Author: Jon Russo

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What’s The Impact Of The New Demand Unit Waterfall?

As published in DemandGen Reports, May 2017

By Jon Russo, Founder B2B Fusion, @b2bcmo

For B2B revenue leaders that are contemplating adoption of the new SiriusDecision’s Demand Unit Waterfall, here are five impact areas on B2B strategies and initiatives to consider:

  1. Develop a data strategy: install proper data processes, match leads to accounts (Ringlead, Full Circle, Lean Data, etc.) and establish the right global account hierarchies. After Fuze CMO Brian Kardon and his team invested significant time and energy in a data strategy, his team experienced massive growth success.
  1. Embrace an Account Based approach. CMO Peter Herbert of VersionOne describes his very successful Account Based journey as, “real progress B2B revenue teams are making towards a more intelligent, proactive, and efficient way of going to market.”  This new approach reinforces a need for an ABM strategy of account identification and investments (Engagio, DemandBase, Radius, Everstring, Oceanos, Terminus, Kwanzoo, Big Willow, etc.)
  1. Align and measure. Herbert says, “B2B teams are shifting from working in silos to capture and handoff leads to working together to engage — in a more compelling way.”  Build supporting Salesforce structures, data lakes with Business Intelligence overlays like Anish Jariwala at Informatica has created, or leverage tools that measure most of this new waterfall (Engagio, Full Circle Insights, etc.)
  1. Select attributes of the buying committee but...anticipate challenges identifying the right buying authorities from scouts or key influencers, especially if roles change deal to deal. Expect assumptions and manual intervention as Sales uses Salesforce contact roles sparingly, Marketers create personas, and roles change.
  1. Retain the right internal and external talent to support this new waterfall and maximize technology investment ROI. Augment internal teams with knowledgeable external sales and marketing performance firms that extend internal strategy reach and best practice system capabilities to improve odds of visible success and to move in a more agile manner.
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LinkedIn Jumps into Marketing Automation

LinkedIn as a company is an innovator jumping into a new marketing automation market, leveraging their recent Bizo acquisition.   This is worthy of study.

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Here are strengths of the LinkedIn offer relative to that of marketing automation:

  • Their ability to target anonymous users with customized ad content relevant to the end user makes this a compelling offer
  • Their ability to reach these users on the LinkedIn network and off of the network makes this very compelling
  • Their autofill form capability which should in theory improve conversion (though few companies use this well today I find on marketing automation which major platforms have a similar capability)
  • The fact that LinkedIn sits on a treasure trove of accurate user data is helpful for any enterprise struggling with data quality

As for the future, here are some questions that come up:

  • Bizo integrates with marketing automation providers today such as Eloqua and Marketo, it will be interesting to see how LinkedIn develops their APIs on Bizo – will LinkedIn continue the open approach with APIs or like the rest of LinkedIn, will the APIs eventually be limited and those integrations get impacted?
  • How global of an offer this is, will it work best in English speaking countries where IP addresses are more known (US, England, Canada, Australia, Singapore, etc.) vs. globally like all marketing automation has the ability to do?
  • How does the data actually integrate with the CRM system when LinkedIn prides itself on owning its data and not selling it to others?

Pricing for enterprise is at least $25k/quarter.

Facebook is also dabbling in the marketing automation segment, although I’d expect that use case to be more B2C and commerce oriented vs. the enterprise approach LinkedIn is using.

We are in for an interesting new era in reaching prospects with relevant content facilitated by marketing automation!

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2015 Sales & Marketing Predictions: Data Relevance

Michael Dell, the founder of Dell Computers, recently said, ‘Data is the key competitive differentiator in today’s business environment.’  I believe he is right.  Data is the star of the 2015 sales and marketing show; enterprises will generate new business, optimize their current state of data, and close more deals as a result of the improvement in data quality.

According to Aberdeen, nearly 91% of B2B Enterprises have not properly optimized their lead flow process.  Proper data is a key ingredient in that optimization.  Despite data not being a ‘balance sheet’ item historically was overlooked by non-marketing executives, executives will begin to assign company initiatives to improve data as they realize the direct correlation of the effectiveness of the inquiry to close conversion process to that of the quality of data in their customer relationship management and marketing automation databases.  CMO’s career credibility relies heavily on the data quality when reporting on their impact to the business and they, too, will invest more cycles in improving the current state of their data.

From this point, companies will begin to experiment with data predictability models.   SaaS based enterprises with large volumes of inquiries and with client usage data will continue to be earlier adopters of such predictive data technology.  SaaS companies will sort out the most probable to deal close or most probable to upgrade, with other companies eventually following suit.  The overall predictive market in 2015 for marketers using data will still be very nascent (<$100M for all companies in the sales and marketing use case) but will be the fastest growth as a percentage quarter over quarter of any marketing technology in 2015.

Lastly, the term ‘Big Data’ will become increasingly meaningless in 2015 as the executive question will pivot from ‘what are we doing in Big Data?’ to ‘how can our data be used to increase productivity…increase sales…decrease customer churn…etc.?’

What do you think will happen in 2015?

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Marketing Credibility: 2015 and beyond

credibility

Here is a valuable blog today from what appears to be a US head of sales in how he views marketing in his business in a tech company contrasting to a non-tech company – it can be inferred from the post that marketing’s compensation is getting tied to revenue performance, that’s where we also see the puck headed for all companies and where true marketing credibility comes into play – it isn’t just in the gymnastics or theory of SLAs, scoring, definitions, or dashboards – it’s in the output of where he (and others) can depend on marketing’s annual growth, lead contribution, and bookings for the business overall and where marketing can belly up to the bar with their own revenue contribution.

The most salient excerpt:

We are fanatical about complete sales and marketing team alignment.  In addition to corporate and product marketing, our marketing department is responsible for directly contributing to 50% of our annual pipeline growth and 50% of our new business bookings every year.  Marketing has SLA’s (service level agreements) with sales for qualified lead definitions and we have specific target goals for those numbers as well as the top stages of our single, shared lead/opportunity funnel or pipeline.  We track, measure and report on our performance at each of those stages in terms of both the actual number and the conversion ratios for lead movement from stage to stage.  We also benchmark our performance for all of that against an industry standard for comparably sized SaaS technology companies.

We see these trends in enterprises as well – though sometimes it is easy to lose sight of the forest through the trees when a company needs to embark on transformational change.  They get bogged down in tactics (predictive analytics, scoring, SLAs) – which are all fundamentals – but lose sight of the overall goal.

Excellent article.  What are you seeing?

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Marketing Automation @BMA

 

Here is my hour presentation that I reviewed with 30 others at the New Jersey BMA on Marketing Automation.

This video slide deck is condensed down to 4 minutes.  Note the emphasis I put on data – data is at the heart of a successful revenue acquisition technology like marketing automation or predictive analytics.

Let me know what you think!

 

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4 Lessons Learned: Sales Training

Selling is one of the toughest professions in the B2B world today.  I think non-sales people underestimate how challenging selling really is and can be.

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To keep sharp, I recently completed a Dale Carnegie Sales Success course to refresh my own selling practices.  My philosophy in life is ‘student always’ and ‘continuous improvement’;  despite working with sales people my entire professional career and also leading cold to close inside sales organizations, I figured it was time to really dig into the ‘how’ a sales person sells beyond my own experiences.  There were several concepts I picked up to sharpen my sword and refine my own knowledge:

Lesson 1 – Attitude determines altitude.  In the face of frequent rejection, a sales person needs to keep fresh and balanced.  This is something I’ve seen repeatedly of sales people I’ve worked with.  Those with the best attitudes, sold the most.  Some really good additional ideas came from the Carnegie class about listening to podcasts from Brian Tracey to Zig Ziglar among others.  While I’ve heard of both authors, I’ve begun listening to both as part of my day to day gym routine.

Lesson 2 – Giving away value – the largest lesson I learned was how infrequently as a buyer, I’m receiving value add information to help me in MY role in a company.  Too many vendors keep pushing the unilateral ‘here is my widget, are you interested?’ message ineffectively.  Carnegie with a partnership with Jeff Gitomer encourages to build a relationship over time from seller to buyer by the seller offering up consistent value in the relationship pre-sale.  This value could be in the form of industry information that may be relevant for that buyer to succeed in their position independent of the selling process or sales person.

Lesson 3 – Sales is a structured process, it’s up to the seller to walk the buyer(s) through the process.  Too often in my own situation, I’ve held off on walking through an explicit end to end structure.  Listening to the philosophy of taking a step by step approach pays dividends in the end – especially in a consultative sale.  This structure is somewhat proprietary to Carnegie but very logical in terms of a progression of establishing credibility, determining current state vs. future state, then pivoting toward a solution.

Lesson 4 – The power of asking – there is a direct correlation to the success of an individual and how often that person asks – asks for referrals, recommendations, more business, the business, etc.  Although the timing has to be right, frequently the seller lets fear overcome the need to ask for the order or ask for the referral.  Asking sincerely is critical as is the timing of that.  This is no different from marketers (or any other org function) asking for promotions or additional resources.

While none of these struck me as ‘rocket science’, the sharpening of fundamentals was helpful to think through my own selling situations to continuously improve.  I think as a CMO or executive, sales training at a junior marketing level should be a ‘must do’. What have you learned as part of selling your ideas or concepts to others?

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Celebrating the life of Karen Hirschhorn

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Karen (in black) at her recent birthday party with Cathy Hawley

The people IN a company are what makes the competitive difference, it is not technology or product.  People come from different situations, different cultures, and different points of view – the more diverse viewpoints, the richer the quality of decision by teams led by people.  I’ve been blessed working with many individuals working with and for me on a variety of different teams all across the globe – people who today succeed in running marketing for their company, running inside sales globally, running their own PR agency businesses, running marketing for divisions of big companies, and running other businesses like global IT as the acting CIO for a F500 company.   Others have become individual contributor experts in their field in demand generation or in product marketing in a variety of industries, SaaS security in particular.  There is nothing more satisfying reflecting on the success of my team members in their capacity today.  I’ve learned tremendously from each of them.

Last night, I heard some sad news about one of these team members and this is a first for me in my career – that someone that was once on my team has passed away.  This news hit me pretty hard and it caused me to reflect on our brief journey together.

Karen Hirschhorn was referred to me by a colleague and had also been applying to an opening then at the time at ReturnPath, a growing SaaS email deliverability company.  The role Karen was applying for was new, in a location other than our NYC global corporate headquarters, and a role that required a blend of technical finesse as well as strong people skills to deal with a variety of personalities.  The role would have been challenging for anyone given that stage of growth and the expectations around new product capabilities.

Among the half dozen finalists I had interviewed for the position, Karen really stood out above the crowd.  She was coming from a situation where after a successful 10 year career, she had started her own business after overcoming a setback in her health (we couldn’t talk about that in the interview as it is illegal to ask); she felt it was time to transition back into a corporate role with more day to day structure with a team as she got the bug out of her system to work for herself.

There were several attributes that I remember most about Karen as she applied for the role.  She was hungry to make an impact – an impact we’d all later feel.  Unlike the other candidates that interviewed, Karen had an edge about her presence and firmness which was later helpful to pioneer and plow new ground as the first head of product marketing in an evolving growing company with strong day to day personalities.  Karen demonstrated she could make an informed point of view, hold her ground firmly, yet had the knowledge when to back away from that point of view.  Karen was more versatile than most;  at the time of the growth stage of the company, we were pivoting from a North America centric view of sales/marketing to that of a global one – she was the first recruit on the team that was fluent in 3 other languages other than English and had lived in Europe before (we later hired 3 other multi-lingual marketers so I’m not sure what language they all spoke!)  She had global perspectives that others may not have had on the team and with her peers outside the group that could help us take a broader viewpoint.  Karen did great in the role with little day to day guidance as I expected.

One day over lunch a few years ago, we talked about some of the day to day challenges and how she forged through them – she had kind of laughed at one point over lunch and made a gentle reference to me about her fighting cancer successfully and how the real battle had already taken place there and anything else in life was really minor in the big picture.  She had bonded with another team member who had overcome a similar cancer battle and he too had that same perspective – they both struck me as very mentally tough people.  She also had a passion for yoga – and had aspirations to teach yoga to survivors of life threatening illnesses.   Though from New York, she loved the calmness of the Colorado mountains;  on one of her visits to New York City, I recall her being anxious to return to an area that was ‘quieter’ and certainly Colorado was that in contrast to NYC.

So while I’m saddened by her passing, I wanted to celebrate the life qualities I saw in her that made me say ‘yes, this is someone I want on my team.’  Her memories will live on with me and with others that worked with her.  Karen and her family are in my prayers.

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Marketing Tech Investments: Beyond Silicon Valley

This past week, I facilitated another round table discussion with twenty business to business digital leaders as part of the Marketing Operations Cross Company Alliance (MOCCA) group.   Companies represented ranged from large companies like CA Technologies, SAP, and MetLife, to smaller companies like Talkpoint (acq. PGi) and XLGroup.  We also had a technology venture managing partner join our round table discussion.

One topic of conversation was the recent VentureBeat article citing @chiefmartec Scott Brinker’s landscape of marketing technology.  Scott presented this chart to us in our last meeting so we had context.  We asked the question to the group – ‘are 1400 marketing technology vendors sustainable as an overall market?’

Market expansion responses:

  • The marketing technology company quantity will double (to 2800) because the pace of innovation is moving fast
  • Big companies (Oracle, SAP, SFDC) can’t innovate, therefore big companies will acquire so there will be a need for smaller companies continuously
  • To be competitive today, the advantage in the market is that of speed as value propositions blur – and technology enables that speed edge, so the market will continue to expand to get faster
  • It is a game of arbitrage – once all competitors buy a technology (like predictive analytics), they no longer have that advantage so they’ll seek new technology to go faster
  • Salesforce.com has the app exchange with thousands of companies, marketing is no different with Marketo with Launchpoint

Market contraction responses:

  • Technology has changed so fast, it is starting to outstrip the organization’s ability to respond and keep up
  • I spend my day dodging calls and emails from marketing technology vendors unless that vendor has something really unique I should look at
  • My budget is staying relatively flat, there is only so much technology I can invest in credibly and present to my boss
  • My companies priorities shape how I’m able to absorb marketing technology and we can barely get done what we need to get done
  • I check to see how long a vendor has been in business because I want to make sure they are sustainable for the long term

Based on my own experiences as a head of marketing in Silicon Valley and NYC companies for 10 years and recent discussions with my enterprise clients, I bend toward a market contraction.

  • Some companies will fade away completely and be replaced by newer innovations with the overall pool of companies remaining the same at first, slowly contracting with either exits through larger companies or exits because of lack of revenue.
  • While somewhat obvious, Silicon Valley companies are more likely to be industry leading in terms of their investment threshold for new marketing technologies as they are more apt to pilot/test and risk success;
  • East coast companies are a very different beast both in organizational risk appetite as well as the importance of marketing as part of the sales process.  It is likely east coast companies will need to digest what is in front of them now technology wise and prove ROI on existing investments before getting too far ahead on net new investments.

An area of opportunity is for one vendor to bring order to chaos, by simplifying one interface to get multiple tools to work together properly and coherently.

One thing we all agree on, there is no better time to be an enterprise marketer.

How do you see the technology marketing market shaping up?

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3 Enterprise Takeaways from SiriusDecisions Summit

This was posted on Oracle’s Blog this past week.  Reposting if you missed it.

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Today’s post comes courtesy of Jon Russo, founder of B2B Fusion, an agency that focuses exclusively on modernizing old demand generation practices to new to drive more revenue for clients like Thomson Reuters, Level(3) Communications, and Blackboard, among others. Jon serves on the Board of Directors for MOCCA, the leading enterprise association for Marketing Operations professionals. Prior to founding B2B Fusion, Jon held global CMO roles for 10 years in private and public technology companies in Silicon Valley, NYC, and Luxembourg.

This week in Orlando, 2,000 attendees had the opportunity to participate in the SiriusDecisions Summit, the granddaddy conference for the B2B marketing industry. Sirius analysts presented eight new frameworks and enterprise clients shared success stories, each group illustrating paths toward transformational growth for 2014 and beyond.

So what are the new themes from enterprises this year versus the seven prior conference years that I’ve attended?  Here are three new 2014 themes that emerged from the enterprise discussions:

1. Think globally, act locally. Enterprise presenters took a global planning approach to their demand planning versus more North America centric presenters of years past, possibly because companies see more growth in markets outside of North America. Polycom CMO Jim Kruger leveraged regional team presenters by sharing a global success story of installing an inquiry to opportunity process. Joseph Puthussery, Vice President of Demand Generation for Cisco, invested four years in architecting and building a global demand center, began his planning efforts in London, and leveraged successes within each global theater of operation.  Joseph previously ran APAC marketing efforts for Cisco from Singapore and emphasized how important it was to get outside of headquarters to think through architecting a demand center.

2. Data is foundational to true business insights. Pete Koliopoulos, Vice President of Marketing for Arrow Electronics, provided an incredibly thoughtful approach to Arrow’s data governance strategy to help elevate marketing to a true business partner. He presented screenshots of a whitespace report with product penetration by channel account, which enabled sales and marketing to drive campaign strategies to attack the whitespace. Arrow cleansed its internal owned data, appended external DUNs hierarchy data, and applied proper data governance to get to the dashboard destination.  Data strategy is often overlooked in other enterprises as executives overlook the impact data strategy has on sales & marketing productivity and business insights.

3. Marketing & Sales pivot toward a predictable science versus pure art. CMO Jim Bell of Jaspersoft and Vice President of Demand Marketing Meagen Eisenberg of Docusign proved how SaaS marketing has become more predictable than that of years past. SaaS companies have a clear advantage over other older enterprise companies as SaaS typically target new markets, deploy state of the art sales/marketing tools to attack those markets, and pinpoint customer retention trends in cohort clusters.

Jim illustrated how in a smaller organization, he doubled the inquiry to close rate from his baseline by installing rigor around funnel definition and discipline around the process.

Meagen explained how she leveraged intelligence from Docusign’s 90 nurture tracks, 20+ personas, and analytic/data vendors like Lattice Engines and Mintigo. Scott Barmmer, Meagen’s sales counterpart, commented how marketing brings an informed point of view to the conversation, one that has evolved and interpreted versus just presenting data. This interpretation leads to greater trust in the evolving sales and marketing relationship.

It was an exciting 2014 conference filled with another year of terrific networking and great enterprise audience growth from years past!  What can we expect in 2015 and beyond?  None of the presenters focused much energy on the success or impact of mobile initiatives; perhaps mobility will be an emerging theme in 2015.

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The Many Faces of Marketing Automation

(Reposted from DemandGenReports Blog)

 

When I recently attended Oracle’s Marketing Cloud kickoff event, where Oracle COO Mark Hurd gave his presentation to 100 of us, we had a chance to ask him questions at the conclusion. My question for him was, “how are you using Eloqua internally, what is your use case and roadmap vision?”

There were multiple use cases shared for marketing automation, each requiring different elements from their CRM or end users depending on the type of company. Let’s take a look at three of those models.

Model 1: Share of Wallet – Hurd said Oracle already has 400,000 global accounts, and doubted that he could expand that to 800,000. However, given that Oracle has been acquiring companies rapidly, Hurd said his objective now is to infuse other Oracle products into the company’s existing 400,000 client base via his newly acquired company, Eloqua.

For large, global enterprise companies, marketing comes down to the share-of-wallet, and gaining more spend from existing clients with products other than the core product. It’s about nurturing the relationships you already have, finding out what products they’re missing within the vendor portfolio, and working to expand the size of the accounts. In each of these scenarios, having the proper product information structured properly in the CRM system is critical and an often overlooked area. Duplicate accounts or contacts, sometimes caused by ERP systems, crush a marketer’s ability to properly upsell and cross sell.

Model 2: Market Share – Smaller organizations, by contrast, are typically concerned with gaining rapid market share. Their marketing efforts are more top-of-the-funnel oriented, with efforts aimed at expanding their client base. For SaaS companies in particular, they may extend offers, trials, and freemiums via marketing automation, dripping those freemiums into qualified opportunities at the right time. It is critical to set up the campaign integration with CRM properly in this scenario as well as a consistent campaign naming hierarchy such that campaign performance can be later analyzed to see what campaigns are driving conversions.

Model 3: Customer retention – Customer retention is a function found in both large organizations and in smaller SaaS companies. It’s oftentimes overlooked by marketers who prioritize how much revenue is being sourced or influenced.  CRM information on current contracts and products are critical, and are the ideal fields that indicate product usage so that nurturing can be based off renewal dates or usage (or lack thereof). Of the enterprises I’ve inspected, this area has the most upside potential for marketers to impact, yet it is very challenging for marketers to measure overall effectiveness.

There are a number of different ways marketing automation can be shaped to solve business challenges in the enterprise. What are you seeing?