Email marketing may be the most basic — not to mention oldest — of digital marketing strategies. But getting the results you want from it can still be elusive. 

A recent survey [PDF] of 506 email marketers by Los Angeles-based Campaigner found that increasing open rates proved to be their biggest challenge in 2015. For 2016, respondents are eyeing 'earning new subscribers' as the top challenge.

San Jose, Calif.-based LiveHive has a solution, or rather it has a solution for its particular tribe. 

B2B Focus

That would be B2B sales teams and reps, a group trying to sell to buyers now that have in recent years gone their own way in the discovery and research process. These buyers then suddenly pop up at some random part of the sales funnel with most of the research done.

This has not gone unnoticed, of course and a slew of tools have sprung up to help sales adjust to this new rhythm in the prospecting-qualification-closing cycle.

LiveHive has its own take and tech solution to this changing environment, but today we are looking at a plug-in the company recently introduced that addresses yet another problem B2B sales reps now have. And that is, with all the different tools on the market -- productivity and time management has become a problem.

"Customers would tell me, 'I love what you did with, for example, the qualification phase, but my reps are spending a lot of time moving around online and among the different systems. Is there a way to solve that?'" LiveHive CEO Suresh Balasubramanian told CMSWire. "You can’t ask for better feedback than that."

Ergo the company created LiveClip, a browser-based plug in that slips in that most basic of online communication tools, email, into grunt work of the B2B sales journey.  As it does so, it adds some nice value to the process.

How It Works

Using LiveClip, a sales rep is able to capture email addresses from a company website or Linked In page with a few clicks and then email the appropriate contact a message.

The plug-in, which is part of LiveHive's subscription service, gathers all of the contacts from a website the rep was navigating and then matches that information it mined from  databases of corporate emails, addresses and phone numbers. So 'Alex Jones, VP of Sales' listed on the website morphs into 'Alex Jones, VP of Sales, plus his phone number, email and possibly mailing address', per LiveClip.

If the rep wants to email Alex Jones on the spot to introduce himself, LiveClip auto-fills an appropriate template.

Finally, LiveClip comes with tracking and reporting tools so the rep knows if/when the email was opened and can follow up.

This combo of features  -- online browsing, contact management and email marketing --  packs a major productivity punch for the prospecting process, Balasubramanian said.

LiveHive also beefed up its email marketing functionality within its system, adding click-to-call capabilities, voicemail and live calling scripts to its SmartPath email scheduling tool.

Changing Roles

There was another finding in the Campaigner survey relevant to this discussion, albeit indirectly.

Some 70 percent of the email marketing respondents saw their role evolving this year to include new activities, such as optimizing websites for personalized user experiences and, more broadly speaking, into one of marketing technologist. 

From data point Campaigner concluded that job descriptions of email marketers in 2016 may be vastly different from those of years past.

Now back to LiveHive: as the B2B sales role continues to evolve, reps are having to juggle more and more tools and technologies to stay ahead of their buyers. 

Their roles are also changing to include some of the email marketing function. The smart vendors are making these reps' jobs just a bit easier by embedding productivity hacks wherever they can.