The TAS Group's York Baur and Jane Morrin on Optimizing SaaS E-mail Marketing Tools for Increased Leads
It's entirely possible that representatives of The TAS Group, the sales performance automation software provider headquartered in Seattle, asked themselves some of the same questions they advise customers to pursue before seizing an opportunity. After all, when the B-to-B company switched e-mail platforms recently, the solution it chose did seem to positively match all of its trademarked sales methodology questions.
So, at the end of 2008, TAS Group decided that using Genius Pro from San Mateo, Calif.-based Genius.com, a software-as-a-service e-mail marketing and marketing automation provider, was a good idea. The solution provides real-time e-mail performance and Web site interaction data that's accessible to a sales team and has a user-friendly interface that sealed the deal for York Baur, TAS Group's chief marketing officer. Since then, TAS Group brought its e-mail deliverability rates up to nearly 100 percent and doubled the number of qualified leads being forwarded to sales.
Jane Morrin, a TAS Group marketing executive who handles the firm's e-mail marketing campaigns and its e-mail platform provider, says deliverability rates had been below the industry average before making the switch.
Target Marketing: What was TAS Group's direct marketing objective when deciding to replace its e-mail marketing platform?
York Baur: E-mail marketing is one of the crucial demand generation vehicles that we use. It's not the only one, but it's certainly a crucial one and currently the largest one. So our objective in working with Genius was to really do a couple things. One is to improve both the deliverability and the responsiveness that we could provide to the e-mail campaigns that we have. And second, it was the ability to put a tool in the hands of salespeople, in addition to the air cover marketing that we do within the marketing department, to provide a tool that would allow salespeople to build and run and manage and respond to their own campaigns in an easy-to-use way. ... [The marketing department deploys] very large sends to our database. We do segment it ... But we're doing very large sends trying to find demand that exists out there. Whereas what the salespeople are doing is very small, very targeted sends, often either to a given account or maybe an industry subsegment that they're very familiar with and that has a very targeted message. So it's a one-two punch approach that we've taken.
TM: How did TAS Group incorporate the new tools into the existing marketing infrastructure?
Jane Morrin: Basically, how we worked it in was we had to do a massive transfer from our old database, which was split into two different sections from our previous e-mail marketing tool. We had to bring that across and bring it into Genius so that everything was worked from one single database. And we've worked with that since. We found it very easy, actually, because [the e-mail system] updates daily with the CRM. So basically, we just had to update our CRM, and then Genius automatically updated with that. And then you can go in and force an update, as well.
TM: What sort of results did the TAS Group see right away?
JM: Over the past few months, and especially in recent months, we've seen a lot of very good results with regards to our deliverability. … Every week, we get our hard bounce reports … When there's any hard bounces that have gone on from our previous sends in that week, we opt them out of the system. … We never try and e-mail to a hard bounce twice. So it's really improved our deliverability. ... We'd nearly be at 100 percent deliverability now, because we're constantly cleaning out the database.
TM: How large a project was this?
JM: Our database is about 130,000, but we're adding to it constantly. So we would send out to those contacts at least once a week.
TM: Was TAS Group able to increase leads?
YB: The answer is an unequivocal yes, from two perspectives. One is, the measurement capabilities that we have that reduced and now almost, frankly, eliminated clutter in responses has helped our inside sales team get to the good stuff faster. ... What we have been able to do and see in the data is the ability to improve response rates by experimenting more broadly with the content of the e-mails, the format of the e-mails, etc.