Key touch point metrics trigger custom e-mails

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A Web site redesign created a wonderful problem for ShareBuilder 401K—more leads than it knew what to do with. Six months ago, inside sales reps had about 700 leads coming in each month. That number climbed to more than 10,000 leads per rep each month following the Web site revamp, said Stuart Robertson, senior director of marketing at ShareBuilder 401K. The company's marketers were faced with a choice: hire more salespeople or find a way to cherry pick the best leads for its current staff. The company chose the latter.

Robertson knew that people who spent any time on the company's site were better prospects, and those who devoted extended periods of time, clicking through to multiple pages, were even better prospects. So he set up the program to match registered users with their click paths, following them through the site using Web site analytics from Manticore Technology. The program, Virtual Touchstone, is accessible via the AppExchange.

The software keeps track of every registered prospect's activity, and generates a click report, which is used in two ways.

First, the analytics trigger a specific e-mail marketing message. So, for example, if a customer is browsing pages that discuss cost, they'd receive a cost-related e-mail.

"Key touch points kick off an e-mail campaign," Robertson said. "If you've filled out a lead form, we know who you are and we're going to see your score on the site. We'll know what you're consuming and can send one of an array of e-mails that you may or may not have ever seen if you didn't go to the site."

Those prospects who don't come to the site receive one e-mail per month.

Second, once the e-mail goes out, sales reps receive a report that details any activity they take with e-mails—if they opened the message and which links they clicked—as well as what they did on the site along with a corresponding prospect score. This score tells the rep how likely the prospect is to become a customer. The score is updated after the rep makes contact to reflect any sales team interaction.

The combination of analytics and e-mail is boosting ShareBuilder's overall conversion rate. Sales per rep have increased by 17% over the first six months of the program, and overall sales are closing more quickly than they had in the past. Today, more than 65% of leads close in the first 30 days after the initial sales contact. That number was only 51% prior to the use of analytics.

"The program has exceeded our expectations. It's an absolute win. We got a huge lift, and now we can be more aggressive at running leads," Robertson said. "And the customer experience is getting great ratings. Our salespeople are ranked very highly when we talk to customers because they know what they need before they say a word."

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