In the world of business-to-business marketing and sales, shortening the sales cycle is a sought-after objective. Tools or processes that can facilitate that abbreviation are highly valued for many good reasons.
Standard Process sells its line of products exclusively to complementary and integrative health care practitioners. (We call this business-to-practitioner, or B2P, marketing.) The brand was the first to make and sell supplements made from whole foods and for over 85 years has been selling exclusively to health care professionals.
Standard Process was the first to make and sell supplements made from whole foods and for over 85 years has been selling exclusively to health care professionals.
Tammi Geiger, Standard Process’ director of marketing, was tasked with transforming the brand’s marketing into something more digital and measurable. The goal was to better nurture leads into customers and to qualify low-revenue customers for the company’s sales force. What the sales team needed from marketing was a way to shorten the sales cycle. They could then more readily identify those professionals who were worth pursuing and would offer the potential for high customer lifetime value.
Tammi and her segment managers, Amanda Olson and Tina Hamberg, had worked with Pure Branding on two major RealPersona™ market research projects, one on acupuncturists and one on chiropractors.
“The two qualitative and quantitative research studies not only gave Standard Process critical insight into the motivations and needs of those who practice in these credentials, but even more significant, critical segment profiles were identified from the data,” says Tammi. “This gave us knowledge about our best customers, how to target those who have the greatest potential and identify those who were least likely to grow into high-value customers.”
Tammi knew that classifying where the customers and leads fit into their respective segment profiles was going to be gold for the sales team. She knew that the marketing automation platform that the company was implementing, in consultation with Pure Branding, needed to quickly determine the segment profile of the lead or customer so that the right nurturing information could be sent to them.
Making Research Actionable
Qualifying leads and customers through inbound marketing, marketing automation and lead scoring takes time. Each “event,” like downloading a white paper, signing up for a webinar, etc., provides insight into the practitioner’s interests. They can be scored, and when the score totals reach a certain level, the lead or customer is then handed over to the sales representative, who looks at the history of their involvement. This relies on engagement over an extended period, and while it nurtures, it does not shorten the sales cycle.
To address this, Pure Branding developed a short online assessment tool that, when completed, would immediately place the responding practitioner into one of the segment profiles.
“We were able to determine the unique algorithms that would segment acupuncturists and chiropractors after they answered between 12 and 15 questions,” says Yadim Medore, Pure Branding’s founder and CEO. “These algorithms came from the two research studies that had more than 60 questions each, so the shortcut was essential.”
Filling out the benchmark assessments would serve Standard Process well by quickly providing customer insight that would have taken months with traditional lead-scoring methods and still provided only superficial insight.
But what was in it for the practitioner? They were providing valuable (even personal) information to Standard Process and needed to be incentivized with information in return. If there was not a quid pro quo, it would be difficult to engage enough practitioners to make it worthwhile.
“Practitioners often have little to compare with in terms of their success except for anecdotal information,” says Amanda. “What Pure Branding came up with was an automated benchmark report that would assess that practitioner in relation to the peers in their segment profile. They could see how they compare to other practitioners within their credential type who face the same challenges or have similar-sized practices. This would help them in determining where they are succeeding and where there is room for improvement.”
The first benchmark app was developed by Pure Branding for acupuncturists and was followed six months later with one for chiropractors.
“We’ve been able to classify thousands of our practitioners who have taken these short online benchmark assessments,” says Tina. “Each practitioner gets their own customized report, and we in turn get all of the data needed to place them in their critical segments.”