A Meeting Maker Campaign for a Network Software Company.
The client is a large wide-area network (WAN) software optimization company, XYZ Software (not the real name). The sales process for this category of product is complex. It’s not made any easier by the fact that XYZ sells to IT professionals, who are extremely busy and difficult to reach. The pain point for these professionals is slow-running networks. But, isolating the speed issue is often difficult and easily trumped by fire-fighting situations that demand immediate attention.
XYZ Software had been IT marketing with email campaigns, webinars, pay-per-click (PPC), and trade shows. As is often the case, there was no process in place for tele-qualifying inbound leads or generating sales appointments or demos. This resulted in a large number of unqualified “warm” leads in the sales funnel. As a consequence they either dropped out of the funnel or remained in the funnel without further attempts to qualify them. Furthermore, Sales was not following up on the majority of leads because they were not sales-ready.
Turning “Warm” Leads into Prospects, then Customers
XYZ called us in to figure out how to turn more “warm” leads into prospects and turn more prospects into customers. Our recommendation was a multi-touch, multi-channel lead nurturing program. The program integrated a tele-qualifying process owned by Marketing, which resulted in Sales appointments and demos. We tested two offers: a Gartner Magic Quadrant report versus an on-demand webinar/seminar featuring a Gartner analyst. We also tested three lists.
- The house lead file.
- A rental list of the primary competitor’s customers.
- Lastly, a webinar/seminar attendee list.
Later, as the program rolled out, we included webinar attendees and inbound responders in the lead nurturing program.
Interpreting Metrics to Generate Revenue
As it turned out, both offers performed equally well, splitting nearly 50/50. All of the lists were productive. Because we tracked the metrics, we were able to determine that the webinar list outperformed the others.
We tracked the number of attempts to reach IT titles for each list. The number of touches required to convert a prospect into a sales-ready lead ranged from two to nine touches. The an average was 7.51. Webinar attendance outperformed the other outbound marketing techniques with an average of 2.5 touches, moving prospects through the buying process more quickly than other efforts.
Implementing the Winning Campaign
We started out with campaign messaging provided by a product manager, but after a week of tele-prospecting, we realized the messaging was off. When conversion rates don’t manifest at a satisfactory rate fairly early, it’s time to make a change. We addressed this quickly, listening to prospects and revising the messaging to suit. Also, we provided more training to the tele-qualifiers, improving their product knowledge and training them on different ways to overcome objections.
We also changed the messaging about XYZ’s prime competitor. Instead of talking about the competitor as such, we repositioned XYZ’s technology as a solution to problems encountered by users of the competition’s product.
As part of the lead nurturing program, the calling team followed up with prospects by sending informational material such as white papers and case studies as well as invitations to on-demand webinars designed to refine the sequential touch points, improving the quantity and quality of dialogue with prospects. This helped to establish a sequence of nurturing by educating prospects on the viability of XYZ’s offerings.
We cannot share the actual numbers that resulted from this multi-touch, multi-channel program, but we can say that the program is still in place at XYZ Software, and the competing company has experienced some loss of market share as a result.
Laurie B. Beasley is co-founder and president of Beasley Direct and Online Marketing, Inc. Beasley Direct is a Silicon Valley direct marketing agency that has managed search, email, online, and demand generation campaigns for nearly 100 companies. Ms. Beasley serves as President of the Direct Marketing Association of Northern California. Laurie manages the eMarketing Roundtable for the BMA Northern California. She is also an instructor of online marketing at UC Berkeley Extension and teaches for the Online Marketing Institute. Ms. Beasley frequently speaks on online marketing and demand generation topics for marketing organizations, including the DMA, BMA, AMA, Tech Council, and the Online Marketing Summit.
Beasley Direct and Online Marketing, Inc. is known for bringing the latest marketing strategies to online and direct marketing. The company provides services in email marketing, search engine optimization, social media, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, website design, media planning, direct mail marketing, lead generation and nurture campaigns, and database management. Beasley Direct and Online Marketing, Inc. helps clients in both B2B and B2C marketing. Beasley Direct and Online Marketing is privately held and headquartered in the Silicon Valley suburb, Morgan Hill, California. For more information, go to www.BeasleyDirect.com or call Laurie Beasley, President, at 408-782-0046 x21 or email [email protected].