April 30, 2012
Last week, I facilitated a lively marketing leader panel discussion for Andrew Gaffney’s Content2Conversion event which was an audience of 300 B2B marketers cross industry. The event was focused on understanding what types of content buyers were interested in viewing at varying stages of the buyers funnel. Leslie Hurst from American Express Open, Heather Teicher from click to chat leader Liveperson.com, Candyce Edelen, CEO of propelgrowth.com, and Amanda Maksymiw from OpenView Labs participated on my panel. Click here for the webcast to our panel .
While there were several key takeaways around measuring content, mobility, social, and privacy, there were 5 key areas that were surfaced during our discussion that motivated me to capture them in my blog.
- LinkedIn has increasing relevance and value in the B2B community. Two of four panelists mentioned how sharing content on LinkedIn was more reliable for information sourcing than that of Twitter as the information from a connected contact has a relationship and ‘feels’ more relevant than a stranger. One audience member from Rackspace who has 15,000 followers on LinkedIn is leveraging LinkedIn’s APIs to its web product pages, so when recommendations are published, prospective buyers can check to see if other buyers of Rackspace services are in their network.
- Content measuring – successful companies measured how often a piece of content was shared (shared with a friend, shared on links, shared with a blog, etc.) AND tied it to sales ready opportunities; at that point a piece of content was seen as a very valuable contributor to the sales and revenue processes.
- On segmentation and reaching end customers – across the panel, there was a relentless focus on understanding the customer and their respective pain points as a precursor to segmentation; what was less of overall focus for each panelist was reaching these customers via a specific technology (mobile vs. desktop) as well as the medium for reaching the end users (twitter, facebook, linkedin). Two panelists mentioned that mobile was ‘built into’ the development process rather than thought of as a separate initiative. Facebook was universally seen as adding a human touch to a B2B organization but was not seen in converting meaningful leads.
- On influencers in the buying process – quite a bit of emphasis was placed on identifying both customers and influencers that would help in the buying process by marketing to them, with them, and through them through co-developing content. This was also referenced by one of the marketing automation vendors as an approach.
- On Automation – one panelist summed it up best by saying, “Marketing automation has made some of our job much easier and much harder at the same time. SFDC is not built for marketers which is where marketing automation helps us but marketing automation is causing us to think differently than before and thus creating more work for us.” This seems to be the conundrum many organizations face – how to implement change with limited resource.
It was a terrific experience moderating this panel. What are you seeing in these areas?
January 4, 2012
Wow, what a year! As 2012 revs back up, I want to take a moment to reflect and share some brief accomplishments of my company that started the second half of last year. It was an exhilarating ride that only gets better each day! Here are a subset of the highlights.
- My B2B client base expanded to 6 different companies – helping them predict their revenue by tying their marketing investments to new revenue activities at an executive level. These companies were global in nature with headquarters throughout the US with revenues ranging from $50M to $15B+ spanning a range of industries. I am very grateful for the opportunity for my company to help them!
- Forrester Research cited my company in their first report on best practices for business to business key performance marketing indices (KPIs). This was very exciting for me!
- I spoke at a number of engagements including presenting with one with one of my customers showcasing how we established KPIs for her business by working through key process elements. We also spoke at the leading demand generation conference on this same topic.
Interesting observation across my 2H11 experiences – each of my clients had a different set of sales and marketing technology choices around marketing automation (as an example Eloqua, Marketo, Manticore, Leadformix) and CRM/data sourcing (Zoominfo, Jigsaw, Data.com, Dun and Bradstreet) leading to very different outcomes in segmentation, data quality, campaign effectiveness, and overall marketing ROI. There was a strong correlation to those first working on their business strategy, then selecting their technology to support the strategy, in terms of sales and marketing ROI effectiveness.
2012 looks very promising so far – there is an underserved need at an executive level of connecting marketing to new revenue – in large part because there are so many technological combinations and a varying skillset of people.
Thank you again to my clients! Good luck to all in 2012!
October 13, 2011
As you’ve seen in previous posts, customer needs and revenue trajectory dictate technology decisions for the companies providing services. As mid-sized companies contemplate how to get their sales teams more productive and get revenue quicker, they have a variety of marketing automation choices – Pardot, Infustionsoft, and now Marketo. After listening to Marketo’s newest offer and watching a detailed demo, and contrasting it to the capabilities that some of my clients have, I am really impressed with Marketo’s offer. I am not compensated by them in any way nor by any other marketing automation vendor. Here’s why I’m impressed:
- After studying a variety of models at high and low ends, the integration with Salesforce.com is key. Marketo has perfected a native connection that makes it easy for companies to do this integration. From my client experiences and my own, other automation systems lack in this area. They’ll claim they have the functionality but it isn’t as clean as that of Marketo’s.
- At $750/month, it’s competitive with other offers – but what’s nice is if the company grows and has more need, there is no rip and replace needed in this cloud based solution. A configuration change is needed in the cloud. Now while I’ve not actually deployed this Spark software, it is my sense that with the upgrade, more business processes will be needed to be defined. This is a category of ‘good headaches to have’. The other lower end solutions do not have this capability. This makes Marketo an ideal ‘try before you buy’ scenario.
- Ease of use – the 4 step process makes this system incredibly easy to use so for a marketing shop with few or limited resources, this is definitely a solution to be aware of.
- On the fly lead scoring which enables more leads to flow to sales depending on definition criteria.
Some other things to be aware of regarding Spark:
- Marketing campaigns only get measured on first touch, not last touch or multi touch like the ‘Marketo Classic’ offer has. This may impact how one allocates their marketing budget. First touch allocation is common in about 45% of companies according to numerous industry surveys.
- There is limited PURL capability or personalized URLs which are more prevalent in the ‘classic’ version.
- There is a limit of 30,000 emails per month.
- Emails are sent through Marketo – not through your company. Email deliverability rates are high for Marketo but it’s an area to pay close attention to that not many in the industry know or study.
I think this move for Marketo is the right move and wish them luck tackling this new market!
September 7, 2011
Your prospect database is like a sight and scope on a rifle. If the sight is set on your rifle correctly, you’ll hit your revenue target easily when you squeeze the trigger to execute on your inside sales and marketing efforts. If the site is off by the slightest amount, as you shoot your weapon (ie try to get revenue), you’ll miss your target.
Several issues contribute to poor data quality – technology, executives, segmentation, and processes. Let’s dive into each.
- Today’s technology enables an end user to enter in multiple variations of a company name or contact affiliation. Salesforce.com fields for a company name may include variations on company names such as I.B.M., IBM, and International Business Machines. Consequently, data duplication issues may exist as a result.
- Executives often overlook the importance of database health. The technology is new, inbound marketing and inbound selling is also an emerging area in terms of importance, so as these two areas collide, it sometimes can be counterproductive. Prospect databases are typically owned by marketing – yet when marketing struggles to measure its own value via metrics, this metric is not always considered enough or relevant to make it a key performance indicator. What gets measured gets improved upon so no measurement means high risk.
- Segmentation is often overlooked by marketers relative to database size and quality. If a sales and marketing element agree on what a ‘perfect prospect profile’ looks like, how many of the prospect database actually fit the description of the target? How wide is the overall contact or total available market for contacts? Dun and Bradstreet 360 can help solve this type of concern primarily for North America market segments; globally, data is much more challenging to segment.
- Processes are also missing at the tactical level. People often change companies within the prospect database. Is there a strategy to ‘retire’ dead prospects, or does the company keep marketing to those prospects until the point where the company renders its email campaigns ineffective? Is there a process to monitor the database quality at the tactical marketing level to ensure the site of the rifle is constantly fine tuned?
This element of marketing is one of the least ‘sexy’ or glorified for those that are non-analytical or are big into branding. Yet the branding, the marketing campaigns, and the PR can be rendered ineffective efforts if the database is not healthy.
What have you found to work effectively for your database?