Ariba's first order of business was to create a centralized database and integrate it with the company's sales force automation tool, Salesforce.com. In addition, the marketing team charged a handful of people with e-mail oversight responsibilities, Flahaux said.
“The CRM database holds all of the customer information now, so we have a holistic view of the customer,” she said. “This allows us to have one or two people responsible to help out whoever wants to send an e-blast out, so we know we're not sending out two e-mails to the same customer in the same week.”
So if a salesperson sends out a personalized e-mail to a customer or prospect, that same person won't be pinged again that week.
Once the database was in place, the marketing team was able to start segmenting the list, which has led, Flahaux said, to a big jump in open rates. For example, each year the company sends out the results of a large survey in white paper format. The report includes details and results about all industries. It had an average click-through rate of 2.5%.
This past year, Ariba sliced the report into multiple smaller reports that focused on specific industries. Click-through rates shot up to between 5% and 9%. But even more significant, those people who did open the report were also more receptive to inside sales calls, Flahaux said.
“We found that people, especially people who were brand new to Ariba, were more intrigued when information was spoon-fed to them,” she said. “We saw an overall brand lift in that case.”
The salespeople appreciate the new e-mail tactics, Flahaux said, and are happy to work hand-in-hand with marketing. This wasn't always the case, she said.
“It used to be "Why aren't you sending me leads?' or "These leads are garbage.' Now, sales tells us that we're sending them great leads and giving them a good view into the pipeline,” she said. M