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Sage helps move LED from ‘business repair’ to business development through unique marketing techniques and flexible CRM software

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Challenge: After Hurricane Katrina, the Louisiana Department of Economic Delivery (LED) assisted thousands of businesses in recovery efforts and provided temporary housing to more than 1,000 workers. Yet, as hurricane-related activity lessened, LED was faced with the daunting task of maintaining existing businesses and recruiting new businesses to Louisiana.

Solution: LED turned to Sage CRM, which provided a free trial for software use, to shift the focus back to business development. Flexible CRM helped LED return to developing marketing campaigns that educate businesses on the benefits of working in Louisiana.

LED targeted Fortune 10,000 customers with the highest tax burdens to lure business to Louisiana.

"We shifted who we thought our audience was because of the hurricane," said Linda Regira, director of policy and planning at the LED. "Now we use Sage CRM every step of the way."

LED uses Sage CRM throughout its marketing campaigns, from tracking brochure mailings, ad placements and follow-up calls to using the information to evaluate each campaign's value. Hiring incentive and work force development programs are also tracked.

The LED database is updated daily. As soon as LED staff members know there is a new project is on the horizon, the software starts tracking phone calls, e-mails and incentive calculations done by the research department.

"We are better organized internally and present a united front," Regira said. "The software is able to track both the changing tax incentives and multifaceted communication."

Managing projects in Sage CRM helps LED report regularly to the governor and tax payers on the state's development efforts. Sage CRM keeps track of which district each project is developed for, keeping elected officials informed of what is happening in their baliwick.

"Since Louisiana is a performance-based state, these results determine the budget allocated to the LED," Regira said.

Results: LED plans to integrate its proprietary accounting application with Sage CRM to track business incentives and eligibility for venture capital opportunities. The organization also plans to implement Sage CRM on mobile devices so its staff can access and update information from trade shows and customer meetings.

One year after Hurricane Katrina, LED is currently conducting more than 70 new campaigns and has brought the number of new businesses up 13,000. Before the hurricane, there were 80,000 operating businesses; Today, there are an estimated 60,000 businesses.

"Considering the amount of devastation, it's really a remarkable amount of progress," Regira said.

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