Reuters is a news agency. So when the marketing department in the parent company of the legendary every-minute-is-a-deadline wire service was still sending out batch-and-blast emails three years ago, Dan Allis knew Thomson Reuters had to do something fast.
Allis, the marketing systems manager at New York-based information technology and services provider Thomson Reuters, says his corporation went with marketing automation tools three years ago and hasn't looked back. Vienna, Va.-based marketing automation and revenue performance management software provider Eloqua, a subsidiary of Oracle, fit the corporation with tools that brought in 20 percent more marketing leads for sales in 2012 vs. the year before, helping generate the company's $12.9 billion in revenue.
"Leveraging the full capabilities of this platform has enabled us to prove marketing's value in the generation of sales leads and opportunities, helping to build a closer relationship with sales," Allis says. "We have re-engineered our end-to-end lead management process by defining how to measure and manage leads at each point of our funnel, leading to a significant increase in revenue attributed to marketing campaigns."
His comment hits on one of the main changes Thomson Reuters made in 2011, adding on to what it had already done by automating lead capture, scoring and nurturing. Thomson Reuters aligned marketing with sales to "transform" its lead management.
So marketers listened to sales representatives about how to score leads based on a profile fit and level of engagement. Allis says then, marketing asked a few sales representatives to spend a few months testing those theories. Marketing then adjusted its scoring model based on ratings from the sales reps.
Armed with these test results, Thomson Reuters' new inside sales team followed up on "leads that had been captured, scored and nurtured by marketing," according to Allis. "We equipped this team with buyer personas and other sales aids to help them engage with the prospects, and used scoring to ensure they only received sales-ready leads. The significant shortening of our sales cycle [by 72 percent] was proof that the inside sales team was able to follow up leads more efficiently."
Thanks to marketing automation, Thomson Reuters had new tools to use to add leads to the sales funnel. "Blind submit" form links increased e-newsletter leads by 75 percent, because each email recipient's click on a link equaled an email address submission to the relevant marketing campaign. (Sales would get the product fact-sheet clicker, while the lead-nurturing program would see the thought leadership report viewer.)
Leads from gated forms on the Web rose 33 percent, says Allis.
But, like its wire service, Thomson Reuters plans to stay up-to-the-minute.
"We're interested in developing account-based scoring to further refine our lead scoring programs," Allis says. "We also see opportunities to further enhance our Web forms with progressive profiling, and possibly offer social sign-in as an alternative to submitting forms."