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CTAM Live: How To Succeed In Business Services

A trio of cable operators will be recognized during the 2008 CTAM Summit’s Case Study Winners’ Session Monday (Nov. 11) for developing, executing and documenting highly successful business-services marketing campaigns throughout the past year.

Representatives from each of the MSOs will present their winning case studies during the Summit, giving attendees an opportunity to interact with the marketing teams responsible for conjuring up the winning programs.

Sponsored by Motorola and Multichannel News, the business services case-study contest attracted a record 24 entries this year — up from just seven submissions last year, according to CTAM vice president of corporate initiatives Joan Wilson.

(For more CTAM Summit '08 coverage, click here.)

Each submission was reviewed by a panel of judges from the business services supplier community — including Cisco, Motorola, NGT and Acumen Solutions — and scored on a scale of one to 10 in five separate categories including background, objective, strategies and tactics, results and format.

The following submissions were the top finalists in this year’s CTAM’s Business Services Case Study competition.

Cox Business, New England Region: “Switching is a Piece of Cake,” submitted by Gina Iacomini and Suzette Roberts

Cox Business, New England Region took a more personalized approach with its tasty marketing campaign. The team includes an inbound call team for customers with less than 10 lines and outside sales force for larger customers.

The challenge was to come up with a way for Cox Business to develop a campaign that would get them noticed and get face-to-face meetings with prospective voice, data and video customers.

Cox Business partnered with an outside vendor, Northstar Marketing, to develop the campaign broken up into two parts: “It’s Easy” and “Animal Cookies.”

Each sales representative was asked to provide their 20 top prospects, giving the company a total of 260 prospects.

Internally, the goal was to achieve a 5% response rate with an 80% close rate.

For the “It’s Easy” group, prospective clients first received a white box with an intriguing branded belly band stating “Switching is as easy as pie!” And inside the box was a freshly baked apple pie and a personalized insert describing the benefits of switching to Cox Business.

Next came a box containing a three-layer chocolate cake, advising that “switching is a piece of cake.”

Finally, this group of prospects received a priority mail envelope containing a branded lunch bag with a message from the sales representative, offering to bring in a catered lunch for the prospect.

The “Animal Cookies” group first received a personalized insert describing the benefits of switching to Cox Business along with a frosted monkey cookie proclaiming “Let us help get the monkey off your back!” This was followed up with a lion cookie asking if they “Feel like your current provider is lion to you?” and a final giraffe cookie telling them that “We’ll stick our neck out for you.”

The campaign produced a 15% response rate over the course of six weeks of tracking from June 3 through July 15 and impressive close rate of 29%. Each series of gifts made an impression on the prospects and got the word out about the benefits of switching to Cox Business and how easy swapping technology providers can be. The campaign and its success generated quite a buzz among the sales and marketing teams, as well as upper level management.

“We were so pleased with the results the first time, we decided to run the campaign again,” said Cox Business’ Suzette Roberts. “We analyzed each area for improvement and, with some minor revisions, we are redeploying it again this fall.”

Time Warner Cable Business Class: “Channeling for Success,” submitted by Brian Snortheim and Gregg Iuzzulino

Time Warner Cable Business Class has 24 divisions that support 287,000 high-speed data and 16,000 Business Class Phone subscribers. The majority are small-office/home-office or small- to medium-sized businesses, or SMBs, with less than 100 employees.

TWCBC decided to expand into indirect sales channels through master agents, systems integrators, value-added resellers and other telecom sales consultants.

In March 2008, it launched the Time Warner Cable Business Class Partner Program with these specific goals:

Sign eight partnerships with top master agencies by Aug. 1, 2008.

Generate more than 2 million earned media impressions with target-right media.

Achieve 100% of launch phase goal for sales leads generated by partners.

Achieve 100% of launch phase goal for average revenue per sale.

“We learned immediately that TWC was breaking new ground from the cable industry’s perspective,” Snortheim said. “Very few companies in the telecom indirect channel are selling the business products from the MSOs. This presented some unique challenges.”

“In most cases, we were starting from ground zero,” he added.

To make it happen, TWCBC initiated a four-pronged marketing campaign that included a heavy dose of conference sponsorship to maximize its brand visibility.

It also sent out a press release that included an endorsement from an industry analyst. TWCBC placed its own expert on a panel at a key industry conference. And, finally, it participated in a pre-launch interview with Phone Plus magazine, the conference’s media sponsor.

These strategic decisions, combined with the relatively novel concept of engaging the indirect sales channel, generated media coverage, channel inquires and sales leads before, during and after the show.

In the end, TWCBC easily achieved all four of its stated goals, generating more than 4.5 million media impressions and 350 new sales leads, signing 11 master agencies and recording higher-than-expected sales results, mainly due to the popularity of Metro Ethernet and high-speed data.

“I feel it’s a great accomplishment and, without a doubt, our success thus far has been a team effort,” Snortheim said. “There is an incredible opportunity within the indirect channel for the cablecos. This is a new distribution channel for our products that is untapped. … We have only scratched the surface.”

Cablevision, Optimum Business: “ZIP-Blitzing as a Lead Generation and Sales Tactic,” submitted by Scott Bloom and Richard Gisonda

Cablevision Systems’ Optimum Business designed for small- and medium-sized businesses that require high-speed Internet and up to 12 phone lines. Its business services unit is comprised of two primary sales channels: an indirect telemarketing channel that accounts for roughly 65% of sales and a direct, door-to-door channel that accounts for the other 35%.

The Optimum Business Direct Sales team is made up of approximately 100 representatives covering of seven local regions, with each representative assigned a defined territory consisting ZIP codes that equal approx 4,000 opportunities.

In an effort to maximize sales, the “ZIP-blitzing” strategy was conceived during an offsite meeting in November 2007. The blitz would take place two days per week, and the remaining three days of the week, the representatives would focus on their assigned areas by continuing to prospect, develop marketing partners and identify locations to extend the plant.

To attack these underperforming ZIP codes, the teams used the following strategies:

Designated two days per week for ZIP-blitzing.

Provided each sales representative with 120 prospects in the targeted ZIP that identified “never,” “former” and “active” customers with two or less services.

Devised incentive program for the ZIP-blitzing top performers, including cash awards and prizes.

In order to maintain what Cablevision called the “pulse” of the program, every week each representative was responsible for reporting the number of doors they canvassed, an accounting of hot sales leads and call backs and documenting the number of sales made from call backs from prior days of blitzing.

“The ZIP-blitzing campaign taught us how to more accurately deploy the sales team across a large geographic footprint,” said vice president of commercial sales Kevin Potente. “Through the utilization of multiple data sources, our ZIP-blitzing tools enable us to strategically deploy our sales force in targeted geographic areas with a clear understanding of desired outcomes which are; a sales yield in direct correlation to the volume demand and overall penetration in that region.”

Following its successful deployment in July, ZIP-blitzing is now a Best Practice for Cablevision Business Services, increasing the sales from both direct and telemarketing campaigns in targeted ZIP codes after each blitz.

Other positive results included:

Increased company/brand awareness as evidenced with an increase in telemarketing sales in blitzed areas.

Increased selling time by about three hours per week for each sales representative.

An increased sense of camaraderie and excitement among the sales team.