Case Study

Financial Software Lead Generation

Marketing Challenge

A software company selling high-end portfolio management software to the banking industry seeks to generate qualified sales leads for its sales team.

Direct Marketing Application

B2B Financial Software Lead Generation


This small software company was just a few years old when we met them. The owner was a banking consultant who had developed three “back-office” software products.

We were first asked to create a more sophisticated and professional looking direct mail package which the client believed would help improve response. The existing package was thick with information. It included a pocket folder along with several documents: a product brochure, a history of the company and a summary of reports that the software could produce.

What We Recommended

Our first reaction to the existing package was not that it needed a more professional design but that it was not being used correctly. The existing direct mail package, we thought, be more appropriately used not as a lead generation package, but as a fulfillment package.

Our recommendation, therefore, was to keep the existing package intact but only send it out in response to inquiries — those prospects who actually request it. We then suggested a new lead generation package be developed in the form of a simple letter package — a standard #10 envelope, one-page letter and reply card.

What We Did

In developing the lead generation direct mail package, we recommended creating two packages and testing two offers. One package focused directly on the product and offered an Information Kit; the other focused on the need to automate “back office” functions (this was 1985, and few “back office” functions were automated at the time) and offered a Q&A brochure on the subject.

We also selected two job titles (the Portfolio Manager and the Accounting Manager) within each bank and tested the response from each title.

In terms of costs, the new simpler lead generation packages were produced for a lot less than the larger existing package (75¢ vs. $2.00 per piece).

How It Worked

Both new letter packages produced about three times the original response rate (1.5% vs. 0.5%) from the larger original package. The Q&A offer produced a slightly higher response rate but the lead quality was not as strong as the Information Kit offer. The client decided to continue with the letter package using the Information Kit offer.

The increased response rate combined with the lower production costs reduced the cost per lead significantly, slashing the cost from $400 to $50.

Shortly after the program was finished and the leads were followed up, we held a meeting with the sales people to get their feedback. What we learned was that although many leads came from smaller banks, the cost of the product was too high for most of them.

We then decided to eliminate the smaller banks from the list selection — cutting the mailing quantities in half. Later, after more testing, the list was further refined, eventually yielding a list one-tenth the size of the original list.

Subsequent Activity

We applied the same strategy to the direct marketing efforts of the company’s other two products with very similar results. We also used a similar direct marketing strategy to generate leads for the firm’s consulting services. Eventually, the company was acquired by a competitor, and we continued to work with the new firm for many years.