As Windstream Enterprise lights fiber in some of America’s largest cities, it provides the foundation for a whole new conversation with potential business customers. The substantial infrastructure investment—more than $3 billion over just a couple of years, totaling 147,000 fiber route miles—reinforces that Windstream is a major contender in the U.S. enterprise networking and communications industry. However, awareness amongst their target customers has not yet caught up to the value proposition they offer.
As their new B2B agency of record, Quarry had two key challenges: How could Marketing find and connect with the right customers in 17 major markets, without spending a fortune on mass media? And, in so doing, how could we generate highly qualified leads for Sales and open an in-depth needs assessment conversation?
“A zero-waste approach would also ensure that, for the right individuals, campaign messaging would be both highly relevant and inescapable.”
Zero-waste account-based marketing
With the focused types of accounts Windstream Enterprise targets and a good understanding of key decision makers, Carrie Mahon, Senior Director Strategic Marketing for Windstream, understood that hyper-targeted account-based marketing (ABM) would offer the greatest efficiency. As she explains, “A zero-waste approach would ensure that, for the right individuals, campaign messaging would be both highly relevant and inescapable.”
In ABM, account selection and prioritization come first. Employing a combination of modern marketing tools and techniques, Quarry identifies and ranks potential prospect companies based on firmographic criteria, buying intention and readiness, predictive assessment, trigger filters, and engagement. Data for all key contacts are also verified.
“High-quality targeted campaign strategies [allow] us to reduce our marketing budget while at the same time significantly increasing lead quality, lead volume and sales conversion rates.”
Once the prospects have been prioritized, we develop the buyer engagement plan to reach key account decisions makers in a highly targeted, personalized way. For Windstream Enterprise, the plan includes an attention-getting, personalized direct-marketing program supported by a multi-faceted nurture campaign. The program uses targeted and geo-fenced digital display ads, personalized direct mail, marketing automation and paid social.
Joe Harding, Windstream Enterprise CMO, characterizes the campaign this way: “Quarry has been instrumental in helping us execute a much more effective B2B account-based marketing strategy. High quality targeted campaign strategies have allowed us to reduce our marketing budget while at the same time significantly increasing lead quality, lead volume and sales conversion rates.”
Meaningful, emotional messaging that resonates
We know that many IT leaders have a strong desire to be perceived as strategic contributors to the business. In the “Gaps” campaign, we build on this insight by illustrating what’s at stake to wider business objectives when IT is missing from the mix. We resonate with IT leadership by evoking a powerful self-story, and we show how the IT leader becomes the hero, the gap-bridger and business performance enabler—with the support of Windstream Enterprise.
Messaging is forthright, challenging and sincere, employing the concept in flexible and unexpected ways with the intention of driving prospects to book an initial sales meeting. We use personalization to delight our audience, create a meaningful interaction and leave a lasting impression. This effective campaign gets attention, creates intrigue and, most importantly, opens broad-ranging conversations between interested prospects and Sales.
First piloted in Chicago in 2016 and since rolled out to cities across the U.S., this campaign has also marked the beginning of a new level of alignment and collaboration between Marketing and Sales. As the Gaps campaign launches in each new geographic market, a launch event generates excitement with the local Sales team, and a campaign playbook, promo item, and DM sample are provided to each rep. The Sales team also weighs in on the firmographic characteristics of the local target prospect, reviews and approves the prioritized account list, assigns a specific rep to support each prospect account, plays an active role in the delivery of direct mail elements and follows up by email or phone to encourage appointment booking.
“Our sales team is hugely appreciative of the support we’re providing and our relationship has never been stronger.”
The tighter integration of Sales and Marketing that’s resulted has benefited the entire organization, leading to greater collaboration on planning, processes, lead definition and SLAs, measurement and reporting and systems integration. Not surprisingly, it’s been a terrific internal win-win for Windstream Enterprise. As Joe Harding says, “Our sales team is hugely appreciative of the support we’re providing and our relationship has never been stronger.”