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Meagan Eisenberg
Vice President – Demand Generation, DocuSign

To Meagan Eisenberg, the delivery of relevant and engaging online content is essential at every stage of the buyer’s journey.It’s not just about attracting new leads; it’s about cost-effectively nurturing prospects though the sales funnel and maintaining their loyalty once they become customers by delivering the right content at the right time.

Why is content delivery so critical to DocuSign further into the funnel?

We have a very large addressable market because almost anyone in any department within a business has something they will need to sign. There’s really no way our sales team can keep pace with the total lead flow, so content is essential to aligning the sales cycle with the buy cycle and reducing lead waste. We need to be able to quickly assess who a person is, what stage of the buyer’s journey they’re in, and then deliver the appropriate content and message, or we will probably lose them. Our content nurturing programs allow us to keep prospects engaged, efficiently move them from trial to buy, and hand off prospects to the sales team when they exhibit “ready-to-buy signals.”

You talk about effective content marketing as requiring the right people, technology and processes. Let’s break that down. Who are the right people?

Often people seem to think that it’s just the marketing department creating content. That’s not the case. The sales team is key. They’re the ones who are working with our prospects day to day. They understand their needs, what gates they need to get through on their buyer’s journey. Then customer success and support are on the other end. Once someone becomes a customer, they see the ups and downs. What information are they looking for? What did we not sufficiently educate them about earlier in the funnel? How can we use content to reduce calls to support?

At the front end of the funnel, you need the thought leaders, the analysts and other trusted sources. And, of course, there are your partners. You can build out great content, great webinars, for example, with others who are targeting the same audience.

There’s also the customers themselves, both in terms of the creation of content, through interviews and case studies, but also in terms of understanding what themes, issues and ideas really matter.

What technologies do you see as critical to content marketing across the funnel?

You have to have the right technology. Otherwise, you either don’t have the data you need or you have too much. You need to get the right data and segment it so you can automate and schedule communications that are targeted to that person’s buyer journey. You absolutely need a marketing automation system that allows you to create a marketing database. We have a CRM system, and there are tools that plug into CRM and allow you to email. But you don’t want to put all that noise in front of the sales team. If you’re buying lists, you need to put them in your database and nurture them. Only when they score above the right threshold do they go into the CRM system for sales to work. Demandbase is another software we really like for targeting and personalization because it optimizes our registration forms. Demandbase gives you a lot of information about the company outside of their personal information. That means we can ask fewer questions to get the data we need to be successful. It’s essential that we can get all of the data we need, with as little hassle to the prospect as possible, and then automate content delivery on the backend.

What about process?

About a year and a half ago, we sat down with sales to put together a spreadsheet that mapped out the buyer’s journey. We defined the various stages and gates that prospects pass through, and identified the questions they ask and what content the sales team was currently using to move them along this journey. When they're learning, what types of content do you provide them to help them learn a little more? They're evaluating, they're on a trial — what do you need to send them? In negotiations, what do they want to see? Now that they're customers, what do they need? We first looked at the content we already had — case studies, webinars, whitepapers, peer reviews, product briefs.

That allowed us to see where the content gaps were, but it also gave us a map for building out our nurturing programs... We mapped all this out and then went into Eloqua to build out the emails and communications with links to the right content and automated it.

The very first nurture program we built was a default program that started out with third party white papers, then it gave them a video and a case study, and then the third and fourth communication invited them to do a trial, and so on… We built the default program and then localized it for Europe. We then started to build out others that were more targeted to different customer types because, if you’re in the HR department, you don’t care about the sales use case. You care about NDAs, and onboarding, new hire documents, and PTO management. And then, of course, there are different industries, with specific issues and needs. We now have more than 50 different nurture programs running.

How do you measure success?

Well, of course, we measure a lot of things. We look at e-mail effectiveness. But it’s certainly not just about email analysis. It’s not just about whether they open it, click on it, fill something out, or forward something. That’s important, but ultimately what’s truly important is whether we achieved our end goals. Did I get more? Did I shorten the sales cycle, and did I contribute to revenue. In the first half of last year, we hit 127 percent of our target. We saw a 65 percent reduction in churn across our business. We saw a doubling of our pipeline in the first quarter and a tripling by the next quarter. These are significant improvements for our business.

“We saw a 65 percent reduction in churn across our business. We saw a doubling of our pipeline in the first quarter and a tripling by the next quarter.  These are significant improvements for our business.”