In an attempt to improve its sales efficiency and outreach efforts, plumbing and lighting distribution company, Supply.com invested in IBM’s Marketing Cloud automation tool (formerly known as Silverpop).
Previously, their sales reps used Microsoft Outlook to manage outgoing communications. Sales reps performed follow-up with customers manually and leads were generated on an ad hoc, cold-calling basis from a customer database solution provided by NetSuite. The process was time-consuming and inefficient. Management decided that an outbound e-mail communication management tool would automate much of the work sales representatives were currently doing and allow them to focus on pursuing new sales opportunities. Since the customer database was from NetSuite, Supply.com had to find a marketing tool that integrated and could scale with the company as it expanded.
Supply.com decided to move forward with IBM Marketing Cloud for the following reasons:
- The application’s integration with NetSuite was familiar to the employees in charge of implementing the e-mail marketing tool. Although the integration had to be custom built, Supply.com knew it was possible.
- The solution could be implemented relatively quickly. Since Supply.com had to go back to square one, choosing a product that could be up and running quickly was paramount.
- For Supply.com, the solution offered a better price for the functionality it delivered relative to competitors.
- The project required minimal supplemental purchases in order to leverage its functionality. Since Supply.com already had NetSuite, it only needed to buy the new application subscription along with Adobe Creative Suite to generate outbound e-mails.
The project allowed Supply.com to rapidly expand its business by identifying new income opportunities such as vendor promotions and new business-to-business customers while increasing sales force productivity by more than 20 percent. The project enabled Supply.com to achieve more than $1 million in revenues from a single campaign.
Using IBM to support its e-mail marketing efforts allowed Supply.com to automate and streamline a large portion of its customer outreach and follow-up, freeing sales representatives to pursue hot leads that the system was able to identify and push for vendor promotions. Key benefits of the project include:
- Increased productivity of sales representatives. Supply.com was able to automate follow-up marketing and deadline tracking, allowing the sales team to spend 30 percent less time on administrative tasks and more time fielding inbound calls and pursuing leads.
- Increased revenues from additional sales. Supply.com was able to engage in targeted marketing campaigns and automated follow-up, leading to more wins.
- Increased revenues from promotional campaigns. Supply.com began running omnichannel marketing promotions where vendors paid for the product discounts. The deployment also produced other benefits such as engaging both business-tobusiness and business-to-consumer prospects. The additional business-to-consumer marketing was a new line of revenue for Supply.com.
Supply.com found that the IBM Marketing Cloud supported a shift in the priorities of the sales department and expanded their pursuit of leads. In a single marketing campaign, Supply.com was able to reach thousands of potential customers as well as automate follow-up efforts. Instead of sales representatives manually e-mailing general contractors a reminder about an expiring price estimate, the solution automatically e-mails the potential customer with the relevant information pulled from the NetSuite CRM database. As a result, sales representatives can focus on prioritising and pursing leads, answering customer replies to reminder e-mails, and fielding incoming calls from customers. Their focus can be on selling products rather than managing communications.
Direct benefits quantified included the increased profits from promotions managed using the solution, which targeted professional customers as well as end consumers directly. Indirect benefits included the profits from increased wins of marketing campaigns, which continued into the second year of deployment, and the increased productivity of the sales representatives who saved considerable amount of time because of automation capabilities.
A financial analysis by Nucleus Research has shown that this project has resulted in Supply.com enjoying a 1665% Annual ROI from this project.