iCharts Builds Marketing Strategy from Scratch with Act-On
iCharts delivers business data visualization to companies worldwide. With iCharts, businesses can track and visualize everything from sales numbers to worker productivity to market fluctuations. Until recently, the company had grown organically with little to no marketing. Now, with Act-On, the company captures more than 200 Marketing Qualified Leads a month.
When Ted Sapountzis, joined iCharts in 2014 as head of marketing, the company had virtually no marketing; very little content, no ongoing email campaigns, and no marketing automation. The business had grown organically, fueled solely by word of mouth and a stellar sales team. Ted was tasked with building the company’s marketing from scratch—practically alone. “I was initially working with very constrained resources,” he says. “It was basically me and a small budget.”
iCharts needed to build a content marketing strategy, then attract potential sales leads through campaigns promoted via search ads, social media, and email campaigns. The process was manual and Ted knew he needed to automate the outreach. “I wanted something with the capabilities to hit the middle of the funnel, to nurture leads after we attracted their interest.”
That meant a platform that could track leads and automatically send content based on a buyer’s actions and interest. As a one-person marketing team, the marketing automation platform had to be easy to use and, most of all, effective. “I’ve used other platforms in the past that just took too much time to get up and running,” he says. “I needed to get our marketing off the ground quickly and without any complications.”
Act-On Customer Since: 2014
- 20-fold increase in leads and sales opportunities monthly
- Act-On Anywhere increases sales productivity and helps to make outreach more targeted
- iCharts has minimized the manual components of its webinar program with Act-On’s WebEx integration, making it an easier process to follow up and nurture leads.
Ted chose Act-On for its ease of use, scalability, and flexibility. “Act-On offered a well-integrated solution that I could setup and start using right away,” he says. The marketing head was able to link Act-On with the iCharts Salesforce.com account and launch basic campaigns right away. He began by promoting a NetSuite Reporting Tools Guide via search ads and social media. To download the guide, viewers are required to enter their email address and contact info into a form on an iCharts landing page.
That contact info is automatically entered into an Act-On lead list. Leads receive the guide via email and then are entered into a basic drip-nurturing campaign. During the next few days, they receive more tips and other valuable info. The typical iCharts sales cycle is fast, averaging just 15 days. Nurturing leads quickly and getting them to the sales team is crucial. “It’s a high-velocity transactional business. We needed to figure out how to get leads into the funnel, nurture them, then bring them to the sales team,” says Ted.
iCharts also needed to integrate WebEx into their marketing program. “Webinars are a big revenue driver for us,” says Ted. “We do two webinars a month. The Act-on webinar integration allows us to minimize the manual work needed to get them up and running and nurture leads once they attend the webinars.” iCharts’ marketing team can quickly and easily setup WebEx webinar campaigns through Act-On. Leads receive invites, confirmations, and reminder emails as part of Act- On campaigns.
After leads are passed on to sales, Act-On still has a role to play. The iCharts sales team uses Act-On Anywhere, which gives them a window into lead activity anywhere they browse online. “If they’re using Gmail, they can see Salesforce and Act-On lead activity right there without having to go to another tab,” says Ted. “They can be a lot more targeted in their responses.”
When Ted took over as head of marketing at iCharts, the sales team generated about 20 leads a month, mostly through outbound efforts. Today the iCharts marketing efforts garner about 400 leads a month. Most are organic, from Google searches, social media posts, or word of mouth, and iCharts has optimized their website to capture this traffic and readily convert 200 of those to Marketing Qualified Leads with compelling content offers and CTAs. More than half of those conversions turn into sales opportunities, roughly 140 in a given month.
“Ultimately for any demand generation campaign to succeed you need to measure the output, not the input,” says Ted. “Things like click-through and open rates are important, but they’re just leading indicators. We ultimately care about the number of sales opportunities our sales team is able to create through our programs. Those are the numbers we obsess over.”
A nearly 20-fold increase in leads and sales opportunities has driven iCharts’ growth. Now the company has a 10-person sales team and three dedicated marketing positions. The company also works with outside marketing firms for creative and Google AdWords campaigns. It’s a far cry from where iCharts was when Ted first joined and Act-On is at the center of it all. “I don’t think we would be where we are today if it had not been for Act-On,” he says.