The Bradley Manufacturing Company has a long history of innovation and growth. In 1921, its first year of operation, the company sold 15 of the new "washfountains." By 1989, the company was averaging 7,000 units annually. Today, Bradley annually sells more washfountains, showers, and accessories than the company did in all its first 50 years combined.
In 2011, Steve Thielke, Bradley's marketing specialist, was running eight to twelve email campaigns a year, using an email marketing technology platform. The program was working, and the company was getting around a 22 percent open rate.
Steve wanted to do more to boost the company's rate of growth. He planned to increase the number of campaigns, but he wanted to be able to track more detailed results than simply opens and clicks. Steve sought a marketing automation solution that could deliver more than just email capabilities, and implemented Act-On.
"We needed to be able to follow up and get insight into what potential customers did after they received the email. Did they open it? Did they go onto our site? Were they looking at a specific product? That's the kind of information Act-On is able to provide," he said.
Two years later, Act-On has lived up to its promise and Bradley is getting the results it wanted. Sales reps used to make cold calls; now they make calls based on Act-On-generated information that lets them know which customers are interested, which products they have viewed, and where they're located. Calls have become both more timely and more relevant. Best of all, the sales cycle has been shortened.
The company's recent sale to a prominent university provides a prime example of the compressed sales process. Bradley's website gets a half-million visitors a month; Act-On's website visitor tracking tool lets marketers quickly see which visitors display the most interest and what they're interested in. This feature allowed the company's recent sale to a prominent university provides a prime example of the compressed sales process. Bradley's website gets a half-million visitors a month; Act-On's website visitor tracking tool lets marketers quickly see which visitors display the most interest and what they're interested in. This feature allowed Steve to see that the university had looked at 45 of Bradley's web pages within 20 minutes, focusing on a specific product. Knowing that the university's interest was high, Steve called the local sales representative for that area, who contacted the prospect immediately. The outcome was a large sale of Bradley products for the university's restrooms and the possibility of additional future sales. The combination of timing and intelligence - the rep being prepared to talk about the specific product to address the university's need, right when the product was top-of-mind for the customer - dramatically reduced the sales cycle.
Bradley uses content marketing well; the company is known for the quality of its literature, which draws potential customers to the site. When a visitor comes to the site and fills out a literature request via a form, the visitor's data is automatically routed to Act-On, using a "double post" technique. Act-On creates an activity history for the visitor, noting the contact information and literature download, and the visitor's name is added to an email list segmented by that topic or product. This allows Steve to send nurturing email campaigns targeted to the prospect's specific interest. The activity history also serves as inside information for sales reps, who can make calls using known data to establish or further a relationship. Steve's next step is to set up alerts to notify sales reps automatically when literature is downloaded.
In tracking follow-up from the company's email campaigns with Act-On, Steve has found a dramatic increase in engagement. In fact, email open rates have more than doubled, going from an estimated 22 percent prior to the Act-On implementation to approximately 45 percent today.
"We're able to send out a larger quantity of emails, more quickly and efficiently," said Steve. He also thinks the more targeted emails have increased the open rate. "Our emails are more relevant now, thanks to Act-On's segmentation capability and the automated process."
Unlike industries in which people spend much of their workday at a desk, Bradley's prospects and customers are often in the field. "It's more challenging to get in front of them," Steve points out. To address that issue, Bradley uses Act-On's social publish feature to push out social communications through Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, so people get the company's messaging on a mobile or tablet. The social posts have links to landing pages with strong calls to action. "This gives us another outlet for disseminating information automatically to reach prospects wherever they are," said Steve.
Act-On lets the marketer create an email and then turn it into a landing page with a single click. This saves time and ensures that the branding and messaging between an email and its landing page are consistent. Steve uses this capability to collaborate with fellow employees. "I might have a rep that says he'd like to do an email campaign follow-up to a tradeshow," explains Steve. "I can create the email and make it a landing page to show him what I'm working on and get feedback before the email goes out."
Steve points to Act-On as a major factor in Bradley's recent trade show successes. For a trade show targeted to architects, he crafted a pre-show email campaign announcing the unveiling of a brand-new product at the show. The results were impressive. Not only did Bradley see its booth traffic increase 100 percent, but visitors were coming to see the new product referenced in the campaign.
Recently Bradley exhibited at its first international trade show and used a similar strategy to drive booth traffic. Steve sent a pre-show email to all the international contacts in the company's database. Then he sent another email a month before the show asking if they would be attending. If the answer was yes, a rep contacted them. If the answer was no, the email displayed a link for show registration. He sent a third email two weeks before the show, delivering the original message to anyone who didn't reply or open the email the first time. The approach worked; the company saw high traffic and was able to introduce its brand and products to an entirely new market.
Steve made sure that the follow-up campaign included a link to literature for products at the show, which meant Bradley didn't have to ship as much collateral to an international site. As a result of this trade show and the follow-up campaign, Bradley has between eight and twenty international visitors on its web site daily. And of course, Steve uses Act-On to see what they're interested in, so the sales reps can engage them on the appropriate topics.
From improved lead management to a shortened sales cycle to tapping into a new market, Bradley has seen what Act-On can do to boost its marketing program and increase revenue.
"Act-On demonstrates the power of technology and the future of how business will be conducted," said Steve. "The data it provides allows us to make more informed decisions. Act-On is an ideal tool for anyone looking for a marketing automation solution."