2013: Great Expectations For Marketing ROI

January 3, 2013

 

Here is my brief view of what to expect in 2013.

 

 

During 2013, organizations will demand significantly more revenue value out of their existing sales and marketing ecosystem investments including CRM, Marketing Automation, and list acquisition purchases.  Non-marketing executives at these firms will demand greater accountability for return on these investments.

 

 

 

As a result, marketers will need the ability to execute campaigns with surgical precision and to tie their marketing investments explicitly to ROI. This includes:

 

 

 

Generating more qualified leads. Successful marketers can and should claim the lion’s share of leads that close to revenue within their organizations. Focus here on the details: standardizing data fields within CRM and marketing automation systems, for example, is critical to proper segmentation and targeting. Data-driven segmentation is especially critical to executing targeted campaigns and increasing ROI.

 

 

 

Optimizing business processes. Many companies use less than 10% of their marketing automation capabilities because they haven’t deployed these tools effectively. That’s why it’s so important to map every aspect of your customer acquisition and onboarding process – from inquiry to close and beyond – to and through your CRM and marketing automation tools.

 

 

 

Connecting marketing activity to new revenue. An entire industry has evolved around the ability to measure marketing-sourced and marketing-influenced revenue – and to extend these analytics far beyond what’s available from an out-of-the-box CRM or marketing automation system. It’s hard to overstate the importance of these tools; their power lies in their ability to give executives “one view of the truth” for reporting sales and marketing ROI.

 

 

 

Organizations that put together these pieces and execute a revenue-driven marketing strategy will have a far more successful 2013 than those that don’t.

 

 

 

What do you think will happen?

 


MOCCA DC – Marketing Operations

July 18, 2012

Marketing Operations as a B2B discipline is rapidly growing.  As one data point that supports its growth, we had our largest attendance to date for today’s MOCCA meeting in Washington DC with Andrew Gaffney and Amanda Batista of Demand Gen covering recent readership survey results on trends in marketing measurement, changes in b2b buyers, and shifts in content preferences.  Rather than rehash the survey results which are available on DemandGen’s website, here are 4 key takeaways from our hour long question and answer session that followed the presentation:

  • Content:  this area was the theme and background of DemandGen, so it was not a surprise to hear this topic come up.  We spent considerable time discussing the pros and cons of webinars, both live and recorded, and came to the conclusion they are a worthy, cost effective tactic to consider as part of the overall marketing mix.  With today’s integration in marketing automation platforms, there are more benefits reporting wise to use webinars versus in years past.  Video is also a tactic that can be repurposed toward mobile devices and non-mobile devices.  There were a few audience members who suggested that having  4 videos of 5 minutes each were more powerful than one 20 minute video and easier for a buyer to digest.

 

  •        Data Warehouse:  this is an emerging area for enterprise companies that are trying to do data manipulation and more sophisticated reporting.  B2B companies are realizing a shortcoming of their CRM systems and marketing automation systems in terms of lack of data reporting flexibility.  Thus, they are looking to front end load their systems with a data warehouse that interoperates with disparate data sets and can do sophisticated reporting through easier manipulation of data.

 

  • Mobile:  this area remains an enigma for b2b marketers (my data points extend beyond this session with the CMOs of both Cisco and Xerox confirming this same data).  Contrary to what is happening in the market, marketers are just not yet ready to think about rendering b2b campaigns in mobile, either through their marketing automation platform or through companies like Litmus Technologies.  One company mentioned it was beginning to source 15% of its lead flow (not web traffic) from mobile devices yet the majority were not optimizing campaigns or content specifically toward mobile devices.  There are likely too many other competing priorities for marketers to be focused on, thus crowding out mobile for the moment.  Everyone knows they should be doing it (like working out at a gym), but few actually do it.

 

  •        Reporting:  the majority of companies were at the early stages of connecting marketing investment to new revenue struggling with both systems as well as cultural – cultural meaning does marketing ‘source’ revenue or do they ‘influence’ revenue.  The theory models would suggest marketing does both, but not every culture absorbs that methodology.

We didn’t have time to cover it, but data and its accuracy seems to be the next hot topic for MOCCA to talk about.  What areas in marketing operations are you seeing that is hot?


Next Gen Marketing Automation Platforms: Revenue Impacting

June 7, 2012

It’s time for the next generation of marketing automation – a revenue generating marketing automation system that focuses across new areas of predictability, effectiveness, and a wholistic view of a prospect/customer situation with the right analytics.  As a former high tech CMO that understands SaaS companies and platforms, I’ve implemented multiple instances of marketing automation platforms and more recently started a business digging deep at the marketing automation/CRM ecosystem to get more revenue, quicker.

Here are 4 areas that I think the next generation of marketing automation will solve for:

Predictive:  while the lead scoring models of yester-year are a good start to sorting out the needles from the hay, people are starting to realize that companies cannot ‘set and forget’ to hope the scoring methodology works long term.  Buying behaviors change and a buying committee in B2B is complex.  A predictive element with newer analytic capabilities is emerging in the B2B world, leveraging similar technologies that B2C marketers use (i.e. Amazon and best picks).  A company can then determine what products or solutions are most likely to be purchased based on similar demographic or segmentation sets.

Raise Sales/Marketing Effectiveness:  as I’ve previously posted on my blog, the data element is the single most important area for companies to understand and harvest, yet at the executive level it is often the leastunderstood.  Bad data is like a rifle with its sight off;  if your sight is off by a ¼ inch, you’ll miss your end target by a mile.  If the data is bad, you’ll never reach your target or lose valuable time trying to reach the target.  Newer marketing automation systems that leverage the right SaaS integration will be more sophisticated to go beyond the deduplication at the account, contact, and lead level (like they do today or with other 3rd party tools like CRM Fusion, Dupe Blocker, etc.) by providing real time feedback on phone numbers and contact information to increase the effectiveness of the inside sales organization.  Outsourced data cleansing strategies will become less prevalent as time goes on.

Assist with 360 view of a prospect:  with SaaS environments leveraging CRM (Salesforce.com) and new integration technologies (Dell Boomi, etc), there is a newer way to get intimate understanding of your customer prior to sales reaching out real time.  Billing information, trouble tickets, and other service questions can theoretically be displayed to a sales person so they are not ‘surprised’ calling into a new or existing account trying to up-sell.  With a 360 view, coupled with the predictive element, there will be new ways to get more revenue for companies that are savvy. Customer marketing (up-sell, cross-sell) is the hardest type of marketing to do and measure, this 360 view will help complete that circle. The single most important aspect is to make it easy for sales rep to get access to it from their current system.

Analytics that are meaningful:  the first generation SaaS marketing automation vendors have made an attempt at analytics, either licensing 3rd party software (Micromuse, Good) or attempting to build on their own.  The next generation analytic dashboards will be visible by anyone that has CRM access, not just marketing users with marketing data.  These analytics will show the areas above – marketing influenced revenue, 360 viewpoint, and data quality.  While some of this can be reported in systems today, it’s challenging at best.

What do you think, what are you seeing for future marketing automation environments to get more revenue, quicker?  Where are the pain points and shortcomings in your environment?



Summary of Iron Mountain Keynote at SiriusDecisions

May 5, 2011

At the SiriusDecisions’ (#SDS11) sold out conference featuring over 750 people, this year’s keynote featured both the head of sales Jerry Rulli and Colleen Langevin who heads marketing in a dialogue around historic performance, current activity, and a single go forward goal highlighting the tight sales/marketing relationship and the impact a relationship has on business results.  This is a summary of that keynote discussion along with a few of my previous blog posts and experiences on alignment.

Although they are early in proving the model out, the first key was it appeared there is/was a tight relationship between sales and marketing.  The relationship requires both parties to compromise, yet it’s proven when that cooperation happens, a better end result (i.e. more revenue conversions) happen.  One step to success was involving sale extensively in a marketing plan – which went back and forth in a series of negotiations to arrive at the final plan tailored by segment.  It probably helped the relationship and the overall marketing plan that they focused on a single goal – revenue production, instead of sales which typically focuses exclusively on revenue production without the help of marketing and marketing on just creating more MQLs.  A very interesting compromise approach was not using the MQL language at all, likely music to a sales person’s ears as the concern is driving revenue, not driving more MQLs that never close.

A major key to success in their overall approach was the agreement to leverage an outside 3rd party (i.e. a referee) to uncover the real problem, steer the overall stakeholder and change management process to implement.  The advantage of leveraging a 3rd party is it removes the emotion and ownership from either party and can uncover true issues – a brilliant decision on their part.

The approach at an executive level toward the team was ‘here’s the problem, now own solving it’.  Structurally, marketing aligned toward their ‘buyer personas’ and the actual sales segment.   One point that was not clear was how Iron Mountain gets it’s majority of new revenue which could be from existing customer base (in account selling) vs. net new customer acquisition – as a head of marketing it’s important to understand how and where the revenue is coming from as that will dictate the overall marketing strategy (ie focus on demand creation of MQLs vs. Sales enablement from SAL to close).

The relationship, referee, and team members agreed on common language within the waterfall beyond the common objective.  Their teams trained on this element – in  my own experience, implementing this kind of language on a global basis takes several iterations and can be a very time intensive activity as different people have different views of definitions.  However, just like implementing a new sales stage funnel in a company, with consistency in definition up front means better performance down the road.

The relationship between sales and marketing was cemented in a ‘prenuptial’ Service Level Agreement.  The SLA went one step further requiring all team members to sign off on the overall gameplan, thus eliminating any potential ‘whining’ from either sales (we need more leads) or marketing (you should close more leads).  This too in my experience is an easier said than done activity, particularly if a head of sales doesn’t clearly understand the objective (more revenue production) or is ‘older’ school (ie doesn’t understand the impact marketing waterfall can have or what a waterfall is, so why have an SLA!) – yet absolutely essential for total transparency.   So as a head of marketing looking to introduce the SLA concept, you may need to sell the concept before just pushing it forward.

The last key step was transparency and accountability:  on going transparency on key business levers – from Conversion metrics to SQL to pipeline metrics, the marketing lead funnel, and KPI reports of volume and days accepted vs actual, this was key to success.  As I listened to it, having ‘one view of the truth’ meaning one single report to operate from both sales and marketing was also a major key to success.  This one view also eliminated the dialogue of ‘here’s the marketing dashboard and here’s the sale’s dashboard,’ which is another important lesson learned.

It’s all about the journey when implementing this process and your own experience may vary widely depending on the size and scope of your company.  What have you found effective?


2 Critical Questions for CMOs, CSOs, and CEOs, from CMO viewpoint.

April 27, 2011

This post is aimed toward heads of marketing, heads of sales, general/division managers or CEOs.  It’s specifically toward a head of marketing who is considering what measurable impact her/his team has on the business and is in a situation of implementing a marketing automation platform (which many companies are these days)…


Here’s a newsflash – your CEO does not care about your marketing automation platform, the technology, it’s capability, and all the mumbo jumbo “Star Trek speak” or the latest in social media!  She cares about the answer to 2 critical questions (and these questions are likely shared by your head of sales:)

1.      What revenue are you consistently contributing to our bottom line?  (i.e. what can we count on from you?)

2.     Can you accelerate revenue recognition faster or more cost effectively than our next best (manual) alternative?

It’s tempting to think that the marketing ‘Star Trek speak’ of marketing automation and it’s associated pipeline acronyms are readily understood by your CEO, head of sales, and board of directors.  However, many of these other functional leaders readily understand the two questions above, not the ‘Star Trek’ speak.  Your job as head of marketing is to translate and answer the questions.

It’s also tempting to think technology is the panacea and the ‘ANSWER’ to both of the questions – companies get themselves into trouble buying a platform and not really think through objectives clearly.    The marketing technology platform itself is a means to an end.  It first starts out with outlining a process with CEO and head of sales buy in – what does the roadmap look like to answer these two questions, how can you impact these two questions and how soon can that happen?  There are a variety of tactics that complete the thought process – what marketing automation platform are you likely to buy and why, what is the lead flow process, have you thought through content and nurturing strategies.  To me, these are all tactics.  Answering the two key questions are critical to a head of marketing’s survival.

If you are a head of marketing or know a head of marketing in this situation, what questions do you think are critical to answer?


4 Steps to tie B2B marketing investment to revenue via automation

April 15, 2011

This is an expansion of an earlier post of the process steps involved in tying marketing investment to revenue and is a viewpoint from someone with real operational experience as head of marketing.

  1. Get CEO/GM and head of sales buy in to your objective which is to tie marketing investment to revenue. While this sounds like a very easy thing to say, the challenge in this implementation is the length of time it will take before you will see a measurable impact that your CEO and head of sales will see.  You need to nip the misperception that buying technology is a panacea for instant connection to new revenue by comparing the length of time it took the company to implement the company’s CRM system to the length of time it will take to integrate a marketing automation platform with that system. The CMO should broker this conversation augmented with 3rd party data (or person) illustrating the time it will take to pull off this new process.  The risk of skipping this step is a perception of fuzzy ROI and slipping into old marketing habits where marketing is seen as a cost center, not a revenue center.
  1. Outline the demand generation process – involve sales and brief CEO on outcome – get help externally with a disinterested 3rd party that can facilitate and thus be removed from any emotion of outcome, own the conversations, and broker potentially tense conversations amongst multiple, global parties.  A helpful process here is a six-sigma workout process for those familiar with the process.  This will involve defining lead steps, defining inboundand outbound inquiry handling by both sales and marketing, and will involve different nuances globally and touchpoints in prospect to customer conversion.  Assigning one owner to this process is key.
  1. Pick a vendor (Eloqua, Marketo, Aprimo, Neolane, Hubspot, Infusionsoft) to implement the process –   there are many articles that exist today on pros/cons of systems so I won’t go into a deep explanation here.  However, like the earlier step, involve the head of sales and CEO on the outcome.  3rd party data can help in this vendor selection or leveraging a disinterested 3rd party can also be helpful to speed the process up.
  1. Aggressively implement and scope out timeline for implementation of your marketing automation platform – this timeline has to be the guideline for the head of sales and CEO to understand and work with.  The phases of implementation are vendor selection (phase 0), vendor integration (phase 1), entering campaigns including SEO keygroups (phase 2), and then PAYOFF, see the marketing impact on revenue.

The key themes to consider in this process is to communicate early and often, iterate once you’ve selected a vendor early and often, re-communicate, and reiterate.  Keep involving your CEO and head of sales and leverage external help – there are others that have lived this battle before, so you should be no different.  Expect the process to be a journey and not a destination and you’ll be on the path to success in tying marketing investment to impact.


4 Steps to help Sales work Marketing Leads to DRIVE REVENUE!

April 7, 2011

I recently met with a Field Marketing leader for a successful B2B company recently and she had echoed a similar concern that is common in our industry  –  her concern was as follows:

“The marketing leads we give to sales aren’t being worked by sales, so it’s difficult to justify the marketing investment when the marketing leads aren’t closing or being worked.”

Here are 4 points to consider when trying to address the situation she faces – to net it out, it’s ACCOUNTABILITY:

1.       Inspect the lead definitions in the company by segment, by region, and by channel to make sure a qualified marketing lead is indeed qualified from a salesperson’s viewpoint.  It’s imperative marketing understands how sales qualifies and defines their own leads (not inquiries) as a starting point – what definitions they use, how they establish a need – with that definition in hand, it should MATCH what the marketing inside sales team has as a definition.  An outside, independent audit is helpful as it removes any sales/marketing tension with a disinterested 3rd party;  if that is not feasible, doing it directly from marketing to sales is the next best alternative.

2.       Establish a service level agreement with the head of sales on sales ACCEPTED leads (not sales qualified) AND  incent the inside sales team on sales ACCEPTED leads.   This is tricky – most heads of sales would want to know what to expect or count on from marketing as it makes their job easier.  The tricky part is that not all heads of sales understand the need or what an SLA is – particularly sales 1.0 executives.  So there may be significant internal selling on this point not to overlook!

3.       Establish metrics on a per rep basis –  THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP – specifically measure  on a per sales rep basis the quantity of leads that marketing sources, the quantity of leads that sales sources, the close rates and close TIMING for each sourcing category.  With this quantitative information in hand, a more mature discussion can be held with the sales leadership as to what is actually happening with marketing qualified leads.  Your marketing automation platform or Salesforce.com should help with this measuring.  One intangible point here – this data will force conversations, so treat the discussions with the heads of sales respectfully, not as a hammer.  The objective is to improve or close gaps on business challenge areas, not to hammer reps for how you might think of their performance!

4.       Benchmark similar sized company performance so expectations are set at the executive level.  At a tactical level, there is a great alignment opportunity between the head of sales and head of marketing in this scenario that she poses.  In other SaaS environments, according to SiriusDecisions and Marketo, I’ve seen upward to 60% of closed revenue sourced by marketing (note a more typical average for B2B SaaS is in the 18% to 33% range with Marketo pushing the envelope at 60%+).   The head of sales should want to know what marketing’s funnel is as it is less the head of sales team needs to do revenue wise at days end.  The board of directors will also want to know what marketing’s contribution is to revenue.

This lady was impressive, she had all the right business instincts identifying the challenge and just needed a bit more push as what to do next.  What do you find works for you?  Would love to hear a sales person’s perspective!