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Esri’s system is one of the most advanced in the world. To retain its position in the market, each year the company invests 30 percent of its income into research and development. That being said, it’s not exactly difficult for the company’s salespeople to book meetings – everyone wants to hear about Esri’s exciting technical solutions.
Yet this enormous potential ultimately became an obstacle for the company’s sales and marketing departments:
“We had so many meetings, but generated far too little business,” explains Esri Sverige’s marketing manager, Ulrika Linné Åqvist. “We needed to do better at our prospecting and lead generation.”
To succeed, Esri decided to enlist Bisnode analysts to find out about the ins and outs of the company’s existing customers.
“Too many B2B companies trust their gut feeling when it comes to a potential customer. But why guess when data on existing customers can teach a company so much? You can’t create demand. Instead you have to target your activities at those who have a natural need for what you offer. Everything else is just a waste of time and money,” says Engagement Manager at Bisnode Analytics & Advisory Eveliina Hultén.
The analysis began with Bisnode interviewing ten of Esri Sverige’s customers to identify their needs and driving forces.
“We wanted to know their plans for investing in analysis-heavy areas, whether they have high system maturity but low specialist expertise, and whether they are a growing company with faith in the future,” explains Eveliina. “Based on our insight from these already strong customers, we could then ‘score’ similar companies based on key criteria.”
At the same time, Bisnode conducted a quantitative analysis of Esri Sweden’s customer data to identify the patterns of a typical customer from a data-driven perspective in terms of, for example, their sales, number of employees, car ownership, and real estate ownership. In its analyses, Bisnode also took into account the companies’ expected growth and future recruitment.
“Using Bisnode’s analysis, we could create a priority list of 800 similar companies that had the potential to become our customers,” says Ulrika. “We had suddenly got a manageable foundation for both sales and marketing, based on data.”
The result of these data-driven efforts speak for themselves. In 2018, Esri Sweden gained ten times as many new customers than on average in recent years. In addition, sales and marketing began to work together in a way that was not possible previously. “Before, everyone went on their own gut feeling. Today, we have a common vision based on facts. We know who needs what we offer, and together we can work on the market,” explains Ulrika. “In addition, we’ve learned how to approach companies in different phases of their procurement journey, so even the customer experience has seen clear improvements.”
“What’s more, all our activities are clearly linked to the company’s long-term objectives, which means we can work towards a common strategy. This has resulted in tremendous traction and, in many ways, transformed us as a company.”
Esri is the global market leader in geographical information systems, known as GIS. GIS link geographic data with data on everything from demographics, customer behavior, and traffic conditions through to climate and weather in order to provide the basis for smart, predictive decisions.
Initially, the company’s CRM consisted primarily of municipalities, public authorities and forestry companies. However, now that almost all consumers have the internet in their pockets – and also use map services on an almost daily basis – companies in almost every sector have realized what geographical analysis can do for them. Examples include retail, construction and real estate, manufacturing, logistics, and transport.