Data-Driven Demand Generation and Reporting Accelerates Revenue Growth for GuideSpark

The Challenge

GuideSpark is a fast-growing company with a huge target market. The company delivers employee engagement and communications video solutions across all industries for common human resource communication needs such as onboarding, benefits, compliance, 401(k) information, financial wellness, and more. GuideSpark helps companies move from communicating complex HR topics via seminars or lunch meetings, to communicating that information using customized easy-to-consume videos. The market opportunity is significant since virtually every company has a need for more efficient employee communications.

In 2014, the company found it had insufficient demand-generation capacity after its sales team had grown 7 times larger than its marketing team. The company was using a customer relationship management system for its sales team, but was not effectively using their marketing automation system to track marketing’s activities to drive revenue.

“We did as much of our tracking and reporting as we could using our CRM, Microsoft Excel, and duct tape,” says Jessica Kao, senior manager of demand generation at GuideSpark.

“But we still needed to review each deal separately to determine marketing’s influence.” Decisions about where to invest critical marketing dollars were equally laborious and often made with little insight or supporting data. Kao remarks, “Pay per click (PPC) was a great example. We used to invest in Bing, Google, and LinkedIn, but we still could not determine where our deal-generating leads were coming from. The vice president of marketing and I were spending hours and hours manually pulling data to help us decide where to invest.”

The Solution

With high-growth goals in a nascent space, GuideSpark does not have the luxury to spend a lot of money and time on tactics and programs that do not produce results. “If we are going to spend money, we want to know when it’s working, when it’s not, and how we can improve” Kao states. “GuideSpark is metrics driven, so we want the numbers to show the revenue returned on our marketing investments.”

Engaging a Partner

GuideSpark chose Digital Pi to help it understand and create the reporting infrastructure required to track marketing’s contribution to sales results. In her role overseeing both demand generation and marketing operations, Kao sets a high bar for quality, accurate data reporting, and analytics. “I love that the Digital Pi team views data modeling and reporting with the same discipline that an academic would, while applying hard-won best practice processes.”

The marketing automation deployment at GuideSpark is built on Digital Pi’s Gold Standard architecture, shaped by its years of marketing automation experience. By viewing all of GuideSpark’s marketing processes holistically, Digital Pi was able to design a system that tracks every marketing touch point, starting with data collection. With a proper structure in place, GuideSpark is now able to segment leads, score them, and identify channels and how each is performing. Standardized reports and analytics created by Digital Pi keep the entire lead lifecycle, from acquisition through revenue attainment, which is GuideSpark’s measure of success. According to Kao, “Data empowers the marketer to make smart decisions. Data gives marketing the right to ask for money, because it’s clear to the management team what that money is producing. Simply put, you’re burning money if you cannot justify your marketing spend through reporting.”

Results & Business Impact

Accurately connecting marketing spend to revenue creation, knowing what influence marketing has on revenues ensures that GuideSpark is not fooled by vanity metrics or high lead numbers that do not result in pipeline. “Vanity metrics—the number of leads, number of scanned names, number of open/clicks—do not matter. The bottom line is tying marketing programs to pipeline and revenue.”

The solution GuideSpark implemented with Digital Pi touches not only the marketing operations and demand generation team, but also extends to the sales team and executive management.

The positive business impact for GuideSpark includes:

  • 2x the marketing influence to pipeline with effective nurturing programs
  • Cut cost per lead by 50% with faster, smarter data driven marketing decisions
  • Quickly aligned marketing programs with sales revenue metrics
  • Experienced a 15-fold increase in customer engagement with focused nurturing programs

More effective programs

With advice from Digital Pi, GuideSpark has set up a nurturing program triggered on behaviors. This approach has delivered a 15-fold increase in engagement. “With our high-growth goals at GuideSpark, working smarter is the only way to scale.”

Better and more nimble decision making

GuideSpark now knows exactly where marketing investments are going and is not making decisions in the dark. “The reporting set up by Digital Pi has given us better leads at a lower price. Our cost per lead has dropped 50%, we can see how to adjust our strategies on the fly, and we can spend more on the things that matter! We are constantly optimizing and making our programs better.”

Increased marketing efficiency without adding headcount

GuideSpark still has a very small marketing team supporting a larger, growing sales force. Kao has found that Digital Pi has created a marketing automation engine for GuideSpark that is analogous to a “virtual army” of marketers. “My marketing team plays bigger than it really is.”

Better relationships with sales leadership and executive team

With an eye to communicating complex information to different audiences, Digital Pi worked with GuideSpark to ensure that their reports create the right business level conversations.

“Digital Pi makes me look like a rock star. They have shown me the data to have the high level conversations for me and for my boss, so that we can frame it in the language of the CEO or the board,” says Kao.

Digital Pi Services Used

  • Marketing Automation Reporting
  • Data Structuring
  • Demand Generation Analytics
  • Revenue Cycle Analytics

Outcome

“Digital Pi has taught me how to fish. Now, we start every program by looking at how we are going to report on it and where it will tie in with Salesforce.com. I always have reports at my fingertips to answer the key questions from sales and management.”

“With Digital Pi, we have doubled the marketing influence on pipeline. Digital Pi makes us more efficient and allowed us to create a virtual marketing army. We have increased our conversion rates, increased sales lead velocity, and accelerated deals. Structure, lead scoring, channel definition—Digital Pi has a gold standard.”

Jessica Kao, Senior Manager Demand Generation, Guidespark

About GuideSpark

GuideSpark is the future of employee communications. The company transforms how organizations communicate and engage with their employees through customized video and mobile experiences for every stage of the employee life cycle, from onboarding to benefits, compensation and more. GuideSpark, named to the Inc. 5000 list of “America’s Fastest-Growing Companies,” serves hundreds of enterprise customers across all industries and millions of employees.