July 02, 2014
Case Study

Lead Nurturing: How intent data lifted a B2B email campaign's CTR 248% and forwarding rate more than 400%

SUMMARY: "I got real with myself, with our team, and our efforts here — what we were doing wasn't working," admitted Leann Capesius, Global Marketing Manager, TeamQuest. "I couldn't keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results."

Computer software company TeamQuest Corporation had previously invested in marketing automation, but wasn't experiencing the fruitful results it anticipated. To shake things up, the company began utilizing intent data to better target its prospects. Discover how TeamQuest's first email effort to test the technology resulted in a 248% lift in clickthrough and a more than 400% increase in forwarding rate.
by Allison Banko, Reporter


TeamQuest is a computer software company that's all about optimizing IT for others. But this B2B's marketing required some optimization of its own.

In hopes of refining its efforts and further engaging with prospects, TeamQuest invested in marketing automation. The company soon began utilizing the technology to better listen to prospects' digital body language and drive response, but there was little digital body language and little response, explained TeamQuest Global Marketing Manager Leann Capesius.

"Based on [prospects'] digital body language, we tried to interact with them," she said. "At first, this was a good plan — it seemed like it was. It didn't drive the results that we were looking for."

There were two especially troubling database statistics that TeamQuest faced: the fact it was 80% dormant, and that TeamQuest had only a single interaction with 90% of the list. These two stats combined to make it nearly impossible for the team to predict what prospects were interested in.

"Our software, it's not an easy sell," Capesius said. "We're a boutique type of company in that we're not necessarily a globally recognized brand. … We're not an IBM, we're not an HP. We're not somebody who says, 'Hey, I'm with HP,' and everybody would recognize the brand. That's a challenge for us."

A typical TeamQuest sales cycle is approximately 15 months long. She added that marketing TeamQuest's capacity management software right when it's at the top of a prospect's mind was going to be the key to developing a new strategy. TeamQuest needed to understand which users were interested in what solutions and to customize the messaging accordingly.

"That's when we need to put banner ads in front of them," Capesius said. "That's when we need to put our campaign in front of them. That's when we need to reach out to them."


For years, TeamQuest had built a relationship with a vendor that helped the company grow its email list. When the team set out on this new endeavor, that same vendor suggested a new technology that could be just the ticket: intent data for email.

This technology was a way of getting pertinent information into the hands of the people that need it now. It would serve as a complement to TeamQuest's marketing automation, monitoring prospects' content consumption activities and aggregating that information into actionable information TeamQuest could then use to target those customers. In other words, marketing would be more relevant to the individual prospect.

The tool can pull from data sources including:
  • Downloaded white papers

  • Attended webinars

  • Read case studies and article interest

  • Viewed infographics

  • Watched videos

  • Search

  • Social activity

  • IP address

Capesius was skeptical. The technology was new to the industry and she was busy — she was uneasy about investing her time into something so unknown. But after some back and forth with the vendor, Capesius caved.

"I thought, 'You know what? If they can actually help make this happen for us, this could be a game changer,'" she recalled.

For TeamQuest, intent data for email would allow the team to achieve what it longed for: serving up information to prospects right when they need it. When prospects search for TeamQuest's buzzwords, the team could deliver relevant content to that audience.

The team sought to test the tool on an email campaign marketing a new TeamQuest storage product that would allow for an IT person to see all of their systems under one "single pane of glass," as Capesius described.

"People aren't aware that that type of product is out there," she added. "We're really trying to get people to understand that, hey, we're doing this now. It's really cool and you can't live without it."

Step #1. Brainstorm buzzwords

TeamQuest's first task was to brainstorm a list of buzzwords that people may search for that were relevant to this product.

The company's product management and marketing teams joined forces to develop a list of 10 relevant keywords to give to the vendor to utilize in their intent data system:
  1. Application Performance

  2. Cloud Computing

  3. Databases

  4. Data Center

  5. Infrastructure

  6. Performance Management

  7. Storage Management

  8. Servers

  9. Systems Management

  10. Virtualization

"We could have more, we could have less," Capesius said of the list. "But those words that when people are out in cyberspace looking for something that we could help them with, what would those words be? If [we] were given 10, what would those words be?"

Step #2. Integrate buzzwords into marketing content

With the buzzwords brainstormed, the next step was to incorporate them into TeamQuest's marketing content and messaging.

The body of the email to market the storage product read:
We are taking ITSO (IT Service Optimization) to the next level by giving you the ability to analyze your storage arrays, servers, and workload services all under one single-pane-of-glass!

Seamlessly analyze storage and other infrastructures – TOGETHER

Easily analyze everything from the service or application layer down to the underlying storage systems and their devices.

  • Add a detailed storage dimension to whatever analysis you are currently doing with your servers and applications

  • Report on who or what is using how much, and when

  • Rapidly understand when storage is the bottleneck, why, and what services are impacted

Why you need this NOW

Storage subsystems represent one of the largest expenditures in today's IT environments. By automating your storage performance and capacity processes in conjunction with your servers and applications, you can finally and truly get to the bottom of whether it really is a hardware or application issue!

Get the BIG picture on your IT infrastructure and reduce storage costs by finding the originating cause of performance and capacity issues while minimizing service risk.

Contact us today for more information!

TeamQuest Corporation

The intent data tool then reads the drafted, unsent email's content and notes which prospects in the company's database are searching for TeamQuest's relevant buzzwords.

Step #3. Launch and test the email campaign

TeamQuest was now armed with a list of prospects who had expressed intent.

It was time to test.

The team performed an email send on the segment of prospects that had shown intent versus a segment of prospects created using TeamQuest's traditional segmentation.


When looking at the stats, TeamQuest thought it made a mistake. The numbers seemed too good to be true, Capesius said. The results showed:
  • 153% lift in open rate

  • 248% lift in clickthrough rate

  • More than 400% lift in forward rate

The team consulted their vendor asking if they were doing this whole thing right. Was the math accurate? Was the process correct?

"It was kind of funny — we were doubting our own data," she said. "It blew us away."

But TeamQuest didn't mess up. The team had discovered how to listen to that digital body language and drive the response they had sought all along, and it was achieved through intent data. Capesius said her skepticism turned into belief.

"Then, we were hooked," she said. "We were like, 'OK, we have to have this. We have to do this — it only makes sense."

Now when TeamQuest launches a campaign, it utilizes the intent data, developing a relevant set of buzzwords to build each new effort upon. This has refined the company's email campaigns from thousands of recipients to a few hundred.

"We want to make sure we send out the content to people that it's actually important to," Capesius said. "We're really using the data and the analytics to drive our next move."

However, the team realizes that just because someone has clicked through or forwarded an email, doesn't mean it's one and done. "That just means we might have a warm prospect or a prospect," Capesius explained.

"You can't even really call it a warm lead until we actually get them to do something else and we can pass them over to an account manager," she added. "At that point, we know there's some sort of interest."

In regards to those who are not showing intent, Capesius said TeamQuest needs to shake up its messaging to see what it is they are out there fishing for.

"Even though people aren't showing intent today, doesn't mean that they still don't have intent," she said. "We need to try to change our marketing message to fit what their intent is and get them at the right time. Their intent might not be there today, but it could be there tomorrow."

If TeamQuest can't provide them with what they're looking for, the team will stop wasting its time and resources marketing to those prospects.

Capesius explained that TeamQuest doesn't want to fill these uninterested individuals with something they'd consider junk mail while the company suffers the unsubscribes in its email list.

Intent for Improvement

TeamQuest thought it was being smart from the start. With marketing automation, the team thought they were making the right moves. But once they took a deeper look into performance, they realized it could be better.

"As marketers, we all think we're trying to do the right thing with the tools that we have, and the time that we have, and with the lists that we have," Capesius said. "I think a very good place to start is to do inventory of what you have."

This includes everything from tools to people to content. There is always room for improvement, it's just a matter of where, she said.

"Once you make that switch in your brain, then you have made your first step because then you have to take action … that's where the rubber meets the road."

For TeamQuest, it was taking on an intent data technology that could help better understand its customers' needs — what will it be for you?


TeamQuest Corporation

Madison Logic

Related Resources

Email Marketing: 133% ROI for B2B's first-ever lead nurturing program

B2B Email Marketing: How a publishing company used marketing automation to increase CTR 1,112%

Persona Marketing: NetProspex increases website visit duration 900%, lifts marketing-generated revenue 171%

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