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Awards case study: How Sage drove a 48% lead gen increase through a brand awareness digital campaign | B2B Marketing

Learn how Sage smashed lead gen targets by 23% through a digital campaign spearheaded by an industry quiz

This submission won the award for ‘Best use of digital techniques or technologies’ at the B2B Marketing Awards 2017: ‘The big HR and payroll quiz’ for Sage by MOI Global.


Sage is the market leader for integrated accounting, payroll and payment systems, supporting over six million customers in 24 countries around the world. Founded in Newcastle in 1981, it now employs over 13,000 people globally, including operations in the UK and Ireland, mainland Europe, North America, South Africa, Australia, Asia and Brazil.


Sage is best known for its accounting software in the UK. The brand and its other products as a whole have low awareness in some global regions. Sage needed to raise its global profile – and specifically raise awareness of its HR and payroll products.

An additional challenge was the company’s broad range of potential customers, from start-ups to enterprise, across verticals and job function, with different needs and varying knowledge of the technology that can help them grow their business.

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  • Raise awareness and drive demand for Sage HR and payroll products across eight T1 regions.
  • Position Sage as global leaders for HR and payroll solutions for start-ups through to enterprise.
  • Increase marketing qualified leads (MQL) by 25%.
  • Achieve campaign adoption across 75% of Sage markets.

Target audience

Sage wanted to target decision-makers in HR, payroll and finance with a company size of one to 1000 employees. This meant focusing on engaging with those from the c-suite and HR assistant to small-business owners. Although diverse, initial research revealed a strong emotional driver across the audience: HR and Payroll professionals felt over-burdened and under-valued for the work they do. Rational drivers of accuracy, people skills and compliance also came into play.

Media, channels or techniques used

The ‘Big HR & payroll quiz’ was a highly engaging and responsive online device that contributed to the umbrella campaign’s unprecedented success by becoming its highest converting campaign asset.

The insight workplace recognition was key to the quiz’s conception. Promoted via email, paid digital media, social media and PR, the quiz achieved an astonishing response rate (50% response in just four weeks in the US) by playing to the audience’s sense of curiosity and fun.

Its format ensured participants engaged positively with the campaign no matter what their sector, role, size of organisation, geography, or buying stage.

Developed in conjunction with a business psychologist, the quiz was a genuinely useful device. Participants could discover their work style, assess their key skills and receive a tailored self-improvement toolkit all within one online environment.

The quiz brought prospects into the funnel at all stages, irrespective of where they were on the path to purchase – and in many cases before they had even begun. Priceless in today’s B2B environment.

To widen reach and maximise the quiz interactions, MOI Global developed a high-impact video. Promoted via the same combination of channels, the video engaged audiences with a warm, human approach, more often associated with B2C. It achieved over 1000 YouTube views within weeks and valuable brand interactions on Facebook.

The Big HR & Payroll Quiz – Have you got what it takes to go from hero to superhero?

To further increase its impact, the quiz leveraged the power of social proof. Easy shareability vastly extended its reach and brought prospects into the marketing funnel that were previously outside the Sage CRM programme.

In addition, the identification and engagement of 50 highly active global HR and payroll influencers essentially added a new channel to the campaign. Once influencers shared the quiz with their own social networks, it meant the campaign not only reached an extra 600,000 followers, but also increased the likelihood those prospects would engage with the campaign too.

The team were also able to compile a benchmarking report from the influencers’ quiz results, which became a valuable new content piece for the campaign nurture programme.

The campaign, which was translated into three languages, was devised to attract and guide prospects into and through the marketing funnel with original, targeted content, directly relevant to their identified challenges. Emotive campaign content and gated assets engaged prospects and delivered them to the top of the marketing funnel.

Data captured when prospects entered the nurture programme and where, depending on the action taken, they received ever more in-depth content on their topic of choice, via their preferred channel. Assets at the top of the funnel consisted of light subject matter such as blogs and infographics, while the mid-funnel offered papers, reports and webinars, and the bottom of the funnel directed prospects towards the most appropriate Sage HR and payroll products. 

Timescales of the campaign

  • Dec 2015 – planning and creative.
  • Dec 2015-Mar 2016 – content creation and execution.
  • Apr 2016 – quiz video and promotion assets.
  • Aug 2016 – planning FY17.
  • Oct – Dec 2016 – FY17 Q1 activity.
  • Jan 2017 – FY17 Q2 assets.
  • Mar 2017 – optimisation and updates.


  • Planning & creative: £31,543
  • Content creation and execution: £159,694
  • Quiz video and promo assets: £75,538
  • Planning FY17: £20,000
  • FY17 Q1 activity: £86,008
  • FY17 Q2 activity: £84,967
  • Optimisation and updates: £9,782.

Total: £467,532


  • Unique page views: 472,576
  • MQLs FY16: 8,138 (13.3% from quiz)
  • MQLs FY17: 17,113 (30.1% from quiz)
  • 48% lead gen increase from FY16: 23% above target
  • MQLs from the Big HR & Payroll Quiz: 25% of FY16-17 total MQL to SQL: 28%
  • SQL to SQO: 57%
  • SQO to win: 33%.

Client testimonial

“We’ve never before run a campaign that was so engaging and achieved such impressive conversion rates globally.We’re a small team at Sage with a large number of stakeholders, so we really appreciated MOI’s skill and dedication in helping us achieve 100% adoption in our T1 markets. Plus unexpected penetration into T2”

– Joe Edwards, Category Campaign Director, Sage

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