Once upon a time …
… there was a marketer who thought the best thing about marketing is telling a company’s story to engage people, and that the best thing about marketing automation is how it helps you tell that story.
And this is true, thought the marketer, even if your company’s product is “not very exciting” … like, for example, accounting software.
Sam Mendelsohn is the vice president of business development at Jonas Construction Software, which sells ‒ you guessed it ‒ accounting software to the construction industry.
Jonas, a customer of Act-On, was able to leverage key Act-On features to not only achieve significant ROI in their marketing efforts, but also to understand and measure how they got there.
Marketing, according to Mendelsohn, really boils down to two main things:
- your reach
- staying top of mind.
Being able to do these two things makes you a successful marketer because it means you’re able to tell your story over and over again continuously to your prospects and customers. Moreover, to do it in a way that is enticing, exciting, and engaging and makes them want to learn more about your product, he says.
When Mendelsohn arrived at Jonas in 2014, the company’s marketing program was severely outdated. It felt, he says, like he was “starting at zero.” The company’s old-school processes used no automation whatsoever. “Everything was very archaic. We were blowing through money like crazy on print advertising, on trade shows, and on pay-per-click that we had no metrics [on]. We were getting all of our leads from this pay-per-lead source that was absolutely atrocious. Our sales guys were making their way into deals at the 11th hour. And those are hard deals to close.”
The decision to purchase the Act-On platform changed everything, according to Mendelsohn. “I will happily say that Act-On stands alone in so many regards, especially for us,” he says.
Act-On performs many functions for Jonas’s marketing, but Mendelsohn says three stand-out features in particular make all the difference for his company.
Top Three Act-On Features for Jonas Software:
Media Library and Gated Content
Jonas Construction Software now routinely creates assets ‒ videos, white papers, brochures, and so on ‒ and gates them effectively. “Obviously there’s a form on that landing page, a person fills out information, we get a lead, and the individual on the other side that provided their information gets something in return. It’s a very interesting concept.”
But the company does not put all material behind a “gate,” Mendelsohn says ‒ just select items. “The reality is that there are very few high-value assets that people will give you their information for. Before, all we had was the brochure. If I were to show you this brochure, I promise you that you would never give us your name for it, and you’d never trade any of your very valuable information for it. But, that’s all we had at the time.”
Jonas commissioned to a company that specializes in creating promotional videos for software companies and got a couple of “five-minute video tours” for its product. “And so we created the landing pages ‒ through pay-per-click websites, Google AdWords, or whatever it might be, gated the content, and offered the product tour. And if you look at where we’re at today, over 50 percent of our website leads are coming in off those video tours.” That, says Mendelsohn, represents an approximate 300 percent growth over where they started back in November of 2014.
Mendelsohn doesn’t think of his company’s marketing program as selling software. Instead, he says, “we effectively sell assets, such as videos ‒ things that actually entice people to spend time with me over my competitors. And when we go along the journey of selling them stuff, we don’t start off by automatically putting a 135-page white paper or a five-minute video in front of people’s faces. That’s too long. What we do is take it in baby steps. We offer up free stuff where it makes sense. And after that, once we know that [prospects] looked at that content, we go for the hard kill. We go for the sell of: ‘Fill out your information.’”
And these Act-On features make these logical steps not only possible, but easy.
Seamless Systems Integration
Seamless integration with Salesforce is another favorite Act-On feature, Mendelsohn says. “Act-On and Salesforce are literally tied at the hip. This is tremendously important, because as things are being updated in Salesforce, they’re automatically updated in Act-On.”
Mendelsohn notes that he has worked with other systems, including Pardot, which is the system that Salesforce bought out. “I can tell you that Act-On’s integration is hands down just as good, if not better. And this is something that I absolutely love. Because our sales people legitimately don’t really know what Act-On does or how it works. But the link is so tight between the two systems that as information is being entered it comes together inside of Salesforce and inside of Act-On together, automatically. You have processes that are taking place that automate the entire experience for the customer without us having to do a whole lot of effort.”
This compatibility and meshing of the two systems is key because it enables and enhances the entire all-important storytelling function of Jonas’ marketing program. “Marketing automation with Salesforce integrated into it allows us to tell the right story at the right time to the right person. And this is really critical.”
Act-On software is a tremendous unifier of disparate systems. Jonas has about 15 different solutions that are all tied together and “talking” to each other. Vidyard, for example, is the video management tool the company uses, and it meshes smoothly with Act-On’s software. The pairing has yielded strong results. “Us putting in Vidyard basically boosted our leads coming in off our website by 30 percent,” Mendelsohn says.
Automated Programs and Campaigns
Another set of Act-On features – automated programs and campaigns – are the ultimate “game changer” in Mendelsohn’s opinion. “I’ve looked at automated programs from other companies. I’ve looked at workflows from other companies. Nothing comes close to touching what Act-On has done.”
These automation capabilities are unique; they’re capabilities that Mendelsohn says he can’t find anywhere else. The system lets him build a program that updates fields, has proper time delays, and allows users to create proper drip campaigns and move people from one list to another based on the actions that they’ve taken. “And it does it in a very seamless way that means that you don’t have to go to 100 different tools,” he adds.
This capability is a great time saver ‒ and also a great labor saver. “I can tell you that if I didn’t have an automated program like this, I would easily have to hire another individual to run all these programs,” Mendelsohn says. “We have hundreds of automated programs that are running, and hundreds of emails that are going out a day, sometimes even thousands or tens of thousands. And all of it is managed right through the Act-On automated programs and is automatically updated. And it’s literally a create-once, leave-it, and let-it-run process. All we do on a month-by-month basis is simply add more emails to that exact same automated program to keep it alive and make sure it keeps on going so that nobody is falling off of it.”
These kinds of fruitful results are why Act-On’s automated program feature is Mendelsohn’s “absolute favorite” benefit gained from implementing the MA platform. He also considers it the most important. “Anybody who’s not using this is just simply not taking full advantage of what Act-On has to offer.”
That was the story of Jonas Construction Software’s experience with marketing automation. … What’s your story? Share it here!