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B2B DIRECT MARKETING
Perceptive Software makes enterprise content and business process management software products—known as “enterprise resource management solutions”—for such back office needs as human resources and accounts payable and receivable. Active in more than 30 countries, it expanded its presence following its 2010 acquisition by printing and imaging company Lexmark International, although it continues to operate as a stand-alone business.
According to Kristin Wagner Steinmetz, director-demand generation at Perceptive Software, as recently as four years ago the company's marketing approach was primarily outbound. It still blends that in, maintaining a trade show presence, for example. Over the past two years, however, the company has focused more heavily on inbound marketing as a primary source of leads.
“We're seeing, over the past couple of years, a migration to our Web properties; today, as much as 80% of our leads are coming from the Web channel,” Wagner Steinmetz, said. “We know the pages they've viewed and collateral they've downloaded, and we can have more relevant conversations. When our direct marketing associates get on the phone, they know exactly what someone looked at and can make recommendations to round out the prospect's education.”
During this time, the company implemented a marketing automation solution from Eloqua Corp.
“In the past, our marketing effort was about attracting, informing and selling; it's now about attracting, engaging and qualifying,” Wagner Steinmetz said. “We want a more in-depth relationship with folks—from the first time they visit our site to when they're longtime customers. It's about showing our expertise and building relationships every step of the way.”
The process has been smoothed by marketing automation, resulting in better alignment between marketing and sales, said Tim Hester, the company's account director at Eloqua.
“The net result of this has been an increase in overall conversion through the funnel,” Hester said. “This has also helped to better align the sales and marketing teams, and [has] driven two previously disparate organizations to work toward a common language of shared metrics, with an increased focus from both sides on driving efficiencies and results.”
Perceptive divides up its prospects' buying cycles into three areas: awareness, evaluation and decision. Marketing plays its biggest role in the awareness space, Wagner Steinmetz said, partnering with sales in the latter two.
Based on this view of the buyer's journey, the company tailors its collateral material to address what prospects are considering at each step. The company parcels out its content via “gating,” restricting complex collateral to more engaged prospects who are closer to conversion, Wagner Steinmetz said.
For these prospects, she said, “we'll ask for more information about themselves.”
“This richer content is more appropriate for someone deeper in the funnel,” she said. “In part, it's not to hand this material to a competitor but it's also about knowing more about the prospect.”
The company also is becoming more active in such new media channels as video, social media and mobile, although in some regards it's still tactical rather than strategic, Wagner Steinmetz said.
“But we're learning quite a bit,” she said. “For example, the world has gone mobile and we're seeing that from just about everybody, whether they're accessing our Web content or reading our emails. That time is here, and we need to ensure that we're adjusting to it.”
Perceptive's demand-generation process now relies on a significant teleprospecting element. Wagner Steinmetz said that marketing is credited with sourcing from 60% to 80% of the company's leads, and teleprospecting is responsible for a significant portion of that. The idea here is not to sell but rather to continue the marketing process, taking marketing-qualified leads and moving them along as sales-qualified leads.
“I won't say that teleprospecting doesn't make cooler calls, but now with marketing automation in place, much time and energy can be focused on warmer leads,” Wagner Steinmetz said. Teleprospecting is “taking it all the way to where sales will step in with a greater understanding of the prospect and be able to dig deeper to build out solutions.”
This phone-oriented qualifying process is augmented by a separate telemarketing team, working with scripts and calls to action, such as invitations to webinars or meetings at trade shows.
Wagner Steinmetz is pleased with Perceptive Software's marketing journey to date.
“One of the measures that is important to me is the sales-qualified lead, the opportunity-to-close rate,” she said. “If we're not bringing in the revenue, the rest just doesn't matter, and we've definitely seen an improvement here.”