bentley systems

Laying the demand generation groundwork for a top international infrastructure software company

  • Content Strategy
  • Demand Generation
  • Growth Consulting
  • Media Buying + Planning

challenge

Bentley Systems is a billion-dollar engineering software company advancing the world’s infrastructure. Across 186 countries, they empower architects, engineers, and operators to design, build, and maintain crucial aspects of modern life like roads and bridges, railways, utilities, skyscrapers, industrial facilities and more. 

The global experts in infrastructure needed to build brand awareness and drive and capture demand for their newly launched e-commerce offering, Virtuosity — the one-stop shop for self-serve Bentley applications and practitioner licenses. How could they grow market share among small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and exponentially increase leads from the ground, up?

insight

After analyzing Bentley’s fledgling e-commerce marketing efforts, we knew that building trust in a relatively unknown new platform was where we had to begin. To effectively drive SMB demand at scale, we needed to shift Bentley’s approach from passive content creation to active content promotion with a pivot to offering crucial educational content and free product trials to prove credibility and add value for prospective customers. After all, B2B SaaS companies that offer free trials see an average conversion rate of 66%.

B2B SaaS companies that offer free trials see an average conversion rate of 66%

execution

Scaling a zero-touch SaaS e-commerce platform from MVP to full-tilt can be a steep hill to climb. But we knew that ramping up prospect engagement would be key to nurturing continued interest and eventual purchase. So, we created a demand-focused digital advertising strategy that sat across all of Bentley’s myriad of software solutions available on the Virtuosity platform. To effectively create, capture, and nurture SMB demand, we created a framework of integrated ad campaigns on paid social, display, paid search, Shopping, and retargeting.

Generating demand

We worked hand-in-hand with Bentley’s product marketing managers to democratize valuable Bentley product content: un-gating some existing collateral and developing new trust-building assets. Educating prospective customers through genuinely useful, valuable resources about the industry as well as specific Bentley products and services deepened trust and made them even more relevant to prospects’ infrastructure project needs.

We guided the Bentley team towards creating more long-form educational content, and surfaced key e-book soundbites into the ad copy itself, particularly on LinkedIn, to make them even more compelling. Not “hiding” valuable content exclusively behind a form-fill significantly boosted ad engagement and spurred more leads via content downloads.

To increase demand, we also advised Bentley to create free trials of their software, so prospective customers could test it out and ensure interoperability with their existing workflows and systems before purchasing. The free trials significantly improved overall conversion, and worked hand-in-hand with the high-value educational content being promoted across LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, display, Youtube, and Shopping ads. 

Capturing demand

We softened calls-to-action that were historically a hard sell, and created customer touchpoints for consistent nurturing throughout their buyer journey. Paid search effectively captured the demand we were creating with timely content promotion and pain-point driven targeting. We also built out extensive, consistently converting retargeting audiences across channels developed from those initial ad engagements.

outcome

We successfully took Bentley’s new SMB-oriented e-commerce platform to the next level, driving consumer trust, demand, and, ultimately, growing Virtuosity into a $50-million-dollar revenue stream from DTC software and license purchases.

70%

increase in YoY e-commerce revenue

700%

return on ad spend

44%

reduction in cost per MQL