Email continues to be an important channel of communication for both salespeople and marketers at B2B firms. Every year, we hear about “the death of email,” yet we are all still using it. And with the resurgence of the cold email from Account Based Marketing & Sales vendors, email is even more active.
According to firms like Campaign Monitor there will be 2.9 billion email users in 2019. According to Radicati, in 2019, 246.5 billion emails will be sent per day, and of those 128.8 billion are B2B messages. Roughly 20% are marked as spam. And since email is, and is perceived, as a “low cost” channel, we will continue to use it, even when a lot of people complain.
Hypothetically, if 1.5% of those emails generate a reply, that’s 3.69 billion emails to sift through!
I’m pretty sure most of us aren’t sending all the emails, so let’s say you send 10MM nurture and cold prospecting emails per month attempting to generate more leads. All of these emails “come from the rep” but the reps don’t want all of that Out of Office or unsubscribe junk. They aren’t going to sift through 150,000 emails per month to find the 5,000 that matter. Leads—and money—are left on the table.
It’s no surprise that managing the replies from all of that email is more critical than ever for a marketer running prospecting campaigns or other email nurtures. With spam clicks ruining scoring and privacy enforcement increasing, you must check your replies. Last year, I wrote about this topic a few times, including a how-to on Siftrock, a reply management vendor. Siftrock has expanded its feature set since then.
I’ve also had a chance to consider additional use cases and we’re going to go through Siftrock’s 2018 enhancements in this article.
Attribution and Replies
If you are a Marketo user, you have probably created an Email Send program where the whitepaper is in another Program. When the Lead fills out the form in the Other Program, that program gets a Success attribution, while your Email Send did nothing.
As a pre-cursor to using Siftrock’s new Reply Bot, you can mimic automation using Marketo to obtain Attribution as well as trigger other emails based on replies. Earlier this year, my friend Ed Unthank of Etumos wrote an interesting guide on using Program Statuses in Marketo to track and attribute email responses.
Account Based Replies & Lead Owner Reply Management
For me, this feature and enhancement, helps make prospecting email automation easier than ever. In the past, your email would come from the rep’s email address using Lead Owner Email Address (or a variation for Siftrock).
One method, which I use, is to map the “Reply” domain to the real domain for my company’s reps. Siftrock then has a rule for certain email replies to forward that Human reply directly to the rep just like this. One method to do this is to create a Formula field in SFDC to create a mapped reply address just for Siftrock (which I explained in my previous article).
A couple of caveats:
- When using Marketo, still cannot connect the SFDC Sales Owner Email Address in Siftrock due to some API limitations. May be available in future.
- You will need to use the formula field workaround to create a second field with the mapped Reply Email Address.
This is a workflow which can be enabled using Siftrock Skills. Let’s say you have a cold outreach program as part of your ABM strategy. You have one rep per Account-Company-Domain.
Then you automate emails “from the Lead Owner” using the Sales Owner Email Address token. Siftrock is smart enough to map the Reply Email to the Lead Owner (see below).
That’s neat and easy to setup. But what if you have other Nurture Programs or emails which aren’t mapped as clearly to a Lead Owner? What could you do?
- Setup a Skill to route domain replies to specific reps. That’s ok if your TAM is small.
- Allow replies to a Spokesperson Email Box to see the matched Lead Owner via Marketo and route accordingly.
Email Reply Bot Feature (Beta)
Over the past year, martech has added more intelligence AI bots to handle use cases:
- Website chatbot to engage and hand over highly qualified leads to Sales (e.g.; Drift)
- Email scheduler replies, (eg: Conversica).
What if you could embed such an AI in Marketo and have someone reply to Marketo emails and have Marketo take a specific action?
Siftrock thought of that.
Now in beta testing for Gmail only accounts, Siftrock can integrate with OAuth to send from your accounts. For example:
- Send Marketo Lead Owner Email Address email, inviting someone to an event.
- The Email copy says, “just reply and I’ll register you.”
- The Recipient says, “Sure,” or “Not this time.”
- Siftrock sees that reply, and auto replies based on the Yes/No conditions.
- Siftrock could trigger a Confirmation email using Add to List or other methods, including just replying and letting the person know we’ll handle it.
- Siftrock passes the data to Marketo as Add to List and/or fields, allowing you to trigger (or batch) more information with the Added to List trigger.
While I’ve been skeptical of AI as a cure-all, this particular use case can make Marketo (or any MAP), more powerful and a serious alternative to Sales Email Automation. Rather than purchase an entirely redundant Sales Automation Email Tool, you can now help Sales run outreach campaign at scale and ensure that Replies are properly handled.
You can also help the Audience avoid cumbersome Forms and CTAs – just “hit reply” and we’ll handle the rest. Remember, Forms create friction and the old
Send Email > Click Here > Fill Out Form > Get More info
process is increasingly restricting growth for many of us, especially with Spam Bots ruining click scoring.
Pretty cool, right?
Because then you create this in Marketo:
And now your audience doesn’t even have to click to fill out a form!!
Who said email was dead? Make it USEFUL.
Privacy and GDPR Compliance
Compliance was my initial reason for purchasing a reply management tool, since it was challenging to keep up with Unsubscribe replies. Marketers, however, cite Reply Mining for New Contacts as a justification for Reply software. With the advent of GDPR, you may need to reconsider your approach to mining replies. Here are workflow considerations you should discuss with your Legal Counsel, as this is not legal advice.
Since a person replied, this may be viewed as consent for a salesperson to reply, however, I would personally be careful about assuming an opt in for marketing purposes regardless of the respondent’s country.
Siftrock only sees the email reply and email address. That email reply will contain personal information in most cases.
New Contacts and Data Mining:
Siftrock retains this capability, as it is very useful. Mining EU records will put you at a great risk of fines. Instead, consider collating such replies and evaluating them by both Geography and Scenario. Creating new records for non-US persons should be carefully thought through before automating the workflow.
The suggested Actions should be approved by your legal counsel before you implement them.
|Scenario and Reply Type||Location of Respondent||Action|
|Left Company||US||Auto flag Left Company to Owner
Create New Contact(s)
|OOO||US||Auto flag OOO to Owner
Create New Contact(s)
|Human||Any||Forward to Owner|
|Left Company – Non Customer Not Active||Non US||· Auto mark as Left Company
· Flag to Owner
· Ignore new contacts
|Left Company – Non Customer Active||Non US||· Auto mark as Left Company
· Flag to Owner
· Collate New Contacts and discuss with Sales in case there is a legitimate reason to Contact (existing Opp, etc)
|Left Company – Customer||Non US||· Auto mark as Left Company
· Flag to Owner
· Send New Contacts or Auto Create and Route (but do not Opt In)
|OOO – Non-Customer||Non US||Flag to Sales|
|OOO – Customer||Non US||Flag to Sales
Forward Email to Sales
Data Deletion and Retrieval:
Administrators may respond to Deletion or Download requests under GDPR through the Data Privacy panel to Remove Contacts. The feature also records the deletion history in case of audit.
Other Things to Keep in Mind
- Remember – noreply@ is a bad experience and will get you in the spam box faster.
- Public Domains: you can tell Siftrock to ignore domains like “hotmail.com” or internal domains when creating new contacts.
Overall, Siftrock’s 2018 updates move the product forward with welcome add ons. With the Bot AI on the way, Siftrock will support the customer experience and lead generation even more.
Interested in automating your replies? Sign up here. [Affiliate link to support this site].
[Disclosure: I was given a trial account for this How To and have purchased Siftrock for an employer. Contains affiliate links.]
Image Credits: Screenshots; Siftrock slides.