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LiveHive-Exec-Response-Sales-Outreach-by-Content-Type-Sept2015More than 6 in 10 executives and enterprise companies (more than $1 billion in annual revenues) say they receive personalized sales outreach from vendors at least often, according to a LiveHive survey conducted by Harris Poll. The results suggest that execs are more likely to respond favorably to outreach personalized to be relevant to their industry and specific problem than to their role within the company.

Indeed, almost 9 in 10 respondents said that outreach personalized to their company’s industry (e.g. knowing their business, changing industry needs or technologies) is either absolutely essential (42%) or very important (47%) when vendors initially reach out to them. Slightly fewer (83%) find it at least very important that the outreach be personalized to their specific business problem, and relatively fewer again (70%) indicate that it’s very important that the outreach be personalized to their role within the company.

A similar pattern played out when executives were asked about their reaction to personalized outreach, as personalization based on industry and specific problem appear more likely to elicit a favorable response than outreach personalized to the executive’s role.

Those findings are interesting in light of survey results contained in MarketingCharts’ 2015 B2B Digital Marketing Insights Report. Data collected for the report indicate that B2B enterprise companies are more likely to be qualifying leads based on company industry and vertical (58%) than prospect title (51%). That makes sense given separate data in the report showing that both C-suite and non-C-suite employees have purchase influence. Further, with an average 7 executives involved in a buying decision (at least for technology), addressing industry expertise and business problems seems a more valid proposition than personalizing based on a prospect’s title (despite that also leaving a favorable impression, per the LiveHive results).

Separately, a recent study from Corporate Visions suggests that in order to differentiate themselves and be effective, B2B marketers and salespeople see the opportunity in introducing “unconsidered” needs rather than focusing on their company’s credentials and capabilities.

Returning to the LiveHive survey, executives displayed some varying preferences for the content types contained within sales emails. The following lists the percentage who agreed they would be more likely to respond positively when vendors initially reach out with sales emails including:

  • Customer case studies (84%);
  • Industry articles (81%);
  • White papers (78%);
  • Company brochures (72%); and
  • Videos (72%).

By comparison, just 35% said they would be more likely to respond to sales emails that don’t contain any attached collateral.

About the Data: Harris Poll® conducted the survey online on behalf of LiveHive within the United States from July 29 ”“ August 3, 2015, among a total of 319 corporate executives at companies with revenue of $1 billion or more. Figures for company revenue and number of employees were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the larger universe of companies with revenue of $1 billion or more.

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