee play, let me remind you.

The Starbucks Coffee Play

P – Purpose

The purpose of the play was to add pipeline for Joey

L – List

The list of people we went after was our target account list and contacts that were executive level

A – Assets

We had a Starbucks gift card, a hand-written note, a yeti-mug, and some research we were offering.

Y – Yield

Similar to the the Eight Ball play we wanted to measure  appointments, pipeline, and closed revenue.

S – Sequence

We ran the same sequence as the Eight Ball play

4 calls, 2 voicemails, 2 text messages, 3 emails, 1 social touch, 1 direct mailer.

Notice how almost everything was the same as the Magic Eight Ball play. It was the gift that was significantly different. So, what were the results?

After 60 days. . .

42 contacts had been enrolled into this play. We had a total of 36 meetings, $700K in pipeline, and $142K close revenue. Wow! Look at the difference between those two plays.

What’s the reason for the difference? Remember the variables were basically the same except for the gift and the biggest difference between the two gifts was funny versus useful.

Interesting. When we asked busy B2B managers and leaders what type of gift they’d prefer. 47.5% of respondents said they prefer useful gifts over any other type of gift. That’s 30.7 percentage points higher than funny gifts.

There you have it. When it comes to direct mailers, don’t assume everything is created equal.

Want to learn more about direct mailers? Get Access to our Direct Mailer Executive Summary report here: