Education Technology Non-Profit Learns How Marketing Can Generate More Closed-Won Revenue

NWEA is a research-based, not-for-profit organization that supports students and educators worldwide by creating assessment solutions that precisely measure growth and proficiency while also providing insights to help tailor instruction.With a suite of assessment tools and offerings, NWEA is growing rapidly as the industry realizes the expertise and services they offer along with an inspiring mission: to help all kids learn. 

THE CHALLENGE

The team at NWEA was struggling to consistently track and understand which marketing investments were converting to closed-won revenue. With a large library of content, cross-country field marketers, in-person and virtual events, and multiple other channels in the mix, understanding what the levers for growth were and how to predictably pull those levers was a large, seemingly unattainable goal for the business.

One of the biggest causes of this challenge was a disconnected tech stack. Their marketing automation platform and CRM didn’t communicate bidirectionally, so there was no guarantee that the data in one system was the most up-to-date view. That meant that both the marketing and sales team didn’t have visibility into the entire customer journey. There was no way to easily know which investments were generating the leads most likely to convert to closed-won.

Similarly, the NWEA team wasn’t operating with a sophisticated lead qualification framework. Even though marketing was acquiring leads through multiple channels, the leads weren’t consistently prioritized or qualified. Every lead was passed to sales, regardless of quality, so sales was wasting valuable time sorting through everything to find the prospects who were ready to talk.

Both teams acknowledged the problem, and both wanted to work together to achieve a more targeted, buyer-centric approach, but they struggled to get on the same page.

“I can’t rely on the accuracy of salesforce.com or Agile data, I spend most of June and July each year researching and updating contact data.”
Account Executive, NWEA

THE SOLUTION

ANNUITAS guided NWEA through a Demand Marketing Transformation in order to shift the organization to a more strategic demand marketing state.

Our goal was to personalize and track against the entire buyer journey, create systems to support predictable lead flow, and provide more visibility into content and channel performance, all while getting the people and technologies in place to make it all happen.

We started this work by conducting extensive research on the business, their customers, and their products and services, covering all the bases of people, process, content, technology, and data. With this information in hand, we built a complete view of the buyer segmentation, buyer journey, and subsequent sales process. With this model defined, NWEA could then map existing content and create new content that’s tailored to each segment across each stage of the buying journey. Next, ANNUITAS implemented sophisticated and proprietary Buyer Journey Tracking, Lead Qualification Stage Tracking, Multi-Channel Interaction Tracking, and Progressive Profiling practices to reach buyers at the right time, in the right place while simultaneously scoring and qualifying leads as they move through the funnel.

We applied this same model and architecture across the web and other channels to create a personalized and trackable experience across all channels and platforms. By leveraging an advanced marketing technology stack, we built and implemented an outbound and inbound nurture program that could dynamically customize it’s outputs to each individual based on their interests, pain points, and stage in the buying process.

We also addressed the sales and marketing alignment challenge. To ensure this program’s success, and to ease some of the burdens the internal teams were experiencing, we worked with both marketing and sales teams to establish a defined and agreed-upon Lead Management Framework. This framework sets the rules for what constitutes a Qualified Lead, when a lead should be turned back or rejected, and when an opportunity is ready to pass to sales. With this in place, NWEA was able to quickly assess quality so that the sales team could spend their time focusing on leads that are qualified and ready for a conversation. With each of these components in place, and with the NWEA team and ANNUITAS team working side by side to make it happen, the Strategic Demand Marketing engine becomes perpetual, always-on, predictable and scalable.

THE RESULT

ANNUITAS’ Demand Marketing Transformation, along with the hard work of the NWEA team, empowered the business to create a personalized experience for the buyer that can be tracked and measured in a predictable and sustainable way. In the process of building a demand engine, the sales and marketing teams gained a new alignment and common goal. We pushed the limits of technology and automation to create complex architectures that don’t just track content interaction and automate email sends with manually selected “best” offers, but listen for buyer behaviors and content performance and react accordingly. We’ve taken the guesswork out of marketing. As a result of this transformation, NWEA realized:

  • 87% increase in total opportunity pipeline value for new business.
  • 237 marketing sourced opportunities closed
  • 55% qualified lead to opportunity conversion rate
  • $14.88m of marketing sourced pipeline generated in 15 months

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