Ricoh Goes From Blasting to Targeting

Ricoh USA’s lead generation strategy used to revolve heavily around shotgunning email messages to prospects and customers. But for a global office equipment and software brand that services both large enterprises and small businesses, it makes little sense to send a mass message to prospects with vastly different needs.  

Corey Flowers, the company’s senior manager of demand generation, realized she needed a more sophisticated system—something that would let her team do lead scoring and segment the prospect and customer messaging—to better target those local and large global accounts.

Last January the company began using Marketo’s marketing automation solution, shortly after the organization implemented a new CRM solution from Salesforce. This was a lot of internal change in a very short time. So, before Ricoh could start firing off targeted, segmented lead gen messages through its Marketo-Salesforce deployment, there were some unexpected integration issues that needed to be ironed out.

The two systems seemed, on the surface, like an easy match. And for Flowers, simplicity and ease-of-use was a prime consideration for choosing Marketo over its competitors. “We needed something easy to use,” she says. “It was a long process in determining who was the right fit for us. [We chose Marketo because] we knew we could get up and running quickly, even though it didn’t turn out that way because there were systemic changes needed that were not initially anticipated.”

The biggest issue was that the Salesforce implementation was designed specifically for Ricoh’s 5,000 sales reps, not its seven-person lead gen team. And the Ricoh sales team required such an intricate, customized version of Salesforce that it complicated the Marketo integration.

“We see that quite a bit,” says Justin Gray, CEO of LeadMD, a marketing services organization that helped Ricoh integrate its Marketo deployment. “A decision is made in IT and sales operations and everyone else gets passed over.”

The lead gen team had to systematically adjust certain rules within the Salesforce deployment, rallying both Ricoh’s IT and sales departments to help, as well. For instance, because Marketo requires its clients to build revenue models, the lead gen team had to clearly define how leads progress into the Salesforce system, and how that process would affect the sales team’s day-to-day operations.

“Once we generate a lead, we nurture it in Marketo,” Flowers explains. “It becomes a marketing qualified lead. It gets pushed over to Salesforce, and then we wait for sales to update that status to indicate that they got it; that feeds back to Marketo to see if [ the sales team] generated a certain amount of leads.”

The ongoing challenge Flowers faces is making the Ricoh sales team aware of and understand the marketing campaigns her team is running, and to ensure she and her team have visibility into the status of the leads in Salesforce.

With several thousand members of the sales team, it’s not easy getting them all onto a web conferencing service to discuss how marketing goals will affect sales tasks. Flowers has found that, rather than bludgeoning sales with slide decks, it’s more effective to answer sales’ questions on a conference call.

Despite the early hiccups and the continued work to optimize the program, Flowers got the integration to work. Her lead generation campaigns can now segment prospects and customers and send targeted messages depending on who they are and where they are in the sales funnel. She gauges success based on how many leads her team generates and whether those leads are being converted into opportunities. However, she’s cagey about revealing specific results.

Flowers adds that all of her nurture campaigns have been affected positively. “It’s not blast emails anymore,” Flowers says of these campaigns. “It’s nurturing people, understanding customer segments.”

Now, when a lead enters the system, Marketo identifies who the lead is using information like name, company, vertical, and the size of the company the person works for—and puts the prospect or customer on a specific nurturing track based on this information. The system also gauges each lead’s, reactions to various emails (such as whether they opened the email or clicked through one of the links). This information provides the sales team with more information for when they follow up—or allows Flowers’s team to send more messages designed to push the lead further down the funnel.

To get this far took a great deal of planning. LeadMD’s Gray emphasizes that the rollout and adjustment of a marketing automation solution should be measured and careful—it’s not one of those things that should be up and running in 30 days. “You need a time period to set benchmarks before you can start tweaking items,” he says. “Do we need to adjust personas, for instance? And that benchmarking period is at least six months. A lot of people don’t respect that.”

Ultimately, the goal for Ricoh is to open up conversations with prospects in the smartest and best way.

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