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Unified databases, marketing automation improve efficiencies for Rapid Notify

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Before last year, Rapid Notify, a provider of mass notification and incident management services, used email as its key marketing channel. However, it lacked both automated systems and the ability to build more sophisticated, dynamic campaigns. Further, the sales and marketing teams operated in silos, using disparate systems and manual processes to identify, track and score leads, as well as to communicate hot prospects as sales-ready. Monica Seely, the company's marketing manager, knew that she needed to improve sales' understanding of specific marketing operations and assist it with sophisticated lead qualification and nurturing. “We are providers of software to enable fire departments, counties, schools or businesses to send messages via phone, email or text to thousands of recipients simultaneously in case of natural disasters, emergencies and evacuations,” Seely said. “We have no shortage of leads; but, as a one-woman marketing department, I have limited resources.” Seely said managing Rapid Notify's database of 20,000 leads had become a challenge. “Email databases were living separately from lead data in Salesforce.com; and to send emails, I had to manually merge the data,” she said. That also led to segmentation problems when targeting prospects. As a result, the company's simple email campaigns and marketing resources were hobbled by a need for dozens of different templates to address manually culled segments. “It had become unmanageable. Unless we could assign priority and sort leads in a meaningful way, it wasn't helping us,” she said. After reviewing a handful of marketing automation vendors, Rapid Notify selected Act-On Software and implemented its software in December 2011. “Database marketing isn't new, but the challenge has always been its complexity,” said Atri Chatterjee, CMO at Act-On. “You're storing data, querying it, segmenting it. But often it's hard to know what you're using in context. Everyone has a digital footprint today. There's a lot of information you're tracking.” The marketing automation platform was integrated with Salesforce data, Seely said, and the unified database was further enhanced with Web analytics and cookie tracking. Rapid Notify uses the new system's real-time lead scoring capability to identify likely prospects and pass them to sales. Any changes in Salesforce are immediately updated in Act-On to further aid top-of-the-funnel activities. Results have been strong. Rapid Notify has seen a 50% increase in opportunities generated and a 20% higher closure rate. The company has also seen a 150% increase in event attendance, using landing pages with links to forms, automated reminder and follow-up emails. The automated programs, such as triggered emails and drip campaigns, have reduced Rapid Notify's need to create manual campaigns, saving the company more than 400 staff hours annually, Seely said. “The reason is better data,” she said. “We now know when people are back on our site again. If they're back multiple times, filling our registrations or downloading white papers, it lights a fire under sales to connect with them.”
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