How a logistics technology provider crushed their lead-gen goals by over 1,000% in 2020 through in-depth buyer personas and targeted campaigns
“The content that you help us produce and the rate of frequency throughout those long sales cycles really helps support the building of trust between us and that prospective customer. They see and hear the same things online as they see and hear them from our people and our customers. That continuity is incredibly valuable.” – Erin Leahy of Tideworks Technology
Preparing its customers for the realities of the logistics landscape
Tideworks Technology provides cost-effective, reliable terminal operating systems and graphical planning solutions for marine and intermodal terminal operations worldwide. Founded in 1999, Tideworks has 40 years of experience as the technology division for Carrix, Inc., which now operates more cargo terminals than any other company in the world.
Today, over 300,000 logistics professionals utilize their systems daily to load vessels and trains, track containers, make payments, and more at over 100 marine and intermodal terminals globally.
Tideworks, like most highly technical B2B companies, operate in dense, competitive industries with extremely long lead times. Before engaging Behind the Work, Tideworks was an established industry stalwart thanks largely to their industry partnerships and word-of-mouth due to outstanding tech and customer service. That said, leadership wanted to expand how Tideworks approached educating prospects on their solutions.
In sectors where 6-figure deals and long sales cycles are standard, companies who invest in content to drive SEO, educate readers, and deliver high-quality leads to sales reps are going to stay ahead in the increasingly online B2B marketplace. Tideworks’ main challenge was their ambition to create consistent content at scale, paired with the lack of resources internally to execute that plan.
They needed a partner who could act as an extension of their own business, speak the industry language, and consistently develop content to address customer pain points.
More specifically, Tideworks had the following objectives:
- Improve global SEO to rank higher in SERPs
- Establish themselves as a thought-leader in the industry
- Increase and maintain consistent website traffic
- Attract more leads
- Build out a new company blog
When dealing with complex (and expensive) products with long sales cycles, content must do the heavy lifting to educate prospective customers. Something interesting happens when your marketing does the job of informing and answering common questions early in the lead funnel – your reps have much more time to focus on the highly engaged, highly informed sales-qualified-leads in front of them.
Persona research divulged that customers in this space already had a base knowledge of terminal operating software systems and their basic functions.
However, there were two key themes to stick to:
- Relate the real-world issues personas experience in their jobs to how the Tideworks team and complex products could address them.
- Emphasize the capabilities of the team behind the product and the innovative support you should receive from a prospective provider during the buying process
With that in mind, Behind the Work proposed a strategy based on building narrow campaigns around certain high-value products offered by Tideworks and the specific ways they function to solve everyday problems. Illustrated below are the two campaign structures built around the Mainsail Terminal Operating System, Tideworks flagship product, and Tideworks Insight, a popular add-on to Mainsail.
253 Leads Generated Beating a 9 Month Goal of 24
38,139 Website Sessions Beating Goal by 30.7%
The campaigns below illustrate a marriage between the traditional inbound methodology and the target customers’ specific research habits.
The campaigns’ foundations are in-depth, educational pillar pages centered around highly-searched broad topics intended to drive organic traffic to the website. From the pillar page, visitors would become a lead or MQL by submitting their information to receive one of the gated content offers (i.e., TOS Decision Guide or Data-Driven Decision Making Webinar). With the lead information captured, marketing automation would continue to educate and nurture through product and use-case-specific content offers until a lead was educated and engaged enough to be passed along to a sales rep.
That’s the magic of inbound marketing. It’s not rocket science. Those who succeed are not merely lucky or “in the right place at the right time.” It’s all about human connection. It simply understands your audience’s pain points and research habits, so you can make their buying journey as painless to navigate as possible.
Even in light of the COVID-19 pandemic that shuttered port operations worldwide, Tideworks’ goals were still comfortably exceeded because they continued to position their content in ways that attracted organic attention from their target personas.
Tideworks converted an average of 42% of leads to become marketing-qualified. 17% of those MQLs became sales-qualified.