Automated Email Marketing: What the Top Companies Really Do!

Guest post contributed by: Amanda Greenwood

Reaching out to potential customers, leveraging your growing email list, and onboarding new clients is never an easy task. It is, however, an important task and one that we all want to do better. 

This is why our team at Process Street, specialists in process management, analyzed over 1,000 emails and voicemails from over 250 SaaS companies to find out what successful tactics they employ to master the art of email marketing.

You can find the full report in this Inside SaaS Sales article, and you can even use their emails as templates to build your own marketing campaigns.

If you don’t have time to read the full report, this article will give you the top four findings from the study to help you get the best out of your email marketing

Let’s get stuck in! 

Key finding #1: 65% of companies use automated email campaigns

The email marketing tactics that SaaS organizations deploy to boost their sales figures will always vary. This is because each company has its own business goals to meet, its own strategies to implement and its own audience to please. 

However, during our study, we found that 65% of SaaS organizations are using automated email campaigns as part of their email marketing strategy. Automated email campaigns are great for large companies because they can operate at scale without overheads hurtling upwards.

The companies that didn’t use automated email campaigns tended to have a narrower focus and often had a company profile that suggested they would benefit more from a personal, high-touch onboarding approach.

Companies like Epicor for example, who service large industrial contracts, use a more personalized email approach. They have a smaller number of potential clients, but each will be worth a significant amount. For this reason, they have a huge incentive to spend more time, effort, and money on their email marketing to secure each client. 

Key finding #2: 39% of companies only send automated emails

Larger companies, who have significantly more customers and potential customers, like Slack, for example, take a different approach to the Epicor’s of this world. 

Slack is one out of 39% of companies whose email campaigns are fully automated. Their automated email sequence consists of five emails and focuses, not on sales, but on encouraging their email recipients to invite more people to their team. Their main aim is to get as many people using the product as possible. 

Slack is a simple product to use and with the rise of instant messaging platforms, the concept is familiar to most and is relatively self-explanatory. You can post messages in channels and other people in those channels can see those messages and respond to them instantly. 

For these reasons, Slack’s automated email sequence is geared towards encouraging activity rather than coaxing a sale. 

Plus, through data-driven personalization techniques, it’s possible to create automated emails that sound and feel personal to the reader. 

It’s a win-win situation for these types of companies. 

Key finding #3: 26% of companies use both automated and manual emailing

It doesn’t have to be a battle between automated email campaigns and one-to-one personal email contact though. 

26% of companies employ both techniques. 

For example, Salesforce reaches out to the user with an automated email as part of a marketing drip campaign.

The automated email encourages the user to make the most of the platform’s functionalities and provides them with opportunities to find out more. 

This initial email is followed up by a personally crafted email, from a sales representative, who offers the user a quick 5-minute demonstration, to talk them through the software. 

This approach is useful for a company like Salesforce because, although their product is brilliantly functional, it’s a complicated piece of kit that performs lots of different actions. 

A complex platform like this can be intimidating at the beginning, so a personal touch can be just the ticket to put an overwhelmed user at ease. 

Moreover, as Salesforce is not the cheapest platform, each prospect is worth a significant amount of money! 

It is also worth mentioning that this Salesforce email sequence uses what HubSpot calls “opening with context”. 

This is a sales technique where you refer to a previous action or event. This stops the email feeling like a cold email and suggests that the user has done something to trigger the email. Maybe it was signing up to the platform? Maybe it was not responding to the last email?

Act-On, a marketing automation company, call customers and leave voicemails referencing a meeting that was previously suggested in an email. They follow this voicemail up by sending another email that references the meeting discussed in the voicemail.  

It’s one endless cycle of sales techniques!

Depending on your company, mixing both automated and personal outreach could prove to be a successful approach. 

But what tools do the big SaaS players use?

Key finding #4: 49% of SaaS companies use MailChimp

MailChimp is the largest email marketing service in the world (particularly when you factor in its baby Mandrill), so it’s no surprise to see that nearly half of SaaS companies use it. 

The prizes for second and third place go to companies who, although lagged behind MailChimp, were significantly ahead of the rest of the pack.

Marketo came in second with a total of 21% of companies opting to use it. While HubSpot had to settle for the bronze medal with 19% of SaaS enterprises selecting it as their chosen outreach tool.

Email marketing: The 4 key takeaways  

  1. Build an email marketing system suited to your product and service. Don’t spend lots of money bringing in low-value leads.
  2. Combine automated and manual emailing to both operate at scale and reach the high-value customers.
  3. Utilize the “opening with context” technique in your first-contact emails as a nice ice-breaker.
  4. Trial MailChimp, Marketo, and Hubspot to see which email service meets your needs best. If they’re the chosen services of the most successful SaaS companies, they must be doing something well!

Guest post contributed by: Amanda Greenwood

Amanda is a junior content writer at Process Street. She’s based in North Yorkshire and has worked in content marketing for a number of years. Her biggest passions in life are writing, her dog Tank, and watching her favorite bands at the Glastonbury music festival.