, ,

Case Study: Using Lead Gen to Gain Market Insights and Expand to New Verticals

Pivvot provides location data and analytic software-as-a-service solutions. Pivvot hired Barnett Strategies, a sales and marketing consulting company, and their partner CIENCE, a B2B lead generation organization, to help them expand into new markets. 

 

Pivvot’s Challenges and Objectives

In 2020, the Oil & Gas (O&G) industry was impacted by both historically low oil prices and the COVID-19 pandemic. Pivvot had made a name for itself in the O&G industry and relied heavily on in person events, networking (including traveling to meet with prospective and existing clients) and existing relationships to fill the sales pipeline. A failing industry, coupled with limited access to traditional marketing channels, pushed Pivvot to both change their marketing approach and break into a new vertical. 

Prior to hiring Barnett Strategies, Pivvot’s primary marketing tactics were events and paid ad campaigns to produce web leads, but these tactics were failing to meet sales qualifications and goals. Between June 2019 – December 2019 Pivvot’s marketing efforts resulted in an average of 1-2 introductory meetings per month (and those leads were often unqualified). The average sales cycle was 6+ months. 

Barnett Strategies was hired by Pivvot to lead and manage email marketing campaigns (executed by CIENCE, a 3+ year partner of Barnett Strategies) to generate leads and assist Pivvot with their expansion and shift to new verticals. 

 

Summary of Program with Barnett Strategies / CIENCE

Pivvot hired Barnett Strategies in May of 2020 to develop and manage a lead-gen program, executed by resources at CIENCE. Pivvot had a long history of relationships in the O&G space, but due to economic changes in the industry and the cancellation of trade shows due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they were seeking a trusted partner to generate leads and help them break into new, unknown verticals including Utilities, Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) firms, Telecom, and Renewables.  

Barnett Strategies has partnered with CIENCE on roughly a dozen client projects since 2017 to execute on lead gen tactics including email, LinkedIn and calling. CIENCE’s process involves a researcher using a defined Ideal Customer Profile to locate companies and contacts, then reaching that audience with a high quality, targeted elevator pitch that breaks through noise in the marketplace and generates positive replies and qualified leads. The CIENCE Sales Development Reps (SDRs) convert replies into booked appointments and hand them off to the client’s sales team to convert those leads into partnerships and closed sales. This is all achieved through detailed, close coordination between all three parties. 

 

Marketing Results Achieved

This program combined the proven techniques from CIENCE with the Barnett Strategies team’s experience generating leads and executing on marketing tactics for more than two dozen startup companies. The results of the campaigns were astonishing. The first week alone there were 5 intro meetings booked with some of the top EPC and Utility companies in the United States. The campaigns generated an average of 8 highly qualified intro meetings per month between June 2020 – December 2020 (4x the leads Pivvot was generating prior to working with Barnett Strategies). The average open rate (across all campaigns) of cold emails sent was 25%, with some campaigns as high as 36% open rate (for reference, HubSpot reports the average open rate on a cold email is 20.94%). 

In addition to sending emails, managing replies and booking appointments, the SDR also executed on a LinkedIn campaign to grow the network of Pivvot’s lead sales person. The goal was to build awareness on LinkedIn to the same curated list of prospects receiving the emails. This LinkedIn campaign resulted in an average of 162 new connections per month and additional appointments booked.

In parallel to the Barnett / CIENCE email campaigns running June 2020 – December 2020, Pivvot was implementing real-time learnings from the campaigns to update their website and social content. Pivvot hosted webinars using the messaging from the sequences to demonstrate growing knowledge of the renewables sector and software. They ran re-engagement campaigns and sent newsletters that reached the same people previously contacted in the Barnett / CIENCE campaigns. They saw average open rates of 24% (pre-Barnett open rates were 12-14% on marketing emails). Pivvot regularly posted on their company LinkedIn page and re-shared posts on employee pages. Between June 2020 – Dec 2020 they saw an 18% increase in LinkedIn followers and a 19% increase in interactions. 

Pivvot also saw increases across the board on website stats including a 56% increase in web traffic from social media between October 2020 – Jan 2021 when the team made a huge push and focus on the renewables sector. Their website saw a 9.22% increase in users, a 5.5% increase in sessions, a 4.97% increase in page views, and a 16.99% increase in average session duration. 

 

Sales Results Achieved

As a result of the marketing activities and program with Barnett Strategies / CIENCE, Pivvot drastically diversified their deal pipeline. The year prior to hiring Barnett Strategies (June 2019 – January 2020), Pivvot’s Pipeline Revenue was dominated by the O&G industry (69%). With the marketing program developed and executed by Barnett Strategies and CIENCE, by January 2021 Pivvot’s Pipeline Revenue had drastically diversified, with O&G now consisting of only 17% and Renewables (26%) and Engineering Firms (23%) making up nearly 50% of the pipeline. Similar pipeline diversification was seen in the count of opportunities in the pipeline. The Pivvot sales cycle was an average of 6+ months, however the leads generated by Barnett / CIENCE closed in 3-4 weeks on average. 

 

Conclusion

We often find ourselves asking, what makes this program so successful?! In short, we believe it is because of a highly curated audience and messaging, and lots of targeted marketing touches. Sia Malyshenko, Project Manager and Team Lead for Barnett Strategies (and the Pivvot program) at CIENCE, says, “Successful programs are a combination of efforts from both us and the client. The team has been making constant messaging improvements and updates to the ideal customer profile based on learnings from the meetings and replies. We monitored KPIs, A/B tested subject lines, and made adjustments based on the results. Pivvot’s messaging was also differentiated based on industry and company size, so we ensured the delivery of targeted, relevant messaging. And of course, Pivvot has a niche offering.” 

Stacey McBride, Director of Marketing at Pivvot, led this program from the Pivvot team, and said, “One of the greatest takeaways for Pivvot was learning about a new market, including terminology and keywords for researching the right titles and companies that would be a good fit for our offerings. Pivvot learned the variance in services provided by our target companies – i.e. utility scale, community solar, etc., which came directly from the target audience during meetings. We also learned from our audience about the data sources critical to making our software compelling.”

So why would someone work with Barnett Strategies when they can go directly to CIENCE? Chris Barnett, Founder of Barnett Strategies, says, “Companies can go directly to CIENCE, we will gladly introduce you to our very skilled friends there. However, a majority of our clients prefer to work with CIENCE through Barnett Strategies’ management because our clients are founders at early-stage startup companies with limited time. And as we’ve learned here, the most successful programs, at least from our experience, involve a high level of involvement on the client’s side. My team provides that involvement and program management, and pulls in the client only when necessary.” 

McBride says, “Prior to hiring Barnett Strategies we were considering hiring a full time regular employee to increase marketing efforts. After hiring Barnett Strategies (with the help of CIENCE), we no longer needed to hire someone. This program exceeded what a full time regular person could have done, and takes less of my time to manage.” With Barnett Strategies and CIENCE, Pivvot had the power of roughly 2.5 full time employees – a full time researcher from CIENCE, a full time SDR from CIENCE, and program management from Barnett Strategies.

 

About Barnett Strategies, Pivvot and CIENCE

Barnett Strategies

Barnett Strategies works with early-stage software and SaaS companies to accelerate growth results and help entrepreneurs go big and exit big. After leading marketing and sales at three innovative companies, creating many millions of dollars in revenue and two $100M+ exits, Chris Barnett founded Barnett Strategies to apply his experience to the challenges and goals of software and SaaS startups.

Pivvot:

Pivvot provides location data and analytic software-as-a-service solutions. Pivvot adds situational context to asset information—empowering organizations in energy and transportation to navigate regulatory compliance and reduce operational risk. 

CIENCE

CIENCE offers outsourced Lead Generation built around specialized staffing to grow businesses in every B2B sector. We help our client build and grow their top-of-funnel using People-as-a-Service, which combines human intelligence, machine learning, expert training and industry experience for superior research, appointment setting, and sales assistance.