Improvement in win rates
Reduction in customer acquisition cost from digital channels
New business customers acquired in first two years
Sam’s Club Activates Omnichannel Marketing with CDP to Improve Win Rates by 32%
From Pen and Paper to Digital Powerhouse: Sam’s Club Transforms Go-To-Market Strategy with Modern CRM and Intelligence
Sam Walton opened the first Sam’s Club in 1983 to help small business owners save money on business supplies purchased in bulk. Since then, Sam’s Club, a division of Wal-Mart, has grown rapidly to serve families and businesses through more than 650 clubs in the U.S., 100 international clubs, SamsClub.com and mobile applications. Sam’s Club employs about 100,000 associates in the U.S. and serves more than 500,000 businesses every day.
Goal: Acquire new business members and outperform the competition
Decades of success for Sam’s Club spurred increased competition in the warehouse club market, particularly when it comes to business memberships. Since its inception, Sam’s Clubs have relied on a field sales model where sales representatives are charged with identifying businesses in their territories, nurturing a relationship with those businesses and selling memberships to them.
The local sales reps relied primarily on pen and paper to gather data and track leads during the sales lifecycle. Once a membership was sold, customer data was entered into an aging customer relationship management (CRM) system.
Because field sales reps were manually finding leads through various unsophisticated means, rep productivity was low and often time was spent pursuing businesses that were not good targets. Meanwhile, the corporate office had no visibility into the pipeline for new business memberships due to the outdated CRM and lead management process, making it nearly impossible to accurately forecast membership sales within its customer base of small businesses across its 650 locations. “When prospect information is stored in a filing cabinet, there’s no way to gain insight into what’s happening, what experience the prospects are having, how effective sales efforts are, and more,” said Taylor Duersch, then vice president of decision science at Sam’s Club, speaking at a Salesforce event.
Solution: Transform go-to-market strategy with always-on B2B data and intelligence connected to a best-in-class CRM
With guidance from professional services firm PwC, Sam’s Club implemented a new cloud-based CRM system delivering a 360-degree intelligent view of business members and prospects, and Radius as its single source of truth for B2B data and prospect segmentation for identifying leads, sourcing accurate prospect data, and prioritizing leads with the highest propensity to convert.
PwC recommended rolling out the new CRM system to the field already pre-populated with intelligence and contact data on net-new leads likely to convert and pre-assigned to the appropriate sales rep. With Radius, Sam’s Club gained access to more than 18 million businesses and millions contacts as well as integrations to Salesforce, Facebook, Twitter, Google, and more.
“When you bring Radius together with CRM data, you have the opportunity to get more effective and efficient in what’s working, and it’s more automated.” – Taylor Duersch, VP Memberships (former VP Decision Science)
Starting with a pilot at a handful of Sam’s Club territories, the new solution quickly generated excitement and results that validated the strategy and helped Sam’s Club build a strong business case for deploying the solution across all 650 territories.
With a prospect data hub and automated deployments filling the funnel for sales, Sam’s Club began layering on new acquisition channels like direct mail and digital ads. After running tests with other adtech providers, Sam’s Club determine segmenting and activating audiences directly from Radius was the best workflow, and significantly more effective due to the lower acquisition cost.
Results: Better leads, deeper engagement and increased conversions by 32% year-over-year.
Within the first year of deployment, Duersch reports that Sam’s Club met all of the goals that it set out to accomplish. That success included 11,000 new business memberships sold by the field sales organization in the first 12 months after rollout. Today, the sales reps are more confident and successful as they focus on the most valuable leads as determined by Radius using machine learning and analytics and prioritized based on value, time to close, and other attributes.
“We’ve seen double-digit ROI in Radius’ Enterprise Customer Data Platform. When you bring Radius together with CRM data, you get more effective and efficient in what’s working, and it’s more automated.” – Taylor Duersch, VP Memberships (former VP Decision Science)
Sam’s Club headquarters staff can see which leads are converting and which field sales reps are the most effective at which tasks. In year one, Sam’s Club reps win rate was 10.7% from lead to new member. Radius analyzed each conversion using machine learning to constantly sharpen prospect targeting within Radius. The following year, the more targeted leads from Radius increased conversions to 14.1%, a 31.7% year-over-year increase.
Beyond the initial field sales use case, Sam’s Club is now using the Radius platform across multiple channels, including tele-prospecting, direct mail, social media advertising, email, and event marketing. The additional channels converted more than 7,000 Radius-influenced new memberships.
Sam’s Club ran social and display ad campaigns that compared results when uploading their own enriched customer data to Facebook and LiveRamp against the fully integrated Radius ad activation solution. The large-scale, acquisition-focused campaign powered by Radius’ audience targeting and data integrations lowered customer acquisition costs by 46% and nearly doubled lead-to-customer conversion rates.
Looking Ahead: Embracing an omnichannel marketing and sales approach
The next part of the journey for Sam’s Club is focused on improving engagement with prospects and members by delivering a seamless, omnichannel customer experience. By taking an omnichannel approach, with unified touchpoints and messages, Sam’s Club can expand its reach and awareness while increasing conversions and customer loyalty.