How We Generate $1M in Sales Pipeline with Direct Mail

July 1, 2020

Here we explain step-by-step how at SaaSMQL we are able to consistently generate over $1M in new sales pipeline every month by using a targeted direct mail approach. We also discuss mistakes to avoid during the process and how to track the campaign performance.

The goal of Account-Based Marketing is to focus your budget and efforts on companies that are most likely to become your customer. This means formulating a comprehensive strategy to engage decision makers across multiple channels, both digital and offline. Integrating a direct mail approach to your current marketing strategy, when executed properly, can skyrocket your lead-to-opportunity conversion rate and create engagement with target accounts.

Here we explain step-by-step how at SaaSMQL we are able to consistently generate over $1M in new sales pipeline every month by using a targeted direct mail approach. We also discuss mistakes to avoid during the process and how to track the campaign performance.


Direct Mail for B2B

Direct mail is making a comeback in B2B marketing. The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) analyzed Bizo and Epsilon data and found that: “direct mail has a better response rate than email marketing, with 4.4% of campaigns receiving a response when delivered through the mail, compared to just 0.12% online.” That is a 37x higher response rate for direct mail than email! The DMA noted that consumers are often overwhelmed by inboxes cluttered with unsolicited marketing emails, and are more receptive to direct mail partly because it arrives on a much less-cluttered channel.

According to Canada Post Corporation, another reason for this is that direct mail requires 21% less of a cognitive process than reading and responding to emails, and elicits a much higher brand recall. The best part is that direct mail has a long lasting effect -- when executed well, you will remember that brand for weeks or months. Meanwhile, emails tend to be remembered for minutes or maybe hours, at most.


In B2B, direct mail has an open rate of 57%, vs paid search/social media’s 1% open rate:


The Importance of a Multi-Channel Strategy


According to the Omnichannel marketing automation statistics for 2019, B2B marketers using 3 or more channels manage to achieve a 250% higher purchase and engagement rate than in the case of single-channel marketing. In looking at omnichannel marketing statistics, they also found that customers who engaged across multiple weren’t just more loyal, they also typically spent more than customers who only engaged with one channel. In fact, customers that engaged across three or more channels had an average order value of $66.31, 13% higher than for customers who did not ($58.70). 


Even direct mail cannot be used in a “silo”-- sending out a few boxes without a well-crafted strategy will not get you the great results you are hoping for. The best way to use the direct mail channel is to tie it in with the efforts you are making on other channels. This article explains how connecting direct mail with channels like email and paid media can exponentially increase your response rate.


Direct Mail Use Cases


When direct mail campaigns are integrated into a broader account-based marketing strategy, they become a powerful channel to break through the noise and reach your ideal contacts. There are several different use cases for sending a direct mail piece. The first is to convert existing leads into SQLs: these mailers have a clear call-to-action (CTA) to book a demo, and can include an incentive such as a gift card. You can also use direct mail to open the door with cold accounts, or nurture lost opportunities. 


When you are hosting an event or sponsoring a conference, you can use direct mail to send a nice, memorable invitation. If you are able to obtain this year’s or last year’s list of companies attending the event, you can run a direct mail campaign to invite key prospects to your booth in exchange for a nice swag gift. Here is an example of an invitation for recipients to visit our booth at SaaStr Annual with a poker chip they can redeem for a VIP gift. If your company hosts their own annual conference or regional events, you could send a custom invite with a small gift to potential attendees, including a discount code for them to register. See this article for the top 4 direct mail use cases for B2B startups.


Getting Started in 7 Steps


There are 7 steps to launching your first B2B direct mail campaign:

  1. Define your goals and budget. What is your campaign trying to accomplish? 
  2. Identify your target and build the list. Who is your target audience?
  3. Create the offer, incentive, and message. Make sure it is relevant to your target audience. 
  4. Develop a custom landing page for your recipients to book a meeting/convert. 
  5. Build a coordinated email sequence to follow up with your prospects. 
  6. Track shipments, responses, and have your Sales reps follow up with prospects who do not visit your landing page. 
  7. Track ROI! Arguably the most important, you want to show how successful your campaign is.


Campaign Example - SaaSMQL


Our company, SaaSMQL, was looking to generate 15 new opportunities per month, which equates to a little over $1M in sales pipeline. To calculate how many accounts and prospects would be needed to achieve this goal, we worked backwards on our lead-to-revenue funnel. Knowing our average conversion rates, we were able to see how many people we would need to target to generate 15 new opportunities per month.

Next, we defined our ideal customer profile (ICP) based on company attributes and intent. Our ideal customer is: based in the U.S. or Canada, seed funded to Series D ($3M+ raised), has 20 to 250 employees, and an average deal size of $15K+ ARR. Some helpful signals that can make an account right for us are: an open position for demand generation or ABM, raised last round of funding less than 24 months ago, and a Bombora intent score of 70+.













Once we had a target account list, we narrowed in on our target persona. We want to talk to decision makers, so the roles we want to target are CEO, CRO, VP of Sales, and VP of Marketing. We always start with warm leads (those that come in from paid social, inbound, etc), then build the rest of our contact list from these roles at our target accounts. 


Our Latest Mailer


Our latest direct mail campaign had a goal of generating SQLs from our list of target accounts. We created this branded box with our value proposition and headline. Inside the box we inserted handmade Italian biscotti from a local Redwood City bakery, and a small Nutella jar. We also included a one pager with a CTA to schedule a 30-minute meeting, and an incentive for a $50 Amazon gift card to thank them for their time after the demo. The cost was ~$32 per box, including shipping.














As part of the campaign, we built a custom landing page and integrated it with Calendly so that prospects can schedule a meeting directly on the page. On the page we remind them of the offer, add a picture of the box, and the calendar. We add the landing page link to the mailer itself, and then in the follow up emails as well. Our automated email sequence begins before boxes ship, and ends a few weeks after boxes arrive. We first send an email to notify that a package is coming their way, and then follow up with reminders of the offer.












Most importantly, we monitor campaign ROI across every channel (as well as conversion rate). We factor in every part of our multi-channel approach, and can then identify which programs are successful.


 Below are two examples of our clients who have used this same multi-channel strategy to generate sales pipeline with direct mail.












Costly Mistakes to Avoid


Now that you are ready to launch your first direct mail campaign, here are some mistakes we have learned from so you don’t have to:


  1. Targeting people that are too senior. The CEO of Bank of America is very unlikely to receive your direct mail box or read a cold email. Focus on the roles that normally initiate the conversation.
  2. Sending just postcards/paper. Paper offers are often considered “junk”, but a nice, custom box is sure to “wow” the recipient.
  3. Shipping without verifying the addresses. Many companies have several offices across the country. If you ship a box to HQ in New York but your prospect works in their Denver office, they will likely never see your gift.
  4. Overthinking the creative or box offer. Studies show that spending too much time and energy on the creative portion of your mailer will not yield greater returns -- keep it simple and engaging.
  5. Missing follow-ups. Your prospects are likely busy and may think they will get to your offer later, following up via phone or email is a good way to keep the prospect engaged.
  6. Over-personalize. Personalization on a large scale is difficult and time consuming, and will yield about the same results as without.
  7. Shipping chocolate during the Summer. Chocolate will melt while shipping in the summer! Don’t do it!
  8. Running direct mail in silo. Direct mail is best used in tandem with paid social, email, and other channels. Your prospect will want to see/hear about your brand several times before making any decisions.
  9. Missing proper attribution. Always track responses/meetings and pipeline! If a prospect attends a meeting, but isn’t tagged correctly in your CRM, they will not be counted towards your campaign. Align with Sales to make sure all leads are being tagged correctly throughout the entire process.



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