March 30, 2011
Case Study

B2B Marketing: How a start-up doubled campaigns with a smaller department

SUMMARY: Downsizing is part of business, whether the reason is based on economics or a change in corporate structure. And sometimes less can be more.

Find out how one start-up cut two-thirds of its marketing department, but nearly doubled the number of campaigns it was able to run. A tight integration of marketing automation and the CRM coupled with a smaller, but re-energized marketing department helped achieve these results.
by David Kirkpatrick, Reporter


Companies downsize their staff for many reasons -- a soft economy, changes in the size of the marketplace or maybe just a need to streamline the company. When the marketing department shrinks, the campaigns go on. But the reduced staff likely has increased responsibility.

Marketing automation tools and integration with the CRM help take some pressure off of marketing efforts, but the strategy and day-to-day tactics are still a hands-on operation.

Paymetric sells an integrated payment card processing and tokenization solution for companies running ERP systems, and as recently as 18 months ago, had a marketing team of six people.

The company first took stock of all its vendors, including the marketing automation and CRM solution, and ended up changing both providers. At the same time, the company looked at the size of its marketing department and the state of the economy, and decided to downsize.

Jessica Wine, Vice President, Marketing said, "We're a start-up, and I think for the size company that we were, (a staff of six) was running a little bit big, so we knew we needed to get a little bit leaner."

The solution was to cut the staff from six to two people. Amazingly, even with this significant staff reduction, the company has actually expanded its marketing efforts and almost doubled the number of campaigns from the previous year with the larger team.


Step #1. Reuse, reuse, reuse

Working with a staff of two, the first step Wine took was to get "really organized."

She stated, "We have a very template approach and we're all about reusing. That really helps us to be able to take one thing and spin it for something else."

For example, content from data sheets will get reused into a whitepaper, and whitepaper content gets reused in email marketing campaigns.

Step #2. Create a repeatable process

Paymetric hosts about one webinar each month and the marketing around these events follows a coordinated structure:

o Wine and her Marketing Operations Manager work together to come up with the topic and speaker -- with the speaker coming from Paymetric internally, or a customer for a case study or even an industry thought leader or expert

o Wine will then develop the email content (see creative sample, "2. Webinar email") for the invitation that goes out to a targeted audience

o That copy is reused for the website registration page

o When the copy is ready, Wine sends it to her partner who selects one of their templates for both the email and the landing page layout

o The operations manager then goes into the marketing automation system to find a segmentation list that hits the desired target for the specific event

o The email send is scheduled for about three weeks of promotion with a weekly touch asking people to register for the event, and individuals who've already signed up are suppressed

o Two separate reminder follow-ups are sent to people who have signed up and also people who have not signed up

o A final email is sent the day of the event to attempt to grab any last-minute sign-ups

o Once the webinar is completed, the operations manager sends a customized "thank you" email

o Registration lists are provided to Sales so they can follow-up on leads generated by the webinar

Step #3. Generate, qualify and nurture leads

Wine said many times webinar attendees are Paymetric customers so they are already in the marketing automation system, but they do have a lead nurturing program that turns on with every webinar to add any new leads into the program.

To keep in contact with leads, the company has a touch point of around once a month. Wine says this way the prospect is kept in contact with the company without being bombarded.

- Lead scoring

For lead qualifying, Paymetric uses a scoring system where the sales reps follow-up on the lead when the score reaches a certain point. For example, attending a webinar alone is worth enough points to warrant a follow-up from Sales.

The qualifying is based around activities performed by the lead, where each activity is worth a certain amount of points. When a new lead visits the website, each page they visit is worth a couple of points. If they watch a demo, that is worth points as well.

The follow-up touch might be automatically created by the marketing automation tool, but it's personalized to come from a specific sales rep, and the scoring system is integrated with the CRM tool so Sales can see the reports and keep track of each lead to prioritize their time.

- Highly qualified leads

With the automation and CRM solutions in place, Wine feels the marketing efforts are actually creating more qualified leads than the company was generating with the larger Marketing team. She said the data is very clean in the current system and all the tools provide Marketing with a lot of insight into the marketing efforts and Paymetric's customers.

Step #4. Don’t overlook the human resource elements

The first advantage of the reduced marketing team Wine mentioned is having less people and personalities to manage. Wine said she really knows her operations manager and what motivates her. She also stated the two-person team allowed her be more organized and on top of things.

The key disadvantage is there are functions that Wine would normally delegate that she now must address, but she sees handling every aspect of the marketing efforts -- email campaigns, website content, product marketing, etc. -- is advantageous from an experience perspective.

She added marketing automation makes the day-to-day execution with only two marketers possible.

To provide an example, on the day of our interview her partner was out with a family emergency, and the regular campaigns set up by Wine's partner were going on without her being there and without Wine having to manually pushing any of the lead nurturing or other efforts.

Even though marketing automation allows a stripped down marketing department the ability to run multiple campaigns of lead generation and nurturing, the people running the system are key to marketing success.

Wine said, "At the end of the day, all this stuff has a manual component to it. You still have to put a set of human eyes on all of (the marketing efforts.)"

Step #5. Integrate Sales and Marketing

Wine described the integration of the two departments as "the typical Marketing-Sales relationship," but she added with the automation and CRM so closely tied it gives Sales "pure visibility." For example, if Wine doesn't manually send the daily reports to Sales, they can still look in the system to see what's going on in the various lead nurturing, scoring and other campaigns.

"It's still kind of a struggle to get them on board and understanding (how to create) opportunities in there and managing their pipeline," Wine explained, "But as far as prospect activity, they're in there. We're all on the same page."

o Paymetric executed about 98 campaigns with the two-person staff, almost doubling the campaigns from the previous year with a six-person staff

o Leads generated by Marketing account for 30% of the pipeline, previously Marketing accounted for 5-10% of the pipeline

o Conversion targets are based on the type of campaign. One customer-specific email campaign returned 13% conversion. In contrast, the company is happy with a 0.5-1% conversion for a broad opt-in prospect list campaign

o Reviewing and re-selecting marketing automation and CRM vendors to more closely meet the needs of the company is saving the Paymetric $30,000 per year in overhead

Useful links related to this article

Creative samples:
1. Whitepaper email
2. Webinar email
3. Webcast email
4. Image-rich test email




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