Act-On Helps Plante Moran Drive Its Marketing and Optimize Its MarTech
- Lead scoring accelerated sales cycle
- Ease of use and built-in templates dramatically increased productivity
- Native integration with Microsoft Dynamics streamlined workflow and empowered sales
Plante Moran is a global accounting powerhouse. They have a staff of 2,200, serve 16 industries, and provide 40 different services, including everything from taxes and audits to wealth management and cybersecurity.
Marketing for an organization of this size and scope is a complex undertaking, and no one understands that better than Alyson Purgiel, Plante Moran’s Senior CRM Business Analyst. Alyson is responsible for integrating the company’s marketing automation platform with four separate instances of Microsoft Dynamics CRM that contain hundreds of thousands of records. And she supports a team of marketing consultants, business developers, and nearly 200 staff.
Alyson also has to contend with an extensive technology stack. She estimates Plante Moran uses more than 40 tools, some as basic as Sharepoint and Microsoft Word, and others more sophisticated and integral to marketing, such as Oktopost and Power BI. For marketing automation she was using a tool built into Microsoft Dynamics, but she was frustrated by its limitations.
“The lead activity history in the previous tool was difficult to understand and not that useful,” Alyson said. “And we had issues with the software sending emails without any cause. We’d send an email, and then the email would automatically and randomly re-send it multiple times. We contacted their support team, but they didn’t provide any help, or even try to figure out why it was happening.”
Alyson knew it was time for a change and almost purchased a platform to replace it — until she found out the company that developed it had been sold. “We were told that the new owners weren’t likely to be adding enhancements or upgrades, so we backed out,” she said. “I was worried the product might not meet our future needs, and that wasn’t a risk I was willing to take.”
Alyson’s renewed search led her to the Gartner Magic Quadrant for CRM Lead Management, a report on marketing automation vendors. The Act-On reviews she read were very positive and spurred her to investigate the platform further. “I set up a demo, and we liked what we saw,” she said. “It came down to Act-On and Marketo, and when we did a deep dive into Act-On’s capabilities, I realized it was the better option for us.”
Plante Moran’s marketing consultants began using Act-On to implement the company’s myriad of prospect and customer nurture programs. For example, each quarter they send industry-specific versions of Perspectives, an email newsletter filled with articles from the firm’s experts. Throughout the year, they promote numerous events and tradeshows and host an ongoing series of webinars on critical topics, such as tax reform and changes in regulation.
“Act-On’s view into prospect behavior is valuable and easy to understand. The level of detail available is fantastic, and the insight makes sales more effective.”
Senior CRM Business Analyst
Adopting Act-On made it easy for Alyson’s team to build all these campaigns. “With Act-On, we can develop multi-channel programs targeted to specific audiences, and use white papers and other gated content to gather leads,” Alyson said. “Creating the emails and landing pages is simple — much easier than it was in the old tool. And Act-On’s templates ensure we maintain brand consistency across the board.”
Her team also uses Act-On’s reports to track engagement by monitoring actions such as email opens and click-through rates. And Act-On’s lead scoring helps them identify their hottest prospects and convert them more quickly. “Act-On’s Data Studio has given us great insight into lead activity and a solid foundation of knowledge we’re excited to build on,” Alyson said.
Act-On and its native integration with Microsoft Dynamics are also benefiting Sales. Qualified leads are routed into Microsoft Dynamics, and Act-On allows Sales to see a lead’s activity history from inside the CRM. “Act-On’s view into prospect behavior is valuable and easy to understand,” Alyson said. “The level of detail available is fantastic, and the insight makes sales more effective.”
Act-On has become a vital force in Plante Moran’s marketing tech stack. Its ability to integrate with more than 20 third-party applications gives Alyson’s team everything from usability enhancements, such as access to Act-On email templates from within Microsoft Outlook, to more sweeping capabilities for social marketing and data visualization.
“Act-On makes it easy to build templates, repurpose assets, and construct campaigns. Our productivity has skyrocketed.”
Senior CRM Business Analyst
“One of the additional reasons we chose Act-On was for its integration with Oktopost (our social media advocacy tool) and the ability it gives us to track engagements and conversions that come from social media,” Alyson said. “And Act-On’s integration with Power BI lets us analyze data pulled from Act-On Data Studio and our CRM for even greater visibility into the effectiveness of our marketing.”
Perhaps the best part of choosing Act-On was how fast all these benefits became available. “We had Act-On up and running within a week and a half, and their implementation team was fantastic,” Alyson said. “We needed some help customizing our forms, and they really listened to our developer and walked us through the solution.”
Plante Moran’s marriage of Act-On and Microsoft Dynamics has been highly successful, and Alyson gives some of the credit to planning ahead. “You can’t just purchase a marketing automation platform and have it magically work with your CRM,” Alyson said. “Understanding and anticipating the needs of our technology stack made the decision to choose Act-On much easier because I knew in advance that it would work smoothly with Microsoft Dynamics and our other applications.”
Alyson’s thoughtful selection of Act-On is paying off. Its integration with Microsoft Dynamics has strengthened marketing’s collaboration with sales and streamlined her team’s workflow. “Act-On makes it easy to build templates, repurpose assets, and construct campaigns. Our productivity has skyrocketed,” she said. “Pulling lists from Microsoft Dynamics and segmenting them in Act-On is simple, and I love that I can refresh a list simply by clicking a button in Act-On. It’s a huge time saver.”
Alyson says it’s not just Act-On’s capabilities that affirm her choice; it’s the service that comes with it. “Act-On’s customer support is awesome. When I call, I reach a person right away, and they work through my issue immediately. And if they can’t resolve it over the phone, they escalate it and keep in touch with me until it’s fixed,” she said. “It’s reassuring to have a partner like that in the industry. It enables not only my team’s success, but Plante Moran’s.”
About Plante Moran
Founded in 1924, Plante Moran is among the nation’s largest certified public accounting and business advisory firms, providing clients with financial, human capital, operations improvement, strategic planning, technology selection and implementation, and wealth management services. The firm has a staff of more than 2,000 professionals.