As a rapidly growing Inc. 500 award-winning company faced with the typical challenges of succeeding in the BtoB market, Customer Effective, a Microsoft Gold Certified and Inner Circle implementation partner, wanted to develop a strategy to fill the top of the sales funnel.
Customer Effective is focused on helping clients maximize their customer relationships using solutions based exclusively on Microsoft Dynamics CRM, the system they’ve represented for over six years. Coming off a period of experimentation seeking the best lead generation approaches, the company decided to outsource its efforts, ultimately based on personal bandwidth limitations.
Customer Effective promotes their implementation methodology called User First Design Formula, which focuses attention on how to incorporate the user into the CRM deployment to optimize user adoption and performance metrics. The company has 35 employees, including five sales reps covering multiple geographies.
The Greenville, SC-based company accepts leads generated through Microsoft, but also wanted to develop leads through their own efforts to supplement, using tactics like telemarketing and social networking.
“I’ve always been a big believer in that, at the end of the day, you have to make dials and get in front of people,” said Mike Rogers, VP of Business Development and Marketing at Customer Effective. “Email is one way, but you’ve got to have conversations in order to profile people so you can gather information about them and nurture them accordingly.”
The company had tried internal marketing campaigns, search optimization and even hired their own inside sales representative before calling on PointClear in November 2008 to tap the company’s teleservices.
During the first four weeks of engagement, PointClear developed a program plan that included detailed information about Customer Effective’s target market, business issues and environment, the decision makers to target for CRM solution and any business issues that could be of concern to those contacts. The teams worked together to identify information around offers, value proposition and message development before putting together an execution strategy based on the size of the target organization, level of decision maker and solution itself.
Rogers trained the PointClear team over two days, spending time role-playing over common objections prospects might have, and collaborating on the best ways to work together toward achieving their business goals.
During the period of execution, the two companies collaborated to identify the appropriate individuals to deliver voicemails and emails to. PointClear then qualified those individuals and opportunities were passed off to Customer Effective. In addition to detailed background information and a specific “next step,” Rogers and his team receives digital audio files of the PointClear calls made to prospects. “The audio files provide very specific context for our sales reps as they engage a potential buyer,” Rogers said. “Additionally, they help us determine tactics for ‘re-heats’ in situations where some ongoing nurturing is going to be required.”
The audio file has been a “big win” for the sales team, Rogers said, as it gives the sales team data points they need to feel comfortable during a call, and optimize the qualification process.
Pushing the Pipeline Pace
Rogers receives a weekly production report from PointClear of all the touches and collected data on target accounts they spoke to. Rogers imports the data into their internal Microsoft Dynamics CRM environment, which includes conducting field matching to increase data accuracy. For leads that are not immediately qualified, their captured data and profile information can be put through a nurturing program. “It’s great to have that information,” Rogers said. “You can’t put a dollar sign on that or quantify it, but it’s nice to have.”
Leads that aren’t directly engaged with the company receive messaging from Customer Effectives’ multiple email programs, which is powered by ExactTarget (integrated with their internal Microsoft CRM deployment), as well as engagement from PointClear, if and when Rogers advises. Every three months, Rogers can feed CRM data to PointClear for the “reheat program” to reach out to those leads.
20% of PointClear’s activity resulted in nurturing accounts, while 23% of the opportunities delivered to Customer Effective were generated as a result of prospect engagement after an email or voicemail from PointClear. At the end of 2009, PointClear had delivered between 70 and 80 leads to Customer Effective, some of which have already converted. Rogers said the company is seeing revenue and significant pipeline from those leads. A few more are on the cusp of closing and will drastically increase the ROI on the project, Rogers said. Currently, about 25% of Customer Effective’s qualified opportunities come from PointClear.