Engaging Your VIPs(Very Important Prospects)How relevance and personalization canhelp open doors and close salesThey’re skeptical. No-nonsense. Discerning. Busy. And about the last thing they have time for is yourmarketing message. The technical decision-makers you need to reach are not going to give you thetime of day unless you break through with something that not only grabs their attention, but alsodelivers information that is relevant, unique and valuable. As a 2009 IDG Enterprise study* noted,the “most important factor to getting a contract is demonstrating specific deliverables.”That’s exactly what Qwest Business is doing with the targeted accounts campaign it launched earlierthis year with Babcock & Jenkins (BNJ). In fact, they’re doing it so well that so far, 46% of the targetedaccounts have engaged in a dialogue with sales and 25% of targets have converted, meaning they’refunneling revenue into the pipeline.“This is the best marketing programI’ve seen in my 15 years in this business.” ~Qwest sales representative Yes, it’s a nice quote but more importantly it shows that Sales has bought into the marketing strategy 100%. And that is critical to making a targeted accounts campaign successful.* 21st Century IT Purchase Process Study, IDG Enterprise, May 2009
What’s the big idea?Like many technology companies, Qwest Business was looking for a way to overcome the obstaclesand connect with senior technology executives at top-tier companies. Unfortunately, many of thosecompanies were in markets where they had little or no brand recognition. How do you start a relevant,personalized dialog with someone who doesn’t know who you are? A savvy sales engineer looked at thecustomized network diagrams he was developing to help close contracts and wondered, “Why not usethe impressive blueprint-size maps to get in the door?” This would not only show—specifically—howQwest could address their unique network challenges, but also how committed he was to providinggreat, personalized service.To turn this provocative idea into a reality Qwest turned to BNJ, an integrated marketing agency withboth the creative and technical chops to deliver multiple coordinated touches via multiple channels withhighly customized and relevant content for each target company. Collaborating closely with both salesand marketing teams at Qwest, BNJ developed a pilot targeted accounts campaign designed to: 1 Drive engagement with targeted prospects. 2 Deliver qualified leads that resulted in sales meetings.Your blueprint for the future is inside.• To start, each prospect received a high-end architectural tube in the mail with a customized network map that showed what Qwest would do to connect their locations and improve network efficiency based on their specific company’s needs.• A hand-written note on the map directed our target to a personalized microsite, accessed via a personalized URL (PURL), where they could drill into a 40-page recommendation specific to each customer.• This site featured a short welcome video from a peer, Qwest’s CTO Pieter Poll. The site also enabled prospects to see who their Account Manager was and get a direct phone number and email address to contact them.• Behind the scenes, tracking enabled each visitor to be passively profiled, giving sales deep insight into the prospect’s interaction with the site—all great talking points for when sales and the customer met directly. And a sales alert immediately notified reps when their target responded to the site.• For those who didn’t respond to the original dimensional mailer, a series of coordinated direct mail and email touches reminded them to go online and view their personal proposal. Sales was also heavily engaged in the follow-up process, making phone calls both before and after the maps were delivered.
Sweet resultsThe close collaboration paid off big-time and is already delivering results that far exceed expectations.Based on what was in the pipeline at the end of August 2010 and assuming that about 20% of thosedeals will close, Qwest is looking at a 14-to-1 ROI projection. As you can imagine, the Qwest sales teamis thrilled with the campaign. As one happy sales rep put it, “This is the best marketing program I’veseen in my 15 years in this business.”To build on the success of the pilot program, BNJ is working with Qwest to roll it out to targetedaccounts in other regions and to co-marketing partners. They’ll also consider scaling the program to alarger number of accounts and extending it to customers for cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. Finally,the agency is testing and fine-tuning the campaign with new tactics and touches. “We just testedadding an additional introductory touch before delivering the custom map and have already had someremarkable results,” says BNJ VP of Strategy Lauren Goldstein, who will provide a first-hand look at thecampaign at MarketingSherpa’s B2B Summit.How and why it worked: 5 pillars of success Sales Integration Everyone talks about getting sales and marketing to do a better job of working together. For the Qwest targeted accounts campaign, it’s crucial. Instead of cooking up a program in marketing and funneling leads into the sales teams’ inboxes, this program involved sales from the get-go and relied on close collaboration with Qwest sales engineers every step of the way: • Sales reps handpicked the targets at each company and provided the detailed recommendations. This drives greater accountability and motivates sales to own the outcome—and success. • Insights from Qwest’s technical team made it possible to get into the mindset of the technical buyer and deliver the information they need. (Who better to know how to get through to a tech person… than a tech person?) • Qwest sales reps got on the phone and personally followed up with every target. These sales calls yielded great results, as prospects were impressed, intrigued and willing to talk. A recent study by Miller Heiman* found that more than half of organizations with good sales and marketing alignment had a close rate of greater than 60%.*2010 Miller Heiman Sales Best Practices Study
Targeting & PersonalizationThis is, of course, the essence of any targeted accounts campaign. But here, the personalizationwent well beyond the handwritten note and breakthrough packaging. The entire experiencewas customized for each recipient from beginning to end.• After identifying the companies that offered the biggest opportunities, the sale teams chose two senior-level individuals at each company to target and invested in building out custom network maps for each prospect.• A handwritten sticky note directed the recipient to visit their personal website for the detailed specs.• The enclosed letter used a very personal approach: “Since our state-of-the-art fiber network is already right outside your door, I took a little time to put together a preliminary network diagram for you….”• The letter also acknowledged possible objections and addressed them upfront: “You probably haven’t yet heard a lot about Qwest, so you may be surprised to learn that we have one of the largest OC-768 fiber networks in the U.S. and serve 95% of the Fortune 500.”• A personalized URL made it clear that the site was customized for each individual. Their sales rep’s phone number was prominently displayed on every page, and their photo and a personal message appeared on the contact page.Relevant ContentIn a sense, this campaign broke the mold—and a few rules—for what kind of content is right forearly-stage engagement. Ordinarily, we’d begin our outreach conversation with thought-leadershipcontent such as white papers or third-party articles and follow up with specific solution andimplementation information once we knew more about the prospects we were communicatingwith. However, this was not an ordinary campaign.“ Because the program was highly targeted to a small number of contacts, we were able to jump over a couple of steps in the ‘getting-to-know-you’ phase of the relationship and deliver specific, relevant information right upfront,” says BNJ Creative Director Colin O’Neill. “Rather than spending time communicating Qwest’s position we delivered proof that this was a company worth talking to.”
4 Technical Support It’s not enough to simply create the right content—you have to get the right content in front of the right people and be sure they can easily access it. And that wouldn’t be possible without robust back-end technology. BNJ built a custom content management system that made it possible to create a different version of the website for every company and to track every interaction. “It meant we could take a huge amount of complex information and present it in a way that’s easy to view and easy to use,” says BNJ VP for Technology Joshua Siler, who also credited the agency’s thorough QA process for ensuring that everything functioned seamlessly. “When you’re going out to very senior people, you better make sure you deliver a flawless experience.”5 Walking the Walk This campaign didn’t just tell people what Qwest Business could do for them—it showed them. Competing with much larger companies in the enterprise telecom market, Qwest sets itself apart with service and customization. The targeted accounts campaign showcased these differentiators in a very tangible way, from going the extra mile to create the network diagrams to building out a detailed technical recommendation to providing a personal phone number. Instead of promises, they provided proof of the company’s ingenuity and abilityto provide truly custom solutions. And that’s a great way to build a lasting relationship. If you’d like to learn more about this targeted account marketing campaign, or many other successful programs like it, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.