FatWire, a provider of digital content management, sent 5,000 e-mails last week offering free trial versions of its software as the first wave in a campaign to develop qualified sales leads.
The business-to-business effort promotes UpdateEngine6, a new version of its enterprise level assembly system, and UE Studio, a new product.
The e-mails were sent to current clients and prospects. To date the e-mail blast has generated a 2.5-percent to 3-percent response rate. A response represents a request for a free 30-day trial CD-ROM version of its software system to be shipped in a direct mail package. A total of 30,000 e-mails will go out over 60 days, with the majority going to prospects.
The unique component of the campaign is that businesses will be able to experience the enterprise-level software free of charge, said James Rothstein, senior vice president of marketing at FatWire.
“Free trials in the software market are not unique,” he said. “But on the enterprise level it is unique because of the size of the complexity involved with such a system. We provide a full version of it but also include a compact built-in users' guide that allows people to go through the functionality of the software.”
To market enterprise software effectively, Rothstein said, a company must reach out to various people within an operation, which is why the company is targeting chief information officers and chief technology officers as well as developers and technology people at Fortune 100 companies.
“You have to target the high-level executives because that is where the purchasing decisions are made most of the time,” he said. “But they do have to go to their developers and tech people to get them to sign off and get their buy-in. And by targeting the developers and tech people, if they like the program they will take it to their executives and explain to them the benefits. This allows us to get in front of everyone we have to.”
FatWire works with an array of verticals, but mainly deals with hi-tech companies including IBM, Sun Microsystems and Apple Computer.
FatWire hopes to get more than 100 requests per week for copies of the CD-ROM as the campaign progresses, Rothstein said.
When people receive the HTML-based e-mail, they will be provided with a link back to FatWire.com. From there they can go to the Receive Trial Software section of the site. Before requesting the CD-ROM, they will receive a list of system requirements for the software to run. Then they are asked to provide standard information and asked to identify how they currently manage their e-business.
The CD-ROM also will include a link to an installation site, a support site, and information and sales site, and a site where they can get further information on FatWire.
Rothstein said a follow-up call will be made within one to two weeks of someone receiving the software to make sure they have installed it correctly and that it is running.
The average sales cycle for the UpdateEngine6 is three to five months and the average installation with services is $200,000 but it does start at less than $100,000.