If your sales team can’t access real-time information about leads and how they’re interacting with your brand, you’re done before you even start. Implementing marketing automation has helped GM Nameplate’s sales reps get a better handle on B2B customer communications and engagement.
Chances are you’ve seen—or even own—some of the company’s work, and don’t even realize it. GM Nameplate produces graphic products such as labels and user interface systems like circuit boards and touchscreens. If you see a company logo emblem on a tractor, airplane or automobile, chances are the Seattle-based company designed and produced it. The customer base is wide ranging, with medical, aeronautics and automotive clients among others across GMN’s eight locations in the United States and Asia.
The sales cycle varies depending on the product—for a graphic, it could be only a few weeks, while a medical device that requires FDA approval could be up to a year or more.
GM Nameplate began working with Act-On as GMN was going through a rebranding in January 2016. “It was an easy time to try something new with marketing automation because we were launching things simultaneously,” says Cynthia Schulte, marketing manager, GM Nameplate.
The company has six divisions that run on Microsoft Dynamics CRM and one, a more recent acquisition, that is on Salesforce, so any new implementation had to work with both systems. Lead entry and tracking was manual, and the sales force didn’t have a lot of visibility into what communications were going out to prospects. Prospecting lists were outdated, and multiple touchpoints in campaigns were not being tracked accurately.
“We’re a small team with limited resources and we wanted to make our marketing dollars go further,” she says. “Marketing automation was the pretty obvious next step.”
“Sales teams didn’t have a clear view of the leads’ behaviors with the company, such as whether they had attended a webinar or downloaded a whitepaper,” notes Paige Musto, senior director of corporate marketing at Act-On Software. “They faced several challenges.”
The company reaches out to prospects in numerous ways, including webinars, live events, lunch & learns, speaking engagements at industry events, posts on LinkedIn and email. Email blasts are segmented by product lines, with customers and prospects receiving a variety of communications including thought leadership, guides and promotions.
Previously, the company relied on email service providers like Constant Contact to handle email communications. Marketing automation has enabled GM Nameplate to increase the number of campaigns it sends out and do more A/B testing, says Schulte. “It’s now more easy to repurpose campaigns and tie them into our CRM, as we look back at our marketing efforts and see the ROI.”
One of the biggest benefits of marketing automation was being able to empower the sales team, which was incentivized to use the system, she says. “They understand and know our customers, but they didn’t have an easy way to access our campaigns and see what was being sent. Now, they can download and customize templates.”
GM Nameplate has 15 sales reps who are employed by the company, and over 65 more who sell the company’s products via outside firms. Over the last year, the company has seen that emails positioned as coming directly from the sales reps (as opposed to the brand) have significantly better open and response rates.
Schulte admits that since many of the company’s products have a lengthy sales cycle, measuring the ROI of marketing automation can get a little tricky. The company gauges the number of leads generated and requests for price quotes. “It’s still a little bit of a guessing game at this point. We’re thinking long term but once we get a request for a quote we consider that a win.”