Economic downturns don't affect all companies equally, and many businesses managed to grow sales and post positive financial earnings in 2008. While some of these companies are simply in high-growth, recession-resistant markets, others propelled themselves forward by optimizing their marketing and sales strategies.
The Company: CenterBeam (www.centerbeam.com) is a leading national provider of outsourced IT services.
The Challenge: Lead Quality vs. Lead Quantity
Through its early years as a company, CenterBeam worked with marketing agencies that emphasized high lead volume at a low cost-per-lead. Complaints from the sales department were consistent: These leads have not been qualified. "When we contact them, we usually find we’re not a fit. This is a waste of time."
The Solution: Generating Qualified Leads
In 2003, CenterBeam turned to PointClear, (www.pointclear.com), an Atlanta-based prospect development firm, whose methodology is built on the belief that, rather than needing more leads, sales reps actually need fewer leads—or more accurately, they need fewer unfiltered and unqualified leads. PointClear's less-is-more approach is designed to funnel only the best prospects to sales reps, who can then devote their time to the most likely prospects and close more sales.
CenterBeam began outsourcing its lead generation to PointClear, initiating a partnership that has lasted five years. During that period, CenterBeam experienced 34% compound annual revenue growth, with the PointClear program delivering leads that translated to over half of annual revenue. Ongoing refinements have produced steady increases—the PointClear program delivered leads that resulted in close to 50% of CenterBeam's new business closed in 2008.
CenterBeam estimates that its investment in PointClear has paid off with a 12:1 ROI—representing millions of dollars in closed business, even in challenging times.
PointClear's methodology ensures that each lead delivered to CenterBeam is thoroughly qualified. Highlights of that methodology include:
• Focusing on markets with proven results for CenterBeam.
• Targeting each prospect’s CFO for all communications, until directed elsewhere.
• Contacting each CFO through multiple media, with multiple touches over several weeks.
• Making it easy for prospects to self-qualify, through responses to offers of white papers, case studies or other information.
• Further qualifying each responding prospect through dialog to accurately identify CFOs and companies that are ready to enter the sales cycle.
• Capturing market intelligence on prospects that are qualified but not interested at this time, for use in re-contacting at a later date.
"Colleagues at other companies are always amazed at PointClear's ability to reach CFOs and keep them engaged," says Karen Hayward, CenterBeam's EVP and CMO. "The real key, though, is what happens during engagement, when PointClear effectively determines whether the CFO's organization really is or is not a prospect. That’s the essence of quality lead generation, and it translates directly to sales efficiency."
The Result: Sound Methodologies Resist Market Changes
CenterBeam's business increased substantially throughout 2008, with the company achieving 142% of its revenue target in the third quarter. That success is due in part to CenterBeam's partnership with PointClear.
Dan McDade is president of PointClear and Karen Hayward is EVP and CMO for CenterBeam.