BtoB

Hager finds ways to keep leads engaged

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As a commercial lighting and electrical components company, Hager Electro, Obernai, France has a typically complicated b-to-b sales model, encompassing electricians, distributors and builders themselves. Few industries are as sensitive to the economy as the building industry, making a well-thought-out nurturing strategy all the more important. Hager's lead generation process starts like most others. First it generates Web traffic through on- and offline campaigns, Web partnerships, search engine optimization and word-of-mouth. Then it builds rich profiles on customers and prospects using captured activity and combining it with opt-in forms. Those leads are placed in its lead management system and assigned to an account manager based on region and sector. For any leads that aren't hot enough to move directly to sales, the nurturing process begins, said Fabrice Canton, e-marketing manager at Hager. “The objective is to sustain conversations in an automated way until such leads are ready to be passed to the sales teams,” Canton said. Prospects are sent a variety of information, including monthly newsletters, expert tips, video testimonials and event invitations—based on profile preferences, actual behavior on the Hager Web site (www.hager.fr) and response to e-mail and other forms of outreach. By automating this nurturing activity, Hager has reduced the time it takes to plan and execute a follow-up campaign from two days to half a day, Canton said. It has also enabled his small team of only three marketers to undertake new lead-nurturing efforts, such as a recent initiative to create a directory of contractors and electricians. Canton credits the work his team has done in building its nurturing program over the past weeks and months with laying a solid groundwork to help the company weather tough times. “Even in a down economy we have the budgets to go after new market shares, and our vision is to drive growth from there, including entry into new markets like security and home automation,” he said. “This was only made possible because we could prove our results and could show accountability.”
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