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SME Partners: Driving Growth and Adding Value with Outbound Email

Success stories of our clients


The SME Partners




Marketing, Food and Beverage, B2B and B2C Brand and Product Strategy


Create engagement and revenue opportunities with manually-researched, personalised outbound email.


30 meetings in 30 days
96% open rate; 13% positive response rate

The Client

The SME Partners are business strategists, brand and product specialists, and client-side marketing leaders. They help Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) establish a foothold in the B2B and B2C market spaces.

Launch, Optimise, and Grow are the watchwords of the SME Partners strategy. Their ethos is to provide their clients with achievable, measurable results — data is central to their decision-making process. If it doesn’t have a number next to it, they won’t recommend it.

SME Partners are, for the most part, Sonia Whitely-Guest and Claire Williams. With a combined 45 years of branding experience and client alumni like Bank of America, Orange, Asda, Clarks, and Aldi, the duo was faced with the issue of being so focused on promoting their client’s growth that they lacked the resources to oversee their own.

They needed to find a way to accelerate their business development and lead generation efforts without neglecting their core business.

The Challenge

Whitely-Guest and Williams came to Lead Gen Dept through word of mouth -- they were a direct referral from fellow Lead Gen Dept client Parker Software. From the first meeting, their need was clear. “They simply didn’t have time to research prospect lists, verify email addresses or write campaigns,” states Connor Addis, Managing Director. While they were marketing experts in their own right, outbound email wasn’t their area of expertise even if they had the time.”

The Solution

Choosing a Focus

Given the competitive nature of the branding and marketing space they occupied, Lead Gen Dept felt SME Partners needed to niche down and focus on what they did best. “We consulted with them and identified that their greatest results were in the food and beverage industry,” says Addis. “Their success in that sector was tangible, and their results were amazing — in one instance alone they grew a client’s B2C channel revenue by over 10 times and they had the metrics to prove it.”

Selecting the Prospects

The way forward was clear. “My advice was to build an email campaign targeted to other F&B companies,” explains Addis. “Our team mapped out the F&B space, focusing on companies of up to 1000 employees, and identifying the decision-makers within these accounts,” he says. “Once we had the list of prospects we submitted it for approval to make sure The SME Partners agreed that every contact identified was a good fit for their services.”

As always, Lead Gen Dept went beyond merely identifying prospects. “Our team researched every individual contact so that we could add a personalised first line to every email,” explains Addis. “The goal was to find something interesting, something personal. Maybe they won an award, or they've been in business 20 years. Maybe they created a specific food and beverage product that we could comment on.”

The Power of Personalised Email

“Taking the time to research a prospect and add a personalised line to each email also dramatically improves your response rate,” explains Addis. “But it's not just the response rate that is important — it’s the strength of the responses you receive. The SME Partners’ prospects replied with in-depth details of their business situation simply because we took the extra time to compose a natural email and write something thoughtful.”

The Results

The email campaign was a success. “We can’t keep up,” admits Williams regarding the Lead Gen Dept effort. “It’s been really good - we’ve received so many leads that we had to pause the campaign.”

“We had some phenomenal results,” says Addis. “Out of a total of 374 emails sent on SME Partners’ behalf, the prospects opened 345, or 96%. In addition to that. 46, or 13% from this first batch replied. From that 46, we booked calls with 30 of them.”