One of the fastest ways to lift your strategic marketing out of the doldrums is to look at what a successful company is doing and see if there are structural approaches that can be applied to your business marketing. For most of us this type of learning is accomplished best by reviewing success stories that demonstrate winning business development that led to increased top-line revenues. One such example is to look at how to grow your sales funnel using the following recent case study.
Here’s a real challenge: Figure out a way to grow higher sales using a lower budget. After a fairly quick analysis of a company’s overall marketing it was readily apparent that it was relying on extremely traditional media communications that included heavy trade show exhibitions, print advertising and direct mail. Please don’t misunderstand me, I am not opposed to any of these tactics, I’m just saying this type of media was being produced at a hefty price tag with little return for their investment.
Closer analysis showed that a business class email marketing program would generate significantly higher response rates because it was how the company’s key customers preferred to receive information. Is every industry and situation identical to this company’s? No! But it was true for them. Here’s a quick overview of what made the program a success.
The company provides financial services to a wide variety of business clients in many different types of industry sectors including industrial capital equipment, professional services and not for profit organizations including associations. The company supported a stand-alone division that relied heavily on the leads they received from their marketing department. Industry focus group research quickly brought to light that their industry had dramatically changed during the past five years and that more business decisions were being made over the Internet and the telephone, versus at trade shows and through responsive print marketing. Because each sale of the company required heavy management involvement it was necessary to either drive a much larger number of new customers through their pipeline or look for more profitable business engagements. The company decided to test an all-email marketing campaign, their first.
The company also decided that the best marketing approach was to use an automation system that would inexpensively generate qualified leads for their sales team and track and quantify the results generated from the marketing program. The challenge was each email campaign needed to be tracked and the company lacked staff that understood the mechanics of this type of program so an outside strategy firm was engaged for assistance. Using a limited in-house marketing budget and resources a strategic market plan was produced and the email marketing campaign was prepared.
What made this campaign strategy work?
- Customized emails were issued in their sales representative’s names which was completely different from the company’s insistence on sending out everything using their “corporate brand speak’
- Email templates were created and emails were sent to each sales representative’s direct contacts within his/her territory or industry specialty
- The sales representative’s actual email addresses were used to send the emails and to reply to for each direct emailing
- The emails were personalized with specific linked hypertext to pull the reader to specific areas on the company’s website that contained free downloads and calls to action fulfilled on their website with custom pages
- All of this email customization was performed by an outside contracted part-time provider
THE ROI / PROGRAM RESULTS
The company’s total out of pocket for 12 weeks of emailing campaigns was $17,500. The program generated 40 highly qualified sales leads where the prospective companies had requested either more information and/or a visit by a sales representative, or both. A total pipeline of $110,000 of new sales was generated from this campaign which was substantially higher than the results the company had been experiencing with a much larger budget in traditional marketing. Considering all, it was a great success for the company.