Archive for Marketing Operations

Great Free Resource - The Essential Marketing Automation Handbook

I recently attended Dreamforce, the Salesforce.com conference in San Francisco, and dropped by the MarketingGenius booth on the expo floor. After speaking to a great sales rep, Brandon Binder, I found myself in the posession of an equally great marketing resource to take home with me. It is called The Essential Marketing Automation Handbook, by Ardath Albee, and you can download it here. This 48 page handbook details everything you would need to know to upgrade your marketing process to produce better results. It includes chapters on how to implement lead scoring, how to nurture leads by mapping content to buying stages, and how to optimize your lead nurturing strategies so that they accelerate leads through the pipeline to a closed sale. It doesn’t recommend or even discuss any particular product that might help you do these things, just lays out the conceptual framework for why you should do them, and how to go about doing them. Very helpful. While most tradeshow handouts go in the trash pretty quickly in my experience, I’m hanging on to this one.

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New Model for Marketing Measurement

A few days ago, I posted about the marketing automation recommendations from the Raab Associates report Lead Management: Get Started with a New Strategy for Buyer-Centric Marketing and Selling. Another nugget from that report was their 4-pronged model for marketing measurement, which, if fully implemented, would enable marketers to measure their results more comprehensively than most do today, including both their “old” and “new” media. Raab Associates suggest metrics in the following four areas:

  • Operational - these are metrics that track whether your campaign resulted in the desired behavior or not. Some examples are email open rates, online ad-to-landing page click through rates, and print ad-to-800 number call in rates. These metrics would typically be used by marketing to dissect individual program successes and failures, and to generate learnings that will improve later programs.
  • Funnel - these are metrics that track the progress of prospects through the sales process. They typically are tied to CRM stages, and track first how many prospects moved from one stage to the next, and second how quickly they did so. These metrics would be used both by sales and marketing to determine what the pipeline looks like at any given point in time and to create forecasts for future sales.
  • Engagement - these are metrics that track the investment that prospects are making in their relationship with the company. For example, opening an email is a very basic level of engagment, but downloading a white paper, sitting through an online demo or recorded webinar represents a much higher level of investment, and might indicate a greater propensity to buy. These metrics would typically be used for lead scoring, sales prioritization, and by individual sales reps to determine how to approach the prospect.
  • Financial - these metrics require matching marketing costs to business results to calculate, for instance, ROI, cost-per-lead, cost-per-sale. Many firms struggle to do this, but it’s imperative that they persevere and find a way. Otherwise, marketing and executive leadership will never be able to make smart decisions about whether and how to invest scarce resources in the marketing effort.
  • We are quickly approaching the end of the year, and I know many marketers will soon be thinking about their new year’s resolutions. For those marketers seeking improved performance in 2010, upgrading their measurement capabilities might be a great place to start.

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    4 ‘Must Have’ Technologies for Marketers

    I recently came across an interesting white paper, written by Raab Associates, called Lead Management: Get Started with a New Strategy for Buyer-Centric Marketing and Selling. The title oversells the content a bit, but there were a few interesting takeaways for me. One was that there are 4 technologies that marketers will need to be successful. These are technologies that enable marketers to:

  • Recognize individuals from their target market across time and channels, whether the individual has self-identified or not. Once the marketer can recognize these individuals, they need to aggregate information about each individual into a database that gradually produces a complete picture of the prospects activities and interests.
  • Record a concise profile of each individual from the database, and use that profile to drive messaging rules. Without this step, many marketers will get bogged down by the volume of raw data, and won’t be able to develop a coherent marketing strategy for these individuals.
  • React to the individual’s profile at any point in time, and present messages that are appropriate to that situation. So, for example, if the individual is in the awareness building stage, present information about what the class of product does and how it might benefit them. If the individual is in the decision stage, present information about what makes your product unique and show how it compares to the alternatives.
  • Refer the individaul to human agents wherever appropriate throughout the nurturing process. This referral can be into any contact center or channel, and can be either inbound or outbound, but it must ensure that the human agent has all the profile information available to them prior to the contact to be able to best serve the individual’s needs.
  • Marketing automation technology is a fast-evolving space, and the service providers in this space are all over the map in terms of what they provide and how they provide it. I’m hoping that Raab Associates’ classification of needs in this way will help service providers to articulate their particular approach, and will also help marketers to better define their requirements.

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    The Time has Come for Marketing Automation

    Last week I spent some time in the Expo at Dreamforce, salesforce.com’s annual event in San Francisco. As a marketer, I found I was drawn to the booths that had anything to do with marketing, sales or both sales and marketing. An observation I made as I toured the expo, is that marketing automation has finally arrived.

    I have been aware of marketing automation software and SAAS for years. I’ve even bought marketing automation software and SAAS for various employers. However, it always seemed like my employers thought this purchase was just my preferred way of working, rather than the right way to manage marketing programs. I’m always happy to be accommodated, but nowhere near as happy as when I see that I’m surrounded by true believers. Last week at Dreamforce, I was surrounded by true believers. It seemed like everyone at the show believed that marketing automation was a “must have” and not just a “nice to have” anymore.

    There were so many great providers of marketing automation at Dreamforce, it would be hard to list them all, but here are links to some of my favorites:

    Eloqua
    Genius.com
    MarketBright
    Treehouse Interactive
    Marketo

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    Lead scoring on steroids not for everyone

    I have known about the importance of lead scoring for a long time. For those who don’t understand why lead scoring is important, it largely has to do with the irregular flow of leads. Many sales leads result from marketing campaigns that tend to produce a surge in lead flow right around the time of the campaign. If that surge of leads is passed through to sales without any scoring, sales won’t be able to quickly and easily determine which leads are their highest priority, and they will likely waste a lot of time calling leads that aren’t yet ready to buy, and while they do so, the leads that were ready to buy might be going cold because the sales follow-up was slower than they wanted. So, we score leads as they come in to help sales know which are most likely to buy, and marketing know which need further nurturing before they should be passed to sales. In an ideal world, where there are always enough resources to follow up on every lead timely, I suppose this wouldn’t be necessary, but none of us are living in that ideal world these days, so it really is necessary.

    I read a Marketo white paper the other day that took lead scoring to a whole new level. The white paper is called Are They Hot or Not? A Step-by-Step Guide to Aligning Sales and Marketing by Implementing Lead Scoring, and is available here. Marketo’s suggestion is that we should not only be scoring our leads, but also scoring the prospect company, by aggregating scores for all leads across the company, and scoring each product we hope to sell them, by aggregating scores for all leads across the company by product. These are both very logical extensions of the concept, and so I can see why Marketo would be advocating for them. If these two additional scores could be implemented cheaply and easily, as Marketo says they can, I suppose they might help some highly skillful sales reps or marketing campaign managers to further refine their action plans.

    I’m not convinced that all companies could realize that value, however. For instance, how valuable would those additional scores be to companies that sell only a few products? Or to companies that sell to small businesses where there is really only one buyer? Or to companies where lead flow is more limited, and so you might not get many leads from the same company or about the same product in a given period? My intuition tells me that Marketo’s solution might not be valuable for these companies at all. But nobody should trust my intuition, I don’t. Before considering a solution like this, all companies should put together a business case for the solution that drives to the question, how many more sales would we get, at what cost, if we had this solution in place? If there are sufficient incremental sales or cost savings to justify the investment, then go for it. I’m sure we would all enjoy hearing about your successes.

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