Posted by on Jan 17, 2020 in Brand Strategy and Design, Digital Advertising, Integrated Marketing, Marketing Automation, Marketing Content, Marketing Strategy, Tradeshows | 0 comments

New Year, New Email Marketing Program

Brandwidth Solutions Offers Email Marketing Tips

by Scott Fuhr

Happy 2020! The New Year is a new opportunity to consider what’s working well in your marketing and what can be improved for the coming year. For email marketing, that can mean tweaking the foundations of your program.

Respondents to a recent study from Marketo indicated that the most effective type of marketing technology (martech) was “marketing automation/email/CRM.” Furthermore, they also marked “increasing marketing ROI” as the number-one challenge to the success of a martech strategy.

As we covered previously, you can use email marketing to promote trade show appearances via pre-show marketing and post-show marketing. These efforts can include email sends to a show list beforehand, and multi-touch campaigns, drip campaigns, or lead nurturing campaigns to the trade show attendee list after the event. You can even use email for webinar marketing.

Email isn’t going anywhere soon.

There are many different ways to customize your email marketing campaigns so they can perform beyond your expectations, including:

  • A/B testing
  • Multi-touch campaigns
  • Template approaches

And, while having a fancy marketing automation platform is helpful, you can also perform many of these approaches in simple programs (like Constant Contact). The point is to get started somewhere.

Testing Email Subject Lines

Let’s look at A/B testing. This is the art of testing a portion of an email send before deploying the entire send, with the goal of improving the open rate. While testing can be based on different portions of the email – like the subject line or the send-from address – the most common I see is based on the open rate of two different subject lines.

Instead of sending your email out to your entire list, you can make two different subject lines to test (A and B). You send subject line A to one-fourth of your list and send subject line B to another one-fourth of your list. After you send that test, you determine which subject line had the higher open rate. Then, you send the winning subject line to the remaining one-half of your list. The idea, of course, is that the remaining emails will naturally have a higher open rate than they would have without doing the test.

Multi-touch Email Campaigns

One of our clients recently held their annual customer event. Instead of sending out one email promoting the event and hoping that people would come, an entire multi-touch campaign was built around the event that included at least eight sends prior to the event, sends that occurred while the event was live, and post-event sends that included a link to a satisfaction survey. A post-event email we did for this event to attendees that provided the satisfaction survey link garnered a 41% open rate and 15% click-through rate. According to Emma and Eventbrite, an event-related email typically achieves an open rate of 21-30% and a click-through rate of 3-11%.

Tip: Make several of the pre-event emails more personal by highlighting some of the individual speakers and what they’ll be covering that’s unique to the event. This approach puts faces to the speakers’ names, and potential attendees can see the value of the content before the event even starts.

A comprehensive email marketing program like this takes potential attendees on a journey that highlights what makes your event different, conveys the benefits of attending, and invites attendees to keep in touch after the event ends. The result: relationship-building that leads to sales. You’ve now started building a foundation for a relationship or are continuing to nurture one through these regular communications.

Enhance Email Campaigns with Marketing Automation

Multi-touch campaigns can be enhanced by marketing automation technology. Platforms that provide this approach allow you to take email marketing one step further by automating some of the tasks of relationship-building.

For instance, typically we set-up email programs that automatically provide a white paper or other thought-leadership deliverable when a recipient opens the email and completes a form. A list of the leads can be provided showing who downloaded the deliverable and these can be passed along to the sales team for follow-up. Someone who actively downloads your content is more likely to have a conversation with your team. According to Demand Metric, 60% of people are inspired to seek out a product after reading content about it.

Programs can also be built to provide an automated cadence of emails over time. Think a segment of prospects needs to be introduced to your organization and, as such, they are put on a program that delivers them information about your products and services over a period of several months to warm them up. You’re staying top-of-mind. And, for those with marketing automation platforms, all the results from these emails can be delivered straight to your CRM and the platform can even score your prospects according to their interactions with you.

Get Better Results with an Email Template

How many times have you received an email on your mobile device and when you try to read it you have to move the screen around to read the whole message? What has likely happened here is that the email wasn’t optimized for mobile devices.

Using a template approach can easily solve this issue. Many email systems come with pre-selected templates you can choose from, and I recommend trying one of those to start with to get better mobile results.

Exclusive Tip: We’ve found that an average of 23% of our emails were opened on a mobile device over the last six months. If you’re not sending mobile-friendly emails, you’re disappointing a good portion of your audience – which may lead them to unsubscribe or delete it before being read. It has been suggested that as many as 15% of users will unsubscribe when a mobile email displays poorly.

While some templates may not be to your liking exactly, there are often simple options available to remove and add sections (like header banner images, photos, logos, and text areas).

If you have graphic designers on staff – and we do – enlist their help to create some of these images for your templated email sends. This will help create an overall cohesive look and feel for your brand and get recipients of your emails used to identifying your messages with your organization.

Coming Up…

In our next post in February, we’ll look at some real-world examples from the areas above. Email marketing can be nebulous and is an ongoing work-in-progress as technology evolves. The good news is that we can help you get started with your program or can enhance your current program.

Start increasing your open rates and ROI from email – get going by calling us today.

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

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Posted by on Jan 10, 2020 in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Strategy | 0 comments

Acquiring Lab Customers: Demystifying the B2B Sales Process

Brandwidth Solutions - Acquiring Lab Customers: Demystifying the B2B Sales Process

by Larry Worden and Deb Harrsch

Do you know why you lost that big sale to the hospital lab? Chances are you don’t. Not really. All you know is that you submitted the RFI/RFP response and…nothing.

MDxI (Market Diagnostics International) surveyed a sampling of laboratories and found that the main reasons vendors weren’t chosen to provide services were:

  • Failure to meet the basic requirements of an RFI/RFP
  • Delays and lack of focus on the customer’s evaluation process
  • Absence of a solid relationship with decision makers
  • Ability to meet the customer’s requirements efficiently and economically
  • Challenges in prior service delivery
  • Aggressive sales tactics or personnel
  • Lack of appropriate assays

If anything here rings a bell for you, then you’ll want to dig into the following information.

How Customers Make Buying Decisions in Hospital Systems and Laboratories

M&A in the hospital and laboratory space has increased in the last several years, leading to fewer opportunities due to consolidation. But, the vendor selection process hasn’t changed. The length of the buying decision for lab and hospital laboratory systems has also remained the same – a nine-to-24-month time frame.

MDxI reports that virtually all labs have a similar 13-step process for identifying needs and potential vendors, producing RFIs & RFPs, evaluating vendors, and ultimately choosing a supplier. As a sales rep, you’ll want to study this process to ensure that you understand what your target customers will expect from you.

Behind the Scenes in the Lab – 13 Steps to Successful Vendor Selection

  1. Identifying the Need: Lab staff drives the process when older equipment needs replacing.
  2. Establishing an Evaluation Team: Participating team members typically include the lab manager, section supervisor and key medical technologists. Team members may also include the medical director and an IT representative. The lab manager is the team lead.
  3. Gathering Preliminary Information: Team members research and identify potential vendors through web searches, laboratory trade shows and conferences, and conversations with lab colleagues.
  4. Notifying Potential Vendors: Once the evaluation team has qualified a selection of vendors, they invite those companies to present to the team.

When can you ask to be included in the evaluation process? If your company already sells to the lab in question, or if you have developed a relationship with the potential customer, you can ask to be included in the evaluation process at this stage.

  1. Developing and Prioritizing Evaluation Criteria: The team will create a categorized list of requirements in order of importance.
  2. Issuing the RFI: During this key phase, all potential vendors are provided the lab’s list of requirements. You may need to visit the lab to ensure your company thoroughly understands the lab’s layout and workflows. You must make detailed recommendations on how your solutions will address the customer’s needs.
  3. Sourcing Additional Input: The lab’s evaluation team will continue to gather information on all the potential vendors. They’ll tap third-party resources to validate your claims. Sources could include: CAP proficiency survey results to review equipment performance, adverse incident/recall information, MD Buyline service ratings, and site visits to labs which use your equipment.
  4. Rating Vendors: After gathering all of their research and your RFI answers, the lab evaluation team begins ranking the potential vendors against their requirements.
  5. Narrowing the Playing Field and Sending the RFP: Once the rankings are completed, the team sends out the RFP. Typically only two or three vendors are in the running at the time of RFP.

If you have a strong relationship with the lab manager and your company is not invited to participate in the RFP, you can ask to be included in the RFP process. But, be warned, it may not be in your best interest to participate. Many labs prefer to restrict the RFP process to only those companies they believe best meet their needs.

  1. Vendor Presentations: Vendors may be asked to present their responses to the RFP directly to the evaluation team.
  2. Assessing the Finalists: If the finalists are tied or if none of them can provide the perfect solution, the evaluation team requests additional information or alternate solutions from the vendors in question.
  3. Selecting the Best Vendor: When all the information has been submitted, including the financials, the evaluation team meets to vote on the winning vendor.
  4. Negotiating and Signing the Contract: Once the team has selected the best supplier, the contract is then negotiated and signed by the business manager or procurement department.

Knowing your customer’s process allows sales teams to add value at critical stages of the buying process.

What Your Sales and Marketing Departments Need to Do

Now might be a good time to review what ‘customer acquisition’ means. As states, it’s “The process of persuading a consumer to purchase a company’s good or services.”  Yes, there’s a cost associated with customer acquisition as well, but what we really need to think about here is the process.

The process involves both sales and marketing. The sales team is responsible for the customer relationship and driving the sale. MDxI shared that there are certain do’s and don’ts to sales rep actions.


  • Communicate monthly or quarterly with your contacts. Ask your contact which they prefer and follow directions!
  • Connect by email or make an appointment.


  • Don’t assume a phone call is better. Customers report it’s hard to get on the phone.
  • Don’t show up without an appointment and expect your contact to be available.
  • Don’t go around laboratory decision makers. Executive teams, administration, or purchasing will not help you get your foot in the door.
  • Don’t try to visit your contact too often – they’re busy.

Marketing is responsible for making sure that sales has everything they need to nurture and close the sale – from marketing collateral to white papers and case studies to web content the customer may access prior to speaking with a sales rep.

Marketing needs to work closely with sales. Regular communication delivers a crucial understanding of what the customer needs to know. With that information, marketing can design exactly the right tools to enhance your sales efforts.

How to Win at Customer Acquisition

What happens when sales and marketing work together? Sales success. When MDxI surveyed labs to understand what was behind successful sales, they found that the key drivers were solid relationships and time and attention to detail.

  • Relationships: When sales establishes a solid relationship with all the key decision-makers in a lab system – and maintains those relationships over time – regardless of their status as a customer or future customer, they are invited to bid. These relationships provide the sales rep with inside knowledge of open bids. They also allow sales reps to ask decision-makers to participate in upcoming vendor selections. If you can’t bid, you can’t win a sale.
  • Time and Attention to Detail: It takes time to develop a relationship. It also takes time to respond to an RFI/RFP thoroughly – and ensure that each step of the acquisition process is completed by the deadlines requested. Customers are watching and they will notice if your team doesn’t meet expectations. You need to show decision-makers that you value them and their business. If not, guess what? No sale.

But, don’t assume that these are the only keys to winning new lab customers. MDxI found that breadth of product lines, automation capabilities, and other contracts with the customer also played important roles in driving vendor choice. While you may not be able to do much about current contracts with a health system, your marketing and sales teams can certainly ensure that your potential customer understands the scope of your product line and advantages of your automation solution.

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy, and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately, sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

Larry Worden co-founded MDxI in 2006 and is now the principal at IVD Logix. Larry has spent 40 years in the fields of medical and scientific marketing research and syndicated data services. Today, he focuses on the in vitro diagnostics marketplace, providing market information solutions to clients using qualitative and quantitative market research methods. Contact Larry at 214.434.1923.

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