Return Path offers a variety of SaaS products to email marketers, giving them insights and helping them improve their email marketing campaigns. Certification is the largest product at Return Path, generating about $50 million a year, nearly half Return Path’s yearly revenue. However, Certification is a unique product in that a customer must first meet the standards set by Return Path in order to receive the benefits. A standards audit is conducted for every applicant, prior to being accepted to the program, once accepted a yearly audit is conducted to confirm the client is still in good standing and meeting Return Path’s standards. This internal standards audit process was lacking a process to document findings and communicate across teams. Here is how we fixed it.

Because of NDAs some of the information and final designs have been omitted or changed.


Pain Points

3 to 6 Month Process

40% Fail standards

On average, a sales associate would often invest 3 to 6 months selling Certification to prospects, 40% of which result in rejection during the audit process. The audit team documented each prospect in a spreadsheet. The auditing process wasn’t clearly defined. Each auditor had their own individual process. Repetitive steps occurred in both Sales and audit teams. Sales was left in the dark when it came to where their clients were in the process. And clients were, unaware of the faults in their email program, and lacked the knowledge in how to fix them.

The Goal

Remove the number of low-probability prospects sooner in the sales process. Increase the transparency and communication of audit process.  Decrease time spent on an audit per applicant.



The process was refined (See Image right) to minimize repetitive steps, maximize sales revenue potential by not ‘selling’ too soon, and dashboard was created for both users to clearly see the stage each prospect was in. (See Image below) The audit process was refined over multiple iterations, working with a test group of auditors and sales associates. The final product was a full fledged audit tool accessible to both sales and auditors.

For the sales teams, the internal tool allows each associate eyes on where their client is in the process and the outcome of each check. They now are able to clearly see which auditor is conducting those checks, and can easily start a dialog with them when needed to assist their client in making changes to their email program to obtain Return Paths Certifications.

For the auditors, most importantly, a place to document each audit, and a standard process and steps to complete each step were created to increase transparency, each step had a clear Pass/Fail indicator, that would let other auditors and the sales team know where and why a applicant has issues.



After releasing the internal tool, we saw sales submit less applicants, with a higher percentage of them meeting our standards. This means we were able to weed out the low-probability applicants earlier in the process, creating a stronger pipeline, closing more sales. As well the time to run an audit was cut from 90 minutes to about 45 minutes, increasing the amount of audits completed which increased monthly revenue from Certification.