Best Practices for Writing B2B Sales Emails

Writing B2B sales emails is one part art, one part science, and a whole lot of patience. To get to that elusive, perfect email you have to find the blend between friendly but not over-eager, helpful but not pushy, and naturally follow up without being annoying. 

Here are our experience-based best practices based on writing a B2B sales email.

Writing B2B Sales Emails

1) Know Your Persona

A persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal buyer according to HubSpot. Almost everything you do in sales and marketing should start with your persona, and sales emails are no different. When writing a B2B sales email, consider how technical your persona is. While you know and care about how important your product is, your email recipient may not. The CTO or head of the IT department might show interest in the highly technical aspects of your product, but you might not get the CMO to read beyond line two if you start talking about phalanges and gigahertz.

Figure out who you’re addressing and build your strategy around how to solve their pains and problems with your product using their language. 

You’re generating leads, but are they ready to talk to you? Get the guide to lead scoring and learn how to determine if your leads are sales-ready.

2) Be Helpful, Not Sales-y

Which brings me to number two- be helpful. Where impulse can lead a B2C purchase, the majority of B2B searches and buying journeys are set off by a pain point. The need to improve, prevent, encourage, scale, etc. in order to do better business. We know that those B2B buyers are eager for information and resources because 92% of B2B purchases start with search.

Use that to your advantage when you write your B2B sales emails. By knowing your persona, you should have been able to uncover the pain points they experience. By knowing your product, you should be able to relay how your product solves those pains. The key, though, is providing the content, resources, and insights to do so without giving off the used car salesman vibe. If you set out to be  authentic and your intent is to be helpful (rather than desperate for a sale), you may find your emails naturally follow in tone.

3) Offer Content and Resources 

If your sales and marketing teams are aligned, fingers crossed, you have assets to include in your sales emails that provide value. In the spirit of being helpful and not sales-y, the assets I’m talking about are not about you. Yup. You heard me right. Drag all of those sales brochure PDFs on your desktop to a new folder called “for later” and bear with me. 

B2B buyers want information. They set out to gain as much knowledge as possible, map out all their options, and typically present select solutions to their teams for final buy-in: the buyer’s journey. This all starts with knowledge. Your job is to provide that to them, via resources, to make their research process easier. As you move to conclude your follow-up process, you can include those product-specific brochures and sell sheets.

4) Create Personalization and Authenticity

Personalization in a B2B email can improve click-through rate by as much as 14% and conversion rates by 10%. It’s important to know that personalization is more than just a name. It’s mentioning a connection, noting something in common, building a bit of rapport. Doing so builds trust, authenticity, and credibility. 

Here are some ways to create personalization in your emails: 

  • Company name 
  • Noting mutual connections
  • Remembering and excluding information/resources they already found on their own
  • Tailoring content to the specific persona’s needs 
  • Including personalization tokens in the subject line
  • Sending by timezone
  • Acknowledging seasonality 

Your goal here is to identify yourself as a real human (even if you’re sending automated emails) and create a connection.

5) Add a CTA

A CTA, or call-to-action, is a way to encourage your recipient to take a specific next step. Adding one to your email can be in the form of a button or simply in hyperlinked text, but including one is a must.  Do not, however, go overboard in the ‘helpful’ department here. Try to limit the actions you’re requesting to one thing – two tops. 

You can, however, include the same CTA more than once in the same email. Having only one requested action, potentially reiterated, keeps the focus where you want it to be in order to increase your conversion rates. 

Writing B2B Tech Sales Emails

6) Include a Thoughtful Subject Line

The biggest factor in whether an email gets opened or not is the subject line. There are some fantastic recommendations for creating engaging subject lines here. In short, don’t make it about you: make it about them. Find a way to include personalization tokens, like name or company, or even pull out some of those even more personal touches if you’re mentioning them in your email.

Most importantly, be sure to test. If you’re using a CRM like HubSpot, it’s easy to run A/B tests on subject lines. (More on that here.) If you aren’t using a CRM, create a simple spreadsheet and run your own tests. Record what’s working and what’s not, and continually build on your success. 

7) Create Templates 

Creating templates for your B2B sales emails will save you time. A lot of time. And also a lot of energy and brainpower. Imagine being able to copy and paste rather than writing fresh emails multiple times a day. Doing so can help eliminate errors and typos as well.

Additionally, having templates aids in your ability to track and monitor your success rates. Does name dropping a mutual connection work better than asking for just thirty minutes of their time immediately? (I’m guessing it might). The tests you can run are endless, but you won’t be able to effectively measure what’s the most successful if you start from scratch every single time. 

Another benefit to templates is that you can use them for multiple people in your organization. If you do run those tests and find something to be highly effective, you can then get everybody into that sweet spot of selling. This also creates brand cohesion, a collective strategy, and a unified voice within your department.

8) Follow up

How many times do you follow up with your sales prospects currently? Once? Twice? Maybe three times? What if I said five times the charm? According to HubSpot, 80% of sales require five follow-ups. Starting to see how important those templates are now? 

You can read more about follow up strategies here, but the most important part I want to highlight is that you are following up. And that you’re doing it more than once. 

Related reading: 3 Lead follow up processes that will turn off your inbound leads

9) Use a CRM

Using a CRM, like HubSpot, will make your life 1,000 times easier. If you use a CRM to create your CTAs, you can track them and A/B test them easily. The same is also true for your templates and your subject lines. These little time-savers add up quickly to allow you to work more efficiently.

A CRM will also give you the ability to automate your email sends and follow-ups using those templates we just talked about. Once an email is sent, you can designate follow-ups to occur based on timing, user actions, or even user inactions. Doing so increases your win rates and reduces your workload. Find out if the HubSpot CRM is right for you here.

B2B tech sales email automation

Even if you’re not testing or automating your emails, a CRM is still beneficial because it helps you keep track of your contacts and interactions. You can assign contacts to a company, easily monitor when or if you follow-ups with somebody, and categorize your efforts into deal stages such as won, lost, bad timing, etc. to keep your efforts organized. 

Lead Scoring

Writing B2B sales emails really boils down to one thing: providing value. The meat of your email should be helpful, specific to your persona, and direct focus to one particular call-to-action. Your subject line should be catchy and your content personalized. Using a CRM aids in tracking and creates efficiencies, such as automation, that will generate more success. 

How We Work from Home: 10 Tips from a Remote Marketing Team

As a virtual marketing agency, remote work has been part of our process and infrastructure at Lake One since day one. However, we know this transition doesn’t always come easy. It’s one thing to work from home but it’s entirely different to do so productively.  

work from home tips

Here are a few of our tried and true tips and tricks to help:

Dress for Success 

You won’t catch us wearing dress pants or ball gowns around the house, but waking up and changing into your “work” clothes provides that shift from home to work. We’re not saying ditch the yoga pants or comfy clothes, but wearing what you wore to bed can make it tougher to get into work mode. 


Set a Schedule

Especially in the early days of your transition, it’s good to stick to your regular routine, as if you were going to go into the office. One of the concerns we consistently hear about working from home is people not knowing when work ends and home begins. A schedule and a dedicated space can help you separate work and home life. 

Dedicated Space

If possible, have a spot where you can shut the door. Even a desk in a spare bedroom. That may not be possible in every situation, but having a space clearly marked as workspace when you work from home will also help with getting your headspace set for work. 

work from home tips

Set Boundaries with Friends and Family

Just because you work from home, doesn’t mean you’re not working. Make it clear to friends and family that you can’t just drop everything to meet for lunch or help them with an errand. It can be tougher with the family that lives with you. Having that dedicated workspace can help. Let your family know that when you’re in your “office” you’re not to be bothered. 

Take a Break

Some people are so worried that others will think they’re not working when they’re remote that they overcompensate and don’t take any breaks at all. That’s a recipe for burnout. Grab the coffee, go to the gym, eat your lunch, or go get the mail. Especially if these are things you did before you began working from home.

Get Out of the House

If you’re someone who isn’t easily distracted and can work from a coffee shop, we recommend getting out of the house and changing up the scenery every once in a while. If that’s not for you and you know you’ll be too distracted or spend all of your money on coffee, we recommend getting outside, taking a walk around the block, or check morning emails from your back porch. 

work from home tips

Play Some Music 

For some, listening to music while they’re working is far too distracting. But for those of you who are used to the white noise of an office: printers printing, people chatting, or keyboards clicking, the quiet that comes from working from home, might be too loud. We recommend listening to some music to drown out the quiet. Don’t just take our word for it, science says it’s beneficial. 

Take Advantage of Tools

Remote work today is significantly easier than it was 5, 10, and 15 years ago. Thanks to a ton of tools that make communication, collaboration, and management easier and still enable culture and comradery even when we aren’t all sharing the same space. Here’s our remote working stack. 



Slack chat is the core of our daily life. We break out channels by clients, work type and groups to keep everything organized. We also strive to inject some culture and fun with things like gifs and apps like hey taco

Project Management 


PM tools can provide visibility both internally and externally facing if needed. We’ve tried an endless number of them, Asana has been our ticket because of its flexibility and product vision. 


Google Suite

This very blog post was drafted by our entire team in a Google Doc. We couldn’t function without Google collaboration between our team and our clients.

Google Hangouts  & Zoom video 

Video conferencing is what powers all of our Daily Stand-Ups, Virtual Coffee Breaks and helps us facilitate virtual workshops and strategy sessions with our clients. 

Resource management

Harvest + Asana

Keeping track of workload and managing to expectations is key when your team is spread out. We rely on a combination of Harvest for time tracking and allocation and Asana for forecasting. 

Get moving

Sitting in front of your computer all day is brutal on your body.  Like number 6, taking breaks to stretch is also important. Here’ a great set of simple stretches you can do that will keep your loosen you up and keep you feeling great. 

Regular Check-ins

Set regular check-ins with your team. This can take a lot of forms. For us at Lake One, it’s a daily standup and a weekly run down. Our daily standup is a quick pulse on what everyone did the day before, what’s coming up and if there are any blockers that need to be addressed. Our weekly rundown is a strategic look at everything we’re working on. Clients, business development, marketing and operations. While these are meetings and designed to move our organization forward – it’s also a time for our team to interact with each other. We have a lot of Adhoc working sessions virtual as well. 

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How to Master B2B Website Strategy and Drive Growth

The website plays one of the most pivotal roles in business-to-business marketing for technology companies and manufacturing businesses. Forrester Research found 74% of B2B buyers conduct more than half of their research online before making a purchase offline. With the number of stakeholders involved in a purchase decision growing every year and the journey becoming ever more complex – the B2B website job is heavy.

master b2b website strategy

The b2b website is the doorway between your prospects, your brand, and a potential sales opportunity. How do modern brands juggle all these priorities? With a B2B website design strategy focused on your buyers. Here’s how.

Want to read this later? Click here to have it emailed.

Difference between B2B & B2C 

Understanding the distinction between B2B and B2C web strategy starts with acknowledging the substantial differences in the types of transactions.

Lake One Becomes a Platinum HubSpot Solutions Partner

Minneapolis, MN: Lake One®, a revenue operations and growth firm in Minneapolis, Minnesota, announced today that it has reached another new milestone as a HubSpot solutions partner, reaching platinum status. HubSpot’s growth platform lets your entire company work together — from marketing, to sales, to customer service. HubSpot works hand-in-hand with solutions partners to grow their businesses and their client’s businesses with software, services, and support.

Platinum HubSpot Solutions Partner

“Congrats to the Lake One team on accomplishing this milestone,” said Chris DiPietro, HubSpot Agency Partner Manager. “They join a select group of our solutions partners to obtain this status. It’s a testament to their revenue operations approach to marketing and sales alignment.”

Lake One launched in 2014 and has grown every year since. As a virtual marketing team, based in Minnesota, they support B2B organizations that have complex buying processes including Technology, Manufacturing, Clean Tech, and professional services in healthcare, IT, and staffing.  

 As a HubSpot solutions partner, they help these organizations make marketing their unfair advantage.

“We’ve gotten a lot of value out of being a HubSpot solutions partner,” says Founder & CEO, Ryan Ruud. “We couldn’t have reached this achievement without our great clients and support from the HubSpot team.” 

In addition to being a HubSpot solutions partner, Lake One is also a DataBox Premier Partner and a Certified LGBT Business Enterprise™.

“The HubSpot Solutions Partner Program is rich with talented inbound marketers. It takes hard work and dedication to reach platinum tier status, which is why I’m so thrilled to congratulate Lake One on this exciting achievement. I can’t wait to see what they’re able to achieve as part of the platinum partner community.” says Katie Ng-Mak, VP, Solutions Partner Program.

About Lake One

Founded in 2014, Lake One is a revenue operations and growth firm based in Minneapolis, MN. They partner with B2B organizations to compete and win online by planning, building and implementing aligned sales and marketing programs. They help organizations navigate sales and marketing technology decisions to deploy right sized tools that scale program performance. 

About HubSpot

HubSpot (NYSE: HUBS) is a leading growth platform. Since 2006, HubSpot has been on a mission to make the world more inbound. Today, over 73,400 total customers in more than 120 countries use HubSpot’s award-winning software, services, and support to transform the way they attract, engage, and delight customers. Comprised of Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, Service Hub, CMS Hub, and a powerful free CRM, HubSpot gives companies the tools they need to Grow Better.

HubSpot has been named a top place to work by Glassdoor, Fortune, The Boston Globe, and The Boston Business Journal. The company is headquartered in Cambridge, MA with offices in Dublin, Ireland; Singapore; Sydney, Australia; Tokyo, Japan; Berlin, Germany; Bogotá, Colombia; Paris, France; and Portsmouth, NH.

Learn more at

Marketing Automation for Manufacturing: How to make it Your Firm’s Unfair Advantage

Manufacturing is an industry that can often rely heavily on trade shows, in-person meetings, and product catalogs. However, like many industries, there’s a pressure and need to survive and thrive in the digital marketplace we’ve all become accustomed to. One tool manufacturing companies can have in their toolbox, is marketing automation. Marketing automation helps manufacturers simplify complex b2b processes while personalizing and scaling their digital marketing and sales efforts. 

With 48% of Marketers using marketing automation, it is one of the 4 most popular methods to create personalized customer experiences. – House of Marketing “Yearly Marketing Survey 2019” (2019)

By definition according to HubSpot, marketing automation is a tactic that allows companies to nurture leads through the buyer’s journey using personalized and valuable content. It also supports scale and growth within organizations. In this post we will talk about five key areas marketing automation can fuel your modern marketing strategy.

marketing automation for manufacturing

But First, Strategy.

Marketing automation is all about using software to automate manual processes and activities. These activities can include email, lead routing, social media, managing contact data properties, lead scoring, contact follow up, and more. But those are all features and functions. Technology is a solution. Not a strategy. 

Marketing automation is most effective when it’s driven by a persona-centric, buyer-focused, process founded strategy. 

Looking for help with strategy? Book a free consult.

Marketing Automation for Email Marketing

Marketing automation is so much more than email, but it’s likely what comes to mind first when you think about marketing automation. When done correctly, it allows for personalized emails to be sent to a segmented list from your contact database.

Why is this important? Manufacturers can have massive contact databases that house leads, vendors, reps, distributors, and customers alike. Personalizing communication and tailoring your message to your personas is key for engagement and effectiveness.

List Segmentation

List segmentation is pulling contacts that meet a certain set of criteria at a given time based on the information you have in your database. When potentially crawling through tens of thousands of contacts, automating list pulling is a must. 

For example, if you want to send an email to all of your customers who are engineers, who have an interest in product XYZ and reside in the U.S., list segmentation is the way to go. With a few clicks, you’ll have the list you need to provide relevant, timely, and helpful information in your communication.


Automated marketing emails don’t have to ‘feel’ automated. Marketing automation allows for email personalization at scale. Here are a few examples for manufacturers.

  • Addressing your recipient by name in the greeting
  • Referencing their company name when giving an example of how their company could benefit from your product
  • Referencing their role or job title when discussing pain points or solutions pertinent to their role
  • Referencing the last piece of content they downloaded by name and asking if they are finding it helpful
  • Customizing the sender information per contact by contact owner
  • Referencing product or product category of interest
  • Referencing examples and case studies

When using platforms like HubSpot, you can pull in nearly every property as a personalization token within your email. 

Pro Tip: It’s a good idea to test your email internally, prior to sending your full list to confirm the personalization tokens rendered in the copy as intended. 

Marketing Automation for Manufacturing
Found on  HubSpot, Research by Jupiter Research.

Marketing Automation for Lead Generation

Marketing Automation facilitates lead capture and lead generation most commonly through forms and landing pages. Leads can take all sorts of forms for manufacturers. New distribution partners, new suppliers, all the way to end users and customers. But they all start their journey at contact with your firm. 

Landing Pages

Landing pages are web pages that are optimized for conversion and focus on a clear call-to-action for your personas such as downloading an ebook, requesting a catalog, signing up for a newsletter or requesting a quote.

Manufacturing websites can be robust because they house many product pages so providing dedicated landing pages that cut out the noise and drive one action becomes really important. 


One key part of landing pages that is so fundamental it deserves a call-out of its own, is forms. Forms provide the chance for your personas to share information with you in exchange for something (an ebook, a purchasing quote, etc.) Selecting which form fields appear in your forms is a part of a sales and marketing aligned strategy. Here are some form fields for consideration for manufacturing:

  • Job function
  • Location
  • Company name
  • Product interest
  • Readiness to buy

Although I’m sure there is a lot of information you’d like to know about our contacts, be selective and make sure the number and type of questions you ask is equivalent to the value the user gets in turn for completing the form. 

Pro Tip: Platforms like HubSpot allow you to leverage progressive fields which means you aren’t showing repeat questions for the same lead. This allows for you to continue to collect valuable information for repeat form fills.

Marketing Automation for Manufacturing

Marketing Automation for Lead Nurturing

Lead nurturing is the process of cultivating relationships with potential buyers at every stage of the sales process and through the buyer’s journey. It puts a focus on meeting buyers where they are at, listening, and providing helpful relevant information. 

On average, 50% of the leads in any system are not yet ready to buy (Marketo)

Marketing automation allows you to create lead nurturing campaigns, also known as email drip campaigns which are a series of emails spread out over time that help buyers move from awareness to consideration to decision. Here are a few examples of actions that can initiate a lead nurturing campaign for manufacturers. 

  • A lead downloads a piece of premium content like an ebook
  • A lead attends a webinar
  • A lead requests more information on a specific product 
  • A lead downloads a case study or a buyers guide

When it comes to what emails to include and how many and what frequency, it really depends on your personas needs and your buying cycle. Nurturing campaigns are definitely not ‘set it and forget it’. Email open rates and engagement all the way through to marketing attribution reporting, will be your workflow gut check and point you towards areas for optimization.

Marketing Automation for Sales Collaboration & Internal Processes

Marketing automation is a major element of sales collaboration and simplifying internal processes. 

Marketing Automation

Sales Collaboration

At  Lake One, we bleed sales and marketing alignment. Marketing automation facilitates collaboration between sales and marketing in real-time. It’s the conduit between the two teams. Manufacturers can use marketing automation for the following sales collaboration oriented workflows:

  • Lead scoring
  • Assigning lifecycle stages and lead statuses
  • Handing off Marketing Qualified Leads to sales
  • Closing the lead quality feedback loop

Related Reading: How to Marketing Qualify Your Manufacturing Leads

Internal Processes

Manufacturing companies often have complex business processes. Marketing automation can drive efficiencies and allow for real-time routing, task creation, and follow-up across functions and channels. It’s made possible again through workflows. Here are some examples of workflows leveraged by manufacturing companies to drive efficiencies.

  • Routing leads by sales rep territory
  • Sending custom ‘Thank You’ emails by country
  • Routing internal requests like samples, RFQs or catalogs
  • Creating custom tasks by sales rep for lead review
  • Automatically setting subscription types
  • Setting product interest categories

The possibilities are nearly endless when it comes to creating custom workflows to support your internal processes. 

Marketing Automation for Reporting & Attribution

At the end of the day, it’s about numbers. Marketing automation platforms give you the ability to create dashboards for your organization to view the reporting that matters most. Typical reports manufacturers can leverage include:

  • Contact lifecycle funnel (from a lead all the way to a customer)
  • Lead source
  • Traffic sessions
  • Email performance
  • Landing page performance
  • Sales pipeline

Is Marketing Automation Right for Your Manufacturing Company?

We realize marketing for manufacturing can be complex, especially when you add marketing tech. Building a revenue operations machine with the technology to automate and support the complexities of your customer channels can come with plenty of questions.

Interested in exploring if marketing automation is right for you? Book a free 1-hour consultation with Ryan, our lead strategist.

 Book Your Consultation Now

Evaluating HubSpot for Startups? 4 Questions to Consider

Two things we love here at Lake One. Startups and HubSpot. Startup marketing has a special place in our heart. Most of our team has had a stint in a funded startup at some point, so we know the culture and mindset that drives startups. We team up with venture funds and accelerators here in the midwest to share marketing insights with startups every year. Many of those startups, through their venture fund or accelerator, get access to a special perk known as the HubSpot for Startups program. We’ve worked with many startups through this program and want to share some of the essential questions we’ve helped organizations consider when evaluating HubSpot for startups.

Evaluating HubSpot for Startups

What is HubSpot for Startups

HubSpot for Startups is a special program for startups who are members of or alumni of more than 2,000 approved HubSpot for Startup Partners. These partners are incubators, accelerators or Venture Capital firms all over the world. Additionally, there are revenue guidelines that apply to your startup. If you’re eligible, startups earn significant discounts on HubSpot Growth Suite subscriptions and gain access to startup specific resources. You can learn more about the program and see if you’re eligible for it here.

Is My Startup Ready for HubSpot?

One of the first questions to consider when thinking about onboarding with the HubSpot for Startups program – is your startup ready for a platform like HubSpot? There’s a couple of different ways to think about this.


Would inbound marketing for your startup work? Not every startup is a great fit and those resources might be better served somewhere else.

How do you know if you’re a good fit? If you answer yes to some of these questions for example:

  • Do you sell your product or service direct to your end-user?
  • Do you have a long, complex sales process?
  • Is your good or service a considered buying process, in other words, does it require multiple decision-makers and/or a lot of research?

Market Traction

Does your startup have some initial traction? This is important because traction indicates some semblance of process. When you adopt marketing and sales tech, data governance around your CRM and thinking critically about logic for workflows is a key part of the success you’ll have with your technology. That’s not to say you have to have everything figured out, but if you’re expecting the tool or an agency partner to make your startup launch, you’re probably not ready for this investment of money and time yet.

Which Hubs Should I Leverage From HubSpot?

Let’s assume you’ve made the decision that the timing is right. The discount is awesome from HubSpot – does that mean it’s worth signing up for all three hubs of the Growth Suite? Not necessarily.

Just like not every startup will lend itself well to inbound, or your maturity level might not have the traction needed for a platform like HubSpot, every Hub may not be immediately valuable to you.

Reflect on your most pressing needs with your startup.


  • Are you looking to scale and define sales processes?
  • Do you want to better report on your pipeline and have the ability to forecast?
  • Are you looking to automate certain aspects of your sales process like prospecting and outreach?
  • Do you need one source of truth for your CRM that supports both sales and marketing activity?

Sales Hub is worth a look.


  • Do you have a long sales cycle with a complex product with prospects that need educating?
  • Do you have manual processes dragging down your team?
  • Do you want to be able to launch rapid tests with landing pages, emails and other creative?
  • Do you want to be able to send segmented and personalized email content?
  • Do you want a tool to launch lead capture without needing IT?

Marketing Hub is worth a look.


  • Are you drowning in support tickets?
  • Wish you could just send people links to commonly asked questions so they can help themselves?
  • Is customer service a top priority for your brand?

Service Hub is worth a look.

You may find you want to go all-in right away, but know you can always add on over time as well. Take one Hub, implement it and get it operational. As a HubSpot partner, we’ve seen a lot of abandoned Hubs where teams just got overwhelmed.

How Long Should I Expect to Implement HubSpot?

Implementation time will be directly related to the complexity of your business and it’s processes. On the low end give yourself 4-6 weeks. It can scale up dramatically if you’re dealing with large amounts of existing customer data, integrations with third-party tools or your own product.

How Long Should I Expect to Get an ROI?

Technology is not a strategy. So the ROI will be contingent on how effective your strategy is within the platform. Whether it’s lead gen and conversion or customer experience improvements. That said, some rules of thumb, for example, are a lead gen program from inbound can take anywhere from 6 – 18 months to start building momentum. Also, give yourself time to continue to apply learnings around lead quality. It takes time to build the momentum around driving high quality traffic at volume.

search terms growth - inbound story

Lake One Becomes a Certified LGBT Business Enterprise™

Lake One® announced today they have officially become a Certified LGBT Business Enterprise™ through the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC). The NGLCC is the largest advocacy organization dedicated to expanding economic opportunities and advancement for LGBT people and the exclusive certifying body for LGBT-owned businesses. 

Certified LGBT Business

“We are so pleased to welcome Lake One to the ever-expanding network of NGLCC certified LGBT Business Enterprises and the hundreds of corporations and government agencies eager to put them to work,” said NGLCC Co-Founder and President Justin Nelson and CoFounder and CEO Chance Mitchell. “According to NGLCC’s groundbreaking America’s LGBT Economy report, America’s estimated 1.4 million LGBT business owners, many of them NGLCC certified, add over $1.7 trillion to the GDP and create tens of thousands of new jobs. We are proud to count Lake One among those who prove every day that LGBT businesses are the future of the American economy.”

Lake One is now eligible to participate in the NGLCC’s supplier diversity programs with the Fortune 500 and government agencies nationwide, can take advantage of the vast educational opportunities promoted by the NGLCC and can work to foster business-to-business relationships with other Certified LGBT Business Enterprise™ companies worldwide throughout the year.

Certified LGBT Business

“I’m honored to have Lake One join the ranks of NGLCC certified LGBT Business Enterprises. We join an economic force of LGBT owned businesses creating jobs and adding value to communities across the country. Diversity and impact are core to our DNA and this certification helps recognize those values,” says Ryan Ruud, Founder and CEO at Lake One. 

About Lake One: Founded in 2014, Lake One is a revenue operations and growth firm based in Minneapolis, MN. They partner with B2B organizations to compete and win online by planning, building and implementing aligned sales and marketing programs. They help organizations navigate sales and marketing technology decisions to deploy right sized tools that scale program performance. 

About NGLCC: The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce is the business voice of the LGBT community and the largest global not-for-profit advocacy organization specifically dedicated to expanding economic opportunities and advancements for LGBT people. NGLCC is the exclusive certification body for LGBT-owned businesses.

What Could Professional Services Marketing Learn from Product Marketing?

When marketing a product, people typically talk about FABs (features, advantages, and benefits). This technique is referred to as FAB selling. It’s a widely used and accepted method within sales and typically very effective when the product lives up to the FABs. But what does that have to do with professional services marketing? Well, a lot actually. Just because professional services “product” is an intangible one, doesn’t mean there aren’t still features, advantages, and benefits to showcase. While different approaches, if we take what we know from product marketing and apply it to professional services marketing, we could learn a thing or two.

Here’s what professional services marketing could learn from product marketing:

professional services marketing

No MPGs or RPMs but there are FABs

You already know that professional services marketing and product marketing require two different approaches. There’s no argument there. Marketing professional services isn’t like marketing a car, for example. You can’t just list off the bells and whistles. If you, your team, and your service are the “product,” you’re selling something much different. You’re selling an experience, something that isn’t necessarily tangible. Maybe you’re a law firm or an accounting firm or a surveying company, or {insert whichever professional services industry you’re in}. The point is, you can talk about what services you offer and your capabilities (features), how you’re different from competitors and what problem you solve for your customers (advantages) and ultimately, what’s in it for them and what value do you provide (benefits).

marketing professional services

Product Marketing Insights for Professional Services


When it comes to credibility, products have the advantage of customers being able to physically try it out or use it. These products have been tested and inspected. If someone doesn’t like a product, they can {usually} return it. That’s not the case with services. So what can you do? When someone is searching for professional services, they want to work with a team that knows what they’re talking about. Most people want to work with a company that has experience and success stories to back it up. Without that experience, it can be tough to gain the credibility you need to build that trust with your buyers. Adding case studies and customer testimonials on your website to highlight your expertise and success stories will increase your credibility. If you’ve been in business for a while, be sure to call that out, too.


As mentioned above, you can’t usually return a service. It’s a finite thing. Once you’ve used the service or started the process, you can’t return that time spent. With products, there’s almost always an ability to return if you’re not satisfied with your purchase. Of course, there are caveats to this, but in general, buying a product typically comes with a short window of time to get your money back if product realities fall short of expectations. Since services don’t have that option, make sure you are targeting the right audience, vetting buyers before you commit to working with them, and of course, provide top-notch service to customers. This can reduce or eliminate buyers wanting to “return” your service.

marketing professional services


The tangibles of a professional services company aren’t tangible at all. Those “tangibles” are usually things like experience, expertise, efficiency, and a proven track record of success. Services aren’t like products. You can’t hold them in your hands. You don’t usually get to test drive services. How do you overcome the fact that there are no tangibles? By ensuring your messaging and marketing about your services are effective, standout and that you tell your story and why buyers should choose you. 


When you create a product and perfect that process, you can usually take it and mass-produce it. You’re able to scale the production. This can allow for cost savings and a higher volume of available inventory. As we mentioned above, having a process in place for your service offering is about as close to scalability as you will get. With services, you, your people, and your talents are the “product,” so it can be a little harder to scale these operations. But, it can be done. Especially when you have a tried and true process for doing your work. Scaling professional services slowly and with a calculated approach can ensure every experience can be customized to the client while still representing the company. There’s flexibility in professional services marketing that you don’t necessarily have in product marketing.


When you buy a product, you own it. It’s yours or your company’s. You can usually transfer that ownership. Going back to the car example, someone can buy a car, drive that car for a while and then later sell that car to someone else. You can’t, however, go to a tax professional, have your taxes done, and then later sell that appointment or tax prep to someone else. But just as people need cars to drive, people need professional services. Showcase the value of their purchase and deliver on it. Capitalize on the fact that you’re selling a great experience and make that experience worthwhile for buyers.

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The Professional Services Marketing Mix: 7 P’s 

Finally, when thinking about your professional services marketing, don’t forget about the extra P’s. Marketing 101 tells us that there are 4 P’s when it comes to the marketing mix that relates to products. They are product, price, place, and promotion. In the case of professional services marketing, however, there are three more P’s that are added: people, process, and physical existence. 

People: Services are inseparable from the person or people providing it, which is why this is such a defining factor in the service delivery process. You and your team are key to making your service stand out and delivering on what your buyers want or need.

Process: It’s hard to scale something that isn’t a product, that’s where process comes in. Process is the closest thing to scalability that professional services can offer. Having a service delivery process in place ensures that the same standards of service are repeatedly delivered to customers. You might call it a playbook or a business blueprint. Whatever your company calls it, make sure it exists and that it’s a well-oiled machine.

Physical Evidence: There are rarely tangibles in an intangible professional services business. So how do you take nothing and make it something that customers can see and try to make it more real for them? Think about the marketing materials you send out, the resources you provide on your site and the website itself. Investing in a quality website that showcases who you are and what you’re about, can help customers visualize you. It can lend to credibility, professionalism and much more. 

Related Reading: 5 Enviable B2B Websites and Why We Love Them 

While professional services marketing and product marketing have their differences, there’s an opportunity to learn something from each. They both have their challenges, their pros and cons, and both require skilled professionals to market them successfully. Knowing the differences between the types of marketing and not applying a one-size-fits-all approach can ensure you’re creating the proper strategy out of the gate and positioning yourself strong when it comes to marketing your professional services.

How to Marketing Qualify Your Manufacturing Leads

Whether your manufacturing digital leads are feast or famine, how do you know which leads are a good fit? How is the sales team determining which leads they should talk to and which ones are in need of nurturing by marketing because they are aren’t quite sales-ready? In other terms, how are they being qualified? If you find yourself asking these questions, you might need some help determining a marketing qualified lead. 

Often referred to as an MQL, a marketing qualified lead is a lead that is considered more likely to become a customer compared to other leads. These leads have shown an interest in buying. They are open to the idea of a sale and have engaged with you and your business by taking some sort of action. Marketing efforts are typically what bring the leads in, but it’s what the lead does next that prompts them to become an MQL. 

qualify manufacturing leads

Define Your MQL Criteria  

Before you can begin to qualify your manufacturing leads, sales and marketing need to come together and not only define what an MQL is but agree on that definition. What are the characteristics and engagements that make up a good lead for you and your sales team? At Lake One, we lovingly refer to this as your lead fit to win criteria. It includes both lead requirements and lead engagements.

Related Reading: Lead Generation for Manufacturers: 9 Strategies to Crush 2020

But okay, where do you start? Here are the top areas for consideration when it comes to defining your MQL criteria.

qualify manufacturing leads

Review existing opportunities and customers: Who is your team talking to right now? Which leads have turned into customers and what actions did they take prior to inking a deal? You’ll likely uncover similarities in demographic data, such as industry, geo, company size, or job title, along with similarities in engagement. 

Engagement can be the content offers downloaded, the frequency of web visits or maybe even specific page views. 

Examples of MQL Actions

  • Requests a quote
  • Requests a product catalog
  • Attends a webinar
  • Downloads an ebook
  • Engages with your social
  • Opens a marketing email (or two)
  • Subscribes to your newsletter
  • Visits your website and/or visits key pages
  • Requests more information or asks to be contacted 

Talk to Sales: Find out what a qualified lead means to sales. They are not only key drivers in moving leads from marketing qualified to sales qualified and beyond, they know what they need and are a great resource. For example, is a lead worthless without a phone number? Or does sales need to be connected to a certain role within a company to increase the likelihood of closing a deal? All of these can be factored in as MQL criteria. 

Marketing MQL

Nice to know vs Need to know: Defining MQL criteria is really finding a balance of what is ‘nice to know’ vs what is ‘need to know’. Especially when starting out, we recommend creating opportunities to collect information (like updating form fields and leveraging progressive fields if you have that accessible) while still making the MQL status obtainable by leads. You can always tighten up the fire hose. 

Review. Revise. Repeat: Like with most things in sales and marketing, you can’t just set it and forget it. We recommend revisiting your MQL definition at least on a quarterly basis as a team. If you aren’t seeing the number of MQLs that you anticipated, is it because your criteria is too narrow? Or is it a lead quality issue? MQL criteria is a great place to start.

Once you’ve defined your MQL criteria, you need a way to collect it, track it and communicate it with your sales teams. 

Cue marketing automation.

qualify manufacturing leads

Leveraging Marketing Automation Software

Determining marketing qualified leads for your manufacturing company doesn’t have to be a manual process and in fact, we recommend it’s not. Marketing automation helps with:

  • Data capture at the time of form fill
  • Contact data storage
  • Housing the MQL criteria infrastructure
  • Notifying sales when a lead becomes an MQL
  • Closing the feedback loop

Here are some of our favorite marketing automation tools to get you started.

Out of all that is listed above, we wouldn’t be doing our due diligence if we didn’t discuss the importance of notifying sales and closing the feedback loop. When a lead is hot, it’s hot and sales needs to be notified in real-time and on the contrary, if a lead isn’t so hot, marketing needs to know that too. Marketing automation software helps facilitate communication through notifications and custom properties.

It’s All About Alignment

Marketing qualified leads are really just a piece of the big picture of sales and marketing alignment. If you know anything about Lake One, you know we’re major proponents of alignment and defining what a marketing qualified lead is for your manufacturing company is a critical step to getting both teams on the same page and funneling quality leads to sales.

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