Target Industries: Leading financial, health care, manufacturing, technology and educational organizations throughout the U.S., Europe, Asia and Latin America. All branches of the military, the largest civilian agencies and domestic, internal and military intelligence organizations.
Growth Curve: Revenue for 2008 was reported to be nearly $76 million. Revenue for most recent quarter reported grew to $25.7 million, up from $19.3 million the same period the prior year.
Any business has an element of risk these days. But in the network security business the stakes are astronomical. The competition includes such powerhouse brands as Cisco, Sun and IBM. The potential clients: big banks, government agencies, and huge retailers. To say it is critical to separate the truly interested from the tire kickers is an understatement.
As a growing player in this market, Sourcefire recognized the need to automate its lead generation process and identify the potential customers that could make or break their sales figures. It has done so by working with Eloqua to create an advanced lead-scoring program. Designed for maximum sales impact, this program allows Sourcefire to continue to evaluate and adjust the quality and quantity of its leads based on feedback from the company’s sales organization.
The effort is being led by Kelly Waffle, director of eMarketing. “I’ve been involved with this kind of effort before,” he says. “When you set up a lead generation system you really open up the floodgates along the way, so you need to score the leads. It brings the lead generation effort down to quality vs. quantity.”
In the network security business, it’s quality that usually wins. Waffle is responsible for harvesting all leads from the Eloqua email program, search engine efforts and telemarketing. The telemarketing effort is part of the demand creation specialist team that reports to Waffle. They take the leads that request product demos and then schedule them with sales. “When you set up a lead generation system you really open up the floodgates along the way, so you need to score the leads—and control the lead output to sales.It brings the lead generation effort down to quality vs. quantity,” says Waffle. “The Eloqua system has been in place for about 18 months, and already our lead scoring processes are helping us to beat the competition.”
Waffle has a simple approach to a complicated issue. “The way I like to look at it, a C-level lead is walking through the mall,” he says. “A B-level lead is window shopping at my store. An A-level lead will come in and ask me for a specific item.”
The lead scoring system built on the Eloqua platform adds structure to the sales effort. Under Sourcefire’s scoring system, the Eloqua suite feeds email, search and telemarketing leads to the scoring application. C and D level leads are tracked by the demand creation team, and the sales team has visibility into their interest. However, sales activity is limited to A and B level leads, In fact, the sales team at Sourcefire is required to respond to all A and B leads within 48 hours.
The system balances a huge amount of information as it enters new contacts or updates the activity of current prospects. Some prospect behaviors are weighted more heavily than others. Among them: white paper downloads, deep dives into the Sourcefire Web site, a spike in Web site activity, and new activity from larger accounts. Sourcefire has the Eloqua system tuned to the point where its account “watch list” will trigger alerts for Waffle that can then be apportioned to the proper attention and sales executive.
The results have been dramatic. The Sourcefire lead scoring system has been able to show a 25% increase in sales productivity. Waffle attributes that success to the basic structure that results from the system. Every sales person is accountable for activity that is generated around “A” leads, and minimal time is wasted on leads that have already been deemed as less important.
For the future, one of the metrics Waffle is in the process of improving is “time spent on Web site.” The current system requires prospects to leave the website to fill out a registration form for a Web site or white paper. The new system will enable customer coding that allows for a one-time registration. Waffle has also marshaled his demand creation group to push more content to once high scoring prospects that have gone dormant. Of those prospects that have received new content, 80% have become actively re-engaged with Sourcefire’s Web site or emails.
Sooner or later, when they receive enough attention, useful advice and content marketing tactics run the risk of giving birth to buzzwords and generalized best practices.
Somewhere down the line, we lose sight of their initial usefulness or, worse, how they've evolved over time. It’s worth taking another look at these “best practices” to revisit their real value and relevance.
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