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CXO uses ZoomInfo to boost sponsors at regional events

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International Data Group's CXO Media produces CIO Executive Programs, a series of educational and networking conferences for technology executives. Last June, it added eight regional events, called CIO Perspectives, to its existing national and single sponsorship events. The new regionally focused, one-day events were designed to target senior IT leaders at midsize and large organizations.

Against the backdrop of a worsening economy, CXO Media's sales team was challenged to find sponsors for the events.

At the same time, CIO Executive Programs witnessed a shift in the structure of marketing organizations at its major clients. Traditionally, the CIO Executive Programs sales team has worked with its clients' corporate and product marketing staffs. However, many clients had begun taking a much more sales-oriented marketing approach, creating field marketing practices responsible for regional lead generation in their own organizations.

HOW CXO USED DATA TO PINPOINT QUALIFIED LEADS, INCREASE SALES

Objective: CXO Media needed to generate qualified field marketing prospects quickly and cost-efficiently for the company's new local event series.

Strategy: The sales team used ZoomInfo to identify prospects in each of eight regions where the events would take place and then leveraged ZoomInfo's integration with Salessforce.com to further qualify each lead.

Results: The team sold the majority of sponsorships for eight regional events within the first quarter, and the national sales manager was able to sell almost $1 million in sponsorships by May 1.

As a result, CXO Media needed to find a way to locate and qualify those regional field marketing representatives within existing client organizations as well as new prospects. It needed to establish relationships with an enirely new class of customer.

“We wanted to find the new field marketing contacts within our top 20 or 30 accounts,” said John Fondnazio, national sales manager, CIO Executive Programs at CXO Media. “The Oracles, the IBMs, the Microsofts, the RIMs and the EMCs of the world. We already had a firm grasp on the marketing teams within those organizations, but we needed to find the field marketers who are responsible for getting leads for their business.” Fondnazio led the effort to identify these potential new clients region by region.

Enter ZoomInfo, a Waltham, Mass.-based online business information database company that licenses its data. Fondnazio and his team ran searches in the ZoomInfo database platform using such keywords as “Fortune 500,” “technology space” and “metro region,” as well as the particular city or state for each search.

Fondnazio also conducted an experiment at that time. He challenged one of the sales associates to find as many field contacts as possible in one week. “I had a more robust list in 15 minutes than she was able to do in an entire week using the traditional method of cold-calling and searching online,” he said.

The sales team zeroed in on regional targets for each event and pinpointed prospects within each company. Armed with that information, they created targeted e-mail campaigns offering sponsorship opportunities. ZoomInfo is integrated with Salesforce.com, the company's CRM application, so Fondnazio and the sales team were able to track those e-mails using the Salesforce.com platform. They followed up with the qualified prospects: those who opened the e-mail either once or multiple times. The open rate has been 25% on average in the past six months, with 8% to 10% of those opening the e-mail more than once.

ZoomInfo also has abundant data on individuals within organizations, and access to that information has helped the sales team gather further intelligence on the prospect prior to making the sales call. Its database houses profiles on more than 500,000 IT decision-makers. The database provider culls public information and business-related content on all of its records, so a press release announcing a new round of funding or the name of the college the individual attended, for example, are included in the records. “It gives you an extra edge to pick up the phone and talk to that person about something other than selling to begin to build rapport,” Fondnazio said.

CIO Perspectives sponsorships were all but sold out within the first quarter of the sales cycle, according to CXO Media. The ability to pinpoint qualified prospects quickly and easily drove that success. Fondnazio himself sold almost $540,000 in sponsorships in the first quarter of 2009. By the end of the first half of the fiscal year, which ended May 1, he had closed $990,000.

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