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Jun 04, 2002
Case Study

How to Keep Sales Flow Predictable by Combining Telemarketing, Direct Mail, Email & Webinars

SUMMARY: Like many tech vendors, where2getit had no problems selling their locator software and other online marketing software during the Internet boom. During those heady days of technology spending, they could basically dial for dollars, knowing that at the end of any month, if they made enough phone calls to their prospects, there would be enough people ready to spend money to make it a good month. Once the economy started to cool, they found that sales were utterly unpredictable from month to month. Hear how they created a multi-channel lead generation and management campaign that smoothed out their sales flow....
CHALLENGE

Like many tech vendors, where2getit had no problems
selling their locator software and other online marketing
software during the Internet boom. During those heady days of
technology spending, they could basically dial for dollars,
knowing that at the end of any month, if they made enough phone
calls to their prospects, there would be enough people ready to
spend money to make it a good month.

Once the economy started to cool, they found that sales were
utterly unpredictable from month to month.

Where2getit needed a more consistent marketing approach than the
intermittent phone conversations they had been relying on to
court prospects; they needed a multi-channel, multi-touch
marketing machine.

“We needed to put in a systematic way of touching our customers
multiple ways -- letting them know that we’re around,” explains
Manish Patel, Co-Founder of where2getit.

CAMPAIGN

Where2getit had always been crystal clear about who
their prospects are: retail companies or channel-dependent
manufacturers of high-ticket consumer products ($500+) with high
advertising expenditures, strong brand recognition (that they
want to preserve), and some concerns about channel conflict.

To reach these companies more effectively, where2getit
implemented a five-prong marketing strategy:

1. Cultivate prospects manually.

Because of the small number of likely customers, their
process of developing a prospect list had to be.

Patel explains their brief flirtation with purchased lists:
“We had one list broker that said 650,000 companies matched
our very specific criteria for prospects. Another said
28,000. AdWeek/BrandWeek told us there were 6,500. We
think the list is smaller still.”

“We don’t do purchased lists. We go through AdWeek, Crains
list, things like that looking for the right companies,”
explains Trudy Cools, Director of Marketing for
where2getit.

2. Initial contact by direct mail.

Where2getit began by implementing small direct mail
campaigns to new prospects. In those campaigns they would
introduce themselves and feature a case study of a major
brand (like La-Z-Boy) using their online locator to
increase retail store traffic. Prospects who wanted more
information about how where2getit could do the same for
them picked up the phone or filled out a Web form.

Most of the prospects already had locators on their
websites, and were familiar with the vocabulary. The direct
mail piece would raise doubts about whether the prospects
were getting enough out of their locators. “The DM piece
generates curiosity and highlights the possible upside of
implementing best practices. It’s basically an education
pitch.” offers Cools.

3. Phone contact by telemarketer.

After 3 direct mail contacts, where2getit would have a
telemarketer call the prospect, inviting him or her to a
webinar. During every contact with a live person and every
contact with the where2getit website, prospects were
invited to opt-into email communication from them.

4. Low-key Monday Morning Memo by email.

Concurrent with the direct mail contact to this hand-
selected list of prospects, where2getit began to email
“Monday Morning Memos” to prospects and existing customers
who had given permission to be contacted.

The “Monday Morning Memos” are not at all about
where2getit’s locator or other marketing software. They
tend to be human-interest stories about how practicing a
certain quality, such as persistence, made the difference
in one prominent person’s life. A recent memo was about
Charlie Chaplin, and how he succeeded in the silent film
industry.

The absence of any mention of the product or company in the
memo serves to arouse curiosity. The Monday Morning Memo is
sent as plain text, so looks like it really comes from the
desk of the VP of Sales, Rich French, whose email address
appears in the from line. The memos have regular sounding
subject lines, to complement their regular appearance as a
dashed off note from Rich. (See link to sample below.)
Nothing about their delivery, presentation, or content
screams marketing.

There’s not even a pitch, per say, just Rich’s name and
phone number at the end. “It’s motivational,” explains
Cools. For existing clients, this kind of communication
reminds them of their where2getit software (and gives them
an easy way to pick up the phone and talk with Rich to ask
questions) without any sales pressure at all.

For new prospects, this communication gently keeps
where2getit on the prospect’s radar. The fact that the note
is so low-key and does not have any of the delays in loading
associated with HTML (and concomitant graphics) makes
recipients less likely to unsubscribe. Where2getit does not
pretend to have a relationship with prospects, the way that
many vendors do. They also do not tell you that this
communication is part of an ongoing series that will be
coming into your mailbox forever. French simply drops you a
line that reads like a virtue-of-the-week calendar.

4. Traditional marketing with HTML email

Where2getit began sending traditional email marketing to
existing customers after securing their permission, cross-
selling them on other software to complement their locator, and to prospects that give permission. The traditional
email marketing is in HTML and is explicitly a marketing
vehicle.

5. Educational webinar.

All marketing vehicles except the Monday Morning Memo
include an invitation to an educational webinar. The
website also prominently features the webinar.

After favorable responses to the email marketing, to the
Monday Morning Memo, or to direct mail, prospects are
invited, usually by phone, to sit in on a webinar.

“We’ve done 100+ webinars,” Patel offers. “We started in
late 2000. For our earliest campaign we sent a fortune
cookie with a message saying, ‘Your luck’s about to
change.’ Then we sent an email, then made a phone call,
then they would get a formal wedding invitation, finally we would
have a bag of popcorn delivered the day of the webinar,
with our logo on the bag, and the message, ‘Enjoy the
show.’ Eventually we learned that the fortune cookie and
popcorn weren’t necessary in the process.”

Where2getit uses Webex for their webinars. In 2000, when
he began doing webinars, Patel investigated the top three
solutions and chose Webex based on features and price,
“We’re bascially happy. We rarely have anyone who has
trouble seeing the demo.”

Where2getit’s webinar does not require the participants to
accept any ActiveX controls. They only use the Web
interface and the teleconferencing bridge.

“We’re doing primarily online PowerPoint and Web demos,”
explains Cools.

“We also have a forum at the webinar where attendees can
talk with other attendees and ask questions. Once someone
opens up, then everyone chimes in. We find that the ideal
size is 4 to 6. We get good quality interaction. We cut off
registration at 6 to 7,” offers Patel.

“We make it educational, not a sales pitch,” continues
Cools. “The title of the webinar is ‘Getting the Most Out
of Your Online Locator.” Most attendees already have
locators, so they can get something out of it even if
they’re not ready to replace their own. What we’re doing is
establishing ourselves as experts on taking your locator to
the next level, and creating dissatisfaction with your
existing solution. We tell the prospects: How to increase
traffic at the site, drive conversions, see traffic
locally.”

Registrants get a reminder of the date, time, and login
information the day before by email and also by phone.
During the phone call they are asked whether they are going
to attend, if they are not, then they are scheduled into
another webinar at that moment. The morning of the webinar
where2getit sends another email reminder with login
information.

For prospects who say they are coming, but then do not
attend, where2getit sends a message the same afternoon
saying, “Sorry you couldn’t attend,” and a telemarketer
calls to reschedule the prospect.

For those who attend the webinar, that afternoon, they get
an email thank you note. Also, where2getit puts a workbook
that includes all the information presented during the
webinar into the mail. One week later they make a sales
call, and ask if they have any need for a locator.

“People that attend webinars -- we’ve touched base via
email, direct marketing, phone, telemarketing – at least
two of those. People who attend are pre-qualified.”



RESULTS

Patel’s marketing engine delivers consistent sales month after month, even in a down economy. “We’ve had the same
sales output for four months consistently. It cushioned the Sept-
11 effect. We actually doubled our efforts to achieve this. We’re
trying to build the momentum in the face of the market setback.
The whole multi-pronged approach has worked great. We get them
into a funnel and we can predict, almost with certainty, who and
how many are going to purchase every month,” explains Patel.

“People do business with people. At the end of the day, they
still want to be courted, they want to go through that process,”
continues Patel. “We never send a sales team, yet people are
comfortable spending $15K to $50K with us because they have a
relationship with us.”

“This is not a one-time thing. You have to keep at it. You’ve got
to work it, work it, work it. If you’re looking for short-term
returns, this is not the way to do it,” warns Patel.

Before attending the webinar, the prospects simply are not ready
to buy. “Once they’ve made the time investment in the webinar,
then we know that they move into a different category. Even if
they say, ‘Call me in 6 months,’ they’re still a different
prospect than one who hasn’t done the webinar.”

Patel does not measure open rates, because the list is small.
There are only about 5,000 prospects on the entire list, of which
about 1000 have agreed to be contacted by email. “I understand
that you can look at opens and clickthroughs, but if they won’t
spend time with us, it doesn’t matter.”

LINKS:

Sample issue of the Monday Morning Memo:
http://www.b2bmarketingbiz.com/sample.cfm?contentID=207


Where2getit: http://www.where2getit.com

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