April 13, 2010, 12:00 AM

How Wine.com is getting a better return on corporate gift sales marketing

With about 80% of its corporate gift sales coming in November and December, Wine.com’s corporate sales department spends much of the year prospecting for customers. A new database tool is making that prospecting more productive, the retailer says.

 

With about 80% of its corporate gift sales coming in November and December, Wine.com’s corporate sales department spends much of the year searching for customers. A new database tool is making that search more productive, director of corporate sales Maile Cooper says.

“Most of my year is spent prospecting for people in companies to place orders during the November-December holiday season, or in some cases to set up year-round birthday gift programs,” Cooper says.

But calling or e-mailing the people on many lists of corporate contacts, including lists of companies and professional firms, can be extremely time-consuming and difficult, she adds. Not only are the lists acquired by Wine.com often highly inaccurate or out of date, but they typically don’t provide a way to segment out particular job titles, such as human resources director, that Cooper and her two-person department are especially keen on reaching.

Wine.com, No. 218 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, recently started using a corporate contact database from NetProspex that has improved the retailer’s response rate. “Out of every 150 names we contact through NetProspex, we’re getting about four or five solid responses,” Cooper says.

That response rate of 2.7% to 3.3% compares favorably to a response rate of less than 2% for prospects reached through other means, she adds.

NetProspex has compiled 10 million names in databases of corporate contacts segmented by industry and searchable by job title, says chief operating officer Mark Feldman. For the retail industry, for example, NetProspex has compiled a database of 120,000 people who work at retail companies, and is in the process of validating an additional 100,000 names, he adds.

NetProspex acquires many of the names in its databases by bartering lists with its clients. It then uses its own technology and processes to check and update the accuracy of contact information, Feldman says. The company says its databases are 90% accurate or better.

Cooper says her experience with NetProspex so far indicates that the accuracy of contact information ranges between 85% and 100%. That plus the ability to search the NetProspex database by job title and company departments have made it possible for her department to reach a larger number of leads in less time. “That gets me much closer and faster to the people I need to contact,” she says.

 

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