Account-based marketing (ABM) has marketers and sales teams working together to examine the business issues facing the target prospect, map them to individuals, and tailor campaigns and sales efforts to address those issues at all levels.
ABM has existed for over a decade, ITSMA coined the term in 2004, but in the last couple of years its popularity has accelerated with B2B buyers increasingly demanding customized pitches.
Why ABM Can Create A Deliverability Nightmare
While there are many techniques and tactics involved in account-based marketing, nearly all of them involve email. Between salespeople reaching out directly and marketing sending blasts, a lot of email is going from your server to the account’s server.
With so many emails being sent to a variety of contacts within an organization, B2B companies are running into a problem: their emails are triggering organizations’ global spam filters and emails are bouncing.
When a lead has received several emails from a sender but not opened any of them, additional emails may trigger spam filters. In addition, many corporate email servers simply limit the amount of email they accept from a particular sender during a given period as a measure to prevent “spam.” Sending emails above the threshold results in your emails being rejected.
If you're sending emails without a comprehensive deliverability strategy, you may be in for a nasty surprise as your email delivery rates begin to tank.
Here are three quick steps you can take to right the ship and build and a stronger ABM email program.
Step 1: Avoid Server Bounces by Spreading Out Delivery Times
Every ISP’s threshold is different, so there’s no sure way to know how many emails will trigger bouncebacks, but there are a couple of methods to avoid hitting thresholds.
The ideal solution is to schedule your marketing emails to send out over an extended period of time instead of in a single blast, that way they won’t arrive all at once and hit the threshold. If you are mailing a small number of people you can schedule emails manually using a service like Boomerang for Gmail, or you can personalize a mass delivery automatically and throttle emails using software like Seventh Sense.
Another tactic that may help is to use two different domains to send emails, splitting up marketing/batch emails and sales/individual emails. Have all your marketing emails come from your website domain, while your sales emails could come from a slightly different domain (many companies use a different domain for their exchange servers anyway).
Keep in mind though that neither of these solutions will work if you’re sending too much email to start with. However, separating the domains will at least keep each domain’s reputation separate and limit any damage that may be done to sales deliverability by marketing blasts.
Step 2: Protect Your Sender Reputation by Increasing Your Engagement
Email service providers look at a senders reputation when deciding how to categorize their email. If an IP address has a reputation for sending high-quality emails, then the receiving server will most likely allow the email through, but if the IP address has a reputation for sending spam, servers may reject a message or flag it as spam.
Return Path’s research shows that 83% of email delivery failures are caused by sender reputation issues.
While the exact mechanics of how sender reputations are assessed are not something email service providers typically publicize, its generally known that recipients doing things like opening messages, adding your address to their contact lists or clicking links etc. helps your reputation.
On the other hand if recipients mark your email as spam, delete it immediately, or move it to the Junk folder, your score will be negatively impacted.
While there are a lot of steps you can take to boost your engagement, the easiest is to personalize your email delivery times. In our research, we’ve seen open rates increase by up to 50% and click-thru-rates by over 90% in some cases by simply personalizing send time and frequency.
Step 3: Adjust Your Email Frequency When Contacts Aren’t Engaging
If you’re sending loads of emails to prospects who aren’t engaging, eventually all your email to the team may start going straight to the junk folder.
Watch your open and especially click-through rates carefully and consider segmenting your contacts into “low/no engagement,” “medium engagement,” and “high engagement.” You can do this process manually or you can use an AI powered plug-in like Seventh Sense to segment by engagement and decrease email volume to contacts who are not interacting with your content.
Remember that click-through-rate is a more reliable measurement of interest than opens. Open tracking can be inaccurate, and zero-inbox people may see and open all your emails but not actually read or engage with them.
Account-based marketing requires a big time investment from your team. Once you’ve put in the energy to learn a prospect and create a custom approach, you don’t want to waste all that effort by having contacts miss your emails because of poor delivery.
For more information on this topic, download our free e-book on Email Fatigue.